What Will Private Schools in SC Look Like this Fall? Four Local Schools Give Us Their Answers.

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We know that in the Kidding Around community that there is a lot of discussion right now about what school might look like this fall. For many of our families, the thought that school might not meet in-person this year is not just disappointing but a major difficulty to overcome. Many of our families are concerned about childcare, lack of in-person teaching, and worries about health concerns.

As we have talked with our private school partners, we have learned that private schools have a variety of plans this fall. Some plan to meet five days a week regardless of the public school decision. Others have already announced health precautions and protocols.

To help you as you consider your options for the fall, we have surveyed our private school partners. As the situation is fluid, some of our schools are still working on their policies. We will do our best to update this article as information changes.

Graphic with calendar and pencils and text

What Rules/Mandates Do Public Schools Need to Follow?

Are there standards or guidelines relating to COVID-19 from SC DHEC, the CDC, or the SC Department of Education that private schools are mandated to follow or fulfill? If so, what are they?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
One of the many benefits of being an independent school is the ability to set protocols and policies fitting the needs of the individuals within our community. This is paramount to sustaining on-campus instruction.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA follows the SC DHEC standards and guidelines for COVID-19. They are as follows:

*Practice social distancing (6 feet apart)
*If you are sick, stay home
*Watch for symptoms of a dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea
*Frequently wash hands
*Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow
*Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
*Wear a cloth mask in public (optional)

Five Oaks Academy:
At this time, the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, has met with the head of the South Carolina Independent Association (SCISA), and is committed to allowing private educational institutions to make their own decisions regarding policy and procedures for next year.  As a small private school, we are able to make policies and procedures that are best practices for our community.

SCISA and the CDC will continue to guide Five Oaks Academy on best practices for safety. The smaller number of students and the lack of large communal areas on the Five Oaks Academy campus lends many benefits and gives us the ability to minimize student co-mingling and the potential for exposure.

Are there non-mandatory standards or guidelines relating to COVID-19 from SC DHEC,  the CDC, or the SC Department of Education that your school plans to follow voluntarily? If so, what are they?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
CCES will follow the non-mandatory CDC guidelines and guidance from local health experts regarding the use of masks (when physical distancing is not possible and during transitions), expanded schedules for cleaning and disinfecting, more frequent handwashing, hand sanitizers placed strategically throughout campus, and increased frequency in monitoring and servicing of air filtration systems. School community members will be asked to self-screen prior to accessing campus and will receive health screening testing upon arrival, including daily temperature checks. Additionally, the school plans to hire an additional Registered Nurse to augment our medical team.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:

*The 2020-2021 school year will not be one of sharing!  There will be no community supply buckets (such as markers or crayons).

*A temperature check will occur for faculty, staff and students as they enter the building each day.

*Water fountains will be covered throughout all buildings.

*Students will need to bring a personal water bottle, Camelback or other container marked clearly with their name.

*Students will be prompted to wash hands throughout the day.

*Cloth face masks may be worn (optional in the classroom, but recommended).

*Students who are tardy will be required to check in at the office.

*In addition to the above, FPA will be staffed with two Registered Nurses.  One to cover the Preschool/Elementary side of campus and one to take care of students on the Middle and High School campus.

Five Oaks Academy:
We have a plan that includes new protocol, procedures, and policy that will be put in place for Phase One (Aug. 10- Sept. 25) of reopening in the Fall. Phase One will have stricter protocols as we plan for higher COVID numbers in our area.  
 
All FOA employees will be tested prior to the start of school and will adhere to all quarantine policies and requirements for re-entry to campus.

Parents are asked to monitor their child daily for symptoms of COVID. Parents must take their child’s temperature and review the COVID checklist prior to leaving their house in the mornings. Any student with a fever of 100.4 (or 2 degrees over their normal temp) will not be allowed to enter the FOA campus.

Upon entering the school daily, students will have their temperature taken. Any community member with fever 100.4 (or 2 degrees over your normal temp) will not be allowed to enter the FOA campus.

Students will sanitize their hands prior to entering the classroom. Students will be prompted to sanitize their hands regularly throughout the day.

