Announcement From Head Of School, 3/12

Dear Palm Valley School Families, 

Following a productive planning meeting with the school’s Administrative Team and a lengthy all-school Faculty and Staff Meeting yesterday, I wanted to send out an update on our COVID-19 planning and potential changes upcoming. 

First, a reminder that Grandparents and Special Friends Day has been postponed to a later date, TBD. We will, however, still be releasing students at noon tomorrow for the pre-planned early release. This early release time will allow us to complete some important tasks as part of our COVID-19 Plan. The first of which will be a “Close and Clean” protocol that many schools are employing. Our custodial staff are working hard to not just clean, but to also disinfect, many surfaces that do not receive regular attention, but that see a lot of direct contact. This includes door knobs and bars, light switches, water fountains, shared technology, study surfaces like desks and tables, and more. Staff are using the cleaning and disinfecting guidelines recommended by the CDC. Many of these are already employed nightly in our Preschool, but they will now be implemented in all areas of campus. Friday will allow us to provide a full, deep clean with these disinfecting practices everywhere on campus and give the weekend for any fumes and chemicals to adequately dissipate before students return on Monday.

Secondly, we have prepared plans that cover the implementation of online learning should the school close, and have in place both an internal and external communications structure in the event we cannot access campus or a member of the Faculty/Staff requires quarantine. This Friday, the early closure gives us an opportunity to hold our first remote Faculty Meeting via Google Hangouts. The Faculty have been working hard and are fully prepared to provide students with quality online instruction in the event of a campus closure. We already use a great deal of technology integration and tools in our day-to-day instruction, and a school closure would mean that we can readily rely on those same resources that Faculty have such familiarity with such as Google Classroom, Khan Academy, RazKids, PenPalSchools, Google Hangouts, Kahoot, and more. Additionally, we are looking at new resources such as Global Online Academy,  which offer additional training, tips, resources, and best practices in the industry for online instruction to educators, specifically in light of COVID-19 concerns.

We are also continuing to practice “social distancing” and assess events and gatherings as they approach, week to week. As this is a constantly evolving issue, we are making decisions each day regarding changes to our practices, cancellations or postponing events, and more. We will continue to update you as events require cancellation or postponement - thank you for your cooperation and understanding as this unfolds. 

This week, the Spirit Cafe will move towards individually wrapped food items only for sale at lunch time and we are assessing other events with food service/treats served on campus to ensure we are doing all we can to limit exposure through any and all food consumed on campus. Please ask your students to not share their food or drinks with others, and we will monitor that as we are reasonably able to, during lunch time, etc.

Lastly, we are so grateful for all the communications and feedback that we have received from families about COVID-19 and those affected in our community. We have had a few communications regarding rumors of exposure or infection, and we have investigated each to ensure they were addressed appropriately or dispelled. We want to thank families for bringing rumors and other information to our attention as soon as you are able. It helps to keep our community safe and gives us the best opportunity to validate or dismiss rumors from real information when you notify us right away - so thank you! I continue to be grateful for the work of our Faculty and Staff as they prepare for all possible outcomes, and for the graciousness of our families to trust us with the care of your children each day - even in light of COVID-19. We support every family who makes a decision to self-quarantine or stay home during this situation and will continue to make every reasonable accommodation for students not attending classes right now or in the future. We will continue to keep you updated with news and changes, and we will continue to research and seek out best practices to meet the needs of our community in this challenging time. Thank you!

Do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions, concerns, or resources.

Best, 

Susan Rice
Head of School