Re-Opening Our Campus
Student Centered and Mission Focused
We remain committed to providing a safe, supportive, and engaging mission-driven experience for all our students this fall. With the health and safety of our community at the center of our re-opening plans, the uncertainties of this year will require us to be innovative, flexible, and responsive as we navigate the pandemic. While any plan will need to be broad in its scope, specific to the circumstances, and flexible in its deployment, our approach leverages our spacious campus, our high standards of health, and is reinforced by our teachers who remain committed to providing a supportive and safe learning environment for students.
This fall will be different from any other year. While it’s important to recognize that our plans will evolve over the coming weeks, our new guidelines and changes to programming reflect our commitment to safely welcoming students back to campus and starting the year together.
In creating this plan, several important concepts have directed our approach and informed our decisions. Paired with our school’s mission and core values, as well as the important feedback we’ve received from faculty and families, our plan is guided by:
Health-Protect the health and safety of Derby community members by managing and mitigating risk with implemented measures aligned with national, state, and local health and government officials.
Equity, access, and support- Remain committed to the inclusion, equity, and support of students’ physical and emotional health and wellness.
Academic excellence-Provide an engaging, mission-driven academic program that upholds Derby’s core values and motto: Improve Both Mind and Heart.
Responsiveness-Remain innovative and flexible in our teaching, learning, and our ability to navigate changing conditions during this pandemic.
Transparency- Continue clear and regular communication with all members of the Derby community.
Community Health & Safety Pledge
To help prevent the spread of illness, all members of the Derby Academy community have a shared responsibility that extends beyond our campus and into our homes. It’s crucial that we all remain committed to the guidelines in this re-opening plan and future communications to help keep students, faculty, and families safe. By enrolling your child at Derby, you agree to commit to doing your part to keep our community healthy and safe, whether on or off campus. This includes:
Following Federal, State, and Local Orders: All families are expected to adhere to the directives of applicable federal, state, and local government health departments regarding social distancing in public and other measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. That includes wearing a mask and maintaining at least six feet of space when in a public space.
Testing and Notification: If your child or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, Derby Academy requires all information regarding COVID-19 to be communicated to the school nurse as soon as possible.
Staying Home if You're Sick: If your child is sick or you suspect they may have COVID-19, you are expected to keep them home from school. Contact your primary care physician and the school to assist with contact tracing.
Staying Home if You've Been Exposed: If anyone in your household has been notified by the state or local health departments that they were in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, stay home. You may be asked to keep your child home from school for 14 days.
Not Traveling: Please avoid unnecessary travel. If anyone in your child’s household has traveled to a state or country currently under travel advisory, you must keep your child at home for 14 days. Your child will continue classes via remote learning.
Temperature Checking: Employees and students must monitor themselves for symptoms daily. Prior to coming into school every morning, every student and Derby employee will report any symptoms using an app through our health software provider, Magnus. Our expectation is that this app symptom check will be completed before 7:30am. Students and employees will not be allowed on campus until they have completed the health screening and are cleared to enter campus.
New Health and Safety
Measures Across Campus
Our new health protocols prioritize the health and safety of our community and will require a strong partnership between faculty, staff, and students to mitigate transmission and maintain a healthy environment. We will adhere to health and safety protocols in accordance with the (CDC) guidelines for physical distancing, face covering, hand-washing, and surface cleaning. Please refer to our health protocols for more detailed information, as well as safety measures specific to your division.
In order to protect our community to the largest extent possible, all students and Derby employees are required to wear a cloth face covering that covers the nose, mouth, and chin to help prevent the spread of droplet secretions to others. A two-ply mask (not the sun buff type) is required at all times when inside a building, while playing on the playground or a field, and whenever else they are or might be within 6’ of another student or adult. Mask breaks and designated break spaces will be built into class and recess time. Please read more about our mask policy and additional health standards within our Health Protocols.
New signage will be posted throughout campus and buildings to support foot traffic patterns in line with physical distancing. Specific entrances and exits will be designated for each homeroom/grade level to avoid use by multiple cohorts.
Lunch & Snacks
Boxed lunch (menu provided weekly with options pre-selected by families) will be provided by FLIK dining. Lunch can be eaten outdoors or in the classroom. If it's eaten inside, students are all seated 6' apart and do not talk while their masks are off. Windows are opened whenever possible. Individually packaged snacks will be provided by Derby to all students, eaten in the same arrangement described above.
Building Use & Visitor Policy
As of August 10, the campus will be limited to essential employees only. Non-faculty will have limited access beyond assigned office/work areas. Family members will not be allowed to enter buildings. Once school begins, pre-approved and scheduled visitors will complete a health screening prior to entering campus.
Drop-Off and Pick-Up
With staggered arrival times, social distancing restrictions, and changes in traffic flow, the drop-off and pick-up procedures will look different for each division. Additional information will be provided prior to the start of school.
While we will not be able to physically gather in large groups for our morning meetings, all-school assemblies, concerts, or productions, we look forward to working with our students and faculty to reimagine these events that serve both to strengthen and to celebrate our community.
