December 11, 2020
Dear Darlington Community,
As we head towards another well-deserved break, I wanted to share some important information regarding our return to school in January. These decisions were made after significant deliberation as an administrative team, following recent statistics related to COVID-19, and reviewing the impact of COVID-19 on our school community this fall.
The goal in making these decisions is the health of our students and the consistency of our learning program.
1. We will test all faculty and staff and Upper School students.
At the end of holiday break (beginning on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2020) we will be administering a COVID-19 test to all Upper School students and all members of the faculty and staff. These tests will be administered off campus on Sunday, Jan. 3, and on campus Jan. 4 and 5. We are grateful for our partnership with Southeastern Pathology (the location of Sunday’s testing) and there will be no cost. Opportunities to sign up for times to test and paperwork that needs to be completed prior to testing will be shared with families on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. Please keep an eye out for this information.
Students and families may choose to test using their own resources as well. Please do not test prior to Jan. 3 or 72 hours prior to your return to campus. Those that opt to test on their own will need to provide a copy of negative test results prior to arriving on campus for boarding students or returning to class for day students and faculty/staff.
2. Classes will be virtual for all students (Pre-K to 12) on Tuesday and Wednesday.
To remain consistent with school policy, we will have two days of virtual learning to start the semester on Tuesday, Jan. 5, and Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. This will allow us time to receive test results and give families some clarity in planning for the holidays. All students, Pre-K through 12, will learn virtually these days.
School policies and protocols can be found here on the Community Wellness page of the website.
Thank you, in advance, for your support of this plan. It has been a great year thus far and we believe that creating a baseline of community health to start the semester is the right next step.
Brent Bell, Head of School
A group of students/faculty who are grouped together based on common age, grade level, and/or learning space proximity. We have designated overarching cohorts within the school. At the start of the school year, we will avoid mixing the three cohorts and will limit some interaction within the cohorts based on CDC guidelines and best practices.
Face coverings will be REQUIRED for all faculty, staff, and students in grades 3-12. Some exceptions will include recess, Physical Education, and sports. While we are not requiring students to wear face coverings in pre-K through second grade, we encourage parents to assist children in gaining comfort in wearing a face covering and should have one at school each day. Students may wear face coverings of their choice that are appropriate and not offensive. Face coverings may display the Darlington mascot/logo or a college mascot/logo. No other writing will be allowed on face coverings.
Daily Health Monitoring
All Pre-K to 12 students will have health checks, including temperature readings. In addition, faculty and staff will have health checks each morning prior to the students’ arrival. Parents will trust Darlington to adhere to our strategies and plans, and Darlington trusts that students and faculty will abide by the CDC’s regulations for staying home when sick and continuing learning through Darlington’s Hybrid Learning Platform. More details on daily health monitoring will follow prior to the start of school.
Flexible Learning Platform
While Darlington plans to resume on-campus learning for our students in August, our teachers are also preparing for hybrid classes. In short, the school is planning coursework from the beginning to accommodate students both on-campus and from a distance when circumstances dictate the situation. A new set of course standards and lesson templates have been created to provide a more consistent and productive learning environment for students, whether they are in the classroom or not. Please reach out directly to the division director if you anticipate starting the year with online learning.
We continue to work with Flik, Darlington’s food service provider, as we prepare for the upcoming school year. There will be several changes to the meal structure for the 2020-2021 school year. At the start of the year, all hot and cold meals will be pre-packaged for students and faculty. For students with dietary restrictions and/or allergies Flik Manager, Bret Clark, will be available to discuss individual meal plans this summer. Mr. Clark can be contacted at email@example.com
Water bottle filling stations have been installed throughout campus and all students are encouraged to bring their own water bottle to class. The traditional water fountains are disabled.
Community Wellness: Frequently Asked Questions
Community Wellness: Protocols and Procedures
Middle & Upper School Athletic Event Guidelines