University Child Development School (UCDS) is an independent private coeducational day school for grades PK-5, located in Seattle, Washington. UCDS encourages students to stretch, reflect, collaborate, and think expansively—enriching their educational growth and ensuring they thrive in school and beyond. UCDS offers an Early Elementary (EE) program for 3, 4, and 5-year-olds and an Elementary program for 1st – 5th Grade. UCDS will provide these educational programs for a total of 331 students for the 2020-2021 school year.
UCDS plans to re-open its campus for both programs in stages in the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. The first and most fundamental consideration in doing so will be the safety and well-being of our students, families, faculty, and staff. Therefore, re-opening protocols will be based upon guidance from the CDC, King County Department of Health, OSPI, and Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families.
A safe re-opening in the midst of the COVID-19 will require the full commitment of every member of our community. We expect our faculty, staff, and parents to lead by example, modeling safe behavior and good judgment for the children in our care.
Early Elementary Program
Re-opening Stages & Goals
In light of the most recent news from our Governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Department of Health, UCDS will reopen in stages for the 2020-21 school year. Our goal this summer has been to create a robust program that allows students to transition between distance learning and our classrooms on campus. We will implement each stage of this model when it is safe to do so. It is also important to recognize, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving and the King County Department of Health may require a transition to full remote learning (closed campus) once again. We are prepared for this scenario.
UCDS’s goal is to limit cross-classroom connections so that the classroom communities stay healthy and intact. If we do have a COVID-19 incident, we will be able to trace the connections and hopefully keep the school open for students who are not in the pods with the reported illness.
- Students will have an assigned classroom. The students in that class will be the peers for your child throughout the day while on campus.
- Teachers and staff will only be working with the same classroom until it is safe for us to mix groups.
- All students are expected to wear face coverings at school.
- All students will be expected to practice physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.
- Students will be eating in their classrooms.
- Each classroom will be disinfected daily and assigned a specific bathroom stall for student use. We will be disinfecting frequently used areas like faucets and door handles throughout the day.
- We will have a closed campus. Only faculty and staff will be on campus (unless we are hosting a specific family event). We are doing this for safety and to keep the student community healthy.
- Drop-off and pick-up will be at specially designated locations around the school building to ensure that student drop-off and pick-up keeps families at least six feet from each other and reduces their need to enter the school. In addition, UCDS will have staggering drop-off and pick-up times for various groups.
Early Elementary (3 to 5-year-olds – multi-age program)
We will open our campus to our Early Elementary (EE) students. Our goal is to make the UCDS learning community safe and “magical.” Our youngest EE students, three to five-year-olds, are developing the social, emotional and executive function skills that are essential to a love of learning at school that will follow. For this reason, we recognize that they are best served by coming to school to work directly with their teachers and peers. EE students will be divided into smaller cohorts to minimize potential virus spread.
On-Campus Learning for Early Elementary Students
In order to ensure proper physical distancing requirements and required safety protocol, UCDS has invested in additional faculty FTEs, redesigned our class schedule, and modified classroom spaces.
- EE students and faculty will return to campus 4 days a week (Monday-Thursday).
- EE level is expanded from six to eight classrooms to lower our class sizes.
- There are multiple outside times to play built into the day.
- The eight EE classrooms exceed the square footage requirements needed to physically distance students.
- We have maintained two teachers for each classroom of 12 to 15 students.
- Specialist classes will be offered on a block schedule.
In addition, EE families will be required to provide a mask for children to wear throughout the school day. The teachers and staff will establish a routine of regular hand washing (per licensing and OSPI guidelines). Teachers and staff will also teach EE students how to maintain physical distancing in the classroom and during transition times. To support these new requirements, UCDS has recommended families start helping students practice the following skills in before school starts:
- Practice having students wear a mask for longer and longer durations.
- Practice physical distancing when standing in a line.
- Practice frequent handwashing at home.
Elementary Students (1st-5th Grade)
Our Elementary students will begin school with remote online learning. Students will continue to receive an innovative and rigorous educational program with strong and responsive student support. Teachers will be working directly with students throughout the day from campus. UCDS teaching teams will engage the students and build community throughout their level. The students will experience a unified schedule and teaching platform.
Online Learning Platform for Elementary Students
During the summer months, the UCDS faculty has unified our home-learning platform. All levels will now be using Google Classroom for remote learning. Over the summer, faculty and staff have worked on the UCDS approach and delivery of online learning to streamline communication and add greater independence for students to engage with teachers and peers.
