We look forward to welcoming our students, faculty, and staff back to school for the 2020-21 academic year. Although our time together at Stone Ridge will look somewhat different this fall, we believe that we have designed an experience that preserves the unique charism of our Sacred Heart family while at the same time promoting health and safety. Above all, we seek to maintain the high quality of excellence in our educational program and our strong commitment to relationship building, whether on campus or learning remotely.
In our plan, SR Forward, the health and safety protocols and Continuous Learning models are outlined. We are resolute in our mission to educate and raise confident leaders and innovators in a global community that needs them more than ever.
We know that you have many follow-up questions and we will communicate further details as our planning progresses this month. Thank you for your partnership and your trust as we move ahead together.
Our plan, SR Forward, is based on three key principles:
*SR Forward provides an overview for all members of our community to know what to expect. The plans shared in this document are based on the most current public health assessment. We ask that you continue to be flexible as we work diligently to stay abreast of new information and modify our plans accordingly.
- July 31, 2020: A Note from the Head of School - Statement on Reopening Decision
- Guiding Factors for Reopening Campus
- Continuous Learning Models for Academics
- The Student Experience
- Community Expectations & Norms
- Health & Safety On Campus
- Aftercare Services, Transportation & Dining
- Athletics & Physical Education
- Parent Engagement
- Our Commitment to You
- Glossary and Resources
Dear Stone Ridge Community,
We can’t wait to welcome our students to the 2020-2021 academic year! Today we present you with SR Forward, our overview of Stone Ridge's reopening plan. This robust document includes many details about the educational program, community life, and programs we have planned. It will be continually updated as we refine our plan and articulate our vision, so I encourage you to come back to visit this landing page throughout the year.
Throughout the summer, we have been working on our Continuous Learning program, working to articulate the particulars of how we will operate either under a virtual or hybrid learning model. We have been working tirelessly to plan for all the measures required to bring students back to campus safely and to adjust our programs thoughtfully. I am deeply grateful to my colleagues and members of the Board of Trustees who have all contributed to this work and who have demonstrated incredible commitment to our students and the mission.
I am also deeply grateful that we have assembled a remarkably gifted team of medical advisors who have supported our research and who have helped the administration create a framework for decision making and planning throughout the year. There are so many unknowns that we face, and having the partnership of these medical experts is critical to proceeding through this pandemic with confidence that we are creating the most thoughtful plan possible, with health and safety as our first priority.
The decision to reopen campus for in-person learning is informed by the health situation in Montgomery County and adjoining jurisdictions. This public health context determines whether a safe reopening is feasible and drives the resource and planning requirements to do so. Unfortunately, in the past several weeks, the spread of COVID-19 in the DC region has caused heightened concern. Just this week, the Chief Public Health Officer for Montgomery County made the statement that from the public health perspective, he does not think it is safe for any schools in the County, whether independent or public, to reopen in-person at the start of the school year.
His recommendation confirmed the advice of Stone Ridge’s own Medical Advisory Council, which similarly determined that the appropriate launch for our academic year should be virtual instruction. These recommendations account not only for the well-being of those students, faculty, and staff who would be on campus, but also the potential impact on family members and the local community. Based on these recommendations, Stone Ridge will begin the school year with virtual learning until Thursday, October 1, 2020.
We are deeply committed to providing excellence in our programming and to bringing all five Goals of Sacred Heart education alive for our students as we begin this year. We know from your feedback that virtual learning last spring semester delivered both successes and occasional challenges; we are building on our strong foundation this fall. We also remain committed to the important role that our unique community life plays in the educational journey of a Stone Ridge student, and we will work in strong partnership with families to make sure our students have the social and emotional support they need.
We will be referring to the following Phases as we articulate the status of school this year:
Phase I: Campus closed. All classes and activities are virtual.
Phase II: Campus open for limited activity (see below). All classes are virtual.
Phase III: Hybrid learning allows for some students to be on campus for classes. Campus open for limited activity.
Phase IV: Campus and classrooms open for regular school.
We will reopen school in Phase II with these important notes and changes to dates:
- We have modified the annual calendar. Faculty and Staff Orientation will extend from August 19-August 28. (This means one extra week of summer break for the students.)
Orientation Week and Phase II virtual classes for our students will begin on Monday, August 31, rather than the week of August 24. The specific schedule for each grade level that week will be sent to families by August 21.
All students in Little Hearts through Grade 12 will begin the academic year in Phase II, with classes taught virtually through Thursday, October 1.
If Internal and External Factors allow, we will plan to pivot to hybrid learning on campus beginning October 1.
We are finalizing our plan to reopen Little Hearts up to Pre-Kindergarten earlier as regulations differ from those in the K-12 school settings.
- In order to gain back teaching days, Spring Break will now start on March 27, 2021 (instead of March 20) and go through April 5, 2021. Classes will resume April 6, 2021.
- While classes will be virtual, we are exploring safe ways that students can be invited to campus periodically for optional, age-appropriate activities for most grade levels (e.g. physical education workshops, outdoor community-building activities, and outdoor educational activities.)
We share your disappointment that we cannot begin the school year as we normally would, but we ask you and your families to use this time to redouble your commitment to following the advice of public health officials to limit the transmission of this virus, and encourage others to do as well. As a community, we have the power to create the conditions that will allow our safe return to campus. While conditions in Montgomery County have improved somewhat, these gains are fragile and must be sustained more broadly. This is an opportunity for our Stone Ridge girls and for all of us to be role models.
