SCCS PANDEMIC HANDBOOK
& IMPORTANT LINKS
Our most recent Head of School update to parents on COVID-19 will be posted below, with links to archived updates listed underneath.
July 24, 2020
Dear SCCS Families,
The Three Billy Goats Gruff was a favorite story of my children when they were younger. At bedtime they would beg me to tell this story. Each time I re-told the story I varied the names of the goats, the tricks they used to evade the troll, and the manner of the troll’s demise. The surprising yet never-failing defeat of the grotesque troll opened the gateway to unfettered grazing in greener pastures. The idea of three goats crossing a bridge while evading and ultimately defeating a much larger, scary, and threatening troll, captivated their imaginations.
As we anticipate the 2020-21 school year and experience all of the feelings it evokes, I am reminded of this fable. In conversations with the parents of South City Community School, I hear two recurring themes. The first is a shared longing. We all long for our children to see their friends again, to learn and play in freedom, and to enjoy another year of growth and learning at SCCS. We all long for the wide, green grazing pastures of a beautiful Charlotte Mason, Christian education.
The second is a shared fear. We are all on some level experiencing fear of the dreaded realities in the world around us. The troll in our story might be the fear of having to isolate at home for another season, the inability to see a teacher’s face behind a mask, the possible health impacts of a novel virus, or the ambiguity that leaves us not knowing exactly what to do. The troll is alive and well in these times. We all agree that what we are facing is real, evil, and threatening, and we need to find a way past this together.
Today we are sharing our plan to continue your child’s SCCS learning journey in the midst of the hardest set of realities our community has ever faced. Our priority for the 2020-21 school year will always be to return to in-person school whenever possible, and as of today our plan is to begin with a full return to in-person school on August 18th.
Day by day we are monitoring the evolving local public health situation in our area. Through participation in dialogues with other heads of schools in the St. Louis area we are receiving school-specific guidance from local health professionals, including infectious disease specialists at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. While we cannot predict the course this pandemic will take from week to week, we are confident that our school is in a good position to welcome our students back. Our small class sizes, the spaciousness of our facility (which has now expanded to include the extra PK building behind the main building), and our plans for having students stay in cohorts are all important factors. Through a host of preparations for safety measures put into place this summer, including newly acquired resources like Magnus Health and a new partnership with a professional cleaning company, we anticipate being able to welcome our students back into the building this school year responsibly—and joyfully.
In interviews this summer, we heard three primary concerns from our parents about what you need from SCCS in the coming school year: that we support the emotional well-being of your children; that we protect the health of our school community, and that we share detailed information in advance of the school year about how we will conduct school during a pandemic.
In response, we have put together a new SCCS Pandemic Handbook, our plan for the 2020-21 school year. After reading our plan, I invite you to sign up for a grade level Zoom meeting hosted by our Director of Teaching Beth Bethel and me. We will use these meetings as a forum to answer any additional questions that you may have about our preparations for the year. Sign up here to participate.
On July 29th at 8:00 a.m. we will also be hosting a parents’ livestream coffee with Dr. Kelly Munger, a former SCCS parent and early childhood development expert. We will learn from Dr. Munger about how to support the emotional well-being of children during this season. Sign up here to join live, receive the recording, or submit questions.
If a personal situation or specific health concern prevents your child from participating in a full return to in-person schooling on August 18th, please email Erin McLaury so she can find a time to speak with you to learn more about your situation.
Finally, a few have expressed interest in creative ideas to promote socially distant play opportunities for small groups within safety guidelines provided by local health officials. If you are interested in helping us prepare for the year with small projects around campus, organizing small grade specific park play events, or front porch visits in the event of a return to stay-at-home orders, please email me to express interest.
If you have already signed your tuition commitment for the 2020-21 school year, thank you! We also want all of our families to be aware of our new COVID-19 Tuition Commitment Policy that is more sensitive to the changing realities and unpredictability of this school year. For any family who has not yet signed their tuition commitment form, you may do so by emailing Erin McLaury.
As we hear back from any outstanding families next week, we will finalize teacher assignments with a goal of sharing class lists on August 5th.
Thank you for reading and for your prayers. And thank you for walking this bridge with us in spite of the very real trolls we are facing in this present world. SCCS will continue its mission to cultivate the love of learning, pressing forward into greener pastures as we look toward the life to come.
Head of School