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COVID-19 Winter Updates

Although the normal way of delivering our Montessori program has been impacted by the virus, our mission of supporting the development of the whole child has remained our driving purpose. Like all schools in the DC-metro area, Oneness-Family School has adjusted to the new realities presented to us by Covid-19. We deeply appreciate the efforts of our parents, teachers, and students, who have creatively navigated the difficult waters of in-person, hybrid, and distance learning throughout the pandemic. 

Our senior administrative team has been intensively focused on when and how to return to some form of in-person learning for grades 1-12. In addition to meeting with our Return to School Committee, our Board of Trustees, and our teachers, they have worked to evaluate staffing requirements, technology needs, necessary facility modifications, program planning, and other Covid-19-related safety protocols in order to meet this goal safely.

Our school's reopening decisions have been guided by the Covid-19 data both nationally and at the state and county level, and by the school regulations set by the Governor of Maryland, the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Department of Health, and Montgomery County. We’ve also been following updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The American Academy of Pediatrics, the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, and other national sources and studies, as well as having numerous conversations with other school heads. In addition, we monitor the case rate metrics for Montgomery County here daily to guide our reopening decisions. This guidance has informed our OFS COVID-19 Reopening Chart, which outlines the conditions for transitions between in-person, hybrid, and distance learning for grades 1-12. This chart also highlights the reopening differences for our Primary Program, which directly follows regulations from the Office of Child Care.

The Oneness-Family School Reopening Plan is based on the following principles:

  1. Preserving and protecting the health and safety of our children, families, and staff.
  2. Meeting the learning needs and interests of different student age groups.
  3. Monitoring and respecting the workload of our teaching staff.
  4. Understanding and supporting the needs and stressors of working parents and other family caregivers.
  5. Working within the capabilities and limitations of our facilities and campus – as well as surrounding community resources.
  6. Ensuring the financial sustainability of Oneness-Family School.

In consideration of the above principles and factors, we have developed a tailored approach that best supports the needs of students and parents at each level of our school program. As the safety, academic, and social/emotional needs at each class level are different, the programs and schedules at each level have different balances of in-person and distance learning.

Our Preschool through Kindergarten Programs will continue the year with redesigned in-person classes, following the protocols required by the Montgomery County Office of Childcare and implemented successfully at other preschools throughout the DC area. We are also offering a Distance Learning program for students at the Little Stars (ages 2-3) and Preschool-Kindergarten levels, for families who cannot attend in-person classes.

For our Lower and Upper Elementary Programs (Grades 1-5), we are currently offering a Distance Learning Program and will add a Hybrid Program option once we meet the conditions outlined in our Reopening Chart. The start-date for our Hybrid Program will be evaluated weekly, as our administrative team monitors the state of the pandemic. The Hybrid Program will include both in-person and online classes throughout the week, as well as a weekly outdoor meet-up. Students in the Hybrid Program will be placed in limited “pods” with their teacher. The Distance Learning Program will continue as in the fall, with only online classes and a regular weekly outdoor meet-up. Students will be able to join class lessons with a dedicated online teacher for our 1st through 3rd grades and small group lessons through Zoom in grades 4 through 8.

For our Middle School Program (Grades 6-8), we are currently offering a Distance Learning Program and will add a Hybrid Program option once we meet the conditions outlined in our Reopening Chart. The start-date for our Hybrid Program will be evaluated weekly, as our administrative team monitors the state of the pandemic. The Hybrid Program will include both in-person and online classes throughout the week, as well as a weekly outdoor meet-up. Students in the Hybrid Program will be placed in limited “pods” with their teacher. The Distance Learning Program will continue as in the fall, with only online classes and a regular weekly outdoor meet-up. 

We will re-evaluate our reopening decisions on a weekly basis, with the next formal evaluation scheduled for Friday, February 26. Additionally, as we move into the new year and the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve, we may have to adjust our plans based upon new data or requirements instituted by the state or county.

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