We anticipate questions from this communication from both parents/guardians and students. We encourage you to carefully review SR Forward and to submit questions through the Questions & Feedback form below. We also invite you to an evening meeting on Thursday, August 13 at 7:00 pm, via Zoom, to address questions of our community.
The past five months have taught us a great deal about the importance and strength of community, and about the power of the Gators in the face of adversity. In these trying times, we look forward to the year ahead as an opportunity to stretch our hearts and minds, to build our sense of hope and resilience, and to discover strengths, talents, and friendships. We don’t know exactly how 2020-2021 will unfold, but we can say with certainty that the Gators will be strong if we stand together. Let’s support one another and collaborate to bring out the very best in our community and in every student throughout the year. I look forward to taking this journey with you.
Catherine Ronan Karrels '86
Head of School
Guiding Factors for Campus Reopening Decisions
Safeguarding the health and well-being of all members of our community on campus
Decisions about whether and how campus can be reopened safely rest on both Internal and External Factors:
Internal Factors: Stone Ridge Health & Safety On Campus will be fully developed in accordance with CDC and other guidelines and best practices. The appropriate plans, policies, training, and monitoring will be in place to ensure compliance within the Stone Ridge community. The work of educating our students, families, faculty and staff around internal protocols will be an ongoing process; the support of the entire community will be critical to reopening campus successfully. See "Health & Safety" Section below.
External Factors: Stone Ridge’s decision to reopen will be guided and/or determined by a number of factors external to Stone Ridge’s control. These include:
- Mandates or orders from the Maryland Governor, State Board of Education, Montgomery County Executive, Montgomery County Health Official, and/or other governing authorities.
- Local Health Conditions related to COVID-19 in the Stone Ridge community area, primarily Montgomery County, but with consideration given to the state of Maryland, the District of Columbia, Fairfax County, Prince George’s County, and other nearby locales.
In assessing Local Health Conditions, Stone Ridge will consider guidance from the State of Maryland, Montgomery County, and other relevant authorities, as noted above.
For Stone Ridge’s independent assessment of Local Health Conditions, Montgomery County should be the primary data source, with tracking and consideration given for sudden shifts or wide disparities with Prince George's County, the District of Columbia, and Fairfax County. While some localities report 7-day rolling averages, Montgomery County has adopted a 3-day average model. The US Census Bureau population based denominator for the county is 1,050,688.
Stone Ridge will track and make reopening decisions based on the following metrics:
- New confirmed case trend: New daily cases per 100k population. Three day rolling average; plus 14 day trend direction and rate.
- New COVID-19 hospitalizations: New confirmed case count. Three day rolling average; plus 14 day trend direction.
- Test positivity
Why these three metrics? The new confirmed case trend is the single best measure of disease burden within a community. In the absence of systematic surveillance conducted by public health authorities, it is important that this metric be triangulated with others for a more full understanding of local transmission. New COVID-19 hospitalization data points will reveal where case counts are low only because testing is low. While that is currently not the case in our region (as of this writing on July 31, 2020), it will be particularly important if test availability and result return times change in the future. Increases in test positivity above 10% are also an indicator of a strong likelihood of undercounting the COVID-19 burden in a community. The goal for COVID-19 hospitalizations is to see a sustained 14 day decrease in new cases in the setting of increased testing. The goal for testing positivity is a sustained flattening or decrease in positivity over a 14-day period. Stone Ridge’s assessment will consider both the absolute values of the figures above and any recent trends.
State and federal officials monitor a host of additional factors when assessing the effectiveness of response efforts. These include factors such as COVID-19 deaths, contact tracing completion, percent of new cases from sources previously contact traced, and testing capacity; they are of less immediate application to school operations.
*The specific programming provided within each Stone Ridge Phase (I-IV) is informed not only by COVID-19 Risk Level and Local Health Conditions but also by the additional Internal and External factors outlined herein which influence or govern Stone Ridge’s decision-making.
Stone Ridge COVID-19 Medical Advisory Council*
Analyzing the data is a complex process and one that requires a team of professionals. Stone Ridge has assembled a team of medical advisors who have helped design our reopening plan and who will consult with the Administration through every critical step of decision making as we navigate this pandemic. No decisions for moving from one phase to the next will be made without their consultation and input. For information on our medical advisory council, please read about them below.
Stephen R. T. Evans, MD, (SR Parent) is executive vice president for Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for MedStar Health and has served on the Maryland COVID -19 Task Force under Governor Hogan. Dr. Evans brings strong strategic, operational and medical leadership to this $5.7 billion, multi-jurisdictional health system comprised of 10 hospitals and 20 other health-related businesses across Maryland and the Washington, DC, region. In this position, Dr. Evans oversees the medical education, research, clinical quality, and risk management initiatives for the system, as well as the academic partnership with Georgetown University School of Medicine and MedStar Health’s other academic affiliations.
For the three years prior to this current role, Dr. Evans served as vice president of Medical Affairs at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He was responsible for strengthening relationships between the medical staff and the hospital, leading the identification and development of new programs, and acting as a liaison between administration, hospital staff and medical staff. In addition, Dr. Evans oversaw and supported the medical staff structure, assuring high-quality patient care and compliance with regulatory and accreditation requirements.
Joining MedStar Georgetown University in 1990 as an assistant professor of Surgery, Dr. Evans rose through the ranks of hospital leadership, serving as chair of the department of Surgery for over seven years until 2009 when he was promoted to vice president of Medical Affairs. Throughout his tenure at MedStar Georgetown University, Dr. Evans succeeded in building a strong reputation for the department both internally and externally and became a nationally recognized leader in surgical education. Under his leadership, he significantly increased the surgical volume, as well as the quality of residents to the surgical program.
