Distance Learning

The bulk of this year’s faculty Pre-Planning itinerary will be spent on two topics: organizing for the successful execution of our COVID-19 protocols and enhanced technology training. Although the FA faculty deserve credit for their work ethic, creativity, ability to learn massive amounts of new materials on a moment’s notice and adapt and be flexible, as a school we were not as ready to handle the avalanche of challenges of pivoting to online learning as we would have liked this spring. That will not happen again. We are spending considerable time in early August reviewing and testing every facet of Google Suite and its array of apps and practicing how to harness this valuable technology to provide higher levels of engagement and instruction in our classes… virtual or otherwise.

Our commitment is to operate on-campus school for the entire year so that healthy children can enjoy and benefit from the full school experience and enjoy the development and growth that comes from that experience.

If a student contracts the virus, as outlined earlier in this document, they will simply remain out of school until they test negatively or have been quarantined for 14 days and exhibit no symptoms. Then, they may return to on-campus classes. School, for those who remain healthy, will continue uninterrupted.

During that period of recovery time, students who are out of school will have an avenue for remaining connected to their studies/teachers.

Lower School: 

  • Students quarantining for COVID-19 and feeling up to connecting with school will have the opportunity to meet virtually every afternoon at 3:15 p.m. with their classroom teacher. At that time, mini-lessons in reading/literature and math from the day will be taught and reviewed. That will also be the time that Specialists can “stop by” to check in. Homework can be assigned and turned in and any questions can be addressed.

Middle and Upper School: 

  • Middle and Upper School students who are quarantining for COVID-19 and feel up to connecting with school may access the class instruction that they have missed via a live camera and microphone or a recorded video shared by their teacher. Those classes can be viewed in real time via the teacher’s Chromebook or they can be viewed as a recording at a later time. Students need to make arrangements with individual teachers regarding those connections. Additionally, all students quarantining will be allotted ample time for make-up work and tests.

Even multiple students within a division contracting the virus will not prohibit healthy students from attending on-campus classes. There may be a one-day moratorium for campus-wide deep cleaning if deemed prudent; but other than that, classes will meet in an uninterrupted fashion. At this time, there is no specific percentage of sick students that will trigger a 14-day closure of a particular division, but that is possible if the spike within a division is very high. If our summer program experience is even remotely germane, when we followed similar protocols that we are instituting during the school year, in seven weeks of camp with hundreds of campers, we did not experience a COVID-19 infected camper as of this writing.

The school reserves the option to move to a temporary distance-learning program at a classroom, grade, or division level should circumstances require it. Our goal is to avoid a school-wide, distance-learning program if at all possible.

Our efforts to enhance distance learning at our school are designed:

  • To improve the engagement and effectiveness of our on-campus classes; 
  • To improve the individual experience for those who cannot attend on-campus classes while quarantining; and
  • To improve the remote-learning experience if a division needs to temporarily shut down for a quarantine period.

It is also possible that a teacher might contract the virus and be required to quarantine. If that teacher feels up to it, he or she might still be available to teach the class remotely from their home, and learning would continue uninterrupted for that two-week period or until the teacher receives a negative COVID test result. If that is the case, another faculty member would supervise the in-class experience. Otherwise, a substitute would cover the teacher’s classes.

Frederica Academy is not offering a tandem online, distance-learning alternative this year because of the inordinate drain it would place on our teachers, both in terms of energy and time and the fragmenting of resources. We learned last spring that offering both alternatives at a school of our size almost guarantees complete exhaustion on the part of the teachers and mediocrity in both programs. We are choosing to focus our resources and efforts on performing and delivering one format well and educating our students to a high standard with on-campus schooling.