As promised, we are writing to share more information about the schedules that we are developing for the fall semester. These plans will continue to evolve as we receive updated guidance from state and federal agencies; however, we wanted to provide a preview as early in the summer as possible.
The physical and emotional wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff form the foundation of our fall opening plans. While most respondents to the survey we sent out on June 18 gave Berkeley Carroll's remote learning program high marks, there is no doubt that our families are eager for an on-campus experience. Indeed, an overwhelming majority of survey respondents indicated that they are "comfortable" or "very comfortable" sending their students back in the fall, and many added comments urging us to reopen the buildings as soon as possible.
Should we have the green light from government agencies, our goal will be to return in September with a reduced density model that combines small group learning on campus with both synchronous and asynchronous remote learning opportunities. Of course, we will continue to prepare not only for this reduced density model but also for a fully remote learning program so that we can nimbly adjust to any shifts in health and safety guidance that may emerge before or during the 2020-2021 school year.
Regarding the fall schedule, our plans are shaped by consideration of the following:
- Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health
- Parent and guardian feedback gleaned from the June 18 survey
- Resources provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, and the National Association of Independent Schools
- Advice from international schools that successfully reopened their campuses in the spring
- Ongoing consultations with medical professionals
- Factors specific to Berkeley Carroll, including physical plant, transportation and staffing
As was the case during the past school year, our approach will be informed but not determined by the New York City Department of Education; should it seem prudent, we may choose to keep our campus closed even if officials decide to open the city's public schools.
While the reduced-density schedules require flexibility and compromise, we believe that, working in concert across the divisions the Lower, Middle and Upper School schedules allow for a high-quality program and the maximum, developmentally appropriate amount of active on-campus learning time.
If we open campus in September, it is our expectation that all enrolled students will attend in person when their classes meet. Parents and guardians of students who are in an elevated health risk category, or are otherwise unable to attend in person, will be asked to participate in a formal process for requesting an attendance waiver.
We will communicate again in mid-August with final opening plans, including more granular schedule details and models; a comprehensive explanation of our health and safety protocols; and further information about the opening weeks of school. In the interim, please see the following linked letters from the Division Directors for additional information regarding our reduced density schedules.
Lisa Yvette Waller, Ph.D.
Head of School