- All students will have a Google account login where they can access daily work and meetings on Google Classroom. In the week prior to the start of school, UCDS will host a “How to use Google Classroom” training for staff and families.
- Students will have ample opportunity to work together with peers throughout the day.
- Teachers are creating a daily schedule for the classroom that will be transferable whether online or in person.
- Teachers will be working directly with their classroom students and having multiple opportunities to meet with the whole class, small groups, or individuals based on the activities and needs of the students.
Family members will have opportunities to learn more about Google Classroom. UCDS will supply any needed equipment to students, making sure every student can fully participate in our programs. (Current Families: see August 14, 2020 News and Notice.)
- Early Elementary, 1st, and 2nd graders will need access to a device that supports Google Classroom. (e.g., iPads, Android tablets, laptops).
- 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders will be provided with a Chromebook to use at school and home.
Community Friday for All Students
- All students will be learning remotely from home on Friday mornings. This allows us to build and sustain connections with peers across the school and continue many collaborative UCDS traditions. Faculty will be facilitating Friday mornings with programs such as all level Literature Groups, Milk and Cookies, Buddies, All School Meeting, Nikkei Manor, etc.
- In the afternoon, we will offer online EDP activities to engage your student in clubs, activities, and other special events.
Begin to Bring Elementary Students to Campus Starting with 1st and 2nd Graders
Our goal in Stage Two is to offer a blended learning model for our youngest elementary students (1st and 2nd graders), this will enhance the students’ ability to build connections and community with their classmates and teachers. These students will return to campus in an alternating schedule to adhere to physical distancing requirements. This rotating schedule, with half of the students on campus at a time, will meet physical distancing requirements and will limit the exposure of students and employees. Students at home and students on campus will learn concurrently. When on campus, students will be working with peers and teachers in their classrooms, when off-campus, students will still be doing the similar classwork that is happening at school that day and have several times each day to Zoom into their classroom with their peers.
All Elementary Students on Campus
Stage Three of UCDS’s Reopening plan is to have all Elementary Students regularly on campus. The third, fourth, and fifth graders will join in the blended learning model. Just as in Stage Two, these students will return to campus in an alternating schedule to adhere to physical distancing requirements. This rotating schedule, with half of the students on campus at a time, will meet physical distancing requirements and will limit the exposure of students and employees. Students at home and students on campus will learn concurrently. When on campus, students will be working with peers and teachers in their classrooms, when off-campus, students will still be doing the similar classwork that is happening at school that day and have several times each day to Zoom into their classroom with their peers.
Instruction at school:
- Elementary students will be working with teachers in smaller groups with 8 to 11 students in the classroom.
- Daily schedules will include in-person Reading, Writing, Math, and social connections.
- Teachers and students will discuss and review work they will do at home the next day.
- Students will have the opportunity to use the playground multiple times each day
- Students will eat lunches in their classrooms.
- Direct instruction from Specialist at the classroom level
All Students Physically Present on Campus
Ultimately, our goal is to have all students physically present on campus. We will transition to this traditional model when it is clearly safe to do so. It is also important to recognize, however, that the COVID-19 may require a transition to full digital learning (closed campus) once again. We are also prepared for this scenario.
Safe Return Plan
Two main priorities – health & safety and education of our students – are reflected in the specific action steps included in this plan.
Included among these are:
- Requirement that parents/guardians only send their children to school after daily wellness checks (including temperature taking); sending children to school will constitute an attestation by parents/guardians that their children did not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms during the morning wellness check.
- Requirement that employees only attend work after daily wellness checks (including temperature taking); attending work on campus will constitute an attestation that the employee did not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms during the morning wellness check.
- Similarly, UCDS shall conduct daily check-in with students and employees – temperature check upon arrival to campus for all students and employees.
- Restricting campus access only to UCDS employees and students.
- No coming and going to and from campus during the school day.
- Strict adherence to public health guidelines regarding wearing masks and physical distancing.
- Continue UCDS robust Learning Support services to assist vulnerable and struggling students.
- Care and support of UCDS employees (teachers and staff), including HR and expansion of Sick Leave to cover required COVID-19 Sick Leave
- High-risk faculty will teach remotely
- Engaging outreach to incoming students and families.
