Dear Palm Valley Community,
In a time of continued uncertainty, it is my hope that regular and consistent communication from the school through a variety of avenues will provide a measure of tranquility and a sense of direction. Last week, I focused on the end of the year events and the necessary transactional events heading into summer. This week, my focus will be on the planning for the fall semester. As so much of the news is about businesses reopening and colleges making decisions about the fall, you are no doubt wondering what direction we are heading at this time.
First, it is important to state that we always plan with the health and well-being of our kids and staff as a first priority! There is nothing more important than maintaining that as a priority. Secondly, we also understand that, as we begin to plan for next school year…. state and local health agencies may enforce new or changing rules. So, our planning must contain an element of flexibility and agility to accommodate those new directions. A third and important priority is to take into account our families and the anxiety surrounding enrollment. We recognize that selecting a school for your children is always an important endeavor - no more so than in our current circumstances. It is a significant financial commitment that we respect and want to do what we can to alleviate any anxiety.
With all that being said, we are planning on a physical opening of school with the first day being August 26th. “School” will look differently as we implement protocols and procedures to keep both students and employees healthy including staggered start/stop times, required temperature screenings, regular and intensified cleansing protocols, appropriate distancing, the wearing of masks/gloves, etc. We are working on the finer details, which may be different for each division, and will share our comprehensive plan in June.
We also realize that some families may not be comfortable in the short term returning their children to a 'physical' school. So, in light of that, we are exploring feasible options that will allow those families to still be a part of Palm Valley with a virtual presence. As you can imagine, it is an enormous task that will be implemented by both grade and subject level and will take some flexibility on both sides.
I am optimistic that we will be able to shape a plan that will go far in meeting the needs of our families. As a smaller, more nimble school with skilled teachers and generous amounts of space available to us.... I believe that we are in a good position to be able to maintain academic rigor while continuing to meet the social emotional needs of each student. Yes, it will take copious amounts of planning, but I am excited about meeting the challenge!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Palm Valley Board of Trustees and I have been working together to provide enrollment contract addendums that will hopefully meet the financial needs of our families. It is our hope they will be a safety net and financial assurance that will pave the way to more robust student enrollments. Please be on the lookout for those addendums later this week.
While the near future still remains a bit uncertain, I am confident that better days are ahead. Working in partnership, we can accomplish much!
Please feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions or concerns.
Dr. Steven Sherman
Head of School
Palm Valley School