2020-21 School Year

We are currently on campus 5 days a week!

2020-21 School Year

We are pleased to share our COVID-19 Community Health & Campus Operations Plan (Rev. 2) with you. The plan was written by members of the HVWS COVID-19 Task Force with input from HVWS faculty, staff, and trustees as well as guidance and insights from colleagues at other independent schools including members of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).

We followed the guidance outlined in  Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together, which is grounded in a desire to support the healthy return of all students, faculty, and staff to campus in the Fall of 2020. Precautions have evolved over time to meet the changing public health circumstances and we can all expect they will continue to evolve. HVWS faculty and staff continue to prioritize providing a rich and warm environment based on love and mutual respect. Any changes and precautions will be implemented carefully and intentionally and communicated to students with compassion, not fear. The goal is to create a culture of collective care.

We intend to hew to our standard calendar. Should we need to switch to a distance model we will take one or two “snow days” for our teachers to regroup and then we will launch into a distance block. As much as possible we would like to maintain consistency and do not intend to add or remove breaks beyond a typical calendar year.

SUPPORTING FAMILIES

While our current plans include beginning the school year on campus, there may be times we need to switch to distance learning. Delivering a Waldorf curriculum through a distance learning program is incredibly labor-intensive. However, we recognize that distance learning’s effectiveness varies among age groups, and that a distance learning program is a very different experience—for families and students—than being at school. Therefore, we are offering Adaptive Tuition next year, which all parents may request should the conditions warrant.

To further support families during the next school year, the Board of Trustees and Leadership Council have allocated additional tuition support for those financially impacted by COVID-19. This support, COVID-19 Bridge Tuition Assistance, is separate from Variable Tuition and is meant to be a temporary, one-year bridge to assist families through the crisis created by the pandemic.

Adaptive Tuition

Last Updated: June 17, 2020

  • Adaptive Tuition is elective and must be requested in writing.
  • These credits cannot not be extended to students who remain home while their classes are being held on campus.
  • Families who pay all tuition in one payment and request an adaptation to their tuition will have a credit applied to their account at the end of the school year which they may choose to have refunded or applied to the following year.
  • Extended care will be billed weekly during the 2020-21 school year and families will only be billed for the weeks when campus is open and the program is running.

Early Childhood

In the event of an Early Childhood class’s pivot to distance learning, a 50% adjustment to tuition invoices will be calculated after the 4th consecutive, full week of distance learning. Adjustments will continue for the weeks a class remains in distance learning for a maximum of up to 16 weeks.

Grades 1-8

In the event our grade school opens in or pivots to distance learning, a 20% adjustment to tuition invoices will be calculated after the 4th consecutive, full week of distance learning. Adjustments will continue for the weeks a class remains in distance learning for a maximum of up to 16 weeks.

Bridge Assistance

We are ready to do all we can to provide support our current families so that their student(s) may continue to benefit from an HVWS education and our exceptional community. While you will not need to upload supporting documents at the time of completing our Bridge Assistance Request Form, as part of this process you may be asked to provide:

  • explanation of change in circumstances,
  • letter from state unemployment agency,
  • layoff notice from employer,
  • current Profit & Loss Statement for business owners.

We encourage any family who has been impacted by the current financial downturn to contact us using this form.

EARLY CHILDHOOD

We are re-opening our Early Childhood campus, which currently includes three mixed-age PreK/Kindergarten classes, under the guidelines from Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood. We will follow their protocols around class size, hygiene, cleaning, and physical distancing on campus. Doing so will allow us to keep our classes open, on campus, even should our grade school need to switch to a distance learning model.

Health and Safety

The following is a brief outline of what we can expect in the upcoming school year. We understand that local health conditions and guidance from the state might change at any time.