- Creation of New Positions – COVID-19 Coordinator and Day Porter (cleaning and sanitizing throughout the school day).
- UCDS has invested in additional faculty FTEs to make sure all classrooms have two teachers, added two new EE classrooms, and redesigned our class schedule.
- Significant increases in the operating budget for COVID- 19 related expenses (i.e. Distance Learning technology in all classrooms).
- Signs of illness (flushed cheeks, rapid or difficulty breathing, fatigue, and cough), whether observed or self-reported, shall be reported to the COVID-19 Coordinator and she/he shall, in turn, implement appropriate protocols.
Policies & Procedures
- Parents shall be required to conduct daily temperature and COVID-19 symptom checks of students prior to sending them to school. If the child is unwell or experiencing any symptoms they should stay home until they are symptom-free. Allowing a child to attend school shall serve as an attestation that the child is symptom-free.
- Similarly, UCDS personnel shall conduct daily check-ins once the student has arrived on campus to ensure that they are symptom-free. This will include taking their temperature.
- The Parent/Student handbook shall be revised to indicate COVID-19 Procedures
- Signs of illness (fever, flushed cheeks, rapid or difficulty breathing, fatigue, and cough), whether observed or self-reported, shall be reported to the COVID-19 Coordinator and she/he shall, in turn, implement appropriate protocols.
- Configure seating areas in offices, classrooms, and lunch areas to ensure six-foot distancing.
- Provide partitions for front desk staff protection while also requiring mandatory six-foot distances.
- Restrict activities that do not meet distancing requirements (assemblies) until conditions permit according to public health guidelines.
- Plan one-way paths for entrances, hallways, etc.
- Install signage reminding use of six-foot distancing in walkways.
- Clearly define protocols when student/employee shows symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19, including the following mandatory procedures:
- UCDS has created an isolation room that will be used to assist sick students or employees with transitioning from school to home.
- The COVID-19 Coordinator will follow up with students and staff who have been sent home for illness.
- Parents/guardians must notify the COVID-19 Coordinator if a student receives a positive COVID-19 test.
- Employees must notify the COVID-19 Coordinator if they receive a positive COVID-19 test.
- The COVID-19 Coordinator will notify King County Public Health of positive test results and the school will follow the guidance offered by KCPH in all such cases.
- The COVID-19 Coordinator will assist families and school in following local health department guidance regarding staff and student re-entry after a COVID-19 diagnosis and quarantine.
- Revise mitigation procedures as guidance changes.
- Clearly define protocols when student/employee shows symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19, including the following mandatory procedures:
- Mandatory requirement that students, faculty, and staff follow DOH guidelines regarding wearing of approved face coverings.
- Maintain a supply of face coverings to ensure full compliance.
- Other PPE – i.e. thermometers
- Provide increased hand sanitizer stations in hallways.
- Provide cleaning and disinfecting supplies in all classrooms.
- Focus efforts on high touch and frequent use areas.
- Expand nightly cleaning protocols and training.
- Add a day porter for continuous sanitizing throughout the school day.
- A comprehensive evaluation by a professional air system engineering firm, all recommendations have been performed.
- Monitor and adjust filtration systems as needed.
- Ventilation reduces exposure to the virus; windows will remain open as much as possible.
- Purchased and installed Honeywell HEPA Air Purifiers in each classroom and office space in the school
Employee Handbook Covid-19 Policies
- Per ADA/CDC guidelines, employees will be asked to leave campus if they exhibit flu-like symptoms.
- Temperatures may also be taken; the screening process shall be the same for all employees.
- While a note from a physician may be required prior to return to work, this will generally not be required. Rather, employees shall be expected to abide by public health guidelines before deciding to return to work.
- Per HIPAA, individual health care data shall remain confidential absent permission by an employee affected by COVID-19 to release pertinent information. This authorization shall be communicated in writing and maintained by the Covid-19 Coordinator.
- COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act – As provided by the Act, 80 hours of additional emergency paid sick leave are available to UCDS employees for certain COVID -19 related situations., Pro-rated emergency sick leave is available for part-time employees.
- COVID-19 Paid Family and Medical Leave Act – As provided by this Act, up to 12 weeks of leave is available to UCDS employees for certain COVID-19 related situations. Additional information regarding these leaves will be provided in the updated Employee Handbook and from the CFO.