PDS Reopens

Here you will find the latest information and resources about Princeton Day School's reopening plans and progress for the 2020-21 school year. We encourage you to check this page often for updates in addition to our regular series of summer email communications for our PDS families.


July 20, 2020

To the Princeton Day School Community,

I am pleased to share with you additional information about the reopening of school in our promised July 20 document, Princeton Day School's Reopening Plan Update.

Additional perspective about our planning process and reopening considerations is included in this 5-minute video message here.

If you have questions or suggestions regarding the School's reopening plans and considerations, I encourage you to email us at PDSReopens@pds.org.

Please also continue to check our PDSReopens website landing page, which includes all of the information, resources and updates related to the reopening of School for the 2020-21 school year.

Finally, as mentioned in today's video, I look forward to continuing to provide additional updates to the PDS community each Monday as we approach the opening of school.

Sincerely,

Paul J. Stellato

Paul J. Stellato
Head of School


Reopening Plan

as of July 20, 2020

Two principles continue to guide our thinking and planning for the reopening of school: the health and safety of students and faculty; and the return of students and faculty to campus on September 9. While we understand that the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus may impact on-campus activities and instruction throughout the year, we will seek solutions that will afford our students and faculty a predictable, safe on-campus experience.

We are responding to every challenge with the flexibility and care that have distinguished our School, and we have focused our attention on both the safety of our community and the resumption of its hallmark: the academic program. We believe we are moving steadily towards realizing both.

June 29 - Initial reopening plan announced

July 20 - Reopening plan update

August 10 - Reopening final plan

September 9 - Classes begin


Decision Pathway

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Reopening Pathway Flowchart

Click image to view a larger and clearer version.


Meeting Students Where They Are

Excited as we are to resume teaching and learning on campus, we know that some students may choose not to return to school for a period of time or may exhibit symptoms of illness that require them to remain at home.

To meet all students where they are, we will offer a robust hybrid program for the entire year, affording students the options of being at school for in-class instruction or at home for remote instruction.

We look forward to supporting all of our students, both off campus and on, and we are committed to delivering the same rigorous, expansive program wherever students may choose to be.


New Schoolwide Procedures

In order to enhance the safety of students, faculty and staff, we will reduce group sizes and limit the number of contacts each student has while on campus. To do so, we will implement the following steps:

School Operations

  • All school field trips and travel will be suspended
  • Staggered schedule for drop-off and pick-up
  • Playground and other equipment will be disinfected between uses
  • Bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized between use as much as possible
  • Gym locker rooms will be closed
  • Parents, volunteers and visitors may be on campus by appointment only and will be required to wear masks
  • Outdoor space will be used to its full potential

Health Protocols

  • Masks will be worn by all students and faculty/staff
  • Maintain six feet of social distance in classrooms and throughout campus
  • Health screening protocols for students, faculty and staff before entering building
  • Mandatory safety training before school starts for all students, faculty and staff
  • Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning protocols
    • New electrostatic technology for sanitizing
    • Utilizing EPA registered cleaners
    • Enhanced quality assurance measures
    • New touchless hand sanitizers
    • Increased number of hand sanitizers
    • Additional cleaning staff

Food Services

  • Please view the summary of Flik procedures and protocols here

Health Check

  • We will check the temperature of every student and faculty member before they enter the building. We will utilize a mobile app and adopt a mandatory process whereby parents answer symptomrelated questions on a daily basis, prior to arriving on campus. Faculty and staff will also follow this protocol.Maintain six feet of social distance in classrooms and throughout campus
  • Responses to these questions will be shared with our health staff in real time in order for us to identify who has been cleared to enter our campus. Students, faculty and staff will need to be cleared before entering campus.

Illness Throughout the Day

Students experiencing symptoms will be separated from their class immediately. We have isolation rooms for all divisions. Parents will be contacted and must pick up their children immediately. A return-to- school protocol that clears a student from COVID-19 from their physician has been developed so that students can safely resume class on campus.

We are developing a COVID-19 Emergency Operations Policy that details our procedures for COVID-19 contact or exposure and are working directly with local and state officials. Our nurses have been specifically trained in contact tracing procedures to help authorities.
 