  • Parents will be required to attend a virtual parent evening in advance of the start of the school year.
  • We will maintain consistent cohorts of classes throughout the day, restricting mixing between the groups including in aftercare.
  • Parents will be given a comprehensive list of heath questions which they will need to answer each morning before bringing their child to school. Anyone experiencing COVID-like symptoms must remain home.
  • We will adhere to diligent cleaning protocols including the daily wiping down of high touch surfaces.
  • Hand washing will occur upon arrival, and then also before and after eating, after nose-blowing, anytime hands are dirty.
  • We will increase time outside for all students with time staggered between classes.
  • As of September 21, 2020, face coverings (covering nose and mouth) will be worn by all adults and students three years of age and older when indoors. Adults will wear masks when outdoors and physical distancing is not possible.
  • Parents and visitors will not be allowed in school buildings or on the playground without a previously scheduled appointment.
  • Festivals will be celebrated within each class during the school day.
  • We will continue the use of remote meetings for parents and employees.
  • Currently we are not scheduling field trips.
  • We will not hold in-person parent-child classes in the fall. We will reassess adding these classes as the year progresses.
Distance Learning

We are planning to keep our Early Childhood classes open on campus and would only switch to distance learning should there be a specific exposure or risk in a particular class or if directed to do so by the state.

Should a class switch to a distance learning model teachers will support parents with weekly packets containing some combination of stories, recipes, suggested daily rhythms, songs, movement exercises, and recordings from the teachers. Teachers may choose to engage in small, group Zoom check-ins with the students.

Although we are aware that the need to modify the media policy in your home during any “stay at home” period is a personal decision and one that can only be decided by you in your home, we still favor a focus on direct rather than mediated experiences to support the young child in forming a healthy relationship to the world. 

Grade School

HVWS will reopen our campuses working with mandates in the State of Connecticut’s guidelines for reopening schools safely, including: cohorting groups of students; physical distancing; face coverings for staff and grade school students during the school day when inside or when outside when physical distancing is not possible; frequent hand washing; and enhanced cleaning.

The re-opening of independent schools will be guided by applicable law, Executive Orders, and state and federal public health guidelines for the re-opening of schools and businesses. Should the local health conditions warrant, or should a localized exposure occur, a grade, building, or the entire grade school may be required to pivot to a distance learning model. Teachers are preparing lessons with this in mind.

Health and Safety

The following is a brief outline of what we can expect in the upcoming school year. We understand that local health conditions and guidance from the state might change at any time.

  • Parents will be required to attend a virtual parent evening in advance of the start of the school year.
  • We will maintain consistent cohorts throughout the day, restricting mixing between the groups in Compass Hall (upper grades) and Sundial House (lower grades).
  • Parents will be given a comprehensive list of heath questions which they will need to answer each morning before bringing their child to school. Anyone experiencing COVID-like symptoms must remain home.
  • Hand washing will occur upon arrival, and then also before and after eating, after nose-blowing, anytime hands are dirty.
  • Face coverings (covering nose and mouth) will be worn by all adults and by grade school students when indoors or when outdoors if physical distancing is not possible.
  • We will increase time outside for all students whether for teaching or a simple break from mask wearing. Time outside will be staggered between classes.
  • Classrooms will be set up to provide for the maximum physical distancing.
  • We will adhere to diligent cleaning protocols including the daily wiping down of high touch surfaces. Generally, materials will not be shared between students.
  • Parents or visitors will not be allowed in school buildings or on the playground without a previously scheduled appointment.
  • We will continue use of remote meetings for parents and employees.
  • We will not host any large gatherings, including student assemblies. Grades teachers are looking to adapt festivals to student-only events where possible. Some festivals may be cancelled or celebrated in the classroom.
  • We will suspend hot-lunch and bake sale fundraisers.
  • Currently we are not scheduling field trips.
Distance Learning

Teachers in Grades 1-8 are planning their main lesson blocks with distance learning in mind. Teachers are also planning a school-wide weekly schedule of online classes, which will include main lesson work and specialty classes. Attendance at these classes will be expected just as attendance at on-campus classes is expected.

Using technology is a part of this process for the older students, but teachers will also make an effort to have them sign off of their devices as much as possible, striving to maintain a balance of work that does and does not require the use of a computer.

Zoom Guidelines (July 2020)

While school is in session on campus, faculty will support learning from home for individual students who are at high risk or live with someone who is at high risk of complications from COVID-19. Learning from home while class is in session on campus will not be the same as a full distance learning program. It will include homework and a weekly teacher check-in.