Updated on Nov. 19, 2020
Plan to Resume Classes in January — First Week Back Will Be Remote Learning
Following Winter Break, classes will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 5, as Monday, Jan. 4 is a Teacher In-Service Day with no classes. However, all Middle School and Upper School students will participate in remote learning this first week. We will then resume in-person classes the week of Jan. 11, using the same Middle School and Upper School cohort schedules.
Surveillance testing will be available on campus for students the week of Jan. 4, though the exact testing days and times have not yet been determined. There will be no other activities on campus that week (e.g., sports, clubs, cohorts) except for the ones we have planned for boarding students as they return to campus.
By implementing remote learning for the first week of school in January, we are striving to accomplish two objectives.
First, we want to give all our families and employees a full winter vacation with any family gatherings and travel that might entail. Because our faculty and staff will follow strict protocols over Thanksgiving Break to make sure they’re ready to teach students in person on Dec. 1., the winter vacation will be their first chance to travel and/or spend time with extended family since August.
Second, we want to provide the quarantine time necessary for students and employees to safely repopulate campus. We expect everyone to build in a safe quarantine period before returning to campus in January, following the same guidelines for the Thanksgiving Break that we communicated on Nov. 12. People who travel on public transportation or gather in large groups lacking safety protocols over the Winter Break will be required to follow one of two options before returning to campus in January: 1) quarantine for 14 days at home, or 2) combine a one-week quarantine with surveillance testing. This second option involves obtaining two negative PCR test results, with the second test occurring no earlier than day 7 of the one-week quarantine. Ideally, the two tests would be conducted on days 5 and 7 of the quarantine.
For those students who decide to pursue remote learning in January after Winter Break, we will continue to support them with outstanding online programming for the remainder of the school year.
Information for Boarding Families about Their Plans for January
On Monday, Nov. 23, Mr. Phillips will send additional information to boarding families regarding the plan for boarding students to return to campus after Winter Break. His email will include a survey regarding students’ preferred mode of learning after the break and their plans to return to campus if they choose in-person learning.
Plan for Returning to Campus in January Is Based on Three Assumptions
This plan is based on three assumptions:
Austin does not experience a significant surge in positive cases between now and Jan. 11 that results in city orders restricting in-person school programming.
We do not have a significant outbreak of positive cases in our school community between now and then.
We are able to maintain our capacity to conduct surveillance tests so that all students, employees and residential family members on campus can be tested twice a week.
If any of these assumptions are not met or if other unforeseen developments arise that impact our ability to operate safely under this model, we will adjust our plan accordingly and communicate those changes in a timely manner.