With the 2020-21 school year now upon us, we hope you will join us in looking ahead with hope, optimism, care for one another and a commitment to make the very best of uncertain - and often difficult - circumstances.
Here you will find our comprehensive plan to safely bring our students back to campus in the 2020-21 school year. This document is the result of countless hours and input from our Senior Administrative Team, the Academic Affairs and the Health/Safety Committees of the Board of Trustees, the TES COVID-19 Planning Team and a group of trusted medical experts from across our community.
With the 2020-21 school year now upon us, we hope you will join us in looking ahead with hope, optimism, care for one another and a commitment to make the very best of uncertain - and often difficult - circumstances.On the pages that follow, you will find a comprehensive plan to safely bring our students back to campus in the 2020-21 school year.
This document is the result of countless hours and input from our Senior Administrative Team, the Academic Affairs and the Health/ Safety Committees of the Board of Trustees, the TES COVID-19 Planning Team and a group of trusted medical experts from across our community. I want to thank this group emphatically for their continued guidance, as well as our faculty and staff who provided additional valuable feedback this past week.
As we introduce our plan, I want to note a few key concepts and takeaways:
• We continue to keep a careful watch on the conditions in Mecklenburg County, with a diligent focus on creating a safe, effective foundation for our reopening. Our plan is centered on protecting faculty, staff, students and families, while continuing to deliver an excellent academic experience. With that in mind, we have created four operating levels under which our school may open or run, and understand that we may need to flex or make changes as the year progresses. Community and school level metrics will be utilized in determining the level under which the school operates at a given time. (The matrix on pages 16-17 provides an outline for each level and details on associated protocol can be found throughout this packet.)
• Flexibility has been a community norm since our school’s founding, and this year it becomes more important than ever before. We plan to extend flexible options throughout the 20-21 school year with the goal of offering a comfortable solution for all TES families. You will have the choice between in-person and at home learning at any time throughout the year (pending any health issues that would restrict a student from being on campus). At home learners will experience a blended learning experience, joining certain on-campus classes /meetings via Zoom synchronously, and completing asynchronous lessons and assignments at home.
• More than ever before, our community’s interdependence is at the forefront of its success and well-being. While your children are with us on campus, we will continue to do all we can to create a healthy learning environment, complying with CDC guidelines and shifting our protocols to reflect such. Each family will be asked to sign a Family Health Commitment which ensures we commit ourselves to a variety of screening/health protocols, as well as diligent consideration of health risks outside of our campus. Our honor code has never been more significant as we ask you to do your best as an individual and part of a team that seeks to keep each other safe.
• Amid all the challenges that reopening presents, we find ourselves with much to be grateful for. Because of the timely opening of our Center for Community and Arts, we are able to welcome all students back to campus together. The gift of space that can be transformed and used for teaching and learning is the difference between opening and closing for us and we, more than ever, appreciate all who made it possible.
With all of this in mind, we currently anticipate opening in operating level 3 (or the color orange) in the matrix on pages 16-17, maintaining the most conservative safety protocols (outside of distance learning) as we continue to live into this new reality. We also recognize that between now and the first day of school, significantly increased community prevalence of COVID-19 has the potential to result in a level 4 (red) opening. In addition, the first two weeks of school will be an opportunity for all of us to learn, practice and experience new routines and learning modes both on campus and at home. Please see notes on the staggered schedule for these weeks on page 4.
This is new territory for all of us in the Trinity community, the Independent school world and beyond. This year will surely test our community in ways we have anticipated and in some that may surprise us. By the same token, I have no doubt that we will continue to find joy in unexpected places - and in each other. I leave you with a sentiment from a beloved Trinity faculty member as I can’t imagine saying it any better than this:
I was grateful beyond measure for the chance to do what we all love - teach and learn with students. I’m nervous, overwhelmed and not-quite-sure of much.... but so honored for the chance to be a part of this amazing team. It’s going to be great - we are going to do what we ask students to do: get comfortable being uncomfortable, learn and support each other, and make the most of where we are. This could very well be the best year yet and I could not be happier than to be a part of it with you.
With peace, love and hope for all that is ahead,
- Daily screenings for everyone coming onto campus (at-home screening/ documentation and on-campus temperature checks)
- Regular use of masks by everyone on campus
- Scheduled routine hand washing and sanitizing
- New partitions placed on classroom tables and other areas as protective barriers
- Personal, labeled bins for all students to house belongings and materials to eliminate cross-contamination
- Consistent social distancing practiced in classrooms and community areas as much as possible
- Designated entrances, exits and bathrooms for each grade level to minimize contact
- Focused attention on cleaning surfaces by facilities staff, teachers and students
- Minimization of non-essential campus visitors
- Utilization outdoor spaces as much as possible, and enhancing ventilation/air circulation for indoor spaces
At Trinity Episcopal School, “Creating Scholars” is one of our three core values, and we remain committed to providing an excellent academic experience to our students, regardless of the challenges this coming school year may bring. The lower and middle school administrative teams have created sustainable plans and preparations for all of the potential learning modes outlined below.NOTE: Parents may choose between on-campus learning or learning from home at any time, unless there is a specific health issue that would prevent a student from coming to school (see page 18). When at operational level 4, all students will be in planned distance learning from home.