Students will use sanitation mats to clean the bottom of their shoes prior to entering the classroom.

Visitors on the Five Oaks campus will be limited during Phase One. Upon arrival, visitors will have their temperature checked and complete an FOA COVID checklist to determine the probability of COVID. Visitors will be required to wear a mask and wear shoe coverings.

A New Attendance Policy will give allowance for students who must quarantine for 14 days due to testing positive for COVID-19, displaying of COVID-19 symptoms, and/or living in the house with a person who tests positive, so as to receive credit for school days if At-Home Learning lessons are completed.

What are the circumstances where private schools would have to move to a totally e-learning environment? Will that only happen if the governor closes all schools?

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
While FPA will take into account any mandate coming from the governor, the school will follow the guidelines of the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) with regard to closing.

Five Oaks Academy:
Five Oaks Academy will only close and go to full-time e-learning if the Governor of South Carolina and/or the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) with whom we are accredited mandates closure.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
In the case of high-volume or extreme local virus spread or a state mandate, CCES will pivot to a fully remote model for all or some of our students. We hope not to need to make such an adjustment; however, we must plan for all possibilities. 

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We have developed our own three phase model for operation during the 2020-2021 school year. It is color coded starting with “green” which indicates it is safe for all students and staff to be on campus. If conditions worsen, we move to yellow which keeps preschool and elementary school on campus with an A/B schedule for Middle and High School. If conditions continue to worsen, we move to orange which would be fully virtual for Middle and High School with Preschool and Elementary school remaining on campus in a cohort model, following appropriate health guidelines. 

We will open on August 13th on whichever phase we believe is most appropriate given the current conditions. If the governor closes public schools we may choose to remain open.  

Are you planning to open “no matter what” on a regular schedule? 

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
Yes. At this time, FPA plans to open for the school year on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. We will follow the guidelines of SCISA, CDC, and DHEC as we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year.

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We are planning to be open on campus, starting on August 13th. In each of our three phases of response  to COVID-19, students toddler through 5th grade will remain on campus for instruction throughout the school year. 

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Barring circumstances beyond our control, we intend to run 5 day a week, in-person school, according to the previously published academic calendar dates for the start and end of school. Essential to this vision is the deep value we at CCES place on being members of a caring and respectful community that partners together to overcome obstacles that would prevent us from being on campus. We are looking closely at a variety of factors that potentially impact health and safety in the on-campus instructional environment. Consideration of, and decision-making around, these factors will be largely based on the developmental needs of students within each division. 

Five Oaks Academy:
Yes, it has been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children have access to in-person learning.

“The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” according to the guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics. These coordinated interventions intend “to mitigate, not eliminate, risk” of SARS-CoV-2.

“COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry” stresses the fundamental role of schools in providing academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, nutrition, physical activity, and mental health therapy.”

FOA will be offering additional emotional support for our students through our partnership with Vive Greenville (formerly known as Synergy Psych.) Our Vive partners will be holding in-class conversations as well as one-on-one meetings to help our students navigate their feelings and concerns about COVID.

The smaller number of students and the lack of large communal areas on the Five Oaks Academy campus lends many benefits and gives us the ability to minimize student co-mingling and limit the potential for exposure.

What Precautions and Changes Are Private Schools Making?

Is your school limiting class size next year?

Five Oaks Academy:
We will utilize our outdoor classrooms for lessons, lunch, and related arts as much as possible to minimize contact.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Our small class sizes are already conducive to appropriately carry out physical distancing while maintaining the integrity of our academic programming. 

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
In a normal year, our class sizes are small to begin with. Especially at the youngest ages, our class sizes will be very small. As students get older the class sizes get larger but we are being intentional to maintain the smallest possible class size utilizing our largest rooms.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
Due to our small class sizes, FPA is in a good position.  We are not at the mercy of classes housing 20 – 30 students.  FPA will not need to make changes or limitations in their class sizes.  A normal size class is between 14 and 16 students.  This truly is one of our hallmarks.

Will you have a mask policy for students and if so, what will it be?

