Flexible K - 12 Fall Reopening Plan

St. Andrew's is committed to providing a high-quality and innovative academic program that will fully engage and support all our students. Please use this page as your resource for up to date information about our Flexible K-12 Reopening Plan.
St. Andrew's will be in Home Learning through September 25th.  Beginning September 28th, we will begin a phased approach to on campus learning, beginning with our Lower School the week of September 28, followed by the Middle School October 5 and Upper School on October 13.

Guiding Principles for Reopening

  • Ensure safe learning and working environments for students and faculty/staff
  • Provide a robust education for students and maintain Home Learning (remote) as an option at all times, particularly for families who have health risks or other complicating factors
  • Ensure all students have access to technology, social and emotional wellness and mental health support
  • Provide training, time, support and flexibility necessary for faculty and staff to prepare for a successful reopening and to improve all aspects of Home Learning
  • Provide proactive, clear communication to all families and faculty/staff

Path to Reopening: SAS Learning Models

To provide the highest quality academic experience, with the goal of returning to campus as quickly and safely as possible, three Learning Models were developed to support our students and teachers during this COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Home Learning Model: 100% online synchronous/asynchronous teaching and learning
  • On Campus Hybrid/Pod Learning Model: return to campus for synchronous/asynchronous in-person teaching and learning in small learning groups ("pods") with a modified schedule
  • 100% On-Campus/Normal Model: full schedule with safety provisions, face-to-face teaching and learning in normal class groupings, reintegration of extracurriculuars and athletics with safety modifications if needed/required

Health and Safety Plan

Intentional Instruction - Academic Plans

List of 5 items.

  • Teaching and Learning - Operational Approach and Objectives

     Academic Support |  Wellness | Connection
    Consistent with our mission, our goal is to provide high quality learning opportunities while minimizing health risks due to COVID-19.
    1. Safety - Limit the potential risks of COVID-19 community transmission while increasing the ability to contact trace. 
    2. Relationships - Provide pathways for social connections, peer relationships, rally points, and constructive routines.
    3. High Quality Academic Engagement and Progress- Facilitate synchronous and asynchronous learning for students whether at home or on campus.
    4. Strategic Flexibility - Seamless toggling back and forth between home learning and transitional hybrid learning experiences.
    5. Equity - Accommodate students, faculty, staff that need to stay home.
  • 2020 - 2021 Academic Year Return Stages

    St. Andrew’s will begin the 2020-2021 school year with Home Learning.  The second phase of opening will be the On-Campus/Hybrid Pod Learning Model, which will gradually bring back all students to campus for in-person learning. 

    Division-level schedules for Home Learning and On-Campus/Hybrid Pod Learning Model will be available soon.

    St. Andrew’s faculty spent the summer participating in significant professional development and training around online/remote learning and hybrid learning to provide the best educational program to our students during the Home Learning and Hybrid phases. 

    Home Learning
    • Synchronous Lessons and Small Group Support
    • Asynchronous Lessons and Activities
    • Synchronous community-building experiences: Chapel, Advisory, Morning Meeting, 1:1 Student-Teacher Meetings, Wednesday community experiences
    • Parent Support Meetings
    On-Campus/Hybrid Pod Learning Model
    • Face to Face Community Building Experiences in Controlled Learning Pods. Morning Meetings, Advisory, Chapel, Recess, Lunch Breaks
    • 1:1 and Small Group Pedagogical Support for Students while Learning
    • Flexibility and Equity for Students and Families
    • Ability to Seamlessly Toggle as Local and Regional Health Contexts Change
    • Strict Safety Measures, Environmental Services and Staggering to Protect Students
    On-Campus/Normal Learning Model with Provisions (Modified Full Schedule)
    • Larger face-to-face gatherings
    • Return to Regular Schedules, Class Groupings and Movement between Classes
    • Safety Modifications per the Local and Regional Health Context
    • Return of Full Auxiliary Programming and Athletics (with safety provisions, in line with community spread and local health mandates)
  • St. Andrew's Three Learning Models

    Home Learning Model
    Home Learning, St. Andrew’s remote learning model, is 100% online and provides primarily synchronous teaching and learning with asynchronous learning opportunities during the day.  While we had to quickly transition in March from a normal classroom environment to Home Learning, K-12 faculty spent significant time this summer participating in summer professional development work to improve online teaching and learning, including ample time for grade-level coordination and planning.  In addition, parent and student feedback helped inform ways to improve the student experience.

