August 14, 2020
Dear UA Family,
I want to thank you for your patience and understanding during these first three weeks of remote learning. All things considered during this challenging time, the school year is off to a great start! Based on comments I am hearing from parents and students, our teachers are embracing technology and delivering top quality instruction and academic support. Teachers have eagerly accepted the challenge of learning new technology. I am grateful they are adapting to a new mode of primary instruction. They are working very hard to serve our students.
UPDATE: THE NEW HYBRID PLAN
A great deal of planning has gone into preparing for reopening in-person school. The administration has focused on the following in developing its plan:
- Protecting and providing for the health and safety of students and staff.
- Maintaining mask wearing of everyone and proper social distancing and minimizing the movement of students while they are on campus.
- Creating a reservoir of trained substitute teachers should a teacher need to teach remotely when their students choose to be on campus.
- Developing a plan to teach students effectively both remotely as well as in person on campus. We are asking teachers to learn a hybrid model at the same time they are still beginning to master technology for remote instruction. This is a tremendous challenge and the primary reason we continue to make changes to the hybrid plan.
I am pleased to share that, after a series of collaborative meetings this week with our teachers, there is a consensus on how to teach students upon our return to in-person learning. While we still have to refine parts of the plan, teachers are supportive about the hybrid model for each division.
That said, our hybrid learning plan has changed significantly in each division since we shared our thinking in the Return-to-Campus Guide (July 31). Please see the link at the bottom of this letter that provides an overview of the new plan as well as calendars for LS/MS and HS. The following key points are important to note:
- Students in each division will be on campus in the mornings only, ending their time at school by noon. No lunch will be provided. This noon dismissal will be consistent across all divisions; we hope this helps parents with transportation. The remainder of daily instruction will be fully remote.
- Creative core classes will only be taught remotely in the LS (K-4) and MS (5-8). This will limit student movement around campus and help with staffing support for the academic core classes.
- The A/B Weekly Rotation in the LS (K-4) and MS (5-8) will not change; what will change is the noon dismissal every day for all grades K - 8.
- The A.M./P.M. original model for the high school is no longer the plan. The new plan has HS students attending in-person instruction two days per week, from 8 a.m. – 12 noon. The Blue Group will attend Monday and Tuesday. The Red Group will attend Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is fully remote for all students in the high school. The previously announced A.M. Group is now the Blue Group. The previously announced P.M. Group is the Red Group.
- We will disseminate an updated academic calendar that reflects the A/B weekly rotation (for grades K-8) as well as the Blue/Red Group rotation in the high school. The link is located at the bottom of this letter and will be posted on the Academic pages on the website.
Revised Date for Reopening School according to the HYBRID PLAN
There are many sources and factors that UA examines to determine when to reopen its campus for students on the HYBRID PLAN. These fall into three areas:
- The presence of Covid-19 in the local community. We continue to secure expert advice and counsel from national, state and local officials, and follow key Covid-19 metrics in North Carolina and Union County.
- An internal campus readiness assessment to reopen UA safely to students.
- An internal readiness assessment on UA’s ability for its teachers to deliver instruction superior to what we are now delivering in the remote plan.
While we will be ready this month to reopen our campus safely for students (we are already open for faculty and staff), we believe our teachers will benefit from more time to prepare to teach students successfully using the HYBRID model.
Most importantly, the Covid-19 metrics we follow – especially the positivity rate in Union County – are too high for us to be comfortable bringing children back to campus. Therefore, the Board of Directors and administrative team have decided to postpone the reopening of live instruction on our campus until Tuesday, September 8. We will be ready to welcome students back to campus on this date, while we also continue to monitor key metrics and maintain contact with state and local health officials.
We understand that change is difficult on families and appreciate your patience, compassion, and understanding during these unprecedented times. The Return-to-Campus Guide has been updated to reflect these changes to the HYBRID PLAN.
John D. Marshall
Head of School
Return-to-Campus Guide (updated August 14)
Complete the request below if you are requesting a change in the Plan B model. If you are satisfied with your current assignment, please DO NOT complete the survey. Completing the request form does not guarantee your change will be approved.
Hybrid Plan Change Request (deadline Aug. 19)
Included in the link below:
- Calendars for LS, MS, and HS
- Updated Hybrid Plan which begins September 8