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
Cloth face covers, which are more comfortable and easy to acquire or make, may be worn.  FPA strongly urges faculty, staff and students to wear masks during transition times of the day – arrival, departure, class changes and bathroom breaks.  Once in the classroom the use of face covers is optional.

Five Oaks Academy:
Teachers will wear masks at pick-up and drop-off times.

Five Oaks Academy will provide a specially-designed mask with an FOA logo for every student. Students will be asked to wear masks upon arrival on campus and they will continue to wear their masks while indoors. Mask time will not exceed 1 hour as teachers make plans for outdoor learning where wearing masks is not required. Outdoor classrooms and outdoor activities will not require a mask. Increased outdoor classrooms will provide alternatives to all-day indoor instruction. Pre-Primary students will not be required to wear masks. All visitors will be required to wear masks.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Faculty, staff, and students will be required to wear masks during all transitions: drop-off, pickup, bathroom breaks, and when moving throughout halls or the campus. In class, when teachers can exercise and enforce physical distancing, students and staff are not required to wear their mask. Our summer camps have been following these same guidelines and the first two weeks have gone very well with students and faculty reporting that our current policies regarding mask usage when physical distancing can’t be enforced and during transitions has been well received. 

Will students at your school have recess? Will recess have new policies?

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We will have recess. We are continuing to develop appropriate guidelines for the health of all our students.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
Yes.  Preschool and Elementary classes will have regular recess.  Teachers will be trained on how to instruct the students in safe play and social distancing.  Playground equipment will be wiped down with BioTab7, a medical grade disinfectant as needed.  

Five Oaks Academy:
YES! Recess is a valuable time for students to exercise and socialize. Being in open outside areas has been deemed low risk by the CDC and DHEC. We will stagger recess times so there is only one class at a time in one outside area. Students will wash their hands before recess and before returning to the classroom.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Recess and movement breaks will be built in throughout the day to maintain overall wellness. While we are still working out the details, we remain comfortable and confident, as well as hopeful, that we’ll be able to employ the fewest limitations we can to ensure safety in the community. 

Will students have opportunities to play and socialize with each other? What will those look like?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Social interaction and play with peers are central to any learning experience, so we remain committed to offering opportunities for students to interact with each other while maintaining a safe environment for all constituents. 

Five Oaks Academy:
Yes! We already had many outdoor learning environments and have added four additional ones to allow as much time outside as possible. Socialization is a very important part of the social and emotional welfare of our students.

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
Because relationships are at the center of learning at every level we are working to define appropriate ways for students to regularly, meaningfully engage with their peers, teachers, and friends. We intend to use a cohort model in elementary school that will facilitate social interaction while following appropriate health guidelines.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
Lunch and breaks (for older students) are the most social times of the school day. To accommodate appropriate social distancing during lunch, additional lunch shifts, eating in classrooms, or eating at outside tables may be added to the daily schedule.  Students will rotate where they will sit between outside tables, classrooms or cafeterias.

*Student seating will be staggered to eliminate direct contact during lunch.
*Lunchroom workers will be wearing gloves to serve pre-packaged food to students.
*Cloth face covers will be worn by employees who are working in the lunchrooms.
*The staff will wipe down lunchroom tables between each lunch shift.
*At this time, parents will NOT be allowed to eat lunch with their students.
*Hand sanitizer will be made available in the lunchrooms.

Classroom parties will look different as well.

*At this time, classroom parties will be limited to the teacher and students.
*At this time, refreshments for the parties will be limited to commercially made foods that are commercially packaged.
*At this time, parents may drop off prepackaged treats for birthday celebrations in the office.  Students will share the treat(s) during snack time.   

Will your school still be offering band, drama, choir? If so, what will these activities look like?

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We plan to offer a full arts lineup during the 2020-2021 school year. We are repurposing some of our larger spaces to accommodate band, choir, orchestra, and handbells in a socially distanced setting. 