Dr. Evans received his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine. He completed residencies in both general surgery and obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and a fellowship at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. As a specialist in General Surgery, Dr. Evans is certified by the American Board of Surgery, and previously held board certifications from the American Board of Surgical Critical Care, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Critical Care.
As a director of the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Evans helps the organization to set and regulate standards of practice and certifications for surgeons across America. Effective this past June, Dr. Evans became the chair for the American Board of Surgery. Additionally, Dr. Evans is an elected member of several distinguished national surgical societies including the American Surgical Association.
Steven Fong, MD, (SR Parent) Family Medicine, Medical Advisor - FEMA.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, Dr. Fong has been serving as a medical advisor/consulting physician for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies, and Federal Occupational Health, in our national emergency response to the pandemic. As part of the Safety & Health component, he has been an advisor to senior management of FEMA and other Federal agencies, and has communicated with the CDC and other Agency chief medical officers and experts, on CDC guidance and recommendations for best practices to ensure that their policies and plans for operations, reopening, and mitigating risk of infection during this pandemic are consistent with CDC guidelines. Dr. Fong has been closely monitoring the CDC guidance for schools, colleges, universities, businesses, athletic and recreational facilities, and all other settings that are impacted by COVID-19.
Patrick Hickey, MD (SR Parent and Trustee) is a Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician in the U.S. Army and Chair, Department of Pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University (USU). Previous assignments include leadership positions at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research - Military HIV Research Program, serving as the Department of Defense Deputy Principal for the US Army portfolio within the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Chief of International HIV Prevention and Treatment, the single largest Global Health Engagement program within the Department of Defense. Prior to that assignment, he served as Deputy Director of the Division of Tropical Public Health and Director of the Tropical Medicine and Traveler's Health curriculum in the Department of Preventive Medicine at USU from 2008 to 2016.
International work experience includes technical oversight and management of more than $100M PEPFAR portfolio in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania; serving as the Medical Director for the DOD Ebola Treatment Training Team in Liberia during the 2014 outbreak; a long term partnership with clinical education programs in Honduras; and numerous short term assignments in South and SouthEast Asia. He remains active in teaching, research, and clinical supervision of medical students, Pediatric residents and Pediatric Infectious Diseases fellows. His research focus is on deployment and travelers health among military service members and their families. He is Board Certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Disease, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America, and holds a Certificate of Knowledge in Tropical Medicine and Travel Health by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Certificate of Traveler's Health from the International Society of Travel Medicine.
Jose Mario Ortega, MD (SR Parent and Trustee) has been a pediatrician at International Pediatrics since 1999. Son of founder Mario Ortega, MD, he graduated from Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala and completed his residency at the Holtz Children's Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center where he was Chief Resident. Dr. Ortega, MD currently serves on the Medical Advisory Committee of one of the largest insurance companies in the area.
Amy Richardson, MD, MBA (SR Alumna ‘72 and Past Trustee) is a Pediatrician with broad experience in clinical practice, public health, academic medicine, research, health policy and healthcare management. Dr. Richardson attended college and medical school at the University of Virginia and completed her Pediatric training at Bowman Gray and the University of Virginia. After serving as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health service, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow at the University of Rochester. Her business degree is from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Richardson currently serves as Senior Director of Medicaid Clinical Excellence at Aetna Medicaid, a CVS Health company.
*Disclaimer: The healthcare providers listed above are not providing medical advice to, and have not established a doctor-patient relationship with, any individual affiliated with Stone Ridge, and none of their words or actions in consulting with Stone Ridge should be construed as such. Moreover, they are serving as professional advisors on a personal level to Stone Ridge and not as representatives of their employers.
Stone Ridge is, by design and mission, an academic program specifically and intentionally serving the needs of girls as they develop their gifts, build empathy, and gain confidence. Our program uniquely serves girls with a curriculum founded on curiosity, interdisciplinary critical thinking, and the cultivation of their God-given gifts as they navigate increasingly, and developmentally appropriate, challenging landscapes of learning. In hybrid or virtual classroom models, this philosophy and design will continue.
In-person, synchronous learning with faculty and peers is a defining aspect of the Stone Ridge experience. As we reimagine this model in either a virtual or hybrid setting, learning will be continuous, carefully blending traditional classroom instruction and online learning activities to serve our students optimally and to keep them safe.
In both the virtual and hybrid learning models, backwards design continues and is flexible to ensure students make meaningful connections with their instructors, as well as other students, and continue to learn while off campus. Virtual, hybrid, and flipped lessons/instruction encourage, and often improve, self-directed learning; these models also foster increased development of time management, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills in children.
Two Models for Learning Fall 2020
Model 1: Virtual Learning
A virtual learning model allows students to engage with teachers, content, and one another virtually; this model employs a range of educational technologies to ensure comprehensive, mission-focused learning for all students. Stone Ridge will work to enable synchronous learning as much as possible in this model, but this will vary from class to class and grade to grade. Incorporating the feedback from families and teachers from last spring and this summer, as well as takeaways from ongoing professional development courses, the School is working to modify and enhance our approach to virtual learning for this upcoming year. Under this model, campus might be fully closed to students (depending on the data regarding the virus in our area at a specific time.) Alternatively, campus might be open for limited in-person activities such as advisory meetings, athletic offerings, prayer services, retreats, etc.
The Upper School schedule in the virtual environment will consist of four, 60-minute classes each day, separated by a break with a 60-minute period for lunch. The day will begin at approximately 10:00 am and end at 3:30 pm. Some Upper School programming, such as Morning Assembly and Advisory, will take place before the start of the school day, and teachers will be available for office hours until 4:00 pm and during other posted office hours. Periods 1-4 will meet on A-Days and Periods 5-8 will meet on B-Days. To provide students with predictability and consistency, the periods will not rotate.