    Home Learning improvements include more one-on-one time between the student and teacher to enhance the academic experience, support student interest and engagement, instituting student interest-based afternoon electives, implementing better-constructed community time, providing ample parent support, creating meaningful student-life activities, providing clear expectations, and investing in more project-based learning opportunities to reduce screen time and independent growth and development.

    On Campus Hybrid/Pod Learning Model
    The Hybrid/Pod Model offers low teacher/student ratio academic instruction and learning, socialization, peer-to-peer engagement, student/teacher engagement, and minimal disruptions. It addresses the social and emotional connection of in-person instruction, facilitating, guidance, and peer interaction, plus being in a school space that is conducive to school work.
     
    Students will be assigned to Learning Pods, which are small groups (7-10) of students paired with one Teacher or Learning Facilitator (acting also as a guide/adviser/mentor) for in-person learning and home learning support. This approach is personal, durable, supportive, scalable, and safe.  In the Middle and Upper Schools, those learning pods will replicate the already existing Advisory System.
     
    The learning pods will be self-contained. This model allows for students and teachers to return to campus at various capacities without difficulty and to practice the habits and rituals of attending school and socially distancing.

    Students will have daily core academic programming offered synchronously and asynchronously, SEL and DEIB lessons, Chapel devotionals, recess (for lower grades), and lunch via the Pod Learning Model.

    When it is safe to transition from Home Learning to on-campus learning, the Hybrid/Pod Learning Model will be St. Andrew’s next step. 

    Logistics for On-Campus Hybrid/Learning Pod Model 

    DROP OFF AND DISMISSAL:  Drop-off and pick-up times will likely be staggered to help limit student foot and parent vehicular traffic. Additionally, using multiple entry and exit doors would keep learning pods separate.

    OUTSIDE SPACES:  St. Andrew’s is blessed with ample outdoor spaces on both campuses.  These spaces will be used more frequently (weather permitting) and scheduled similar to classroom spaces in order to limit conflict and exposure between Learning Pods.

    BEYOND THE CLASSROOM (31st Street): BTC may be offered for students during on-campus learning days. Aftercare would be available in mixed groupings outside if appropriate, similar to the planning and safety measures put forth by athletics and fine arts rehearsals. Additionally, strategic rostering of learning pods could limit the number of pods mixing after the conclusion of the shortened day program.

    BUSING: We believe we have enough buses and drivers to accommodate appropriate social distancing on the buses for our 31st Street and Southwest Parkway routes

    On Campus/Normal Learning Model with Provisions
    On Campus/Normal Learning Model will look more like a normal school day. With a modified full schedule, classroom groupings and homerooms will return to their usual sizes with full time synchronous face-to-face instruction.  While there will likely be limitations on large group gatherings (like full Upper School Chapel services or assemblies) we anticipate a reintegration of athletics and P.E. on a limited basis. 

    As always, the School will continually assess and evaluate safety protocols as recommended by CDC, Austin-Travis County Local Health Authority, and the TEA.

    Learning Model Concepts and Definitions:
    Synchronous - teaching and learning where the students and teachers are together (in-person or online) at the same time
    Example 1: “Normal” school - teachers and students on campus with teacher delivering a lesson
    Example 2: Home Learning - teacher delivers lesson via Zoom live session to students

    Asynchronous - teaching and learning does not happen at the same time, whereby teachers create the lessons using multimedia tools and students engage in learning independently
    Example 1: “Normal” school - where a teacher assigns an instructional video that teaches graphing of line, the students watch the video and complete 5 questions to practice the lesson, and the following day in school, the teacher meets with the students who need extra help
    Example 2: Home Learning - where a teacher assigns an instructional video that teaches graphing of line, the students watch the video and complete 5 questions to practice the lesson, and the following day, the teacher identifies which students to have a Zoom meeting with to provide extra help

