Our preparations for our return to school in August 2020 are fully underway, unfortunately with so many questions still left to be answered. While there are no clear answers to all of your questions at this time, please be assured we are meeting regularly and working tirelessly to develop a plan that addresses the needs of all families. I will provide updates as soon as we are able to make these critical decisions and solidify our 2020-2021 school year plans. We are, however, planning on a full reopening in August 2020.
I will continue to communicate regularly with all Weiss School stakeholders as developments occur and welcome any questions you may have regarding our return to school in August 2020. Together, we will overcome the frustrations of uncertainty and the continued presence of potential barriers to the education your students deserve and that we, at Weiss School, insist upon.
Despite all of our ongoing best efforts, I hope that you understand that the ambiguity of the COVID-19 era remains and there may continue to be changes and alterations throughout this process. However, it is imperative to always remember that this is an ongoing process and the ultimate decisions and final plans may not be completely available in as expedited a time frame as we would like.
Despite the tremendous challenges we all face during this continued health challenge, we, as an educational community, will continue to work together to ensure that our students are offered the best education possible in the safest setting that can be provided. As our students’ well-being is our number one priority, our plans will include adherence to guidelines from the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other governmental agencies as they are provided. We will be investigating all possibilities, and exploring all likely barriers, potential opportunities, and possible threats to accomplishing our goals of a complete return to normalcy.
A safe return to school requires great deliberation and planning, and a deep examination of critical components of such a return. As such, the following questions will be at the forefront of our efforts:
- How can we effectively and efficiently incorporate all CDC and governmental guidance into our daily activities?
- What further efforts, beyond CDC and governmental guidelines, might we explore to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the education we provide to our students?
- What educational models will meet the needs of our students, families, faculty, and staff?
- How can we schedule classes to most effectively and efficiently provide instruction and meet the necessary course requirements?
- How can we safely utilize our resources, both in-school and virtual, to best meet the learning and socio-emotional needs of our students?
- What student services and activities will continue to be impacted by the present pandemic and how can we continue to offer our students the greatest opportunities outside of the classroom (athletics, clubs, competitions, etc.)?
- How can we best organize our faculty to provide the least restrictive learning program for all students?
- What initiatives can be taken to increase daily cleaning and sanitization efforts in all parts of the school and in all classrooms?
Planning will continue throughout the summer with continuous monitoring of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC guidelines, and best practices shared throughout the State of Florida and the country. We are exploring all options that will most effectively and efficiently deliver instruction which may include: 1. A full return to traditional in-school instruction on campus; 2. A hybrid-program offering a combination of traditional, on campus learning and virtual instruction; 3. Fully virtual instruction. If the need arises to once again provide a fully virtual education, we know we will be able to offer the most effective instructional program possible.
As we look back on the past school year with an eye on the future, let us take advantage of the opportunities provided by the previously unknown situation we recently faced and continue to deal with - a better understanding of distance learning and the potential to incorporate remote learning into a more dynamic educational program, and a renewed commitment to maintain health and safety best practices. Our students and teachers have expanded their repertoires, becoming more flexible and adaptable, as our students became familiar with new ways of learning and our teachers experienced tremendous professional growth. Our recent experiences, including all struggles and limitations, provide us with a springboard into a brighter future, one in which we know we can mitigate any threat and overcome any obstacle, together as a united Weiss School community.
It has been an honor to serve this community and I look forward to our continued triumph over our present adversity. Thank you for your continued support, all that you give to our school, and making it possible to overcome our recent circumstances. With our exceptional students, tremendous faculty and staff, and ever-supportive parents, the future remains bright for the Weiss School.
Wishing you a healthy and happy summer,
Dr. Tammy Ferguson