Summer is often a little quiet, but this year we are busier than ever, as faculty, staff, and the administrative team undergo professional development and make preparations for the return to school. While the trajectory of the virus is unknown, we are optimistic that on-site learning will resume in some capacity in September. Our Reopening Task Forces, comprised of members of the administrative team and faculty and staff, are working diligently to plan for a number of different scenarios.
When we do return to campus, things will look a little different. Our bathrooms are getting a few upgrades, such as touchless toilets and sinks, and there will be more hand-sanitizing stations spread throughout the building. Our traffic patterns entering, exiting, and around the school will likely alter. We are reconfiguring and repurposing some spaces to ensure the appropriate level of physical distancing. We are also investigating a variety of health-screening processes to determine an efficient and effective method that also supports the social and emotional health of our children.
We are committed to making our campus as safe as possible while maintaining the joyful learning environment that is the hallmark of a WES education. For instance, face masks have been ordered for faculty and students alike, with playful and age-appropriate designs for the children. Signage designed to encourage physical distancing will feature dragons guiding our students’ steps.
We are also planning and preparing in case the need for blended learning arises. One of our task forces is dedicated to revising the WES Distance Learning Plan based on feedback from our most recent surveys, and all of our faculty are undergoing professional development with the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington on best practices of remote learning and leveraging technology tools to support instruction.
Additionally, our faculty are building their skills through other forms of professional development. Our math teachers participated in a weeklong training focused on curriculum development and best instructional practices. Also, many of our faculty are engaging in various workshops and conferences in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The summer reading for our faculty and staff includes Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, and Stamped the Remix by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Our summer reading groups will allow our faculty and staff to discuss these books and probe more deeply into the content.
So yes, we are busier than ever. But the work is also joyful, as we are eager to be together again, in a way that also protects the safety and well-being of the WES Family. We will continue to be in touch frequently, and we will provide more details about what the fall will look like in mid-to-late July.