All healthy students in grades K-8 will have the option to learn on campus in classrooms with defined cohorts. Modifications will be made to campus and our daily routines to ensure the safety, health and joyfulness of our community.
Students who choose or need to learn at home (for reasons such as illness, COVID diagnosis in the home, discomfort with coming to school, etc.) will join live classes occurring on campus via Zoom, as able, and will have asynchronous assignments to complete online. They will be responsible for the same work as students on campus (unless illness prevents them from doing so) and be held to the same regular classroom expectations (i.e., school uniform, prepared with materials, etc.).
At-home learning will require flexibility from parents, teachers, and students as this will be a new and unique mode of learning for all parties. Although it is not the same as being in school, digital tools such as Zoom and Google Classroom will be used to help provide some sense of community and allow the student at home to still feel a part of the class. More specific details will be shared by the grade level teachers and division heads at the start of school.
Planned Distance Learning:
A cohort, classroom, or an entire grade level may go into planned distance learning should the School - in consultation with our health partners and the county health department - deem it necessary to do so. In the case of another county-wide or statewide stay-at-home order, or a significant number of cases across our community, the school may move to planned distance learning for all students in grades K-8.
We are so proud of the efforts the entire community made last spring during emergency remote learning, and we hope to make it even better should we need to move to this format again. Faculty and staff have participated in professional development focused on distance learning and other topics this summer.
We plan to implement a distance learning schedule of synchronous and asynchronous elements that will model the regular school day as much as possible, with an emphasis on creating and maintaining a strong sense of community and belonging, while also teaching important academic concepts and skills.
A separate Planned Distance Learning Guide will describe the specific details, including parent and student expectations, for both the Lower and Middle School experience, and will be shared in the coming weeks.
• In Lower School, cohorts will be created by dividing a lead teacher’s classroom into 2 cohorts with 11-13 students each (green and blue groups).
• In Middle School, cohorts will be created by dividing each grade level into 3 cohorts of 12-20 students who will stay together in the same classroom while their teachers rotate in for instruction.
• Enrichment teachers will be pushing into the learning cohorts rather than children moving to separate enrichment classrooms. This will be done on a trimester basis. At higher risk levels, enrichments will be taught virtually for Middle School students.
Arrival and Pick-Up *No Morning Care
• We will have staggered arrival and dismissal times based on the operating level. As students depart cars, they will be screened.
• If no fever is detected, the car will be given a thumbs up signal to depart.
• If the student has a fever, the driver of the car will be asked to pull into the lower lot for a secondary temperature read after a brief waiting period. If the fever persists, the child will return to the car and be sent home.
• To help manage logistics and ensure safety, if you have children in multiple grade levels, you will need to drop and pick them up at each grade level’s designated time. Children may not be dropped off prior to their grade’s designated time.
• Though we realize the frustration this staggered schedule may cause, we discourage families from carpooling at this time in an effort to minimize possible exposures and quarantines away from school. In the event of a positive diagnosis within the carpool, an entire carpool would be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
• If your family does carpool, we highly encourage wearing of masks in the car.
• To ensure all screening and health/safety protocols are followed, we ask that parents not walk onto campus for drop-off or pick-up.
• Parents will be allowed to complete late arrivals and/or early pick-ups up until 1pm, which is 30 minutes before the school’s staggered dismissal times begin. Parents will complete a check in/out procedure outside the front door and should remain under the arch.
• Each family has been assigned a number to be displayed on your dash as you arrive at school for pick-up. Numbers are relayed to classroom teachers and students will be sent to the carpool circle as their rides arrive. With multiple grades sharing a dismissal time, this will help reinforce the social distancing measures we are working hard to keep in place.
• We ask that you make your own sign for your car(s) for the first few days of school and place visibly on your dash. We will send home an official carpool number sign with each student during the first week of school for you to have moving forward.
• Wearing a mask is an expectation and important part of our protection and protocol.
• Masks will be worn regularly by students, teachers, staff and essential personnel while on campus, and must cover both the mouth and nose.
• Proper fit is one of the most important factors in masks being effective. We know they can sometimes be uncomfortable around the ears when they are fitting appropriately and snug to the face, so we suggest looking into adjustable straps, ear savers or bands that go around the back of the head.
