As I previously mentioned, SUA leadership is cognizant of the importance of assessing the impact of our COVID-19 schedule on the mitigation of the spread of the coronavirus, the support of our girls in terms of social and emotional well-being, and continuation of learning.
Over the past two weeks, we have surveyed parents, students, and academic departments. Lelia and I are grateful to the over 350 parents, 250 students, and all Department Chairs for taking the time to weigh in on our COVID-19 schedule. Here is the overview from the inquiries:
Continuation of Learning (Schedule):
From comments shared by all constituents, the first two weeks of this school year was a transition. However, after the third week, many found that the girls settled into the new structure and began to experience the benefits and challenges with the routine. Most significantly, the Zero Bell/9:00 a.m. start has had a tremendously positive impact on student readiness to learn. The faculty has experienced great success with the realignment of essential learning outcomes and meaningful use of technology. Wednesday distance learning is a real positive as the girls are able to interact with their teachers and peers WITHOUT their masks. As well, the girls are learning to find their voice to connect with their teachers. Although there is good coming from this schedule, several respondents indicated that we have room for improvement regarding the effectiveness of the academic support time before and after school. And, some parents want SUA to simply run a full 8:00 to 3:00 schedule. We are committed to working on the challenges that the girls are experiencing regarding the before and after school academic support.
According to students, parents, and faculty/staff, the COVID-19 schedule has allowed the girls to get more rest and to be less stressed. Here is an interesting video that Lily Coughlin '20 created about wellbeing and staying home when you do not feel well. On a less positive note, many constituents have stated that the girls don’t like the shorter break and less time to spend with friends. We hear these frustrations regarding time for the girls to connect and are committed to working through this challenge.
Mitigation of spread:
From the collective data, there is overwhelming evidence that the COVID-19 schedule is mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. On average, 6 students are contact traced out for each test positive. Zero adults are being traced out for a student positive; zero students are traced out for an adult positive. An additional benefit is that the student attendance rate is at the highest level in the past three years. Some comments have suggested that the individual learning protocols for students quarantined could improve. We are committed to working with students and families to make sure that the girls feel supported and challenged during their time off campus for COVID-19 quarantining.
Although the SUA COVID-19 schedule may need adjusting over the next few weeks, we remain committed to this schedule through fall 2020. We will continue to survey for feedback and possible enhancements.