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA offers instruction in Drama and Choir.  Both classes will meet in larger spaces to accommodate social distancing.  Drama will focus on productions with smaller casts. All performances will be delayed until spring or will be recorded for live streaming to audiences to view at home.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Yes. The Arts department is committed to providing our students with the tools and experiences to continue to cultivate our community of voices, instruments, performers, and creators. Informed by recommendations and guidelines from national associations, the faculty are working to create safe spaces and procedures. Performances will look different, but they will continue to showcase the great talent that lives among our student body. 

Will your school have any precautions for P.E. or sports?

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
As part of the SCHSL, we will follow all league guidelines pertaining to varsity sports.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA will follow the guidelines of SCISA with regard to P.E. and sports.  P.E. classes will focus on no contact sports/exercises for at least the first part of the school year.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
We are awaiting guidance from the South Carolina High School League regarding formal competition during the upcoming school year. Although we do not know precisely what P.E. will look like, we will continue to incorporate movement and physical activity as part of our students’ experiences. 

Five Oaks Academy:
During Phase One,we will not be doing contact sports or games. We will continue our outdoor enrichment activities.

What special cleaning protocols does your school have for next year?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
We have increased the frequency of cleaning on all campus spaces as well as increased frequency in monitoring and servicing of air filtration systems. 

Five Oaks Academy:
We have new sanitation and cleaning procedures, protocols, and checklists that will be used throughout the day. In addition, we have increased school-wide cleanings. We have a new UV light air filtration system as well.

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We have outlined additional cleaning needs both during and after the school day. We are increasing our cleaning supplies, staff, and frequency of cleanings in the school building. 

The cleaning supplies  we use are hospital grade for disinfecting and yet safe around children. 

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
*Desks will be cleaned as needed between classes in the Upper School with BioTab 7, a medical grade disinfectant.
*Desks and tables will be cleaned as needed throughout the day in the Lower School and Preschool with BioTab 7, a medical grade disinfectant.
*Hand sanitizer will be available throughout all buildings.
*Students will need to have a small bottle of fragrance free hand sanitizer.  All spaces within the building will be cleaned every evening to prepare for the next day.
*After the school day has concluded, each area will be cleaned with BioTab 7, a medical grade disinfectant. 

Is there anything else that your school is doing next year in response to COVID-19?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Please find our Campus Reopening Plan in its entirety, here.

Five Oaks Academy:
We will be offering additional emotional support for our students through our partnership with Vive Greenville (formerly known as Synergy Psych.)

Each classroom has a shaded outdoor classroom right outside the door to allow for socially distanced lunches and lessons.  We have added four additional outdoor learning classrooms to hold related arts and science classes in support of our STEAM-Accredited program.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:

*Students will receive standard classroom instruction.

*Seating in the classroom will accommodate social distancing requirements. Maintaining the six-foot minimum social distancing guidelines within a given classroom is difficult, if not impossible throughout the day. When feasible, FPA faculty and staff will implement social distancing and will use the other layers of protection practices in order to reduce contamination risks. Our small class size is also a plus when practicing social distancing.

*Movement in the hallways will be conducted in a typical traffic pattern of walking on the right.

*Desks will be cleaned as needed between classes in the Upper School with BioTab 7, a medical grade disinfectant.

*Desks and tables will be cleaned as needed throughout the day in the Lower School and Preschool with BioTab 7, a medical grade disinfectant.

*Hand sanitizer will be available throughout all buildings.

*Students will need to have a small bottle of fragrance free hand sanitizer.

*Parents will need to drop students off at carline. Students cannot be walked into the building. Students in the Lower School will be greeted at the door. The greeter will make sure your student gets to their classroom.

*In the Preschool, students will be greeted at the door and escorted to their classrooms.

What is your school plan for handling COVID-19 cases within your school or student body next year?

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA will follow the guidelines and mandates of SC DHEC.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
If we are notified that a student or faculty member in any division has Covid-19, we will assess the circumstances, create a health and safety plan as advised by our medical advisor, and administer internal contact tracing measures in a manner consistent with the treatment of any and all community members.

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
Our safety policy regarding COVID-19 response is outlined on our website. We have established a separate sick bay for staff and students that attend campus and start exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. This enclosed area will be monitored by nursing staff until the individual can be picked up.