• We allow a variety of masks/face covering options, however, vented masks are NOT allowed as an option. These masks protect the wearer but not the others who are around that individual.
• Gaiter style masks will no longer be allowed as a safe option for faculty, staff or students this year.
• One mask will be provided by the school to each student.
• In keeping with our school uniform expectations, students may not wear masks with distracting imagery, messages or symbols. They also may not have logos except for TES logos. Solids and patterns are acceptable.
• All masks should be labeled with the student’s name on the inside, and parents should provide 2-3 spare masks that will be kept in the student’s personalized bin as a back-up. Note: The school will have extra masks on hand in the event that a student finds him or herself without one.
• There will obviously be times when masks cannot be worn such as during snack and lunch. During such times, students will be 6 feet apart and/or have a barrier between students for protection. Mask breaks will be given for a certain period of time, but appropriate social distance will be essential and mandatory when masks are off.
• We strongly recommend that students who carpool with other students/families wear masks in the car on the way to school.
Before-School Entry Screening & Sanitizing
• Before school opens, we will launch a simple screening tool that shall be used each morning before you leave home (take child’s temperature, validate your child does not have symptoms related to COVID-19). One response will be recorded per child daily, and the information recorded will be tracked to ensure everyone is participating in this important screening step.
• All students, faculty, staff and essential visitors will also be screened on campus with additional temperature checks. Students should be wearing a mask as they exit their cars and will have their temperature taken upon arrival. When students are cleared to head into school (pass screening questions and no fever), a thumbs up signal will be given to the driver to leave campus. The student will enter the building through a designated set of doors for that grade level.
• If a student presents a fever (100.4 degrees or higher), the driver will be asked to pull into the lower lot, where the school nurse will take a secondary temperature after a short waiting period. If the fever persists, the child will return to the car and be sent home.
• Students will sanitize their hands before entering their classroom and then will immediately place their items in personalized, sealed plastic bins beneath their desk/table area.
Regular Hand Sanitizing/Washing
• Students will proceed to a first hand sanitizing station before entering the school building.
• Students and adults will wash or sanitize hands again before entering the classroom, eating and leaving the classroom.
• Students will be taught appropriate hand washing techniques that last for 20+ seconds after using the bathroom, before and after recess/snack time and before and after meals.
• Students will also sanitize before and after any recess, non-classroom play time.
Classroom Guidelines & Partitions
• We recognize the good fortune of Trinity to have such incredible, usable space for teaching and learning available to us. We are thrilled to be able to welcome all (healthy) students to campus in all grades, and appreciate that we are only able to do that because of our extended campus and the flexibility of our spaces.
• While our TES classrooms typically range anywhere from 10 to 24 students, we will reduce the number of students in a classroom and/or using larger classrooms to allow for appropriate social distancing. This means that all learning spaces will be used as classrooms which will be spread out all across our campus. Our community spaces (dining hall, etc.) were converted over the summer to accommodate these needs.
• Students will be at individual desks spaced six feet apart or at tables six feet apart with no more than two students at a table at any given time. If there are two students at a table, they will be separated by a clear, plexiglass partition for extra precaution.
• Soft furnishings (couches, soft manipulatives, rugs) have been removed from classrooms.
• Desks and tables will be at least six feet apart.
• In community spaces (hallways, staircases, etc.) there will be increased signage, directional flow guidelines and reminders for all community members to understand the importance of staying six feet apart.
• Students will be supervised during snack and lunch times by faculty and staff who will make sure that proper social distancing guidelines are followed.
• MS students may wear regular uniform shirts or spirit shirts with uniform bottoms this year. Students will not be changing for PE and will not receive a new PE uniform.
• Enhanced ventilation is an important part of our safety protocol and we will enhance our systems to allow for the maximum possible circulation of outside air through the HVAC system with the highest level filtration we can find and utilize.
• Opening windows in classrooms when possible (weather permitting).
Minimize Campus Visitors & Volunteers(including parents)
• An important part of being able to maintain our safety protocols is reducing the number of people on campus at all times. Therefore, we have made the decision that only essential members of the community (faculty, staff, students and essential personnel) will be allowed inside the building (past the front desk) for the time being.
• Parents will be able to check in tardy students and complete early pick-up procedures at a check in/out station outside of the building, under the arch. We will only be able to consider campus visits (for birthday book readings, for example) in level 1. While we recognize this is difficult - for parents and for the school as we love the ways you support your children and our community as volunteers - we are committed to doing all we can to keep numbers down to ensure the safety of our students and faculty/staff during these times.
• There will be no outside on-campus tutors, speech or occupational therapists, enrichment providers or other outside support on campus, as we maintain these protocols.
