Dear Rivers Community,
In light of both local and national measures that have been implemented in recent days in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have made the decision that we will not reopen the campus for at least two weeks following spring break (3/24-4/3) and possibly longer, and will move to a remote-learning model for classes beginning Wednesday, 3/25. We are taking these measures to increase the social distancing recommended by public health experts, as we continue to do our part to reduce risks to the Rivers community and to the larger community around us.
Even before spring break, our faculty anticipated the possibility of “Remote Learning” and shifted into problem-solving mode. Teachers began to receive training for remote teaching and shared information with their students in case remote learning became a reality. Faculty training has been on-going during break, and we are prepared to teach remotely for all classes in both Middle and Upper Schools for as long as needed. We recognize that we will need to learn and adapt as we go, and are prepared to make adjustments as necessary along the way.
Distance Learning Plan
We have modified the opening of school in order to give us an extra day to prepare. We will be running an altered schedule to reflect the change in pedagogy. Our schedule for the first week back:
Faculty Professional Development Day (Online; no in-person faculty meeting on campus)
Classes resume in online formats according to modified daily schedule for both MS/US
MODIFIED MONDAY SCHEDULE
Classes run in online formats according to modified daily schedule for both MS/US
Second Week (3/30-4/3)
Classes will run a similarly modified schedule in a remote-learning format, which we will publish in a more complete communication later this week.
As you can see, we have added one more day of professional development for the faculty so that we can ensure as smooth an opening as possible. The modified schedule, and a video walk-through of our goals, processes, and timelines are being prepared and will be coming to you this week in a much more detailed communication. For now, we wanted to be sure to pass along the basic information about the overall change in our return to school so that you and your children can begin to prepare for the changes coming our way.
Request for Critical Information:
I also write to urge you to fill out an online questionnaire (see link below). We are requesting information on two fronts. The questionnaire we’re asking you to fill out for your family is intended to help us both to protect the community in the weeks ahead and to ensure that we’re able to support students in their efforts to work from home while we’re away this first couple of weeks. In this questionnaire, we are asking for travel information so that we can know where families have traveled over the last several weeks. We’re also asking about internet access at home so that we can be sure to assist those whose access may be limited or non-existent. We will not share any of the information we collect, though we will have to follow up with families directly who have traveled to CDC-designated Level I-III countries across the world to discuss timing on your child’s return to school. We will also be following up with families who need better internet access for their children in the weeks ahead and will work with families to make our remote-learning platforms available for everyone.
There will be more detailed information forthcoming before the end of the week. I’m sure there are many questions, and we are working to develop a communication that will get at most, if not all, of them. We stand ready to answer those we haven’t covered, and I thank you for your patience as we develop our communication in the coming days.
These are extraordinary times for all of us. I’ve been bolstered by the support of the community throughout the emerging health crisis as it has unfolded, and appreciate the typical Rivers “can-do” response to the challenge, including our extraordinary faculty’s determination to roll up their sleeves and develop the best possible learning experience in this new, exciting format. The change won’t be without its challenges, but we’re eager to roll it out, and will continue our efforts to maintain the academic continuity of the student experience as we work through the challenges as they come.
More to come soon. Stay healthy and, for now, isolate as much as you can. With luck and the right practices in place, we’ll be back together relatively soon!
Head of School