2020–21 Back-to-School Planning Update
Dear WSP Families,
Given our complex and rapidly changing environment, one cannot help but wonder, "What will school look like in the fall?" In the past few weeks, we have received questions about when or if we will return to campus in late August. We cannot definitely say whether or not we will be able to start the school year on campus given the current research and numbers of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County. We plan to make a decision the week of August 10. In the meantime, we are doing all we can to prepare for students to safely return to campus while still planning for parallel learning for those families who request the alternate option. In addition, we are preparing for whole school distance learning, if and when it is needed, even if that means at the start of the school year. Our Faculty Chairs have written a letter and created a clear overview of the WSP's three learning options for the year here.
Please know we are keeping the well-being of our students and employees at the center of our decision-making process. Since June, we have been working on WSP's Health & Safety Working Plan. This is a living document that will change as information changes. In order to return to campus, we must be able to do so responsibly. Regardless of location, at the core of Waldorf education is meaningful, developmentally appropriate lessons that foster each child's capacity to become an independent thinking, compassionate, courageous, and purposeful human being.
As educators, we more easily experience and respond to the connections students make in their learning, how their thoughts and ideas build upon one another, and how they help each other (and us!) learn and grow when we are able to work in classrooms together. When we cannot be in one another's physical presence, this work is more challenging. However, we have successfully demonstrated as a school our ability to be flexible and incredibly creative in order to reach through a screen to meet one another in a deep way. We saw this beautifully demonstrated in the spring with distance learning and in our first ever Virtual Summer Camp this year.
Given the intense work the pandemic has required, WSP is planning two Quiet Weeks (July 25–August 9) during which we will not hold meetings, faculty will not answer emails or engage with their classes, and administration will take some staggered vacation time (so you may receive out of office responses with information about when a staff member will return to work). When we return to school on August 10, we will make final preparations for the school year including inviting our community back to campus for Beautification Week (August 17–22). We invite you to share your questions regarding WSP Health & Safety Working Plan and the Distance Learning Framework, using this link. We will provide answers to your questions prior to school starting.
May the remaining weeks of the summer break be restful and restorative for you and your families. We look forward to being together in whatever form that may take in the fall. I have no doubt that our community will face each challenge we meet in the coming year with care, creativity, and flexibility.
Head of School