Healthy Together: Learning & COVID-19 Updates

The safety and health of Whitfield students, families, faculty, and staff is our highest priority. Our decisions during this time will continue to be guided by compassion and care for our community, the directives of state and local authorities, and our concern for the larger societal good.             Last page update: 8/10/2020   

Campus Access

Access to Whitfield's campus remains limited.  Starting Tuesday, July 7 anyone coming on campus will need to complete a health screening, wear a mask, and practice social distancing. Contact security for campus access and help with the screening procedures: 314-280-8848. 

Summer Planning

School leadership continues to convene virtually on a regular basis, and has begun planning for a return to campus next fall.  

As we craft our plan and outline new procedures, we do so with adherence to the guidelines of experts to ensure the safety of our students, our families, our faculty, staff and their families. 

As always, faculty, staff and administrators are available through their Whitfield phone extensions and email addresses.  Click here for the Faculty & Staff Directory.

LEADERSHIP UPDATE

Back to School Update: August 7, 2020

On August 7, 2020 Head of School John Delautre shared the following message with Whitfield families.

Dear Whitfield Families,

Greetings from the Whitfield campus where we are busily preparing for the upcoming school year and full of anticipation for the arrival of our seniors on August 18, and to that of all remaining students on August 25. As we announced in an email on July 24, we will share timely and relevant details about daily schedules and health screenings, extracurricular activities, and new pandemic response policies in the coming days. Our comprehensive COVID-19 Policies & Expectations will be released no later than August 14 so that we can provide you with the most relevant and up-to-date information for the start of the year. 

Please take note of the following information to assist in your planning for the start of the school year. 

Registering for Live Remote Learning Option
Any family that would like to sign up for our fully virtual learning environment may do so by completing this form. We ask that you inform us of this choice, if possible, by August 17th. If you need additional time or would like to discuss your choices before completing the form, please contact the appropriate division director - Sara Ringe (upper school) or Jarrett Young (middle school).

In Live Remote Learning students will “attend” classes according to their on-campus schedule via Zoom or Google Hangouts. Newly installed OWL Conference Camera systems in every classroom will allow for a borderless learning experience as students at home can fully engage in discussions and lectures taking place on campus.

Partnership for Health & Wellness
The recent announcements from the St Louis County Public Health Department and the County Executive in relation to the viability of in-person instruction in the public schools caught everyone’s attention. Please be assured that we have been in touch with these entities and with local infectious disease experts from Children’s Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to confirm that our plans for reopening enjoy their support. We have received that endorsement without qualification as long as we all remain committed to following the mitigation protocols scrupulously.

To that end, it is vital that our families realize we are now in a period when our choices directly impact the health of our community once we reconvene. Therefore, once again, in the spirit of community responsibility, we ask that all members of our school community:

  • be thoughtful in choices about travel to high-risk areas prior to the start of school
  • avoid high-risk social situations where wearing masks and social distancing are not practiced
  • follow screening protocols and stay home when sick (in the fall, students may “attend” classes virtually if they are feeling well enough)
  • Wear your masks whenever and wherever it is called for!

Meet & Greet Conferences (virtual)
Meet & Greet Conferences will be held August 24. You will receive an email with a sign-up link by August 14. This 30-minute family/student/advisor conference is an important way to kick off the school year with your child’s academic team, and we look forward to welcoming all families on this date. 

Whitfield Shuttle
Please note that after much deliberation we have decided that we cannot offer our shuttle service this fall. The reasons for this decision are, as you might imagine, directly attributable to the mitigation protocols we have been obliged to put in place for the safety of our community during the pandemic. Simply put, none of the shuttle options available to us, especially in relation to the size of the vehicles, allowed for the social distancing required to guarantee a safe experience for the students. In addition, the inevitable mixing of grades on board the shuttle posed a threat to the maintenance of self-contained student cohorts, which has emerged as an essential element of our back to school plan this year. 

We regret the inconvenience that the pause in this service may cause your family, and we hope to revisit this decision later in the school year when circumstances, and in particular when the restrictions imposed by local health officials, may have changed.

Masks
Everyone on campus will be required to wear surgical or cloth masks that secure behind the ears or head, and we are asking students to provide their own masks in order to maximize adequate fit and individual comfort. In addition, the school recommends that students have several masks for each academic day to allow for changing masks as needed. Bandanas, gaiters, buffs, or similar items are not acceptable for the school day. We strongly encourage students to practice wearing their masks for extended periods of time before the start of the school year. 

Arrival and Dismissal Times
Students will have staggered arrival and dismissal times based on their cohort grouping (6-8th cohort, 9th grade cohort and 10-12th grade cohort) and there will be separate entrances for drop-off and screening. Students may not arrive on campus before these screening times. Additionally, school does not have an option for students to remain on campus after school unless they are participating in an official school event / function (ex. sports practice, pre-arranged on-site meeting with a teacher, etc.). Therefore, parents should arrange pick-up of their student close to the daily finish time for that cohort, not to exceed 30 minutes after dismissal. 

Grades 6, 7, 8 & 9 will be on campus every day in small class groupings. There will be two separate drop-off/entry/screening windows and locations for these cohorts.

9th Grade

  • Drop-Off/Entry/Screening Window Time: 8:00 - 8:25 AM
  • School Day Start Time: 8:30 AM
  • Dismissal Time: 3:15 PM
  • Latest Possible Pick-up Time: 3:45 PM 

6th, 7th, 8th Grades

  • Drop-Off/Entry/Screening Window Time: 8:30 - 9:05 AM
  • School Day Start Time: 9:10 AM
  • Dismissal Time: 2:50 PM
  • Latest Possible Pick-up Time: 3:20 PM 

10th, 11th, 12th Grades

Students in grades 10, 11 & 12 will rotate two weeks on campus and one week off campus, during which time they will participate in Live Remote Learning.There will be one drop-off/entry/screening window for these students.

  • Drop-Off/Entry/Screening Window Time: 8:15 - 8:55 AM
  • School Day Start Time: 9:00 AM
  • Dismissal Time: 3:15 PM
  • Latest Possible Pick-Up Time: 3:45 PM

Families that anticipate difficulty in adhering to the drop-off and pick-up times as outlined above are asked to complete this form at this link immediately to indicate that they will need to discuss accommodations, which we may or may not be able to provide.

Magnus Personal Health Record (PHR)
Whitfield School is pleased to announce the launch of the robust Magnus Personal Health Record (PHR) mobile app which allows parent users to complete all health data requirements seamlessly and receive secure app notifications regarding their students. Click here for details.

Daily Screening at Home
To meet the County’s requirement that all students receive and pass a health screening each day before school, we will ask parents or guardians to administer a temperature check and complete a brief online medical questionnaire for each student as a condition of attendance. All Whitfield faculty and staff will also be required to complete and pass a similar self-screening at the beginning of each school day.
 

While more detailed information will be shared next week, if you have questions at this time, please reach out to one of us and we will do our best to answer them.

Whitfield's faculty and staff are working diligently to create an atmosphere that facilitates innovation, collaboration and trust. To ensure that our dedicated and excellent faculty can continue to support our students in person we are trusting that our families will do everything in their power to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 while away from campus. 

The pandemic affecting our world and local community is a reminder that our actions are intertwined and that our school community must move forward as one if we are to provide the best possible learning environment for our students. Thank you in advance for your partnership.

Best regards,

John Delautre
Head of School

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