Ridgefield Academy/Landmark Preschool is planning to open on each campus on September 1. While our reopening plans are necessarily focused on how to bring students, faculty, and staff back to campus safely, we have actively planned for all contingencies and have continued to build a robust and engaging remote learning curriculum should we need to move in that direction.
Several key principles guided our planning for the upcoming school year. First and foremost is the safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff. We want you to come to campus knowing that the school has been diligent in creating the very safest environment possible. Second is fostering an educational program of the highest quality. We are dedicated to delivering an educational program that inspires our students to become joyful and accomplished learners, authentically self-assured individuals, and the very best versions of themselves. Our program is strong, comprehensive, and student-centered. That will remain the case, in any and all learning scenarios. Third, we want to protect our sense of community. RA and Landmark have strong communities, and we want to make sure that we will be able to maintain the interconnectedness that defines us and serves our students so well.
Our plans remain fluid and flexible. As conditions change in our community, we need to be able to react to those changes. We need to comply with CDC recommendations, as well as the recommendations of state and local health agencies.
A strong partnership between our families and the school has never been more important than now. Together, we can make our campuses as safe as they can reasonably be, and that is our goal.
We are planning to open the Ridgefield Academy and Landmark Preschool campuses on September 1 for in-person classes, however, we are preparing four scenarios that, together, provide a continuity of learning regardless of modality: the opening of school on campus, periods of fully remote learning, hybrid learning, and parallel remote learning. Faculty have spent the summer developing lessons and activities that can be taught in any of our four scenarios without sacrificing the quality of the experience for students, even if we have to quickly pivot between an in-person class and a remote option. Each scenario ensures the highest quality educational experiences for students while prioritizing the community’s health and safety. Students will be engaged in meaningful learning whether on campus, at home, or switching between the two. We recognize that any return to school this fall might be difficult for students, and both their social/emotional well-being and readiness to learn will be priorities. Our school counselor and learning specialists will be available to students and their families to lend social/emotional or academic support regardless of the scenario to ensure a successful start to the school year.
You should expect to hear from us regularly this year; it is our goal to keep you informed of educational and operational updates, changes to policies or procedures, and updates on the health and wellness of members in our community to make certain that safety notifications, guidelines, and changes are known and understood.
You should expect that clear, consistent, and timely communications from key members of our school will be delivered via numerous vehicles including text, email, virtual town hall events, and digital newsletters. A dedicated web page, accessible directly or through the Patriot Portal, will archive all communications and informational resources from the school for easy reference.
In addition to providing updates through the existing communications channels, signage will be placed in key areas and campus access points such as building lobbies, dining halls, bathrooms, common areas, and parking lots to remind students, faculty, and staff of relevant safety protocols such as handwashing and social distancing.
REPOPULATING THE CAMPUS
Ridgefield Academy and Landmark Preschool will provide clear communication which will support the successful implementation of all COVID-19-related protocols and procedures. This communication will include letters, web pages, student orientations, town hall meetings, divisional meetings, faculty meetings, as well as this plan in its entirety. Much of this communication will be in advance of the opening of school, and will continue as students return and their teachers work through protocols with them. You can view plans for managing specific spaces here.
HEALTH, SAFETY, & CONTAINMENT
Every member of our school community plays an important role in keeping our students and families, faculty, and staff safe. Even with the best safety measures in place, it is important for every member of our community to act responsibly and follow the latest health guidelines as they relate to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As a community, if we are all highly attentive to these safety measures, collectively, we will be a safer place and more likely to be able to keep our campuses open for in-person learning. At this time, there is no known way to completely eliminate risk; safety measures focus instead on actions that keep risks to a minimum.
To that end, prominent signage at the entrance to each campus will ask you to confirm your own health status before coming on campus. The sign will read:
✓You do not have a temperature above 100.4°
✓You feel well and do not have any signs of illness
✓You have not traveled to any restricted areas
✓You have not been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
SHUTDOWN OF CAMPUS
While a primary focus of the Reopening Plan and Task Force work has been to prepare to welcome students back to campus in the fall to a full five-day schedule of on-campus instruction, the pandemic has necessitated a flexible, multi-faceted approach that also allows for the possibility of a move to hybrid learning or a return to fully remote learning at any time during the year due to exposure within a cohort, building, or closed campus. Decisions regarding closure will be made collaboratively with school leadership or at the requirement of local health officials or Governor orders, if it is determined that a statewide shutdown is to occur.
As noted, in any of the previous situations, if a part (cohort, building, or campus) of the school needs to shut down for any period of time during the school year, Ridgefield Academy and Landmark Preschool is fully prepared to provide continuous instruction for all of its preschool through 8th grade students. The specifics of each scenario are detailed in the Educational Program section of this document.
If a serious outbreak occurs and orders of closure are from the local authorities, they will contact the head of school directly. The head of school will initiate established protocols of communication to alert the school community. Communication to a local health department will be handled by the nurse (Ridgefield), preschool director (town of Westport or Westchester County Dept. of Health), or head of school.
If you wish, you may download a printable version of RA/Landmark Preschool's Roadmap to Reopening here.
Resources include but are not limited to:
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Department of Education Reopening Schools Plan
- Association of Independent Schools (CAIS)
- Office of Early Childhood: Guidance for Child CareCOVID-19 Response
- Reopen Connecticut
- Trumbull, CT COVID policy draft , Lynn Steinbrick RN MSN, et al
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Child Care and Day Camps:
- Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, Resources for School Communities During COVID-19
SEPTEMBER 11, 2020