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
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. To prepare to open school in-person, over the summer we created safety protocols, made adjustments to spaces and installed new equipment and systems. All of these actions are in compliance with the latest direction from our local and national health authorities and we continue to adapt as the school year goes on.
We know the Pembroke Hill community is dedicated to having a safe and healthy school, and we appreciate everyone doing their part to keep all individuals on our campuses safe.
Thank you to everyone for following our safety protocols.
We have outlined here the steps we are taking to help mitigate the risk of illnesses at school.
Our intention is to remain open on campus for the 2020-21 school year. As this is an ever-changing environment, we know that plans and procedures may need to be adjusted as we go through the school year. Our goal is that by making appropriate plans now we will be ready to adapt quickly, if needed, based on recommendations from MRIGlobal, the CDC and local health officials.
We define continuous learning as an uninterrupted learning experience, which can be executed regard-less of the environment (in person, remotely or a combination of both) or circumstances, that fosters and promotes:
- teaching and learning at its highest level
- social emotional health and well-being
- student, teacher and family engagement in the learning process
No matter the learning environment (in-person, hybrid/blended or all virtual), we are committed to providing the best educational experience possible for all of our students. We expect that students of all ages will remain on track in their development and will be prepared to advance to the next level of learning at the end of 2020-21.
Major components of our continuous learning program include a schedule that is most conducive to teaching and learning in all divisions; opportunities for one-on-one meetings with teachers through “office hours”; a common learning management system to digitally streamline the educational process including class/course information, assignments, learning resources, digital discussions and teacher/student feedback; and teaching strategies to accommodate in-person, blended or all-virtual environments.
Early Childhood - Younger School Learners
Our goal is to hold on-campus classes for early childhood through younger lower school learners, even if we are required to reduce capacity on our campuses.
Number Of School Days
We are committed to providing a comparable number of instructional days as in a typical year. Therefore we may need to adjust the school calendar as we move through 2020-21.
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 be-cause 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.
We started school at Level 3 because, at first, we will be operating at half capacity in order to give faculty and students the opportunity to learn new protocols and procedures.
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.
|Level||Conditions||Pembroke Hill Response|
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.|
* A virtual-only educational option will be available for students when we are in Levels 1-5.
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
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. We also anticipate the new schedule, with a few adjustments, will be used during an in-person or virtual environment. 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.
☑️ July 27: Early Childhood School Zoom Town Hall, 7 p.m.
☑️ July 27: Lower School Zoom Town Hall, 8 p.m.
☑️ July 28: Middle School Zoom Town Hall, 7 p.m.
☑️ July 28: Upper School Zoom Town Hall, 8 p.m.
☑️ Aug. 3: Deadline to enroll in Virtual Option for Aug. 28 start date
☑️ Aug. 7: Class lists released for lower school and early childhood school; Class schedules announced for middle school and upper school
☑️ Aug. 24-28: First day of school! Orientation week
☑️ Aug. 31-Sept. 4: Transition week
☑️ Sept. 8: Regular Schedule
☑️ Oct. 5: Virtual option students eligible to transition to to in-person environment
☑️ Nov. 2: Virtual option students eligible to transition to to in-person environment
❇️ Jan. 4: Virtual option students eligible to transfer to in-person environment
❇️ Feb. 16: Virtual option students eligible to transfer to in-person environment
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
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.
As we plan to safely open up our campuses in August, we have engaged Kansas City-based MRIGlobal to help us with emergency response and campus readiness. MRIGlobal’s worldwide expertise in defense, health and energy includes infectious disease and biorisk management.
Specifically, MRIGlobal is assisting with:
- Creating an Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan and document
- Developing a comprehensive Infectious Disease Readiness Matrix, which will guide our responses to potential future scenarios with clarity and confidence
- Providing 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