No Communal Dining (Lunch/Snack)
• FLIK is planning to provide healthy, individually packaged meals to students in their classrooms this year. The dining hall is being converted to additional classroom space this summer, and no communal dining will be allowed during this time period.
• FLIK plan information and sign-ups will be shared in a separate communication prior to the start of school.
• Students can continue packing their own lunches if they prefer, and these will be kept in their personalized, sealed bins under their desk area in their given classroom. Snacks will also be kept in sealed bins and must be clearly labeled to protect against food sharing and cross-contamination. There will be no sharing of open food this year.
• Lunch and snack time will be mask breaks (out of necessity), so it will be pertinent for students to remain socially distanced during these times.
Playground/Play Areas Closed
• We will continue to have recess for all children. High-traffic communal play areas, such as the playground and the Gaga Pit will be closed for the foreseeable future.
• Exercise and activity are important parts of whole child education, so we will be providing play equipment that can be used for individual and/or socially distanced play and is easy to disinfect each day.
• Students will be supervised at all times during recess by faculty and staff who will make sure that proper social distancing guidelines are being followed.
No On-Campus Events/Off-Campus Trips
• We plan to keep our present 20-21 school event calendar intact and as we reach events, we will make decisions about the best way to handle that particular event. We will be communicating more about how we plan to mark and celebrate each event in a virtual setting in the weeks and months to come.
• The Admission Team will also be pivoting to ensure that all prospective Wildcat families can experience Trinity safely and virtually during the fall season.
• Students will not be taking any off-campus trips to service learning partners, ImaginON or field trip/retreat locations for the time being. While these are cherished and beloved parts of our curriculum, we cannot guarantee that the same safety protocols/procedures are in place everywhere, and feel that our community will be safest by limiting the amount of off-campus access.
Enhanced Campus Cleaning
• An additional facilities staff person has been hired to assist the existing staff.
• Classrooms will be sanitized daily or more often if more than one cohort uses a single class.
• Faculty and students will assist in maintaining sanitized manipulatives
• High touch areas and fixtures, such as stair rails and door knobs, will be sanitized each regularly.
• Cleaning supplies for each classroom will be available and replenished daily as needed.
• The school health and COVID rooms will be sanitized each evening using school owned fogging equipment and a product designed for overnight fogging and re-occupancy.
• Other spaces that become contaminated will be closed
and fogged prior to reopening.
As we continue to live into the circumstances presented by COVID-19, we have made modifications to our health room spaces on campus and provided an updated flow chart related to COVID-19.
> Illness Guidelines & Flow Chart:
The school nurse will decide when a student returns to school based on that student/family’s particular circumstances. Click here to view.
> Health Rooms on Campus:
The health room will continue to remain open in the main lobby for general health issues and medication dispensing. We have designated a new space for anyone with symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. The space will be separated into “pods” to separate symptomatic students from each other in this room. Should we suspect COVID in any community member and they are presenting symptoms, we will follow appropriate protocol by asking parents to pick-up their child immediately.
> Maintaining a Healthy Community:
We are relying on a strong partnership with parents and families in order to maintain a healthy community. Families will be asked to review and sign a Family Health Commitment and Waiver, which will be sent via Magnus prior to the opening of school.
Our partnership extends beyond this commitment, as our community will rely on each other this year more heavily than ever before. While we will continue to do all we can to create a safe learning environment on campus, complying with CDC guidelines and recommendations, our success and group safety is truly dependent on our community’s diligence outside the classroom. We ask that our families practice masking and social distancing outside of school, in keeping with NC state orders and recommendations.
The changes to school as we know it and the environment in the world around us may cause increased anxiety in children and require a heavy focus on social and emotional health. Please know that our school counselor team is available for discussion and can provide helpful resources for your family.
704-358-8101 ext 238
Important Contact Information
School Nurse: Rebecca Morris
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / P: 704. 358. 8101 x244
Head of Lower School: Chris Weiss
E: email@example.com / P: 704. 358. 8101
Head of Middle School: Tracy Onze
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / P: 704. 358. 8101
K-4 School Counselor: Patrick Mast
E: email@example.com / P: 704. 358. 8101
Gr. 5-8 School Counselor: Kim Enicks
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / P: 704. 358. 8101 x238
FLIK Information: Carrington Angel
E: email@example.com / P: 980. 207. 5897
COVID-19 Planning Team
• TES Senior Administrative Team
• Board of Trustees Health/Safety and Academic Affairs Committees
• School Nurse Rebecca Morris
• Facilities Director Roland Jenkins
• Digital Learning Catalyst Allison Griffin
• TED & Wildcat Summer Director Temekia Morton
• TES Parents/Medical Professionals
TES is offering a boxed lunch option for the 20-21 school year. There are 5 lunch options per day. Please reference the TES app FLIK section for more information on the plan options, sign-ups, menus and more.