We are reopening Frederica Academy this fall because we believe that it is invaluable that school-aged children attend on-campus schooling whenever reasonable. Especially after a spring hiatus from on-campus learning, we believe that resuming teaching, learning, and generally interacting in-person both inside and outside the classroom with adults and classmates is vital to the full and healthy development of young children and adolescents.
We accept remote learning in certain circumstances for a finite period of time as a valid alternative to live, in-class learning with peers and teachers. To that end, we will spend significant time and resources during our 2020-2021 Pre-Planning week upgrading our knowledge and delivery of online learning. However, we launch our reopening efforts with the fervent belief that if we can sufficiently address the associated COVID-19-related challenges while an effective vaccine is being developed and distributed, we will be able to operate our school continuously and deliver quality classroom experiences and a full student life on campus the entire school year.
From the outset, Scott Hutchinson has been candid and clear in his COVID-19 communications that there are risks associated with the execution of a reopening plan. It is unrealistic to think that unsupervised adolescents are going to maintain unfailing social distancing when they are not in school. Research continues to support the notion that many of the carriers of the virus are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. Policing social distancing and mask wearing will be strongly enforced at school; but that enforcement, especially the social distancing aspect, all day every day, especially in the Middle School and Upper School, is going to present a challenge. Generating a list of quality substitutes if multiple teachers contract the virus and need to be quarantined will be difficult. These highlight just a handful of the potential barriers to the plan, and they do not include any of the new and sometimes contradictory data that emerges daily or simply all that remains unknown.
Given the health-related realities of the world that we live in right now, parents need to decide for themselves whether they want their children to attend Frederica Academy this year. The school has spent considerable time studying, discussing, formulating, and financing our plan for reopening; and we are sharing this plan with you now via this document. From the outset, our goal was to design a plan that is effective, easy to understand, and manageable to execute. We expect our plan to evolve and adapt over time as the various situations either require or permit adjustments. What is required in August may not be needed in October or November.
Our practical, actionable plan now rests on two sets of pillars: those designed to limit the virus from entering the campus and those designed to limit the transmission and mitigate the impact of the virus once it is on campus. These pillars draw on the best and most current available science and public health guidance and the expertise of educators and health practitioners. Beyond that, we pledge, on behalf of the faculty and staff, to execute our plan with the commitment that we would all expect with your child’s and our colleagues’ safety and health in the balance.
FA Reopening Task Force
FA Leadership Team