Life on Campus

Health screening icon

Health screening protocols for students, faculty and staff before entering building

 

Boxed Lunches Icon

Boxed lunches to be served in classrooms


 

 

Hand sanitizer icon

Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning processes and additional cleaning staff
 

Schedule Icon

Staggered drop-off and pick-up

No Visitors Icon

Parents and visitors will not be permitted in the buildings

 

Mandatory Masks Icon

The use of masks as mandated by health authorities

 

Athletics Icon

Athletic offerings will be determined based on on NJSIAA recommendations
 

Outdoor Spaces Icon

Outdoor space will be utilized to its full potential
 

Travel Restrictions Icon

Any student or employee returning to Princeton from a destination under a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice or under travel restrictions by state or local authorities, or with a household member who has returned from such a destination, will be required to say at home 14 days prior to arriving on campus. Our of an abundance of caution, we also request that all students and employees return to their homes at least ten days before the start of school or before they return for orientation.


Division-Specific Information and Guidelines

Lower School

  • The Lower School will be closed to visitors, including those faculty, staff, and students from outside the division
  • The Lower School will use a 5-day schedule
  • Students will remain in their classrooms with their teachers throughout the day
  • To minimize cross-contamination, specials teachers will travel to classes
  • Students may travel to the playground for recess and to the teaching garden
  • Outdoor space will be used to its full potential
  • The Lower School health office will be available to our students to minimize travel and outside contacts from other divisions
  • Lunch will be delivered to each classroom
  • FLIK will still provide individually wrapped snack items
  • Information about FLIK dining services can be found here


Middle School

  • The Middle School will be closed to visitors, including those faculty, staff and students from outside the division
  • The Middle School will continue to use its 7-day schedule
  • In order to ensure social distancing, some classes may be held in modular classrooms on campus or in open spaces such as the McAneny Theater, Middle School amphitheater, Lambert Family Library, or the Mathey Gymnasium
  • To promote the safest classroom environment, students will be seated at least 6 feet apart and plexiglass dividers will be used in all MS classrooms.
  • We are reviewing these venues for their alternate use: Smoyer and Baker Fields and the Princeton Day School Athletic Center
  • Outdoor space will be used to its full potential
  • FLIK will provide individually wrapped snack items for purchase
  • Students will eat in their classrooms or pre-determined outdoor spaces
  • Information about FLIK dining services can be found here


Upper School

  • The Upper School will be closed to visitors, including those faculty, staff, and students from outside the division
  • The Upper School will continue to use its 7-day schedule
  • In order to ensure social distancing, some classes may be held in modular classrooms on campus or in open spaces such as the McAneny Theater, Wilson Family Library, or the Upper Gymnasium
  • To promote the safest classroom environment, students will be seated at least 6 feet apart and plexiglass dividers will be used in all classrooms
  • We are reviewing these venues for their alternate use: Smoyer and Baker Fields and the Princeton Day School Athletic Center
  • Outdoor space will be used to its full potential
  • FLIK will provide individually wrapped snack items for purchase
  • Seniors will not be able to leave campus during free periods or during lunch
  • Students will eat in their classrooms or pre-determined outdoor spaces
  • Information about FLIK dining services can be found here

Overflow Rooms

As we strive to maintain six feet of distance between students in classrooms, we recognize that some classes, based on section size and enrollment, cannot accommodate all students in a single classroom. To allow students to remain on campus for the full day, we will utilize overflow rooms.

  • Use of overflow rooms will allow all students to attend class each day and keep the School from moving to an alternate-day-or-week schedule
  • Students in overflow classrooms will participate in classes in real time, via Zoom
  • We will use a rotating schedule, to ensure that each student’s assignment to an overflow room is minimized
  • Overflow rooms will always be supervised
  • Overflow rooms will not be used in the Lower School or in Grades Five and Six

Stay & Play, Homework Club, After-School Activities, Large Gatherings

  • The School will continue to offer Stay & Play and Homework Club; we are reviewing the status of all other after-school enrichment activities
  • Any activities requiring large-group gatherings, or during which participants are not able to properly practice social distancing, may be conducted by Zoom
     
PDS Reopens Athletics Image


Athletics and Physical Education

Middle School and Upper School Athletics

Committed as we are to providing a comprehensive athletic program in the Middle and Upper Schools, it is yet to be determined whether students will be allowed to participate in those programs. Although we will be attentive to guidelines put forward by the NJSIAA, we will act in ways consistent with our goal of keeping our students safe and healthy. By the time we report again on August 10, we will know more about the status of interscholastic athletic competition.