The social and emotional health of our students remains a top priority during the uncertain times ahead of us. We remain committed to providing opportunities for students and teachers to have time and space to connect, to reflect, and to process their experiences. Students will have real-time access to teachers on campus with health and safety protocols in place to support the highest level of student-teacher engagement. Our school counselor is ready to support our students and families as we return to campus together, and she will be working closely with teachers to incorporate relevant lessons into our early days of Open Circle and Advisory.
- The Nurse's Office will be relocated to the Sylvester Building for the upcoming year. This will include setting aside a portion of the building to be used as a quarantine space. Ill students will be picked up at the outside of the Sylvester Building along the main driveway.
- The Lower School Library will be converted into classroom space for Kindergarten.
- The Innovation Center's Breakout Room will be converted into classroom space for the Middle/Upper School.
- Outdoor Learning Areas will be created to enable students and faculty to be outside during lessons.
- The Business and Development offices will be relocated to the lower level of the Language Arts Building.
- The Music Department will be centralized in the Roy Campus Center.
- The school counselor will be relocated to the Lower School.
- The Innovation Center's Project Room will be classroom space.
- Tutors will relocate from Sylvester Building to the Terry Library (in Sarah Derby Hall).
We recognize students’ need for consistent, caring, and well-trained teachers. While we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety and health of our faculty, we also understand there will be situations in which a teacher cannot join the classroom.
- We will use teachers and adults familiar to the students as substitute teachers whenever possible.
- We are currently developing a deep bench of well-trained and informed substitute teachers who are familiar with our systems and ready to step in at a moment’s notice when needed.
- All family communication should be directed via email to the child’s teacher by phone or email to Laurie Potter (PS/LS Assistant) or Kym Schneider (MS/US Assistant).
- Meetings between faculty members and family members will be done remotely.
- The school nurse is the primary contact at Derby Academy for questions pertaining to attendance at school.
- Please notify the school of any recent changes to your contact information (phone, email, address.)
Remote Learning Option
If, for any reason, your family decides that on-campus instruction is not a viable choice for your family, you may elect remote instruction for your child(ren) at designated re-entry dates this academic year.
Due to pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, we are aware that some of our students will need to learn from home. We will provide a remote learning model for those students during the 2020-21 school year. The option to rejoin live, in-person instruction will be offered on designated re-entry dates across the year.
Re-Entry Dates for Remote to In-Person Option
October 13, 2020
November 30, 2020
(Re-entry dates for 2021 will be announced)
- If on-campus instruction is not a viable choice for your family, you may elect remote instruction for your child(ren).
- Staffing and scheduling for this option depends on the number of families who select it. The schedule will be set by availability of Derby faculty.
- The remote option will include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities that cover all core academic subjects with optional specials.
- We have invested in new technology that will enhance our remote learning options.
- If you wish to change your status for our remote learning option, you must opt-in/out and inform the School by October 5. The change-over date is October 13.
- The ability to offer students a remote option concurrent with in-person instruction carries with it a significant increase in staffing expense. Therefore, there will not be a difference in tuition for families who select this option while on-campus learning is available.
Fully Remote Teaching and Learning
The decision to move to fully remote learning for all students will be weighed carefully on multiple factors, including community COVID-19 information, campus-driven COVID-19 issues, or any regulations from the state or local officials.
- While it's our goal to have all students on campus, we realize that due to the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, there could be interruptions to on-campus learning during the school year. We are prepared with contingency plans and our teachers are ready to pivot to our remote learning model should we be required to do so, either by a directive or an outbreak on campus.
- In the case of fully remote learning, instructional schedules and modes of delivery will vary by grade level and communicated to families ahead of time.
- We've learned a lot throughout our experience with remote learning this spring, and will incorporate visuals, materials sent home, and synchronous as well as asynchronous learning opportunities in each grade level.
- Moving forward, families will have the opportunity to share input on full remote learning based on their spring experiences, as well.
- A tuition-remission schedule will be made in the case of extended remote learning.
- What sources guide our re-opening plan and policies?
- When should I keep my child home from school?
- What is the protocol if a student or teacher develops COVID-19-like symptoms during the day?
- Is the school nurse’s office the same place other children with "routine" illnesses are sent?
- What if a student or staff member has a member of their household with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19?
- How will you notify those who may have been exposed to a staff member or student with COVID-19?
- Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
- How do you define "exposure" to someone?
- What about After School programming?
Interim Head of School, Tom Reid
Interim Head of PS/LS, Mary Beth Murphy
Head of MS/US, Kate Howell
CFO, Phil Cantillon
Communications, Connor Gleason
Nurse Maye Magner, RN
Trustee Curtis Cetrulo, MD ’85
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers resources about the Coronavirus including symptoms, commons questions, and steps to prevent illness.
NAIS resources and information on how to talk to children about news and traumatic events.
Open Circle’s How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus
Parent Resource from NASP: Talking to Children about COVID-19
American School Counselor Association’s Coronavirus Resources
ChildMind’s Talking to Kids About The Coronavirus