Green Hedges School will offer in-person classes this fall, while implementing measures to ensure the health of students and teachers, said Head of School Jennifer Bohnen.
“We’re really looking forward to opening a full program in the fall and having the students back on campus,” she said.
Green Hedges will open on staggered dates, depending on students’ ages. Classes will begin Sept. 1 for those in kindergarten through eighth grade, while 4-year-olds will start on Sept. 8 and 3-year olds on Sept. 10.
Students will be kept 6 feet apart in the classrooms and Green Hedges will take extra steps for health and safety, including people to wash their hands and wear cloth face coverings. Before they arrive at school, students will need to use a health-screening app to check their temperatures and see if they have COVID-19 symptoms. School officials will double-check them when they reach the campus, Bohnen said.
To cut down on having students traverse the hallways, teachers will rotate into various classrooms, Bohnen said. School officials also have identified locations on campus where student cohorts can have recess and take outdoor classes.
If students need to quarantine for a couple of weeks because of COVID-19 exposure, they will be able to watch and participate in classes online. In lieu of sending information packets and reading assignments home with students, Green Hedges is upgrading its technology with OWL camera/microphones, which will follow teachers as they’re speaking.
Teachers who must be quarantined will be able to teach their classes remotely, although another adult will be present in the classroom to manage and help the students, Bohnen said.
Green Hedges began its distance-learning program after students returned from spring break in late March. First- through eighth-graders took online courses via Zoom on a schedule that largely mirrored their usual school day, while students ages 3 to 5 learned in large and small groups, with some individual time as well, Bohnen said.
Some students also performed plays online this spring and those participating in Green Hedges’ butterfly program each received packages dropped off by teachers at their homes so they could watch a butterfly metamorphosize.
Bohnen said she admired the teachers’ creativity during the crisis and noted many were undergoing professional development during the summer so as to offer even better distance-learning programs if they had to be implemented again.
Green Hedges will continue to offer art, physical education and music classes, as well as cross country. Because soccer is a higher-risk sport for the virus, the school will provide a clinic with drills instead of competitive events.
The school also will go on offering its extended-day program, allowing students who sign up to stay until 6 p.m. if family needs require it.
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