Redwood Day’s Campus To Close on Tuesday, March 17

by John Loeser, Head of School and Galia Szurley, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Dear Redwood Day Community, 
Since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, our team at Redwood Day, including our newly formed Health, Safety and Infectious Disease Advisory Council, has been hard at work, thoughtfully planning for various scenarios. Throughout all of our decision-making, our ethical obligation to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty/staff, parents/guardians, and community members at large, has always been front and center. While the plans we communicated since the beginning of March were designed to maintain as much predictability and routine for our students as possible, it is now clear that our model of education must adjust, for the time being, to maximize social distancing and minimize the transmission of the virus.  
In consultation with the Advisory Council, the Board of Trustees and the administrative team have made the decision to close Redwood Day’s campus to students, beginning on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Starting on Thursday, March 19, 2020, our program will transition to a distance learning model at least through Friday, March 27, 2020. Prior to March 27th, we will assess the possibility of returning to campus and will communicate the next steps to you as soon as decisions are made.
It is important that you know that this is a proactive decision; Redwood Day does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community. We have been in consultation with the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), public health agencies, experts in infectious disease, and administrators at our sister independent schools throughout Oakland, the Bay Area, and the state - many of whom are taking the same course of action. Schools are taking this action based on the evidence before us that this is a critical moment in time when we can help curb the widespread transmission of the virus, protect our school and the larger community, and potentially save lives by doing so. 
At Redwood Day, faculty and staff have been actively planning for delivering our program online, and we are confident that we will continue to deliver on our mission. While we hope to reopen Redwood Day’s campus to students on Monday, March 30, 2020, there is no way for us to know if this will be possible. Therefore, we ask that you plan accordingly for the possibility that Redwood Day’s campus may be closed beyond March 30, 2020. The administrative team will be in regular communication with you throughout this time, as will your child’s core teachers, specialists, and advisors.  
We understand that school closure can be a significant burden on families. While we are unable to provide childcare at this time, should we stay closed beyond March 27th, we are assessing the feasibility and safety of providing supervised care for those who need it.
Thank you for your patience, partnership and support as we navigate this complex and challenging situation. While we will all be making large adjustments to our daily lives in the coming days, the solidarity of our community will continue to be a source of strength and inspiration for all of us. 
Take care, stay healthy, and reach out if you have any questions. 
John Loeser Galia Szurley
Head of SchoolChair of the Board of Trustees

What You Need to Know About the Next Few Days:

Monday, March 16: Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences Will Continue 
Parent-Student-Teacher conferences will continue as planned with some online and some in-person, depending on your arrangements with your child’s teacher or advisor. If your conference is scheduled for Monday, we highly encourage you to arrange with your teacher or advisor to hold the conference online. For families who come in person today, Lower School teachers will send home materials with you and your child in anticipation of online learning. Middle School students can pick up their materials from their lockers. On Monday, for any Lower School families who still need to pick up their child’s learning materials, teachers will have the materials lined up underneath the student cubbies in the hallways for you to quickly and easily pick up. If you do not have an in-person conference scheduled today (Friday), please do not come to campus to pick up materials; teachers will not be able to have them ready in time. If you are not able to pick up your child’s learning materials on Monday, please contact Jim or Johanna to make other arrangements. 
Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17 and 18: Faculty Preparation Days
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, March 17 and 18, will serve as faculty and staff preparation days for the transition to distance learning, enabling important time for teachers and administrators to collaborate with one another, refine their distance learning plans, and further practice using the various technology platforms necessary to deliver our curriculum. Please note that there will be no remote classes on Tuesday and Wednesday. During these two days, families should establish a workspace at home for their child(ren) so that they have a designated place to keep their school materials organized and complete their assignments. 
Thursday, March 19: Distance Learning Begins
We will begin our distance learning program on Thursday, March 19. Cheryl Ting, Assistant Head of School, and Jim Rendle and Johanna Aeschliman, Division Directors, will send an overview of specific guidelines and tools for students, parents, and guardians via email on Wednesday morning. While online learning will not look or feel the same as the classroom experience for our students (or teachers), it will ensure that students continue to meet learning objectives as well as provide a valuable opportunity for faculty and students to remain connected and have continued engagement. As we begin on Thursday, we appreciate your flexibility and patience as we all acclimate to this new learning environment. 
Our teachers will be using various learning management systems (LMS) to support the delivery of the curriculum. K-2 Core Teachers and LS Specialists will use SeeSaw, while 3-5 Teachers and some LS Specialists will use Google Classroom and the School Portal. Middle School Teachers will use Hapara and the School Portal to communicate and deliver programming. Lower School Core Teachers will communicate directly with their class families to share information about the daily class schedule for learning. This includes academic and specialist subjects. Jim Rendle will send out a communication to families regarding schedules for 6-8 students.
Kindergarten through second-grade classes will run from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 12:15-1:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Third through fifth-grade classes will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at approximately 1:30-2:00 p.m. Middle School students will follow a schedule that runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. All class schedules will have articulated learning blocks that will include online work via uploaded video lessons/messages from core and specialist teachers, academic work packets, activities, a morning break and a lunch period. Some teachers may schedule a time to connect with students via Zoom, during which students will log on for synchronous learning. However, we recognize that a fixed schedule may be challenging for some families, so these presentations will be recorded and uploaded for students to view at another time. If necessary, most of the lessons and learning can be completed independently at a time that aligns with your family’s schedule.
Tech Support During Distance Learning:
We understand that the transition to distance learning will have varying impacts on our families. As students will require access to a computer for part of their studies, we want to be sure that families have the necessary resources to support their child’s learning. If your family has particular needs, please contact Jim or Johanna, and they will connect you with a member of our Technology Team, iif appropriate.
Athletics and Community Events Cancelled Until Further Notice:
All community events and co-curricular programs including X-Care/Plus will be canceled or postponed until our return to campus. All athletics programming, including practices and games, will be suspended until we return to campus.
Social Distancing During Online-Learning:
We are transitioning to online learning to create physical distance in our community, in order to stop the spread of a virus. During this time, all students should practice social-distancing. Public health experts emphasize the need to avoid groups larger than three people (besides family) and to maintain six feet of distance between individuals. This means students should not meet or socialize in larger groups. We understand that some families may need to find ways to provide childcare coverage for their child(ren) and we ask that families adhere to the CDC’s recommendations for social distancing as much as possible.