Frequently Asked Questions about the Fall 2020 Opening of School
Will all the books be virtual? Or a mix?
There will be a mix of course resources. Some classes will have a hard copy of the text, such as those in the English Department, but most are using e-texts.
How will tests and assessments work for the kids when they are on schedule 3 and 4? Will it be all project-based or will they have tests and how will you monitor testing virtually ?
Yes, there will be assessments given in every scenario. We are still exploring ways that will provide the highest degree of integrity possible. In addition, our teachers will be using a variety of other assessments tools, such as projects, presentations, etc. to provide the feedback needed to gauge mastery.
Will accommodations be made for learning disabilities, eg. dyslexia?
Our Director of the Academic Assistance Office, Mrs. Cantrell, understands the unique challenges of remote learning faced by these students. She has and will continue to provide guidance, in regard to organization and study skills. While currently there are no plans to offer additional or special accommodations for these students in addition to their current accommodations, Mrs. Cantrell, as well as the appropriate Grade Level Dean, stand ready to provide assistance.
Will the remote kids rotate if a class can't fit everyone?
Yes, students will rotate from in-class to remote learning when social distancing constraints dictate. Their teachers will let them know.
Are you going to limit the number of kids in the overflow room?
Yes, we will limit the number of students in the remote learning areas as recommended by Houston Methodist and/or the social distancing guidance provided by our health authorities.
Will every class be videoed for an archive so if a child is Covid positive and must stay home, but well enough to do schoolwork, they can have a video of the day's lessons?
For a variety of reasons , including technical, all classes will not be archived. However, teachers will not only use teaching methods that will be advantageous to remote learners, but they will also make missed assignments and materials available when students are unable to attend class in person or remotely.
How will you organize enough lab work for the students in chemistry and physics?
Our Science Department has been busy working on alternative methodologies to perform and present laboratory work during remote learning. Virtual labs on line, demonstrations by the teacher, as well as packaged labs conducted at home will all be a part of the lab experience. While it is almost impossible to replace the in-class, in-person lab experience, we have planned robust activities that will develop skills in analysis, critical thinking, and report writing.
How will distancing be enforced in hallways and stairways during class transitions?
Class transitions will be staggered. Students will be masked and asked to move purposefully through the halls.
How will EHS handle labs, art classes, and other settings where students typically access shared resources?
We will ask students to wear gloves.
What will be the maximum number of people (students/teachers/assistants) in any classroom or enclosed space at a time?
We can fit from 9-15 desks 6-feet-apart in our classrooms, depending on the size of the classroom.
How exactly will remote classes work? Are lessons pre-recorded or will students log in remotely to group classes? Will students have the same instructors online or in-person?
Students will attend their classes remotely through Microsoft Teams. They will also access assignments and resources through our new LMS Canvas as will the in-person students.
Will remote and in-person classes track simultaneously so that when/if students switch from one to the other, their work transfers?
Since they remain in the same classes with the same teacher, the transition from remote to in-person should be seamless.
How will remote students participate in labs and other settings where students typically share resources?
They can work in groups remotely, including labs, when feasible. Each teacher will provide direction on how to complete labs.
Can College Reps visit in the Fall?
No, students will meet with college representatives virtually.
Is it possible for juniors to take the school day SAT and ACT that EHS is offering this fall?
No, these exams are for seniors only.
Can EHS offer a school day ACT or SAT earlier in the year?
No, the school day exams are mandated by the testing agencies.
How will college counseling work in the Fall?
Individual counseling continues for our seniors during the fall. Whether in person or over Teams, our seniors are encouraged to meet with the college counselors about the completion of their college applications
Will athletics and arts events begin first week of August?
Athletics will begin on August 17. This has been communicated via email to our community as of Friday, July 17. Arts pre-season is taking place remotely.
What approach will EHS take as it relates to athletics and team sports?
We are working with Houston Methodist to modify our spaces (weight room, lockers rooms) and return to play safely.
We understand that students working remotely will be excluded from sports. If/when a student switches from remote to in-person, will his/her team status be reinstated?
Unfortunately, a student will not be able to join a team mid-season.
Do you expect the gym to be open?
We hope so.
How will students be able to stay safe and avoid contact/maintain distancing in locker rooms or during sports?
We are working with Houston Methodist on our return-to-play plan and are modifying the locker rooms to ensure social distancing.
Where will free periods be held?
Students will be in the USC for their free periods except for 5A/5B when they will be assigned another space.
Is there a way to mitigate having the entire school in hallways at the same time?
Additional passing time has been provided between classes to stagger the release of students into the hallways.
How will daily Chapel work?
In S2, it is planned that a portion of the students will attend Chapel in person while the others will be able to follow the streamed service in their advisories. It is envisioned that we will rotate in-person Chapel by grade level.
Have you considered using outdoor facilities? Some universities are building outdoor tents on campus.
We have enough spaces at this time, but it is one of the considerations to increase capacity, if needed.
How will arrival on campus work? And student drop off?
Students will use designated doors to enter and leave the buildings on campus as well as for drop-off and pick-up. Parents will be required to remain in their vehicles for student drop-off and pick-up.
How will lunch work if on campus given social distancing in terms of capacity management, obtaining food, and allowing sufficient time?