The Middle School virtual schedule is developmentally appropriate for preadolescent learners. The day will begin at 8:00 am and end at 3:25 pm. The virtual Middle School Schedule includes a consistent five-day Monday through Friday schedule. It includes 40-minute class periods, 10-minute breaks to allow for travel between classrooms, 30-minute mid-morning break, 40-minute lunch period, and office hours and study halls to meet with advisors and teachers. Please see "Sample Draft Schedule" below (more details will be provided for each grade level.) To provide time for faculty and staff collaboration and professional development, classes on Wednesday will end at 2:30 pm.
The Lower School’s virtual learning program will offer a full academic experience in both synchronous and asynchronous learning models. Each day, children in Grades K-4 will have reading, writing, and math workshop. In addition, they will have two special classes a day with special area teachers in art, music, French, STEAM and physical education. The Lower School will have Primes and Assemblies virtually, and we will conduct our opening and closing meetings to build social/emotional engagement opportunities for our girls.
Model 2: Hybrid Learning
The hybrid model combines in-person and virtual programming. Stone Ridge is upgrading audio and video technology for each classroom to ensure continuity and optimal engagement of students. It consists of a hybrid model of in-person instruction/meeting/activities on campus, with the possibility of 100% of the Little Hearts and Lower School students on campus, and 50% or less of the Upper and Middle School students on campus (on a rotation), with simultaneous virtual class instruction for the other students who are at home.
Of course, campus life would look and feel different, and Stone Ridge would mandate changes to support physical distancing and the best practices necessary for school to run safely. See "Health & Safety" section below.
NOTE: The hybrid model could be rolled out over time, with some age groups staying fully virtual for a longer period of time, and then gradually adding more students to campus as we feel comfortable with our physical environment/safety precautions and as we consider both Internal and External Factors (see "Guiding Factors" section.)
The Upper School schedule in the hybrid environment will consist of four, 60-minute classes each day, separated by a break with a 60-minute period for lunch. The day will begin at approximately 10:00 am and end at 3:30 pm. Some Upper School programming, such as Morning Assembly and Advisory, will take place before the start of the school day, and teachers will be available for office hours until 4:00 pm and during other posted office hours. Periods 1-4 will meet on A-Days and Periods 5-8 will meet on B-Days. To provide students with predictability and consistency, the periods will not rotate. In the hybrid environment, designated cohorts (TBD) will be allowed on campus at preassigned times (one week at a time) to either engage in onsite learning, community building, or faith formation activities. To allow for proper physical distancing in this model, no more than 50% of the Upper School may be on campus at a given time. The hybrid model provides students and teacher with the flexibility to conduct asynchronous and synchronous learning to provide students with regular engagement and practice with the subjects and topics learned in the classroom. Some classes in the Upper School have used a form of this model when working with students who were on the Sacred Heart Network Exchange.
The Middle School hybrid schedule is developmentally appropriate for preadolescent learners. It includes 40-minute class periods, 10-minute breaks to allow for travel between classrooms, 30-minute mid-morning break, 40-minute lunch period, and office hours and study halls to meet with advisors and teachers. The School will group students using designated cohorts and function with no more than 50% of the Middle School student body on campus each week. When one cohort of students is not on campus, that cohort will attend classes in a synchronous virtual learning model. At times, students at home might be asked to complete asynchronous independent assignments and have the opportunity for one-on-one support and feedback from teachers during study halls and office hours. The Middle School model is a 5-day rotating schedule with one designated cohort on campus for five days and the other designated cohort on campus for the next five days. This structure will promote social distancing by decreasing the number of students on campus at one time. In addition, we are working on plans that prioritize having our Grade 5 students on campus more often.
In a hybrid model, the Lower School will either resume at full or half days; this is still under consideration. When the Lower School returns to full days on campus, all Lower School children will return to a full five-day schedule with all core subjects and specials. Children will be in class groups of 8 to 10 in a classroom to ensure appropriately sized classrooms that allow for recommended physical distancing. For example, the Lower School will be using two classrooms for Kindergarten, so we can distance our students and bring all the Kindergarten children onto the campus. Each grade will have a lead teacher and a co-teacher to provide a program on campus for all our girls in Lower School. If the Lower School returns in a half-day model, we will modify our schedule to include core subjects as well as all specials until we return to full-day. As always, in the Lower School, religion will be taught three or four days a week in our core schedule. Each day, all Lower School children will share in physical education and outdoor time. Social/emotional, campus ministry, social-fun events will also be part of our weekly planning.
Our overarching goal is to have all Lower School students and faculty safely on campus and to offer our complete program. To do this, we know that ensuring our safety strategies will be our top priority with our children. We will maintain consistency in the groupings of students throughout the day and we will limit the movement between classrooms.
Further communication about classroom groups and additional specific information about the classroom teacher assignments and curriculum will be provided in a letter from Lower School in mid-August.
In Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten we will be following our child-centered daily schedule. Children will work in centers, have outside time with centers and in our play area, and engage in our project approach curriculum. The daily schedule will be planned for the developmental needs of our children in preschool and prekindergarten using our Creative Curriculum and The Project Approach methodologies. Little Hearts teachers will give specific details regarding all safety procedures and curriculum updates in a letter in mid-August.