    Learning Facilitator (Guide) - Similar to the MS and US Advisory, Learning Pods are facilitated by an SAS qualified teacher who is committed to 10 or less students. This teacher would be in communication with other subject specific teachers regarding lesson planning, discussing student progress and needs, and guiding students through the asynchronous process of learning. 
  • Scalable Return to Campus

    Our goal, once on-campus, is to stay open. We know that:
    • In order to operationalize our learning program in this pandemic we must spend the first few weeks of on-campus learning helping students and faculty get acclimated to an environment where students must stay six feet apart, wash hands frequently, refrain from touching their faces or each other, may not remove their face masks except for eating or readjusting, and remain in designated learning pods for the duration of the day. Everything will look and feel different from a normal school day.
    • To learn effectively we must normalize these routines and health protocols for our students. We believe a slower, scalable approach will result in a quicker path to proper teaching and learning as quickly as possible, with minimal resets. In our Middle and Upper grades, we anticipate this transition happening more quickly. Our hope is to familiarize our students with these new routines and be on-campus as quickly and safely as possible.
    • In caring for our faculty, too, this slower approach will help support their transition into new routines and structures and will mitigate risks
  • Critical Role of Our Families

    Thank you to our parents who provided important feedback during this critical time, and to our Task Forces for working hard this summer to address the ever-evolving nature of this pandemic and its impact on our educational programming and planning.

    Families will play a critical role in keeping our students safe.  The first safety measure is to keep a child at home if they are sick.  We will do everything we can to support any child that must quarantine or remain home for an extended period of time, and Home Learning exists to support those students if an on-campus experience is not possible.

    We will continue to solicit your feedback and encourage you to reach out to Sean Murphy, Head of School (smurphy@sasaustin.org), or any of our three Division Heads: Kama Bruce, Lower School Head (kabruce@sasaustin.org), Alice Nezzer, Middle School Head (anezzer@sasaustin.org), Ben Courchesne, Upper School Head (bcourchesne@sasaustin.org) or our Director of Health Services Amanda Boardman (aboardman@sasaustin.org) if you have further questions, concerns or input.

    Our Health and Wellness Team is fully prepared to serve your children.  Our Division-level counselors, Social and Emotional Learning Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Team, school nurses and chaplains stand ready to assist in any way that is needed.  Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Health and Safety Protocols and Policies

List of 5 items.

  • Caring for Our Community

    St. Andrew’s is blessed with a tight-knit community, and we will all need each other’s help and support to keep our students, faculty and families safe.  We will be working closely with our students, particularly in the younger grades, to ensure that they have adequate training and reinforcement of our safety protocols while on campus. We know this is new territory for everyone, and we are embracing the opportunity to teach our students how to care for themselves and for their fellow classmates.
    As we work to create a safe and healthy learning environment on campus, the effectiveness of our efforts also depends heavily on our families and students to continue to take precautions when not at school. We expect our students and families to wear face masks when in public and at social gatherings where physical distancing is not possible, to avoid large social gatherings, to avoid unnecessary travel, and, if engaging in higher exposure activities, to monitor household members for illness and practice self-quarantining when advised. 
     
    Just as there is no single control strategy that is effective in and of itself, there is no single entity that is solely responsible for keeping everyone safe. Successfully reopening schools will require continual collaboration between administrators, staff, and teachers and ongoing cooperation among teachers, students and parents. Everyone has a critical role to play.
  • Updated Health Policies

    Updated Health Policies
     
    Daily Health Screenings 
    Prior to arriving at campus each day, families will need to utilize the online form through the SAS website to answer questions regarding symptoms, temperature and any possible exposure to Covid-19. This can be done anytime in the morning before arriving at school, and parents/students will need to show the completion screen from their mobile device before entering campus. 
     
    Staying home when sick 
    Students with any illness or even mild symptoms should not come to campus. This is particularly true for COVID-19, as the data suggests that children who are infected may have very mild symptoms. Key symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath, headache, chills, elevated temperature, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of smell or taste and nausea/vomiting. Families will call in their sick children’s absence to the attendance office. Families’ adherence to this sick policy is a critical aspect of keeping our community healthy.
     
