COVID-19 Continuous Learning

While COVID-19 is changing how we learn, teach and come together as a community, we are still Pembroke Hill. We will remain welcoming, fun, engaging, creative and inspiring, and we will never lose sight of what makes us uniquely Pembroke Hill.

Principles guiding our work include:

Fostering the important relationships that make Pembroke Hill so strong while committed to the health and safety of our community

Providing the best continuous learning program no matter the environment for our students from early childhood through upper school

Responding quickly, and making decisions thoughtfully, with clarity and confidence and based on facts


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Health and Safety

Academic Programs

Planning Task Force

Protocol Documents

Health and Safety

Maintaining a healthy environment on our campuses will require the collective effort of everyone in our community.

Our top priority at Pembroke Hill is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. We realize that maintaining a healthy environment on our campuses will require the collective effort of everyone in our community. After observing the daily increase in our area’s COVID cases and reviewing the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Children’s Mercy Hospital and the City of Kansas City, we have developed updated mitigation strategies, outlined below. 

Mitigation decisions will be based on our community data, including the level of viral transmission and test positivity rate within our school and city.

Health and Safety Procedures

Academic Programs & Procedures

Our theme, Living and Learning Together, will guide us in 2021-22.

We will not offer a virtual-only option for 2021-22, unless there is a Stay at Home order issued by local health and government officials. In this case, the entire school will transition to an all-virtual learning environment.

As we strive to meet the social emotional and academic needs of our students through a continuous learning experience, we will offer a short-term virtual option for COVID-related absences (quarantine/isolation).

Moving to a short-term synchronous virtual learning environment requires time and planning, therefore, our protocols for 2021-22 include:

Once the division heads are notified of a quarantine/isolation situation:
Teachers of the student(s) involved will be contacted.

DAY 1 of quarantine/isolation (first full school day of student’s quarantine)

Wornall Campus
Families may pick up technology and other classroom resources for their child’s short-term absence at the conclusion of Day 1 of quarantine. Teachers will communicate with the student/family regarding the plan/schedule for their short-term absence and provide any work the student should make up from Day 1.

Ward Parkway Campus
Students will check Schoology for any work that can be completed asynchronously. Teachers will communicate with the student/family regarding the plan/schedule for their short-term absence.

DAY 2 through conclusion of quarantine/isolation period
Students join virtual classes and complete synchronous or asynchronous work according to the directions provided by their teachers.

PHS 2021-22 Procedures for Virtual Learning

Operation Levels

In conjunction with Dr. David McKinsey, our infectious disease consultant, and the Health Impact and School Triggers Task Force, we have developed a COVID-19 response framework. This matrix features several levels with conditions and our response. The level in which we are operating will be based on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases on campus, and in some situations, directives from local health and governmental officials. 

We realize the conditions outlined in the following chart do not include numbers of cases. This is because we believe our testing program and contact tracing protocols will provide the information need-ed to determine if a move to a different operation level is warranted. Additionally, each situation will be different - depending on a variety of variables, such as: where positive cases are (classroom, building, campus, specific group such as an athletic team, etc.);  if all health protocols were followed (everyone wearing masks, etc.); and close contacts with the individual(s) who tested positive.

Please Note: These conditions are subject to change, based on updated data and trends within our school. Specific circumstances may cause movement between levels to be different than those outlined here.

Infectious Disease Readiness and Decision Matrix

Level Conditions Pembroke Hill Response
Level 0

Missouri state open. Vaccine/therapeutics available.

School fully open; new normal. Student staff vaccination requirements updated as appropriate.
Level 1 Small number of isolated cases with no transmission at school. School fully open with modifications. Perform contact tracing and quarantine affected students
Level 2 Moderate number of isolated cases or multiple cases in a defined group, with limited transmission between students and/or staff at school Quarantine affected group(s), building or division as appropriate for 10-14 days. Decontamination during quarantine time.
Level 3 Per local/state mandate, or based on specific circumstances as determined by office of infection control or administration. Reduced headcount in division resulting in 50/50 in-person and virtual.
Level 4 Significant percentage of population testing positive for COVID, or evidence of significant transmission between students and/or staff at school. Close affected building, division or campus with short-term remote learning. Decontamination during closure.
Level 5 Local authorities mandate closure or evidence of widespread transmission between students and/or staff at school. Close entire school. Long-term remote learning.