We have also established screening protocols that each staff member and student will need to complete before the start of each school day.

Five Oaks Academy:
A positive COVID test will require a student and all siblings in a family to quarantine for 14-days. Students may return to school after 14 days if no symptoms or fever are present, and the parent must provide a doctor’s note clearing the family. Any student or employee living in the house with a person who tests positive (or physician says is probable COVID), must self-quarantine for 14 days. Any FOA student required to quarantine will receive two weeks of At-Home Learning provided by his/her teachers.

If there is a suspected and/or confirmed COVID case, parents will be notified in a timely manner via email. Five Oaks Academy will follow HIPAA laws to protect the privacy of all community members and will not release the names of anyone who tests positive for COVID.

How are you preparing to handle kids with different medical needs who are in the at-risk for covid group? What about teachers who are older and more at risk health-wise?

Five Oaks Academy:
FOA will provide high-risk students with an at-home learning plan and schedule at the parents request.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
The health, safety, and well-being of all members of the CCES community are central to our planning. We will consider a full range of options to ensure that community members can remain active and involved. Given the individual nature of each circumstance, we will craft our responses on a case-by-case basis. 

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
At the end of the 19/20 school year, under Superintendent Spearman’s guidance, our Student Success Services team began serving students on campus, following all health guidelines.  

Our Student Success Services has plans in place to serve students with various learning and medical  needs, on campus and virtually,  in any response to the pandemic.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
*FPA will offer Homebound Instruction for students with compromised immune systems who cannot be in classroom settings for an extended period of time. Students will be able to “Zoom” into their classroom(s), to participate in the learning. A doctor’s note will be required to participate in Homebound Instruction. This is for long-term situations. Assignments will be posted on Renweb and Google Classroom. Regular tuition will be charged throughout the
“Homebound” period. Also, students who are receiving “Homebound Instruction” may not participate in sports or extracurricular activities.

If Greenville County Schools move to a schedule where students are at home for part of the week and in school part of the week, does your school plan to follow that schedule?

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
No.  FPA does not plan to follow this plan.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
We are looking closely at a variety of factors that potentially impact health and safety in the on-campus instructional environment and will make decisions around those factors alone.

Five Oaks Academy:
The major concerns in the public school systems regarding increased chances of exposure in large communal areas such as cafeterias, enclosed hallways, and buses do not apply to Five Oaks Academy. Therefore, Five Oaks Academy will not follow Greenville County School District’s decision regarding policy and procedures for the 2020-2021 school year.

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We did follow GCS in moving to virtual learning last March. However, as a private school we have the flexibility to pivot more quickly than a larger school system. We will take all guidance from state and local educational authorities in consideration but will not automatically respond with the same protocols GCS does. We have outlined our own plans for hybrid (A/B schedule) and remote learning that we will implement according to our published health and safety policies. 

If Greenville County Schools move to 100% e-learning, will your school follow?

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
No. FPA will not base any decisions made by the Greenville County School system.  We will follow the guidelines of SCISA.

Five Oaks Academy:
The major concerns in the public school systems regarding increased chances of exposure in large communal areas such as cafeterias, enclosed hallways, and buses do not apply to Five Oaks Academy. Therefore, Five Oaks Academy will not follow Greenville County School District’s decision regarding policy and procedures for the 2020-2021 school year.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Our decisions will not be based on that of Greenville County Schools, rather, on recommendations by the CDC, state and local governments, health and safety experts from within our community, and our independent school networks. We have flexibility, to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these recommendations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the CCES community. 

What factors, if any, would cause your school to move to 100% e-learning?

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA would move to 100% e-learning if instructed to do so by SCISA (South Carolina Independent School Association).

Five Oaks Academy:
We will follow the DHEC percentage recommendation to determine if there is an outbreak in a classroom. If there is a COVID outbreak in a classroom, we will have to move to e-learning during the 14-day quartenteen quarantine period. Due to our ability to keep our classrooms separate and avoid commingling between classrooms, we will close by classroom if needed.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Should the government issue a mandate to close, we will pivot to a Hybrid Learning Platform or a Full Digital Learning Experience. It is also possible that, short of a government mandate to close, we would similarly pivot, if, after considering guidance from the CDC, state and local governments, health and safety experts from within our community, and our independent school networks, we decided that such a change would be in the interest of the health and safety of our community.