    Returning to Campus
    Students who have experienced a non-COVID-19 illness can return to School after their symptoms have resolved and they have been fever free without medication for at least 72 hours. Families of sick students should call the Nurses office (512-299-9892) the day before their intention to return to school to confirm their readiness. 
     
    Notifying the School of COVID-19 events
    Please notify the Director of Health Services as soon as possible for any of the following COVID events in your household: 
    • a student or a household member has been diagnosed with COVID-19 
    • a student or household member has been identified as a COVID-19 contact (by the State Health Department)
    • a student has been tested for COVID-19 
     
    Families can complete Family Health Reporting Form located on the schools website. The information provided will help the School to respond appropriately to notify others if they have been exposed, initiate facility cleaning, if needed, and monitor the health of the community. 
     
    Students who have an active COVID-19 infection should follow Department of Health guidelines for self-quarantining. Students with a household member with an active COVID-19 infection will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Students who have been tested for COVID-19, but who have not received their test results will also be asked to remain off campus until the result of their test is obtained. Accommodations will be made to support instruction from home in all three situations. 
     
    We encourage only the affected person or family members to notify the school. If you become aware of a COVID event affecting a member of the SAS community, please encourage them to notify the school, but do NOT make a report directly. In the interest of privacy, St. Andrew’s will not publicly share information identifying the affected household. St. Andrew’s will, however, collaborate with the Department of Health in promoting contact tracing and advising other students or families who may need to self-quarantine as part of that process.
     
    What will happen if my child is in a class with a person infected with COVID-19?
    Two types of communication will take place when there is a case of Covid-19 on campus. First will be a communication to anyone who is considered a close contact of the individual who is infected which will indicate when they were last in contact with that person, and steps that they should take which may include quarantining, getting tested, and monitoring for symptoms. A second communication will be sent to all who are a part of the division in which the person with Covid-19 is a part of and what steps are being taken by the school to continue to mitigate risk. If you receive only the communication regarding a case in your child’s division, that means you child was not identified as a close contact.
     
    The following agencies, authorities and constituencies are helping guide us in our decision-making processes:
  • On Campus Health and Safety Investments and Protocols

