The global spread of the novel coronavirus in early 2020 forced Washington Episcopal School, like other schools around the world, to reevaluate nearly every aspect of its educational practices. Across our community, teachers, staff, parents, and students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in adapting to new and sometimes challenging conditions.
Our team has spent months researching and planning for a variety of scenarios, consulting health guidelines from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Montgomery Country, as well as schools around the world who reopened last spring, the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Association of Independent Maryland Schools.
Initially our plans were to open fully on site for Early Childhood while bringing the Elementary and Middle School divisions back on a hybrid model. However, after reflecting upon the recommendation of Dr. Travis Gayles, Montgomery County public health officer, who believes strongly that reopening schools will further increase community spread of COVID-19, we have to decided we must move forward with caution and care.
We will begin the school year learning virtually while planning to resume on-site learning as soon as we believe it is safe to do so. We will reassess the conditions in our county on Thursday, October 1, to determine if there are opportunities to transition to a hybrid model at that time. While classes will be virtual as we start the school year, we are exploring safe ways that students can be invited to campus periodically for age-appropriate activities in September.
While we are now shifting our focus from an in-person start to a virtual one, the significant time and resources we have invested will allow us to pivot quickly to on-site learning when we are able to do so.
This website will help you and your children prepare to return to WES when on-site learning resumes.
WES has created four guiding principles to inform our decisions as we return to campus. These principles reflect our mission, vision, and educational aims. They also incorporate lessons learned from our 10 weeks of distance learning this spring and the feedback from our surveys of families and faculty.
In preparation for our reopening, we have made substantial investments in our people and our campus:
As you explore this website, you’ll learn more about the plans and procedures we have put into place to promote a safe and rich educational experience for your child in the coming year.