At present, we will have grab-and-go pre-packaged lunches (with vegan option) that will be distributed at several locations to reduce lines. There will be designated locations on campus to eat lunch, adequately spaced to meet social distancing requirements.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Will the students be wearing masks while on campus?
Yes, at all times except while eating break and lunch.
Will Houston Methodist or EHS perform COVID testing on campus either before the start or during the semester?
CDC guidelines do not recommend universal testing of asymptomatic individuals without close contact/known exposures starting school. Symptomatic individuals will consult their own physicians for testing.
If you become sick with another illness such as strep throat, can you also have the option to tune in virtually?
Yes, our teachers will be able to broadcast via Microsoft Teams.
Will there be hand sanitizer around the school
Yes. In each classroom and around campus.
Will we be notified if our student is exposed to someone who has tested positive?
Yes, adhering to privacy requirements.
Are there physical implications from wearing a mask all day?
Are we still considering our students helping with cleaning their spaces in the classroom?
There will be disinfectant wipes in each classroom so that students can clean their desks and chairs prior to occupying them.
Will there be daily temperature checks onsite?
Rather than onsite temperature checks, we will require that each family take the temperature and submit an attestation form daily, verifying that the student is healthy. We are currently evaluating apps for this process.
What will be the protocol for isolation and family notification if a student(s) or teacher(s) test positive?
The individual who tests positive will be asked to quarantine at home until he/she is symptom-free without medication for 48 hours. We will also require a negative Covid test to return. The School will also do contact tracing.
How will distancing and facemask expectations be communicated to students, and how will they be enforced?
They will be communicated orally and in writing. Those in violation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination/dismissal.
How will Daily Schedule changes be determined?
Changes to the School’s daily schedule may be necessary from time to time. The Head of School, in consultation with the senior leadership team and the Board of Trustees, will institute changes based on available data and three levels of analysis rather than strict targets (given the evolution of the virus, its transmission rate and our understanding have changed so rapidly).
First, we will assess levels of transmission within the EHS community, measured against the School’s capacity to implement appropriate mitigation measures to protect students, teachers, administrators, and other staff. Second, we will actively monitor data from local, state, and national health agencies and institutions. Third, we will consider other aspects of students’ risk and well-being that arise when schools do not reopen for in-person classes, including the potential adverse impacts on students’ social-emotional, behavioral, and mental health and well-being
If the decision is schedule 4, is that for the semester?
Our goal is to have an on-campus experience for our students. However, we realize that the movement to or from the remote learning environment may be problematic for some families. Therefore, we will do our best to be thoughtful and strategic about making such changes. We certainly hope to provide as much in-person school as possible.
How early can kids be dropped off?
While we prefer that students not be dropped off before 7:00 a.m., students may enter the Trotter building starting at 6:30 a.m. but must stay in designated spaces, socially distanced, before the first period of the day.
Do you expect the fall semester to continue through December or are you planning to stop at Thanksgiving Break (similar to the programming proposed by some universities)?
At present, we do not anticipate changing the school calendar. However, guidance from health authorities may dictate altering the number, frequency, and timing of breaks.
Is there any thought to having any extended advisory in-person?
Students will meet in their advisory every day in all four schedules. Except for Wednesdays, when advisory will occur before Chapel, students will meet every morning from 8:00-8:10 a.m. in advisory.
If schedule 3 is used longer than 1 or 2 weeks, would the group on campus rotate days each week? Say, the group on campus on Monday would then be on campus on Friday the following week?
We do not anticipate being in S3 for an extended period of time, but if so, we have not made provisions for flipping on-campus student groups from Monday to Friday and vice versa.
Will the freshman retreat happen?
At present, we are committed to an on-campus alternative to freshman retreat. It is scheduled for August 17. However, if guidance from the health authorities eventually allows such gatherings, we will reconsider its implementation away from campus at a later date.
If you have multiple children attending, will their schedules be synchronized so they have the same on/off campus schedules?
With a multitude of courses at various levels including advanced placement, as well as the number and variety of ancillary classes, both year-long and semester, the process of creating schedules for our students has become increasingly complex. Add free periods, preferences for lunch period for seniors, and other considerations, including the extra duties of our faculty and keeping class sizes within limits, and the ability to make further schedule changes is greatly minimized.
If you don't feel comfortable with in-person classes, can a child do virtual learning?
Yes, there is a form to fill out (Remote Learning Guidelines & Application) on our webpage under Coronavirus.
What can be done to make sure incoming freshmen get to know their new classmates?
Our Grade Level Dean for the 9th grade and the Activities Director have worked diligently to create parallel virtual programs for socialization and creating strong connections between students, their advisors, teachers, and coaches.
What training are the teachers receiving regarding effective teaching techniques in virtual learning?
Besides the training our teachers received at the end of last year and will receive before school begins, many have taken advantage of professional development opportunities this summer to improve their skills in remote teaching. In addition, we have added a new learning management system called Canvas, which was used extensively during summer school sessions and will be universally adopted for use next year. Our experience using Canvas in summer school has identified areas for additional training that will be used as a basis for our professional development activities in the fall.
Will the teachers be actively teaching with the class in real time vs video directives?
All of our teachers will have the technology to teach in real time through Microsoft Teams.
Will teachers wear clear face shields?
Houston Methodist suggests cloth face masks rather than gaitors or face shields. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.