    • Face Coverings: Face masks required at all time while on campus, unless in an office space with a closed door alone.  The school will provide faculty/staff with face shields and will provide all students with two reusable face masks.  Additional masks will be available on campus for any student who arrives without one.
    • Health Screening: A pre-campus screening form must be completed for all students and faculty (symptoms and temperature) prior to arriving on campus.  Baseline testing will also be provided regularly to all faculty and staff
    • Enhanced Cleaning/Disinfection Schedule: Increased cleaning of high touch surfaces as well as overnight deep cleaning 
    • Plexi Glass Shielding: Plexi-glass shields are being installed in areas where students and/or faculty and staff may populate.
    • Social Distancing:  Movement on campus will be controlled and directed to reduce the risk of mixing students. Social distancing will be enforced in classrooms, hallways, bathrooms and community spaces when students are on campus.  Signage will installed campus wide to help promote and remind students about social distancing. 
    • Learning Pods and decreased mingling of students: Academic schedules and classroom has been designed to keep students in smaller, consistent learning pods (groups) to prevent potential cross-contamination and community spread. This reduces the risk of viral transmission and allows for discreet cohorts to quarantine in the event of infection without requiring that the entire campus close and transition to Home Learning.
    • SAGE Food Service: SAGE will continue to provide both lunch and snack services for all students as division specific schedules allow. All items will be single use, disposable and individually packaged. Lunch will be provided in a “grab and go” style meals. Students will eat with only their Pod during the On-Campus/Hybrid Learning Pod stage, and each pod will have a separate designated area outdoors for lunch. If the weather does not allow, students will eat in their classrooms.
    • Hygiene: Students and faculty will follow a regular schedule of handwashing and/or use of hand sanitizer throughout the day. Single use/disposable and individualized items will be provided whenever possible and hand sanitizer stations have been conveniently positioned across both campuses.
    • Updated sick policy and enforcement: Our sick policy for students and employees has been enhanced and strictly enforced to minimize the number of sick people on campus, as well as to allow continuity of learning from home for mildly ill or asymptomatic students. 
    • Quarantine and Contact Tracing: If a student or employee has COVID-19, our Director of Health Services will follow the Austin-Travis County Health Authority guidelines for contact tracing and enforcing quarantine measures of those infected and their contacts.  Home Learning will be available for students to support continuity of learning from home during periods of quarantine.
    • Adults on Campus: Limited visitors or volunteers will be allowed on campus initially (screening  will be required); there will be minimal staff on campus to keep our number of adults on campus as low as possible
    • Safe Classroom Practices: Teaching methods will be adjusted to minimize shared equipment or learning materials between students while on campus. A supply kit for each classroom will include disposable gloves, paper towels, and a spray bottle of disinfecting cleaner and extra surgical masks. Every classroom will also have a dispenser of sanitizer. Students will be provided with training on effective hand washing and hand sanitizer use. Hand washing will occur at the beginning, throughout, and at the end of the school day, including before and after lunch. Effective hand washing and use of hand sanitizer and will be supported and encouraged throughout the day. Faculty will wipe down surfaces and equipment throughout the day as needed.
    • Health and Well Being: Pedagogy and classroom practices will provide greater attention to student mental health and well-being to build resilience and cope with the stress or anxiety students may feel in the context of this pandemic.
    • Playground and Outdoor Space: During our initial return to campus, all playground equipment will be closed off for students. Each pod will have a designated space and time for recess and breaks. While play structures will be off-limits, alternative activities that encourage active play will be provided. In addition, students will be asked to wear PPE while outdoors. In addition to recess, multiple outdoor classrooms and trails for use at any time during the school day are being identified. These are designated spaces where teachers can take their students to explore, learn, experiment or experience a change of scenery. 
    • Field Trips, Events, & Group Gatherings: Based on guidance from local and state health authorities banning large gatherings, all large group gatherings (including chapel services) will be held virtually or postponed until further notice.
    • Travel Policy: St. Andrew’s recommends no air travel 14 days prior to on-campus learning and limited contact outside of direct family members to limit potential COVID-19 exposures.
     
  • Facilities and Staffing Upgrades

    St. Andrew’s Facilities and Health and Wellness teams have spent the summer procuring new technology and upgrades to our campuses to help with risk mitigation:
    • Isolation room on each campus - designated sick and well room for students.
    • Increase of one full-time nurse to two full-time nurses covering both campuses
    • Water bottle refill stations are replacing all water fountains.
    • Increased custodial staff with designated zones of cleaning throughout the day, including overnight deep cleaning.
    • Improved filtration within our HVAC systems
    • Backpack cleaning sprayers and static cleaning foggers
     
  • Risk Mitigation Color Coding

    Level of Alert
    General Conditions
    Learning Model
    Green (low)
    • Infections remain low in Austin
    • No known cases currently at school
    • Families, faculty and staff closely adhering to safety protocols
     
    • Both campuses open
    • All students on campus
    • Open Monday-Friday
    • Extracurricular/Athletics available
     
    Yellow (moderate)
    • Infections low but starting to increase in Austin
    • Possible cases in school community
    • Families, faculty and staff not adhering as closely to safety protocols
    • On-Campus/Normal Learning with Provisions Model
    • Campus is open
    • All students on campus
    • Open Monday-Friday
    • Elevated safety measures and PPE
    • Reduction of  Learning Pod mixing
    Orange (heightened)
     
    • New infections increasing in Austin
    • Several possible cases in the school community
    • Families, faculty and staff struggling to adhere to safety protocols
    • On-Campus/Hybrid Learning Pod Model: blend of on-campus / online learning
    • Students remain in Learning Pods (no mixing)
    Red (high)
    • Poorly controlled community transmission
    • Multiple new infections in school community
    • Local or state mandates (stay-at-home-orders or school closures)
    • Home Learning 100%