July 13, 2020
While things are rather unsettled in the world, please be assured the Grier School is preparing for the start of the fall semester. We are excited to have our students, both on campus and those studying online, enrolled for the 2020-2021 academic year. During the next several weeks, I will be sending out emails providing families with information regarding new protocols, updates, and general guidelines for the opening of school. Please take a moment to read the email and feel free to reach out to the school with any additional questions or concerns.
Enrichment Programs/ Start of School Arrival:
- Information regarding the Enrichment Programs being offered to students prior to the start of the school year is attached to this email. Permission forms must be filled out and signed if your daughter plans to attend an enrichment program. The signed permission form and payment must be returned to the school by July 31, 2020. The fee for each enrichment program is $1500/week. Financial aid may be available through the guidelines established for the regular school year. Please contact the school with any questions.
- Enrichment Program Schedule (all programs will follow a same daily time schedule but the activities for each program focus on the specific enrichment program chosen):
9:00am ------------------------------------ Program Activities Begin
12:45pm-4:30pm ----------------------- Afternoon Program Activities
5:00-6:00pm ----------------------------- Dinner
7:00-8:30pm ----------------------------- Evening Campus Events
10:00pm ---------------------------------- Room Bell
10:30pm----------------------------------- Lights Out
Weekends will include Specific Program Activities and Campus Events
- The return to campus protocol must be followed, for the enrichment programs and the start of the school year. Please note that parents will not be permitted to help your daughter to her dorm room. She will be housed in a safe dorm upon arrival on campus for 24-36 hours until the results of the COVID-19 test, administered by the school nursing staff, have been received. Once the test result is back, faculty and staff will help your daughter move to her permanent dorm room.
- Students should pack a small overnight bag with toiletries and clothing for her arrival on campus as she will be staying in the safe house for at least 24 hours until the results of the COVID-19 test is returned. Bedding will be provided for the students during this time.
- Students will also adhere to a temperature check routine starting two weeks prior to their return to Grier School, and continue with daily checks while at school. A copy of the temperature screening form to be filled out prior to your daughter’s arrival on campus is attached to this document.
- Your daughter must arrive on campus with documentation of a negative test result for COVID-19. This test will need to be dated no more than 7-10 days prior to her arrival date. This is a link for COVID-19 testing through a testing service (if testing options are NOT available through your family physician) https://www.pixel.labcorp.com/at-home-test-kits/covid-19-test.
- All medical forms and permissions must be updated and signed by parents when the students arrive for the enrichment program and/or the arrival for the start of school.
- Face masks must be worn in all public areas, during the academic day, and when around other students or adults. Masks may be taken off for meals, certain sports, and when in the dorm at night.
- The school will also be following social distancing guidelines in the classrooms, the dining room, general public areas, and during school activities and events as much as possible.
The décor for this year is minimal, clean, and sanitized. Please work with your daughter as she packs to bring as little as possible to school for the safety and well-being of everyone. The school will be following CDC and ISM guidelines for dormitory rooms:
- Decorations/lights may not be hung on walls, beds or desks.
- Desk areas will be clean. Books will be in backpacks or storage bins.
- Belongings must fit in the provided chest of drawers or other plastic containers that will fit under the bed or in the closet.
- Food must be stored in sealed plastic containers or in a refrigerator.
- Students may not have rugs, extra pillows or stuffed animals in the dorm.
- Personal hygiene items must be kept in a portable tote for your daughter to take in and out of the bathroom daily.
- Rooms will be inspected daily, surface areas wiped, floors swept or vacuumed, and bathrooms sanitized regularly. Students, housemothers, and housekeeping will all be part of this necessary process in order to keep the students as safe as possible.
- Grier School will provide each student with two cloth masks but it is recommended that students bring their own supply of masks and personal hand sanitizer to the school. The gift shop will have extra supplies for sale throughout the school year.
Resident advisors, the dorm coordinator, and RA supervisors will work with the girls to help keep the rooms in compliance with the recommended guidelines. If needed, a student may be asked to pack and store excess items in a safe location until items may be sent home.
Campus Visitors/ Departures/Parents Weekend
- In an effort to keep all as safe as possible, we are discouraging any family visits during the fall semester. We ask that families adhere to the seven day boarding guidelines and not plan for any home visits through the end of October. At that time, the school will reevaluate this policy.
- Boarding students who must leave campus for any reason will be subject to COVID-19 testing upon return to campus and stay in the safe house until the results of the test is received by the school.
- Due to the ongoing concerns associated with COVID-19 the school will NOT have Parents’ Weekend this year. Instead, the school will be providing virtual opportunities to meet with teachers, see your daughters’ engaging in school and extra-curricular activities, and stay connected to the school through ZOOM and special posted videos. Details, along with a schedule of events will be sent to parents in the fall.
- Day Students will be returning to campus this fall following similar safety protocols as the boarding students including: daily temperature checks and wearing of masks. A confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test must be turned in to the infirmary upon arrival on Friday, September 11, 2020.
- On September 11, students should plan to arrive on campus by noon-report directly to the infirmary for testing and then depart from campus immediately. Once the result of the test has been received by the school we will notify families if your daughter may report for classes beginning on Monday, September 14, 2020.
(Day Students information continued)
- For the safety of all students, day students may not go in to the boarding students’ dormitory area at any time. Day students will have lockers and a designated lounge area in Wren’s Nest or Cardinal Cottage.
- Day students should plan to depart campus as soon as their afternoon activities are over. Exact departure times will be established with families once activities are finalized.