If your school moved to 100% e-learning, what would it look like?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Our Hybrid Learning Platform and Full Digital Learning Experience can be outlined here

Five Oaks Academy:
We have students 2-years-old – 8th grade, so our plans vary by age group. Each program level has an age-appropriate plan for At-Home Learning.

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We are spending our summer implementing a new campus wide software that will allow us to serve students and parents remotely. It is a one-login system for all things school related – classes, assignments, student life, athletics, fine arts, communications, and more. Additionally our teachers have already invested significant professional development hours learning how to better provide true instruction remotely.

Our virtual learning in the 2020-2021 school year will involve regularly scheduled classes with live instruction and specific login times for students. Additionally we will offer the possibility of small group special needs and helps classes on campus, to help each student progress in their learning.

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:

Elementary-High School
If the school (K5-12th Grade) is placed in quarantine, students will be attending school through distance learning.  The most common platforms across the school will be Google Classroom and Renweb for K5-12th Grade.  This will provide a common place to post assignments and various directions needed to complete classwork.  Teachers will also employ the use of other platforms to deliver face-to-face instruction.  Some of these include but not restricted to Zoom, Loom, Facebook, See Saw, YouTube, etc.  Student assessment will be based on participation, completion of assignments, and accuracy of responses.  Instruction will continue as planned, and new content will be taught.  

Preschool
If the school is placed in quarantine the Preschool will remain open for instruction.  Standard instruction will occur following the regular school schedule.  If parents do not feel comfortable sending their student(s) to school, they can withdraw them without any financial penalty. (This does not include enrollment or applications fees).  If a withdrawal occurs, the student’s roster spot within a given class can be filled by someone on the wait list.

What did your school offer in the spring during the shut-down that you are proud of? What did you learn in the spring from the shut-down that you are implementing in the coming year?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Despite the need to move swiftly to a distance-learning model this spring, our faculty and staff did a wonderful job of shifting gears to deliver substantive learning and community experiences for our students. We found that many of the instructional tools and strategies developed and used in the spring add depth and breadth to the student experience and will continue to be utilized in the coming year. 

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We recognized the important value relationships play in the learning process which has informed all of our planning for the 2020-2021 school year. In any learning environment, relationships will be at the core of our educational delivery. 

While some students thrive in a remote learning environment, some students learn best in a classroom. We are working to provide the right learning environment for each student and family. 

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA continued to meet the needs of its students in all grades during the shut-down. The school kept to the standards of regular instruction and did not go into a review mode.

Preschool and Lower School teachers worked diligently to put together packets of materials that students needed at home to carry on with their lessons.  Multiple packet collection days were held where parents drove through carline and packets were delivered to their car using sterile gloves and safe distances.  

Teachers also prepared lessons to teach new concepts and used a variety of platforms to deliver these lessons into the homes of their students.  These platforms included: Zoom, Loom, classroom Facebook pages, dojo, Google classroom and YouTube.

The doors to the school remained open so teachers could record lessons or have face time with their classes in a familiar space!

Teachers communicated every day through these various platforms to answer questions and  generally encourage students and families during a difficult and isolating time.  They also used email and sent postcards and letters so that children could enjoy getting pieces of mail!  Related Arts teachers also sent out activities to help keep children engaged in Music, Visual Arts and Physical Education.

Not only did learning continue (forward learning, not just a review of what had been taught), the RELATIONSHIPS of teachers with their students continued.  Often, teachers would arrange a Zoom time just to bring classes together to play games or share a laugh together!  Times like these really lifted up the students.

Daily communication between teachers and FPA families was key for staying on track throughout the e-learning period.

If the school closes because of another outbreak and parents don’t want to do e-learning, will you refund the rest of the tuition?