Student Life at Stone Ridge is designed to promote the spiritual, academic, personal, and social development of each student. As in past years, students will continue to engage in our Advisory program, Student Government, Retreats, Social Action, Explorer Series and other activities. Each of these co-curricular activities/events is thoughtfully designed to refine our students’ skills in problem solving, cooperation, leadership, and teamwork. The School will continue to prioritize opportunities for fostering positive relationships between students and their peers, and students and advisors.
The School is committed to keeping all students and staff safe. To the extent possible, we are exploring options for continuing mission-based, community-building opportunities on campus. The School plans to schedule grade-specific programming designed to foster relationships, and to educate the whole child. More details on programs and opportunities will be communicated through each division.
Student Support Services
Teachers and learning specialists in each division are available to support students in the hybrid and virtual environments. Learning specialists work closely with students to review student success plans and to assist with organizational skills and other executive functioning needs. Teachers and learning specialists work together to discuss classroom accommodations and to strategize about how to best support all learners.
Social Emotional Counseling
Stone Ridge is committed to continuing to support the social and emotional needs of our students. Counselors in each division will be available to students in the hybrid and virtual environments. Counselors will also continue to partner with faculty and with parents in helping students in terms of their personal growth and development.
The College Counseling Office will continue to work with students through the college application and decision process. Individual student and family college counseling meetings will continue, as will group meetings with the fourth academics. College admission counselors will meet with Stone Ridge students virtually to answer questions about their individual schools and application processes and the college counselors will continue to nurture their relationships with these college admission counselors. Application workshops will be held throughout the fall and the College Counseling Office will be available for students and families throughout the year.
Ministry & Mission
As a Sacred Heart School, our commitment to educate to a personal and active faith in God, Goal I, is at the heart of who we are and what we do. In our Continuous Learning model, the Mission and Ministry Team will continue to offer programming and opportunities that allow our students and school community to individually and collectively grow in our Sacred Heart spirituality: one rooted in prayer and expressed through contemplation and loving action. While the ways we come together to pray may be different this year, we look forward to creating transformational opportunities for our students to further develop their sense of purpose and to build relationships with themselves, others, and God.
This year, we will be spending time focused on deepening our understanding of contemplation and helping our students to center and focus their hearts and minds on the attitudes of the heart of Christ. We will also explore the ways in which nature and the outdoors can bring us closer to the Divine.
With the guidance of local public health officials and our medical advisory council, Stone Ridge is implementing community expectations and norms in order to allow for a safe re-entry to our campus for special programming and activities and eventually for in-person academic instruction.
We must work together to mitigate health risks through our own personal choices and vigilance in adhering to health standards. We ask our families and staff to ensure the following practices in order keep our community safe and bring us back on campus together again:
- Wear masks when in public and visiting friends;
- Keep a safe physical distance from others in public and when visiting friends;
- Make safe and smart choices in one's personal life to minimize the risk of exposure (i.e., avoid large gatherings, unnecessary travel, etc.).
- Stay home if they have symptoms of illness;
- Stay home for 14 days if you have traveled in an airplane domestically or internationally, or visited any areas deemed as “COVID-19 hot spots” by the CDC in the United States;
- All community members will report potential exposure or positive tests for COVID-19 immediately to Stone Ridge.
Keeping our community healthy will require an even stronger home/school partnership than ever before. Whether it is ensuring that all family members wear masks, keeping students home if they have symptoms of illness, or abiding by public health guidelines, we trust that all of our families, faculty, and staff will commit to our community standards to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Our Health & Safety plans for campus are still being fully developed in accordance with guidelines and best practices from the CDC, Maryland Department of Education, Maryland
Practices & Protocols
- Parents will sign acknowledgement of school safety protocols, based on the CDC Checklist for Parents. These will be made available on our new health management database, Magnus Health.
- All staff will go through Health and Safety training.
- No staff member or student may enter any school building if they have traveled to or from “high risk areas” within the prior 14 days. Staff and students are strongly encouraged to follow Maryland’s travel advisory (published July 29, 2020) before returning to campus.
- Prior to arriving on campus, all students and staff will be required to submit to a daily health screening questionnaire and temperature check.
- No staff member or student may enter the building if they have a high temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If a student is already at Stone Ridge, the student’s parent/guardian will be contacted and told to come pick up their child within 60 minutes. If a staff member is already at school, they will notify their supervisor and leave campus immediately.
- No parents or visitors may enter the building without prior approval from the School.
- Masks will be worn by everyone on campus in keeping with the most current government and CDC guidelines. Everyone shall be responsible for providing their own masks; however, each division and office will have a supply of masks for those in need.
- Staff working in close proximity with students between the ages of two and five, who may be unable to wear a face mask consistently, should ideally wear a higher level mask. When access to a higher level mask is limited, a surgical mask in combination with a face shield should be used. Face shields or other forms of eye protection should also be used when working with students unable to manage secretions.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be placed in all occupied rooms throughout the School, at key entry points, and in large gathering areas.
- Stone Ridge will use a phone-based safety app and will require all staff and students to self screen prior to coming to campus each school day.
- Students and staff are not to be on campus if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses and must be symptom-free for 48 hours before returning. If a student or staff member has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, and is not in a health care environment, then that person must remain in isolation until they have met the CDC guidelines to discontinue isolation.
- Any student or staff member who shows signs or symptoms of illness should NOT enter the Office of the Director of Health Services. Instead, the student’s teacher or employee’s supervisor should notify the school nurse and proceed directly to the designated health room near the Office of the Director of Health Services.
- Well students (normal bumps, bruises, headaches, etc.) will be treated in the Office of the Director of Health Services.