Is Your Child Engaged? Challenged? Known? Supported?

Small class sizes at Pembroke Hill allow teachers, counselors and learning specialists to fulfill our promise:

  • Every child is known, cared for and valued
  • Teaching and learning is at its highest level
  • A growth-oriented culture of excellence thrives
  • Positive supportive relationships exist

Wornall Campus (Early Years through Grade 5)

Contact Samantha Piper at 816-936-1231 or

Schedule With Samantha

Ward Parkway Campus (Grades 6-11)

Contact Bart Robertson at 816-936-1536 or

Schedule with Bart


Covid-19 presented us with an opportunity to make changes to our daily routine that align with guidelines (including those from Challenge Success) for improving engagement in learning, promoting the health and well-being of both students and faculty and accommodating our new safety protocols.

Over the summer, the Schedule/Logistics Subcommittee created an academic daily schedule that provides an optimal learning environment for students and faculty across all divisions.  The new schedule features:

  • Coordinated start, break, lunch and end times.
  • A later start and longer transitions between classes to accommodate student biorhythms and new safety protocols.
  • Fewer classes per day to reduce the number of transitions for students.
  • Longer class periods to encourage deep engagement.
  • More breaks and longer transition times during the school day.
  • Opportunities to build community.
  • Opportunities for social and emotional education.
  • Additional opportunities for students to seek help from teachers.
  • Time for faculty collaboration and professional development.

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Planning Task Force and Advisory Partnerships

Academic Advisory Council

To help these task forces accomplish their goals, we are continuing to work with organizations with whom we already have relationships, and have expanded our advisory team to include other individuals who have expertise in continuous learning. This group will serve as a resource in areas such as pedagogy, social interaction and engagement, accountability, digital platforms, technology and assessments. These members include:

  • Tim Fish, chief innovation officer at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  • Jon Kleiman, senior school program director, Challenge Success
  • Dr. Mark Milliron, award-winning educator, author, and innovator and head of the nation’s largest teaching college, Western Governors University. Former deputy director for postsecondary success with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Michael Nachbar, executive director of Global Online Academy (GOA)
  • Malone Schools Online Network (MSON), a national cohort of 25 independent schools
  • Independent School Data Exchange (INDEX), a consortium of over 100 independent schools across the country

Continuous Learning Task Force

This task force is engaged in collaborations and research to make recommendations on how to best conduct continuous learning at Pembroke Hill. They are advising us on the following:

  • Technology devices, products and platforms that are appropriate for all divisions so that faculty, students and families are using a minimal number of programs for consistency and usability purposes
  • Enhancement of teaching and learning through models that combine competency-based lessons with social and emotional development support while also identifying appropriate assessment tools to measure student growth
  • Use of resources and space on our campuses
  • Coordination and planning of academic scheduling across all divisions
  • Investment in faculty professional development to equip faculty with the knowledge and tools needed to offer the best educational program for students
  • Effective sequencing, coordination and transition between grades, divisions and the transition to college so that our students are well prepared for the next step in their education

Several subcommittees have also been formed to address specific elements of a continuous learning plan.

Portrait of David Burke
Portrait of Tiffany Kelley

Leading this team is David Burke, assistant upper school principal, academics and director of college counseling, and Tiffany Kelley ’96, middle school assistant principal. David and Tiffany both have extensive experience across all divisions of our school.

Operational Task Force

The Operational Task Force helps with emergency response and campus readiness.

This task force has:

  • Created an Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan and document
  • Developed a comprehensive Infectious Disease Readiness Matrix, which will guide our responses to potential future scenarios with clarity and confidence
  • Provided training for faculty, staff, students and parents to address new policies and procedures put in place to promote the health and safety of our community

Vanessa Alpert, director of human resources, heads this task force, which works closely with our administrative team and the Health Impact and School Triggers Task Force of the Board of Trustees.