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
Ultimately, it is our goal to provide a learning experience that our parents are very satisfied with.  Our mission is to partner with Christian parents in the education of their child(ren) and we will work with each parent on an individualized basis to reach a financial resolution.

Many parents need to work and need their kids to attend schools. What would you say to those parents who are considering moving their kids to private schools in order to ensure they are in a classroom? Would you tell them that their children will be in school no matter what happens?

Five Oaks Academy:
We are looking for families who are dedicated to the Montessori philosophy and program. Our admissions process prioritizes families who make the commitment to our multi-year curriculum.

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
With clear processes and careful planning, we’re committed unequivocally to beginning and sustaining on campus, full-day, in-person instruction for all divisions as planned for the 2020-21 school year. 

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
Our mission is to partner with Christian parents for an excellent, biblical education. Our hope is to provide this experience on campus for all students as much as possible.  Even in most restrictive pandemic responses, it is our goal to have preschool and elementary school on campus with Middle and High school in remote learning where necessary.

The AccelerateED Task Force warned that public schools are facing a potential staff shortage in the fall? Does your school anticipate having a staff shortage?

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
We do not. 

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA is not anticipating a shortage of staff.

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
We currently have all positions filled for the 20/21 school year.

Five Oaks Academy:
No. We have and will continue to cross-train teachers to be prepared for anyone who has to be quarantined for 14 days.

If you could tell parents considering private schools this fall, one thing about your school what would it be?

Southside Christian School, Denny Vauters, Executive Director of Advancement:
Our mission is to partner with Christian parents for an excellent, biblical education. Our hope is to provide this experience on campus for all students as much as possible.  Even in most restrictive pandemic responses, it is our goal to have preschool and elementary school on campus with Middle and High school in remote learning where necessary.

Five Oaks Academy:
We are committed to the safety of our community and feel we can mitigate the risk of exposure due to our environment. The partnership with our families in following the new policies and procedures is an essential element in the success of in-person learning. We feel in-person learning is important for the social and emotional well-being of our students. 

Christ Church Episcopal School, Jamie Bryant, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
While the year ahead holds many unknowns, CCES is well-prepared for all possibilities. While some circumstances could arise beyond our control during the year, our plan provides for maximum flexibility and maximum time safely on campus this year. We have the utmost confidence in our faculty and staff, our students, our parents, and our entire community, and we will work together as Cavaliers and move forward with our signature diligence, resilience, and grace. 

First Presbyterian Academy, Patti Wilusz, Communications Director:
FPA is a family and when you enroll your child, you become a part of that family.

Regardless of face-to-face classroom instruction, or a distance learning situation, each student is seen as an individual.  Learning will continue, standards will be kept and constant communication will be maintained.

Our world changed, but our school did not.  Teachers continued to teach and students continued to learn.  Our school community came together, which meant we could weather the storm even when we were apart!

Our School Partners

Thank you to the following schools for sharing with us their answers to help us learn more about what private schools will look like this fall.

Christ Church Episcopal School 

CCES is an independent day school serving approximately 1,100 students in grades K5-12 in Greenville, South Carolina. 

Website

Southside Christian School

Southside Christian School partners with parents to provide an excellent, biblical education for students 12 months – 12th grade. Transformational learning anchored in Christ.

Website

Five Oaks Academy

Five Oaks Academy is accredited by the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) and is the only Montessori school in the area that offers a cohesive program from toddler through eighth grade. The sprawling 11- acre campus allows for many of the lessons, related arts, and lunch to be enjoyed in outdoor classrooms, amphitheater, pergolas, nature trail, and eco lab by the river.

Website

First Presbyterian Academy

First Presbyterian Academy (FPA) has two campuses with our Downtown location offering a K2-K6 program and our Shannon Forest Campus offering a K3-12th Grade program. We are a Christian community dedicated to providing a premier college preparatory education, grounded in a Biblical worldview, which develops character in students from varied backgrounds for a lifetime of learning and service.

Website

About the Author
Bethany Winston is the owner and editor-in-chief of Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys exploring parks, discovering local events, and meeting the people who make Greenville an amazing place to live. You can contact her directly at [email protected]

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