Testing Positive for COVID-19: Containment Response
- If a staff member or student who has been present on campus is tested positive for COVID-19, the School requires that the infection be reported to the School so that the information can be reported to the appropriate local health department.
- Individuals with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be restricted from entering campus and must remain in isolation until they have met the CDC guidelines to discontinue isolation.
- The student’s/staff member’s cohort/affected division will be required to stay home for a minimum of 24 hours to allow for extra cleaning and sanitation, as well as information gathering.
- The Stone Ridge community will be informed by email in the event of any positive test of someone who has been present in the school, although the name will be withheld for privacy purposes.
- Stone Ridge will comply with any contact tracing protocols from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and/or Maryland Departments of Health and Education to identify all persons that may have had direct contact with a known exposure to COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms. Those individuals will then be notified.
- In the event of a positive test, the school will first follow any government or public health recommendation with respect to suspending or reopening its operations. The School may also use its own judgement about closing in the event closure is not required by a public agency.
- In the event of temporary closure, the School modality would shift to the virtual learning platform.
- Stone Ridge will follow public health and CDC recommendations with respect to cleaning and sanitation. Only EPA-approved disinfectants will be used.
- High traffic areas (bathrooms, stairwells) and frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected multiple times per day.
- All occupied rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily.
- All spaces on campus have been measured and classroom spaces are being reconfigured to increase physical distancing (six feet) between students;
- Desks will be turned to face in the same direction;
- Larger common spaces are being repurposed for student learning;
- Hallway, bathroom, and office signage are being placed to remind our community of physical distancing expectations;
- Plexiglass shields have been installed in offices where staff members may have frequent contact with others;
- Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms as well as entry points into our buildings;
- Window fan units have been purchased to increase fresh air circulation in classrooms;
- Air filters have been cleaned/replaced and/or upgraded where possible;
- Removal of three interior walls to create larger classrooms for Middle School;
- Installation of automatic faucets across the entire campus; and
- Installation of hand-washing sinks to the Carriage House's toddler room and Lower School classroom
Expectations for Shared Materials
- All Little Hearts and/or Lower School classroom toys, supplies, materials and manipulatives should be used minimally and must stay in that classroom. No sharing of supplies between classrooms.
- Certain school materials must stay at school; and certain home materials should be brought to school.
- Teachers and staff will maintain the sanitizing of the classroom and materials following CDC guidelines and products.
- All toys and manipulatives will not be re-used without disinfection.
- Laptops, iPads, and other electronic equipment must not be shared while using, and need to be wiped down several times per day.
- White boards and markers will be wiped down after each use.
- Commonly used classroom materials (scissors, glue sticks, rulers, etc.) will be wiped down at least once per day.
- Library materials will be made available to students as needed; however, physical access to the library may be limited.
Group Sizes on Campus
- To maintain social distancing, Stone Ridge has to reduce the population of students on campus at one time. A rotation schedule to maintain 50% or less of the Middle and Upper School student population on campus will be established; in the fall, this rotation will be based on specific student-group designations; siblings will be placed within the same group as each other.
- Classrooms will be set up to maintain six feet of physical distance between individuals.
- Stone Ridge will follow State and County health department guidelines for group gathering size limits (e.g., 10 or 15 students in a classroom; group size maximums, etc.).
- Student groups will be maintained to the greatest extent possible. For the youngest grades, students will remain in the assigned room.
- Students will have assigned seats in each classroom. This will assist with contact tracing if the need arises.
Arrival, Dismissal, and Transportation
- Students arriving prior to the stated arrival time will not be allowed into the building. The ONLY exception are families with children that span multiple divisions. In this case students should arrive with their youngest sibling.
- Students will be allowed in the building at assigned entrances:
- Upper School
- First and Second Academic: Main entrance by Good Hall
- Third and Fourth Academic: US entrance from the LS Circle
- Middle School
- Grades 5 and 6: Business Office doors by the loading dock via the drop off lane
- Grades 7 and 8: 4th level patio entrance via Hamilton House Circle
- Lower School
- Early Childhood Program: Parents will drop off at door near playground
- Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten: Side entrance into classroom
- Kindergarten through Grade 4: LS main entrance
- Upper School
- Staff and/or students will not be allowed to unbuckle/buckle our littlest learners. They will be available to monitor and assist students into the building.
- Students will enter the building without parents at their assigned entrance door. Parents may not accompany their child(ren) into the building without an appointment.
- Students will be required to proceed directly to their assigned room according to their division schedule.
- All Stone Ridge students and staff must wear a face covering while on campus. Exceptions for eating, drinking, outdoor activity, P.E. and independent work in personal office spaces where physical distancing can be maintained. P.E. teachers must remain six feet from students.
- Students must sanitize hands when entering the building and classrooms.
- Students must adhere to the six foot rule when entering and exiting the building.
- Students who arrive late may use the entrance nearest their divisional main office.
- Faculty will provide additional support at arrival and dismissal doors to re-enforce proper hygiene and prevent unnecessary contact.
- Dismissal will work in a similar manner as arrival. Students will be picked up in the same area that they were dropped off. Younger students will wait in designated areas (maintaining physical distancing requirements) until their name is called. Older students will be dismissed in a manner to encourage appropriate physical distancing.
Movement through the Buildings
- Students will bring all their belongings with them to the classroom, including their coats and bags. No lockers will be used.
- Students will walk single file along the right side of the hallway or stairwell.
- Students should stay five to six steps apart in the hallways and on the stairs.
- Elevators will only be used by students and staff who have a predetermined medical condition. Only one person at a time will be allowed in the Hamilton House elevator (with exceptions for those who need a caregiver), and there is a two person limit for the Upper School building elevator.
