Middle and Upper School Plans
Our classrooms and routines will be new and different; however, we remain committed to fostering strong relationships and providing a developmentally appropriately challenging and engaging curriculum that helps develop and nourish both the minds and hearts of all our learners.
Both our in-person and remote learning plans will continue to encourage independence and resiliency, while building self-advocacy, student voice, leadership, and problem-solving skills. Our teachers will continue to emphasize the importance of communication with families to ensure all students are supported and challenged in the ways that most appropriately inspire individual growth.
Middle School- Cohorts are defined by Homeroom classes (12-15 students per Homeroom). Students stay with their Homeroom cohort throughout the day for all academic, arts, and PE classes. During outdoor time/breaks/recess, students will be with the entire grade level. All academic classes will take place within the homeroom classroom or a designated outdoor space with one lead teacher and at times one assistant.
Upper School - Cohorts are defined by Grade Level. Academic class size will not exceed 15 students and desks will be spaced 4-6’ apart. Specific academic classroom use and recess areas are designated for each grade level; art space will be on a rotating basis.
All Middle and Upper School classrooms will be designed to accommodate students sitting in desks spaced 4-6’ apart and facing the same direction for whole group instruction.
We plan to take full advantage of our beautiful outdoor campus to provide a variety of safe outdoor options, including tents and shaded areas for classes to use for both instructional time and frequent physical movement breaks. Classes will stay within their cohort for instructional time and within grade level for recess/breaks.
- 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.
- Face shields may be worn in addition to a mask, but are not a substitute for masks. We require a two-ply mask. Please use a lanyard or other attachment for your child's mask so that during mask breaks it stays around his or her neck. Gaiters or buff-type masks are not allowed.
- If a person forgets a mask, please contact Laurie Potter for Pre-K-Grade 3 and for Grades 4-8 to Kym Schneider so that a mask can be brought to the student or adult while maintaining social distance.
- Designated mask break areas will be set up outside at all recess locations. Mask breaks may also happen in the classroom at the determination of the teacher, only when all students are seated at their desks spaced 6' apart and all students are silent. Adults may take mask breaks when alone in a room with the door closed or when outside more than 6' away from others.
- We recognize that wearing a mask might be difficult for some younger children. We suggest experimenting with different types of cloth face coverings and building your child’s stamina for wearing them throughout the remainder of the summer. Talking with your child about this school expectation ahead of time will help smooth the transition.
- Hands should be washed prior to putting on a mask, as well as after taking off a mask. Do not wear a previously worn mask—a clean mask, either disposable or washable, should be worn each day.
- If a student or Derby employee is unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, please provide written medical documentation to the school nurse regarding the health matter prior to the opening day of school.
Students and faculty will follow a regular schedule of hand washing or use of hand sanitizer throughout the day. Hand sanitizers will be available in every classroom and throughout buildings, and students and faculty will have access to hand washing as often as needed.
Changes to MS/US Programming &
the Campus Experience
Middle School PE
Our PE department is committed to providing a strong program that continues to focus on general and sport specific developmentally appropriate skill building and conforms with our health and safety measures. This includes physical distancing and the sanitation of individualized equipment both before and after use. PE can be done by grade level instead of HR as long as they're outside and masked. PE will be held outdoors whenever possible.
US Athletic Program
We will continue to offer an Upper School Athletics program that will conform with our health and safety measures. This includes physical distancing and the sanitation of individualized equipment both before and after use. Sports will be held outdoors whenever possible.
Dress Code Changes
Specific health guidelines around distancing will prevent the use of locker rooms this year, and as a result, we have relaxed our MS/US dress code and changed the specifications so that students are prepared each day for a combination of indoor and outdoor academic, arts and physical activity in PE and US Sports. Our guiding principles remain the same, as we strive to ensure that issues of fashion and equity do not interfere with student learning, and as such, clothing should be simple, neat, clean, comfortable, appropriately-sized, and allow for participation in the variety of activities each day.
MS/US Drop-off and Pick-up Procedures
The drop-off and pick-up procedures and schedule will be updated and revised to allow for easier access to grade level buildings.
- All adults must wear a mask during drop-off and pick-up procedures any time outside the car or when a car door or window is open.
- Family members will only be allowed out of their car to assist their child with entering or exiting their vehicle. Family members should stay in close vicinity of their cars during pick-up and drop-off times and are not allowed any other place on campus.
School life will be different this year, for both our returning and our new community members. To ensure ample opportunity for students to develop a shared understanding of and appreciation for the new health and safety protocols, as well as their new classroom spaces, teachers and grade level expectations, our first week back will be a balanced blend of academic introduction and general orientation activities. Our school counselor is developing positive language that all faculty, staff and students can use consistently across the school to help everyone internalize and respect the new routines and expectations.