- Breakfast and Dinner will not be served to day students this year. Lunch will be served for the girls but they will have a designated dining area away from the boarding students with social distancing and safety guidelines being followed.
- If your daughter becomes sick, please DO NOT send her to school. She will need to have a doctor’s excuse to return to campus clearing her medically. If she becomes ill at school, she will be sent home immediately and will need a doctor’s excuse to return to campus.
Hybrid School Schedule:
In an effort to provide the best possible safe and academic supportive learning environment for our students, faculty, and staff, the school has adopted a daily school schedule that incorporates both in person and virtual classes and follows a schedule that will allow for fluidity of movement in a more managed and structured time frame for the entire school. During this time of unprecedented change, we must be creative, receptive, and understanding of plans for the safety and well-being of everyone.
2020 Grier School Daily Class Schedule**
8:00-8:42am Period 1
8:47-9:29am. Period 2
9:34-10:16am. Period 3
10:21-11:03am. Period 4
11:03-11:30am Extra Help
12-5pm Library Study Time
Noon-4pm Art & Music Classes/Lessons
1:00-5:00pm Sports (Dance, Riding, Yoga, Fitness, Archery, Walk/Run, etc.) ***
6:00-7:15pm Pre-Professional Dance
8:04-8:46pm. Period 5 (virtual)*
8:51-9:30pm. Period 6 (virtual)*
9:30-10:30pm Period 7 (Study Session)
10:00pm Room bell
*Periods 5 & 6 will be taught virtually to all students Sunday-Thursday evening (No Friday night class).
**All students will follow this schedule-both on campus and virtual classes. (Make sure to confirm class times associated with your specific time zone).
***For the safety of our students, the school will not be participating in the following varsity sports: volleyball, tennis, soccer, fencing or cross-country but we will offer recreational sport options.
Students planning on starting the fall semester online must notify the school of this decision by July 31, 2020.
Health and Wellness Concerns:
The school will follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleaning, sanitizing, and safe classroom protocol but of course, we all need to do our part during this health crisis including the following guidelines:
- Classroom desks and surfaces will be wiped down after each class (students and teachers will work together to accomplish this task).
- Masks will be worn in the hallways, during classes, and at all public and social settings at school.
- Classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized regularly. In order to keep surfaces safe, there will be minimal decorations on walls and in the hallways.
- Students not feeling well will be evaluated by the nurse and taken to the infirmary for determination as to the next level of treatment. This may include observation, a doctor’s appointment, staying in the infirmary until such time as the student is no longer ill, immediate COVID testing and/or being sent to UPMC hospital in Altoona. Parents will be notified when their daughter is ill. Based on the outcome of the evaluation, cleaning, sanitizing, and other notifications will be addressed immediately. The school has established a quarantine building if necessary.
- Faculty and Staff who are ill will not be at school. Faculty will conduct classes remotely during their time off and will remain at home until medically cleared to return to work.
- Faculty and staff will not be eating in the dining room with the boarding students. They will pack their lunches and eat in the classrooms or in a separate designated area.
- No Guarantee Provision “It is important that families understand that even with all of these precautions in place, as a result of being on campus, your child may be exposed to COVID-19 and contract the disease; your child may transmit the disease to others, including members of your household; and, as a result, your child and household members may experience COVID-19 symptoms and may require isolation, quarantine and hospitalization.”
While I realize this is a great deal of information to process, it is important to keep everyone updated in this new and challenging school year. The educator in me will continue to do her part to keep our dialogue open, straightforward, and informed. To that end, here is a list of items that must be addressed as soon as possible:
- Decide if your daughter will be participating in one of the Enrichment Programs-sign the attached permission form, return it to the school (along with the payment) by July 31, 2020.
- If your daughter is going to take online courses for the start of the school year, notify the school by July 31, 2020.
- Send travel plans, following the set arrival dates listed in this letter, to email@example.com as soon as the plans are finalized.
- Start the temperature screening for your daughter, two weeks prior to her set arrival date. (Use the attached document for recording the temperatures).
- Arrange for a COVID-19 test for your daughter to take 7-10 days prior to her arrival date.
Feel free to contact the school, or me, personally, at any time. We can do this together!
Gina Borst, M.Ed.
Head of School
REVISED 2020 School Calendar
Faculty/Staff In-Service: August 10-14, 2020
Enrichment Programs:ISOP-International Student Orientation Program.
Arrival Date: Saturday, August 15, 2020Princeton Review SAT Prep and College Application Program
Arrival Date: Friday, August 21, 2020Grier School Dance Orientation Program
Arrival Date: Monday, August 24, 2020.
Grier School Riding Orientation Program
Arrival Date: Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
- Sunday, September 6, 2020- Boarding Students in Grade 12.
- Tuesday, September 8, 2020-Boarding Students in Grade 11.
- Thursday, September 10, 2020-Boarding Students in Grade 10.
- Friday, September 11, 2020-All Day Students arrive on campus for testing.
- Saturday, September 12, 2020-Boarding Students in Grades 7, 8, 9.
End of Marking Period 1: October 23, 2020
Thanksgiving: Nov. 26 & 27, 2020(Thanksgiving Break has been revised allowing for students to remain on campus for Thanksgiving and ending the semester a week earlier. Please note the end of the semester date change) *
End of Marking Period 2: December 3, 2020
Review Days: December 4 & 5, 2020
Midterm Exams: December 6-9, 2020
Winter Break Departure: December 10, 2020
*Students insisting on going home for the Thanksgiving holiday will remain at home through the end of the first semester and participate in virtual classes, including mid-term exams.
The Second Semester Calendar and Travel Dates Will Be Sent to Parents by November 1, 2020.