The NY Governor’s Reopening Schools Task Force met on Monday July 13th, and instructed all schools to submit reopening plans to the state by July 31st. On August 7th, Governor Cuomo determined which schools could move ahead with reopening plans and also provided information regarding what circumstances could force schools to close. This guidance has changes frequently and drastically since that time, and we are working to keep our community updated.
As we continue to monitor all the information available to us, we want to be as transparent and clear as possible. We understand how challenging this is for everyone – school leadership, teachers, parents, and kids alike. Answers to your questions, and any “decisions” that we make could be changed overnight as the various authorities shift their approach and introduce new mandates.
Our Plans are Based on Current Data available from:
NYS Department of Health
NYS Education Department
Ulster County Department of Health
Rondout Valley School District
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
NYSAIS (NYS Association of Independent Schools)
NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools)
For specific information on the most recent guidance from NY State, please visit these sites:
Some classroom materials will be shared if they can be thoroughly and readily disinfected between uses.
Students will have their own collection of frequently-used items, such as tools for writing, crafting, and drawing. Some of these items will be provided by High Meadow, and some were included in the supply lists sent by your child’s lead teacher in their 2020/21 Welcome Letters.
Masks are required for all students 3-and-up any time a student is indoors unless they are eating (seated 6+ feet apart). Mask breaks take place outdoors when students are 6-or-more feet apart. Teachers take all of this into consideration when planning their lesson and activities, and are committed to using our expanded outdoor classroom facilities (as well as the nature trail, and other outdoor spaces) as often as possible, weather permitting. Students are also allowed individual mask breaks outside when necessary, escorted by a teacher.
All staff are required to wear masks while indoors unless they are eating (and seated 6+ feet from others).
To avoid exposure to multiple groups of children, we are not able to offer before-care, after-care, after-school enrichment, or team sports unless we return to a pre-COVID school program.
Yes, they have signed the same pledge. This is guidance, and there are no stricter requirements at this time.
We have protocols in place for specials teachers which help protect both the students and teachers. All specials teachers are required to wear KN95 masks and wash hands both before and after leaving classrooms.
Yes; on-campus students and staff complete a daily online heath screening through the HMS Portal before arriving on campus, and a no-touch temperature check each morning as they enter the buildings. Teachers have been trained to recognize other symptoms associated with COVID-19 in children.
Our screening follows NYS criteria and is used to help us make determinations on who can safely be on campus. Using local outside contacts as a disqualifier for attending school is not advised at this time.
On Friday, November 13, at 10 p.m. Gov. Cuomo issued a directive on social gatherings stating: Indoor and outdoor gatherings statewide at private residences will be limited to no more than 10 people.
In this case, we would be contacted by the Ulster County Department of Health (DOH) if a contact trace establishes a connection to our student or the school. If this happens, please also contact our Health Office as this would give us an earlier jump on our contact tracing.
If they have a COVID test and it is negative they don’t have to wait 14 days. All students returning to school after recovering from a fever will require documentation from a healthcare professional.
The student should do the health screening; if they are not symptomatic they can come to school.
The student would have to follow quarantine instructions.
We are aware that there will be a heightened need for social and emotional support and will continue to identify peer support groups based on student need.
Daily morning meetings will provide opportunities for support
Optional workshops in stress management and mindfulness will be available
Jackie Katzen, Director of Student Support Services, is available to consult with individual students and families who need additional support
Nursery and Pre-K
Attend school 5 days a week, 3 days a week, or engage entirely online through our distance-learning program. There are three groups of 7-10 students, divided by age, that meet separately as different classes in three individual locations, each with its own entrance.
Former dance studio (converted into a classroom with new bathroom)
Current nursery room
Current Pre-K room
Kindergarten-3rd grade students: Attend school in-person 5 days a week OR engage entirely online through our distance-learning program.
4th-7th grade students: Hybrid model (attend school 2 days in-person & 3 days through distance-learning) OR engage entirely online through our distance-learning program.
Grades are divided in half, with half attending in-person on Monday & Tuesday, and half on Thursday & Friday.
Wednesday, everyone has classes together, virtually
On the days a student is learning remotely, instruction is live-streamed from the classroom or teachers prepare asynchronous lessons and activities.
8th grade students The 8th grade class is small and these students attend school on campus all together on Monday and Tuesday (with the option to engage entirely online). On Wed, Thurs, and Fri the whole class is learning virtually through our distance-learning program.
When we began remote learning in March, we did so with only two weeks of preparation and a single day of teacher training. We held meetings with the parents from every grade and conducted two all-school surveys. With your help and feedback, we made many improvements along the way.
The teachers have worked to prepare the best possible remote-learning program for all grades, using their own time as well as seven days of professional development. There are teachers available online to support students when they are engaging in distance learning, and increased clarity around the schedule and access to virtual learning platforms.
We have also introduced new platforms like Seesaw (learn more HERE), invested in enhanced online safety and security, and provided information to parents on how to best protect children when they are online.
All classes would be taught remotely, using our distance-learning model.
We will make every effort to accommodate requests, while recognizing that it will probably be impossible to meet all requests. We will do our best to ensure siblings attend on the same days.
We will do everything we can to accommodate this, but multiple students shifting back and forth would impact our staff’s ability to meet the needs of all students and would have to be carefully considered.
Current guidance from NY states that all bus companies and districts are required to continue to offer bussing to local independent schools.
The buses are following COVID protocols, all passengers and drivers are wearing masks. They are carrying a limited number of students to allow for physical distancing. The buses frequently arrive with only a few students on board.
The blended model involves delivering in-person instruction two days per week, while simultaneously delivering live lessons for children learning from home three days a week, as well providing ongoing academic support for students choosing the distance education program.
It will be necessary to hire additional teaching staff so that we have adequate in-person and remote/online support in each grade level. This will ensure a robust remote AND in-person program, in addition to seamless live-streaming of lessons.
Having students on campus requires significant upgrades to our facilities, as well as more frequent and meticulous cleaning and disinfection of all spaces. If you would like to make a financial contribution to support these upgrades, including enhanced WiFi, additional classroom space, signage, PPE distribution stations, additional sinks etc. Please do so here: link to Annual Fund.
There would be tuition credits given if school were to move to an entirely virtual, distance education model. We would offer a 40% credit for nursery and Pre-K, and 10% credit K-8 if we have a mandated closing. The vast majority of the school’s expenses would not change if circumstances mandated that we shift to an entirely virtual, distance education model.
If you find your question has not been answered here, please continue to check back as the Summer progresses