The MS and HS will start the school year in the Hybrid Learning model. This model allows both students and faculty margin to adjust to a new learning environment, enhanced technology as well as compliance with heightened health and safety protocols.
On Tuesday, September 8, after the Labor Day holiday, we plan to transition to the On Campus Learning model for all students. The option to learn from a distance via Westminster Connect will continue to be available for those interested.
Parents will have the flexibility to change their selection as conditions change and the needs of their family evolve. There is also the option to commit and choose Westminster Connect for the entire first quarter, if you choose this option you will receive a credit of approximately five percent of the tuition fees you paid for that quarter. To change your selection, contact your campus office.
With the Hybrid Learning Model, the number of students in a classroom will be reduced by about 50 percent. Students will be physically separated in classrooms as much is possible, desks will face one direction, and all will be wearing face coverings. Teacher lesson plans will allow for physical distancing to be maintained in the classroom. In addition, teachers will be taking advantage of outdoor areas to hold classes, whenever possible. While we are making every effort to minimize close contact, we cannot guarantee physical distancing at all times in a social school setting.
In the classroom, we are employing double mitigation (both teachers and students wearing face coverings) to help keep students and teachers safe and to support continuous learning. This means that if a teacher or student tests positive for COVID-19, the class will not automatically quarantine. Rather, we will evaluate the situation and make determinations based on the definition of close contact. Close contact is defined as follows:
Lunch schedules have been adjusted to eliminate long lines and crowding in the SAC, and to allow for enhancing cleaning protocols between groups. Additional indoor and outdoor seating have been added to allow for physical distancing. SAGE has eliminated all self-serve stations and will offer fresh served and pre-packaged lunch options for students. The needs of students with dietary restrictions will be provided for and addressed.
Yes, teachers and administrators will be monitoring the hallways. In the MS and HS, an additional five minutes have been added between classes to provide time for classroom cleaning and reduced crowding in the hallways.
Face coverings will be worn indoors but face coverings may be optional for certain outdoor physical activities when physical distancing is possible. This policy is consistent with Miami-Dade County’s decision that gyms will require members to wear masks while they are inside the facility, but not for strenuous training outside if participants are able to stay 10 feet apart.
Our head of school and leadership team members are in regular contact with the associations of which Westminster is a member as well as individual school leaders around the country and right here in our neighborhood. We are well aware of how other schools are navigating this crisis and how they are making their decisions. We are grateful for the webinars and discussion groups provided through organizations such as the National Association of Independent Schools, the Florida Council of Independent Schools, the Association of Christian Schools International, and Christian Schools of Florida. We have strong collaboration, cooperation, and communication with other school leaders here in South Florida. We are grateful to learn from the experiences of other schools, and we are humbled that many other schools look to Westminster as a leader in education.