Opening 2020-21

OPENING 2020-21 INFORMATION

Frequently Asked Questions

ACADEMICS

A dedicated assemblage of faculty, students, health professionals, parents, and other volunteers have been mapping out what our Fall can look like.  We will publish updates and detailed protocols corresponding to all areas of school life here on our Opening 2020 web page.

Bi-weekly emails keep families and the community informed. Detailed information and protocols will be added to this page as needed.  Our communication team will produce and publish instructional videos demonstrating our new routines.

For now, all faculty will teach on campus.  Our sterling faculty is eager to engage fully with all students in as many ways as possible – within a safe and productive environment.

At the start, our faculty will not be simultaneously teaching live and broadcasting online.  Faculty will prepare a weekly overview “Keep Up Segment” that will feature a short video introduction describing the goals for the week, accompanied by readings, exercises and assignments, to empower a student who is not present, such as for medical reasons, in class to stay current.  

To provide flexibility for possible future developments, we have installed cutting-edge technology in all of our classrooms to provide quality instruction relatively seamlessly between campus and home. As our awesome faculty showed through the Spring, one-on-one relationships are who we are.  The transformative potential between teacher and student will continue to thrive, no matter the platform.

For the first three weeks, through Friday, September 4, we will alternate days, with Grades 6 through 8 on campus one day and then Grades 9 through 12 on campus the next day.  Each week that the students come to school twice, there will be an additional online lesson, resulting in three lessons total per week.

After we return from Labor Day, beginning Tuesday, September 8, our current plan is to bring all students to campus daily.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Each morning, in the comfort and safety of home, every student and faculty member will take and report their temperature and fill out a few CDC-derived questions in an app we will be licensing which comes with Bluetooth thermometers for individual homes.  If a person does not meet the minimum health requirements, they should stay home, consult a physician, and come back to campus only when our guidelines for returning have been met.

We are lowering the density of our campus life.  LTS comes into this effort with a low student-to-faculty ratio, so we had a head start.  We expect students and faculty to stay 6 feet from other people, where feasible, and not to gather in groups.  We have substantially modified spaces throughout campus; it has been a busy and noisy summer of construction at LTS! We have purchased 200 new individual desks so students will not share tables anymore.   

When we increase attendance to all of our students, the minimum distance may be 4 feet at some points in the day, such as in a corridor.  As explained by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “evidence suggests that spacing as close as 3 feet may approach the benefits of 6 feet of space, particularly if students are wearing face coverings and are asymptomatic.”

We will offer Covid-19 testing for anyone with symptoms.  We will also offer testing regularly for our faculty.  We have arranged with an independent lab to provide testing via a minimally invasive, self-administered nasal swab, which our nurse will observe.  Testing will be free for our faculty and supplied at cost to our students.  

Anyone with symptoms will be immediately isolated – with care and kindness – and moved from campus.  We will then take part in contact tracing procedures under the direction of the Vermont Health Department.

Everyone will be required to wear a cloth mask inside at all times, even when alone, except when eating or drinking.  This cloth mask must be form-fitting; no bandanas will be allowed. When outdoors, everyone will be expected to wear a cloth mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained.  We will let you know about special rules for sports.  While we will have limited visitors, we will expect them to wear masks at all times. 

We are lowering the density of our campus life.  LTS comes into this effort with a low student-to-faculty ratio, so we had a head start.  We expect students and faculty to stay six feet from other people, where feasible, and not gather in groups.  We have substantially modified spaces throughout a busy and noisy construction summer.  We have purchased 200 new individual desks so students will not share tables anymore.  

Practice social distancing as directed by public health officials. Engage in important practices that promote hygiene and help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people.
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 

It’s also important to exercise self-care. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, go for a run/walk outside, use online exercise resources, try to create a schedule, and find ways to connect with others (text, telephone, video calls, online chat groups, and blogs) while practicing social distancing

CAMPUS OPERATIONS

We want to assure that our students absorb our behavioral expectations before adding the complexity of busing.  On top of that, we coordinate routes with the BRSU, which has not announced their plans.  We do not have any firm answers yet on what is possible but ask that you develop a plan to get your child(ren) safely to and from campus at least until Labor Day.  We have as high a geographic dispersion as any school, drawing from approximately 40 different communities. We respect the distance our students travel.  We will do what we can to resume busing after Labor Day.  If you want to work through options, please contact Chelley Tifft who is eager to help. Of course, we will not charge bus fees for the time in which we cannot provide busing.  Busing will receive the same intense focus on safety and health protocols that our program already entails. This attention will assure that the same efforts are made to provide a safe and healthy environment to and from school as those we enlist during the day.

Were it not for this pandemic, we would be enjoying a surge of interest and success in athletics at LTS.  This path is captured by last year’s inauguration of the Fieldhouse.  We have appointed Mike Olson as our Athletics Director, engaged Kat Clemow as our full-time PE instructor, and asked Rene Navarette to lead our soccer program.  We are doing everything we can to offer interscholastic sports in the Fall.  You will receive an announcement separately about our soccer conditioning camp (to which all LTS students are warmly invited) at the end of this month.  However, it will be up to the Vermont Principals Association to determine if our soccer, golf and cross-country teams will have competitions.  We will share updated information from the VPA as quickly as possible.  If we cannot compete with other schools, we will create a strong intramural program.

With regrets, we cannot provide food service at the start of the year.  We have a plan for students eligible for free or reduced lunch and will reach out to those families.  We will encourage everybody to eat outdoors for as long as the weather allows, then we will move lunch to eating at desks in the classroom.

Campus buildings are currently closed to all students, employees, alumni, and visitors, except for those employees whose jobs require them to be on campus. Buildings will remain closed to students, alumni, and visitors until further notice and there will be no access to indoor spaces or facilitated campus tours. Many outdoor spaces, including our newly resurfaced tennis courts, remain open for personal recreational use. The community is welcome to enjoy them while observing proper social distancing protocols.

FOR OTHER QUESTIONS, CONTACT:

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Long Trail School

Dorset, Vermont

Long Trail School

Dorset, Vermont