- Teachers will prop open classroom doors before and after each class to prevent students from having to touch the door handles.
- Classrooms that have two doors to the hallway will be marked as either “Enter” or “Exit” doors. Teachers that have classrooms with only one door, will control entry and exit as best as possible to maintain student distancing.
- Each student is encouraged to have their own travel size hand sanitizer and/or disinfect wipes, and to use them frequently.
Students should use hand sanitizer every time they enter a classroom.
- Depending on the size of the bathroom, there will be limits as to how many people will be allowed to enter at one time.
- Signage will be placed throughout the campus to remind students and staff of proper physical distancing, personal hygiene, and other school policies.
Visitors and Contractors
- Visitors will be limited and requests will be reviewed by the division head, or designee, on a case by case basis.
- When possible, appointments should be made in advance by contacting the division office at the school.
- All visitors and contractors will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire and a temperature check prior to entering any building.
- All visitors and contractors are required to wear face coverings while on school property and inside any building.
- Any visitor or contractor responding “yes” to any of the health screening questions or demonstrating a temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit or greater will not be permitted to enter the building.
Stone Ridge is evaluating afterschool programming. Afterschool CampusUs programming will not be provided in the fall. Stone Ridge does not expect to operate Middle School Supervised Study or Lower School Extended Day upon moving from Virtual Learning to Hybrid Learning; students are to be picked up at the designated dismissal times for each division.
At this point, Stone Ridge is not able to offer our usual bus transportation next year, although we are looking into alternative options.
Stone Ridge and SAGE are reviewing recommendations specific to Stone Ridge in order to implement a safe and orderly process for preparing, delivering, and consuming individually packaged meals in the classrooms. More details to follow. Once plans are finalized, parents may change their student's lunch election for the year should they choose; we are unable to process such requests in the meantime. We also will communicate at that time about the lunch fee credit provided for those days when students are not scheduled to be on campus (due to the Virtual Learning Model or the schedule particulars of the Hybrid Model).
A comprehensive plan for Athletics and Physical Education will be released by late August. Full interscholastic competition will not resume until later in the academic year, with the intention of supporting an abridged version of all three sport seasons (fall, winter, and spring). See ISL letter. During the 2020 fall semester, the Athletics Department will hold central the health and safety of all SR students while providing opportunities for remote and on-campus physical activity programming in adherence with state, local, and School guidelines. Programming will evolve with the pace of our full return to campus.
During Phase II, some optional in-person outdoor activities for students will be provided on campus to supplement virtual programming from the Athletics and PE Departments.
In addition to physical activity and educational programming that will be offered via a remote platform, the Athletics Department is planning to offer several physical activity and training options outdoors on campus for Upper School students to both maintain athletic conditioning and support overall physical and social-emotional wellness during these unique times. Starting on Tuesday, September 8, options are projected to include the following.
This is an example schedule - a final schedule for on campus fitness and physical activity classes and sign-up details will be emailed to students the week of August 24th. Space will be limited for all programs, due to safety restrictions.
Mornings: 8:00am - 9:00am
Yoga on Gator Field (Monday/Wednesday/Friday)
Spin Class on Campus Walk (Tuesday/Thursday)
Introduction to Golf on Gator Field (Tuesday/Thursday)
Cross Country & Track / Running for Fitness (Tuesday/Thursday)
Lap Swimming (Monday-Friday)
Afternoons: 4:00 - 5:30pm
Strength & Conditioning Training on Gator Field (Monday/Wednesday)
Sport-Specific Training on Fields (Tuesday/Thursday)
Spin Class on Campus Walk (Tuesday/Thursday)
Fitness Walking (Wednesdays)
Saturdays Mornings: TBD
Cross Country & Track / Running for Fitness
Receiving PE Credit:
It will be possible for these activities to count towards required PE credits necessary for graduation. If any junior or senior students are concerned about accumulating enough PE credits for graduation requirements, they should reach out to Dr. Maguire directly.
Similar to the Upper School, traditional interscholastic athletics competitions will be suspended for the first semester. Middle school students will begin the school year with a virtual physical education curriculum focused on general physical activity and wellness. As health and safety protocols permit, occasional on campus programming for general fitness and sport-specific skills will be offered in a socially distanced clinic format. Information regarding this schedule of on campus opportunities will be released later in August.
Athletics and Physical Activity programming will also support and accompany Explorer Series Days when students are on campus to support socially distanced community building activities.
Lower School students will begin the year with remote physical activity and education programming facilitated by the Lower School physical education teachers, with the hope of pivoting into an on campus physical education curriculum up to four days per week to support physical, social, and emotional development when students return to campus. More information about incorporating physical activity into the day while the Lower School is in Phase II will be provided later in August.
Central to Stone Ridge’s commitment to the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education is the role our parents/guardians play in the life of the School. Stone Ridge is fortunate to have an active parent community across the grade levels, and we have found that this positive parent participation and partnership results in an even stronger educational environment for our students and experience for all of our families.
Our parent events at Stone Ridge serve many purposes: providing an introduction for new parents to the School and its mission; building relationships with the faculty and staff; educating parents about curriculum and developmentally appropriate topics; strengthening the sense of community through connections to fellow parents; living the spiritual life through prayer and Mass; and fundraising.
In this unique academic year, we are in the process of thoughtfully reimagining how parents/guardians will remain connected to the School and how we will continue to build, grow, and enjoy our special Sacred Heart community together. Stay tuned for more information from our Director of Parent Relations, the Stone Ridge Parents Association (SRPA) and volunteers, and class parents.
