WHPS Blog

Elementary Division FAQs - 2020-2021

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

We have summarized some of the common parent questions about what to expect this year in "COVID times." While of course we are subject to any new orders from government and health officials, here are some FAQs based on what we know at this time. We hope it will answer many of your questions.

Q. Is school open for in person instruction?

  • TK-3rd grade is open in person for regular school, 5 full days/week.
  • 4th-5th grade should be able to reopen in person once LA County gets to "Tier 2" according to the state COVID-19 metrics. 
  • TK-3rd grade families have the choice to be on distance learning or in person, based on their family's preference (e.g. higher-risk family members at home).

Q. How comprehensive is distance learning?

Distance learning includes LIVE daily instruction throughout the morning in SEL, Math, Reading, Writing, and Phonics. In the afternoon, specialist classes are also taught live: Spanish, Music, PE, Technology, Art, Animal & Nature Studies.

Here is an example of the elementary distance learning schedule (all BLUE classes are taught live).

Q. How are we keeping students, families and staff safe at school?

This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some key safety guidelines:

    • Face Coverings - REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE ON CAMPUS 
    • Class Family Groups - A static group of no more than 16 students with one teacher. The children in each group will learn, eat, play and have specialist classes together but may not physically mingle with others on campus. 
    • Outdoor Learning Spaces - COVID-19 is much less likely to spread outdoors. We have added additional sheltered outdoor learning spaces with clear partitions between students and new portable classrooms that are fully heated/cooled and can be open-air on nice days. 
    • Visitor Restrictions - Health officials currently recommend that parents use rolling drop off and do not get out of their vehicles at school. 
    • Physical Distancing - Enforced through Interactive Modeling and gentle reminders.
    • Scheduled Hand Washing (and of course as needed)
    • Temperature & Symptom Screening - Anyone coming on campus will be screened for a fever or symptoms. 
    • Sick Policy - Anyone coming on campus must be symptom free (fever, diarrhea, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose) for 24 hours without medication. Out of an abundance of caution, staff/students will need to go home immediately if symptoms occur at school. 
    • COVID-19 Testing - We ask that all families and students get tested before returning to school and to follow all public health guidelines to protect the health and safety of everyone in our Class Family Group.
    • "The COVID Times" - We share a weekly community update every Friday with updates to the guidelines and restrictions. All families and staff must follow these in order to attend school in person. 

Q. Are all the special area classes (Spanish, Music, Art, PE, Science/Social Studies, Animal & Nature Studies, Tech-Lab) still happening? 

Yes. Specialist classes are happening, but students may not go to the Art Studio, Computer Lab, etc. This is to avoid having multiple Class Family Groups cycle through a shared learning space. Most specialist classes are being taught outdoors. We have also expanded 1:1 devices for every student in grades 1-5 so each student has a dedicated device (laptop, Chromebook, iPad, depending on grade). Some special area classes may be taught through Zoom - into the classrooms.

Q. What about after school classes like Mandarin, Team Sports, Robotics, Art, Drama, Cooking, Speech & Debate, etc.?

These classes are temporarily on hold. Because the current guidelines and best practices suggest keeping students in static groups and not mixing, after school classes are temporarily suspended until we are able to mix or combine groups. We plan to bring these classes back as soon as it's safe. 

Q. I saw that when WHPS reopened in June, campus is now open 8am-5pm. Will you go back to 7am-6pm in the fall?

We know families rely on us for childcare, and we will do everything we can to get back to 7-6 as soon as possible. The reduced hours are primarily because of the strict cohorting requirements (we can't mix students from different Class Family Groups). We will resume normal hours when the cohorting requirement is lifted.     

Q. What if there is another temporary closure?

  • The Class Family Group structure and preventative measures now in place should help us prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the school community. The procedures we now have in place are based on the guidelines for childcare centers that stayed open during March-May
  • If we do have a temporary closure this year, it may only impact one classroom or certain classrooms. 

Q. Will tuition be discounted if there is another temporary closure next year?

  • We are sensitive to the financial impact even a short-term temporary closure has on families. As much as we do understand these costs for parents, the cost of staffing and running school doesn't change for us if we are temporarily on distance learning. If there is a longer closure or further intensified pandemic, our board will evaluate the situation at that time, but there are no guarantees that we could discount tuition and still continue to have a viable program. We really appreciate families understanding and making sure you are ready to make the annual commitment when you sign on for our program. And, in return, we are committed to offering a high quality program, with or without a temporary closure. 

Q. What else should I know?

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