Throughout the spring and summer, a dedicated group of Darlington faculty has been hard at work developing plans and strategies for the opening of school on Monday, Aug. 17. Guided by the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, the Georgia Department of Health, and the Georgia Department of Education, Darlington is continuing to refine a plan of action that is feasible, practical, and tailored to the needs of our unique community. Darlington’s plan for returning to school is possible because our community of trust allows us to put in place expectations of our students, families, and faculty designed to mitigate the risk of the spread of Covid-19. Darlington will be sending a parent survey later today to help us with our planning processes. Thank you in advance for completing the survey and reading this communication in its entirety.
Our plan is designed to be in line with our values as a community:
There is continuity of the Core Mission of the school.
The health and safety of our community is of primary importance.
There is special protection for those in the community who are at risk.
We are guided by the premise “what is in the best interest of the student."
The Health of the Community committee will continue to provide updates on their planning process throughout the summer. Planning for the fall is a complex process. The committee will continue to weigh the needs of the students with the latest information from our governing agencies and make modifications to our plans. Please visit our website for the latest updates and information. The committee has identified the following as essential for the success of on-campus learning to occur in the fall.
When you are sick, stay home. 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 you are sick and continue learning through our Hybrid Learning Platform. For more information about the CDC guidelines click here.
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette. The Upper School Director, Deans, Counselors, Classroom Teachers, Coaches and Program Leaders will work with our students to ensure that there is ample time, facilities, opportunities, and training to help students meet the expectations of healthy habits. Please click here for more information from the CDC.
Cleaning. Advanced Facilities Services will spend additional time each school day, evening, and weekend ensuring that high touch and high contact areas are cleaned regularly. Likely outcomes of this may be asking day students to leave campus earlier in the evening and limiting places students can be at certain times.
Airflow. Advanced Facilities Services Manager J.J. Beebe (‘86) has recommended strategies to increase airflow to each building on campus. When school resumes in August, there will be meetings with students to help them understand how to increase airflow in the areas of campus they use most frequently in their daily routines. These areas include but are not limited to classrooms, dorms, buses, and dining facilities.
Meals. Flik, Darlington’s food service vendor will provide guidance throughout the school year on how we will feed our students. We anticipate that there will be modifications, based on industry best practices during the year. We will post these announcements on the Darlington school website. You can see Flik’s latest post by clicking here. There will be several changes to our meal structure for the 2020-2021 school year. At the start of the year, all meals will be pre-packaged for students and faculty. In the Upper School, breakfast will be served “Grab and Go” style. Due to this change in service, breakfast will not be served for our middle grades students and we will be unable to accommodate day students for meals in the evening or on weekends. Thank you for your understanding. For students with dietary restrictions and/or allergies, Flik Manager Bret Clark will be available to discuss individual meal plans this summer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water. Darlington will require each student to bring a filled water bottle to school each day that is clearly marked with the student’s name. We are in the process of identifying additional water bottle filling stations on campus.
Masks. All members of the community will need to have a personal cloth face protector at school each day. We will encourage all members of the community to feel free to wear a mask whenever they would like. No student or faculty member should be made to feel different or uneasy when wearing a mask. We may require masks to be worn by specific groups in certain places or at various points in the school year. For more information about cloth masks, click here. Parents, please help your child gain comfort in both wearing a mask and in seeing others wear a mask.
Changes to the Daily Schedule. The Health of the Community Committee is advising our Division Leaders to implement creative ways to limit passing opportunities between groups of students, practice social distancing as feasible, allow time for rooms to be cleaned between classes, and reduce close-quarter gathering spaces for the fall. This means that students and faculty need to be prepared for a different school schedule in August. Students will continue to have full school days, five days a week with a rotating schedule. These changes will not be permanent and will be adjusted accordingly when appropriate.
Athletics. All Darlington Athletics will follow the policies, rules, and regulations of their governing body as it relates to conditioning, practice, training and competition.
To help alleviate any anxieties and answer questions about the opening of school, Darlington will hold virtual State of the School question-and-answer sessions the week of June 15.
Please check your email for information on how to join the Google Hangout Meets.
If you are unable to join us during your scheduled meeting time, please reach out to the following with your specific questions:
Health of the Community Committee - Matthew Peer, email@example.com
Boarding Program - Jennifer Rundles, firstname.lastname@example.org
Upper School - Chad Woods, email@example.com
Pre-K to 8 - Hope Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate your partnership in making the 2020-2021 school year the most important year in your student’s educational journey. As Bill Gates reminds us, “Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.”