In the meantime, we recognize and THANK our parents during our virtual and hybrid instruction, as you are the guides for your child's education. This is parent engagement at its best!
Although a substantial amount of time and thought that has gone into creating this reopening plan, there are circumstances beyond our control. To be clear, we do not need to follow Montgomery County Public Schools plans or decisions. Our decisions will take into account the local public health environment. Based on public health predictions, we anticipate possible outbreaks of COVID-19 which could potentially disrupt on-campus programming next year.
In the event we are notified by our State and local officials of the need to close our campus or we make a decision to close our campus based on the prevalence of illness in our school community, instruction will continue via the Virtual Model.
When selecting a name for our Continuous Learning Model for 2020-2021, we thought capitalizing on the forward momentum in this period of time was most fitting. While there are great challenges that we face right now, this is also a period of incredible growth and innovation in the industry of education. One thing we know for certain: pedagogy, assessments, calendars, events, schedules, the boundaries of time and space, so many of the traditional structures of “school” have been rethought and re-imagined in recent months. While this has not been easy, we believe the lessons learned will impact teaching and learning forever moving forward. Great schools like Stone Ridge will only get better and stronger by experimenting with and evolving how we use the many resources available to deepen our understanding of how to best serve every student. And while the pandemic will not last forever, the lessons we learn will permanently strengthen our mission and move it forward.
DURING ANY PERIOD OF VIRTUAL LEARNING, WE REMAIN COMMITTED TO:
- Delivering on our Sacred Heart mission
- Providing students with a high-quality, student-centered learning experience
- Finding ways to keep our community connected and engaged
- Communicating regular updates
- Thursday Page
- Inside SR (Parent Portal)
- Access to class pages
- Parent and Student Resources
- Sharing our community spirit on our official Stone Ridge Social Media channels:
We value our Stone Ridge community and your partnership. Together, Stone Ridge will grow in wisdom, faith, and community.
Staff: Staff at Stone Ridge includes faculty, staff, administration, and all service contractors, such as SAGE (Dining) and Thrive (IT).
Mask: Stone Ridge defines the required face covering as a mask which is a part of personal protective equipment (PPE). Therefore, bandanas or t-shirts will not be considered masks for face covering. The mask must be at least a two-ply cloth material, looped behind the ears or tied behind the head, covering the nose and mouth, and secured under the chin. It must fit snugly against the sides of the face. Breathing should be easy. Hands should always be washed or sanitized before putting on a mask. To learn more about proper face covering see the CDC guide. Specific details to follow on masks.
Continuous Learning: Our Continuous Learning model ensures that the Stone Ridge community is fully flexible and prepared for the uncertainty of what lies ahead. The model accounts for various scenarios including a fully virtual scenario and hybrid scenario. The teachers will design their units of study to be adaptable; teachers will be fully prepared to deliver instruction in person or virtually, based on what the circumstances of the virus demand. This will allow our students to have a mission-centered, academically rich school year that incorporates all five Goals of Sacred Heart education, regardless of what the pandemic brings. While we cannot eliminate the disruption that the virus will bring to members of our community having access to campus, our goal is to mitigate that disruption to every extent possible and therefore keep our students fully engaged in growth whether at home or on campus.
Model 1 Virtual Learning allows students to fully engage with teachers, content, and one another virtually. This model employs a range of educational technologies to ensure comprehensive, mission-focused learning for all students. Stone Ridge will work to enable simultaneous synchronous learning as much as possible in this model, but this will vary from classroom to classroom and grade to grade.
Model 2 Hybrid Learning combines in-person and virtual programming. It will consist of a hybrid model of in-person instruction/meeting/activities on campus for some groupings or grade levels, with simultaneous virtual class instruction for the other students who are at home.
Flipped Lesson: Flipped lessons use a methodology for instruction that inverts the traditional approach to the acquisition of content (knowledge and skills). In a flipped instructional model, students receive lectures, presentations, interactive homework, etc. in advance of class; this information is viewed at home. When students return to class in the flipped instructional model, either in person or virtually, they actively engage in application and practice of what they have learned. This model allows faculty to guide learning with more dynamic applications and assessments, to better differentiate and tailor learning for each student, and to deepen real-world understanding of content. In a flipped model, students are truly at the center of learning.
Backward Design: Backward Design has been the chosen pedagogy for Stone Ridge since the 2014-15 academic year; the process is used to design a unit by beginning with the end in mind and designing toward that end (Understanding by Design, G. Wiggins and J. McTighe, 1998). In this pedagogical model, faculty start with the end, the desired results, and then identify assessments, mindful of evidence necessary to determine that the results have been achieved. With the results and assessments clearly specified, faculty can determine the essential knowledge and enduring skills, and, in turn, the teaching needed.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning: Synchronous learning refers to virtual/hybrid learning that happens in real time; students are engaged in lessons and instruction all at the same time. Conversely, asynchronous learning refers to virtual or hybrid learning or lessons that occur without live interaction and at different times.
Live Stream: Live stream/live streaming refers to virtual, online media that is recorded and simultaneously shared at the same time.
Stone Ridge has benefitted from a wide range of professional resources to help with our research and to guide the thinking of the COVID-19 Task Force, the Administrative Team, and all internal staff involved in this planning.
Primary resources have included but not been limited to: the American Academy of Pediatrics; Montgomery County and Maryland State’s Departments of Health (Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Education); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); resources from the National Association of Independent Schools, Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, the National Business Officers Association, Independent School Management, and the Sacred Heart Network of Schools. The School also has a robust parent, past parent, and alumnae community of professionals who are providing support and consultation on a wide range of topics.