Physical Education

Physical Education will remain a feature of our core program, providing students with a structure in which to participate in regular exercise. As weather permits, we may also use outdoor spaces to conduct classes. We are exploring options that would allow students to partake in guided PE regardless of whether we are in a remote, hybrid or traditional environment.


Preparing Faculty

Faculty are dedicated to spending the summer in formal professional development to design and implement a flexible, adaptable and engaging curriculum that will inspire our students regardless of whether we meet in person or virtually.

We will establish a framework appropriate for Princeton Day School learners that:

  • identifies clear and focused learning objectives
  • standardizes delivery modules
  • utilizes accessible learning tools
  • builds faculty competencies
  • supports and develops student agency
  • acknowledges the age and capabilities of our students

In order to do this, we need to first look at the goals we want to accomplish and determine how best to meet those goals in a variety of learning settings. With thoughtful planning, we can face a hybridized 2020–21 not as a time of disruption but as a mission-driven and effective way of doing school—of delivering programs and student support at accustomed levels of quality and rigor.


Enhanced Technology

Princeton Day School is investing more than $1.2 million in enhanced technology infrastructure hardware and software to facilitate program delivery. High-quality audio, video, screen-sharing and whiteboard functions are equally accessible in the classroom and remotely through DTEN D7 videoconferencing. Remote students will be visible to their teachers and classmates, even as the classroom is visible to them. A simple interface and integrated design ensure that teachers can start their remote classes with literally one touch of the screen. The technology itself can then fade into the background while facilitating the best possible hybrid learning experience.

The School’s new DTEN D7 all-in-one video conferencing solution is custom engineered for use with Zoom and Zoom Rooms. PDS will utilize Zoom as our primary synchronous learning platform. Along with traditional video conferencing, Zoom allows for additional beneficial classroom features, such as breakout rooms for small groups, nonverbal communication, a collaborative whiteboard, and the ability for students to see all of their classmates at once, even on an iPad.

PDS will utilize Zoom Rooms, which integrate classroom hardware with the online Zoom environment to synchronize the experiences of on-campus and online learners. In the hybrid environment, this provides a simple way for teachers to ensure that all students are benefitting from the same high-quality synchronous learning opportunities


Digital Platforms

Google G Suite is the School’s cloud-based communication and collaboration platform. This includes our email system (Gmail), collaborative documents in Google Docs, and much more. These tools are fully accessible anytime from any location with internet access—on or off campus.

Schoology is our Learning Management System. Grades 3-12 use Schoology for classes, whether on or off campus. The platform provides an organized location for each day’s assignments, assessments, and communication, as well as serving as the digital hub for student life. Parents and guardians can also access class assignments and materials through their Schoology parent account.

Seesaw is the Learning Management System for our youngest students (PK-Grade 2). Through the Seesaw app, students can access their classes, submit work, and communicate with their teachers, whether on or off campus. Parents and guardians can also access class assignments and materials through their Seesaw parent account.

Veracross is our new Student Information System. Beginning in August 2020, students and faculty will access their class schedules and report cards through the Veracross Student and Faculty Portals. The Veracross Parent Portal will provide centralized access to student schedules and reports, school communications, calendars, and billing. Login instructions will be provided to families in July.

Zoom is our primary synchronous learning platform. Along with traditional video conferencing, Zoom allows for additional beneficial classroom features, such as breakout rooms for small groups, nonverbal communication, a whiteboard, and the ability for students to see all of their classmates at once, even on an iPad.


Questions?

We can’t wait to see you! We’ve really missed having everyone on campus and are looking forward to the start of the new school year. Please be sure to monitor school communications for updates and additional information.

If you have questions, please contact PDSreopens@pds.org.

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