As we continue to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in Allegheny and the surrounding counties from which we draw students, we are heartened that the metrics we have been following are trending in a positive direction. Should these trends continue, it will be safe and appropriate for us to resume on-campus instruction. We will phase in the return of students to campus as follows:
Tuesday, September 1
Lower and Middle Schools: No events
Senior School: On-campus orientation for Grade 9 and new students. Families new to the Senior School will have a virtual orientation from 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 2 Virtual Conference Day for Lower School parents/guardians
Virtual Conference Day for Middle School parents/guardians and students
• New families who have not yet scheduled their 1-on-1 orientation to the Middle School should contact the Assistant to the Head of Middle School Olivia Saperstein in the Middle School Office.
Orientation for Senior School students
• These activities will all be virtual, with no students or parents/guardians on campus.
Thursday, September 3 Classes resume on campus for Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Grades 1, 6, and 9. Students attending school on campus will be expected to have the following:
• Completed the self-screening (more information about the self-screening will be forthcoming)
• An appropriate mask to wear during the day
• A backpack to carry books and supplies
• Lunch and a refillable water bottle
• A laptop with headphones for students in the Middle and Senior Schools
All other students will begin online, learning remotely for the first eight-day PANTHERS cycle.
Wednesday, September 16
All students return to campus for on-campus instruction to begin the second PANTHERS cycle of the year.
As indicated in the Reopening of School Plan, if we are on campus, we are prepared to accommodate families for whom a return to campus would be problematic for their child. Details per division are below.
Lower School: In the last weeks of the spring term, several Lower School teachers piloted a new learning platform called Seesaw, which is designed to support more independence among younger learners. For all Pre-K through Grade 3 students who are on campus and those who are learning online, this system will serve as the hub for managing student work and communications. Grade 4 will use Google Classroom for this purpose, and students in Grade 5 will use a combination of Google Classroom and MySewickley in preparation for Middle School. For students who will be at home, we are developing an approach that will support independent work (students will have a series of activities and projects on which they can be working at their own pace and/or in collaboration with their peers). This will complement the opportunities to "join the class" live via Zoom sessions. All Lower School classrooms will be outfitted with cameras, microphones, and speakers to allow students who are remote to be able to dial in to specific activities and lessons of the day. This will require the ongoing partnership between the family and the teachers, of course, and may necessitate adjustments as everyone learns how well the framework supports students learning from home. As a school, we are committed to supporting and facilitating this partnership to ensure that we meet the evolving needs of all involved.
Middle and Senior Schools: Teachers and students in the Middle and Senior Schools are familiar with MySewickley, which serves as the central hub for assignments, resources, and information for students and their teachers. In addition, Google Classroom continues to be another place where students are able to submit their work to their teachers and get feedback on it. For students who will be at home, we are developing an approach that will support independent work (students will have a series of activities and projects on which they can be working at their own pace and/or in collaboration with their peers). This will complement the opportunities to "join the class" live during Zoom sessions. All Middle and Senior School classrooms will be outfitted with cameras, microphones, and speakers to allow students who are remote to be able to dial in to the activities and lessons of the day.
Reflecting best practice in online learning, the instruction will be both synchronous and asynchronous. We will look to create opportunities for collaboration, independent work, and community wherever we can. Our faculty have spent much of the summer engaged in professional development to enhance their ability to deliver a top-notch education. We are confident that we will continue to deliver an outstanding experience for our students, whether that be on campus or online.
In the event that we open on campus, all Middle School students will have the opportunity to participate in either an online Fundamentals and Fitness class or an in-person PE and Athletics class. At 2:20 p.m. each day, students who elect to participate in the online program will be dismissed for the day. Those who participate in the in-person program will be on campus until 3:10 p.m.
Interscholastic competitions will be suspended for the fall. Building the technical and fitness skills for fall sports (tennis, soccer, cross country, and field hockey) will be included in the PE and Athletics class.
On Friday, August 7, the WPIAL announced that the start of fall pre-season would be delayed until Monday, August 24, as the league works to respond to Governor’s Wolfe’s strong suggestion that all schools in Pennsylvania cancel interscholastic sports for the fall season.
Should Sewickley Academy determine that school must start online, we would cancel fall sports.
Should we decide that we will start school on campus, we would then evaluate whether or not interscholastic athletic competition can be undertaken safely. We would base our decision on the guidance we receive from the WPIAL and the PIAA, as well as our medical advisors.
Our medical advisors have explained to us that temperatures taken when people arrive at school may not be as reliable as those taken at home (before people have traveled). Air temperature can have an impact on body temperature, so having people take their temperatures at home achieves a number of objectives: more accurate and reliable results; a more normal arrival process at school, which will be particularly important for younger students; and the avoidance of bottlenecks on arrival, which could heighten risk.
As for trusting people to take their temperature, we know that anyone could do any number of things that would not be in keeping with our expectations. In the end, each member of our community needs to understand how their decisions could impact others. Knowing what the stakes are, we are confident that people will do the right things.
For the health and safety of the entire community, we expect everyone to adhere to and comply with the protocols we have developed. Those who choose not to comply will not be permitted on campus.
Yes. After a final decision regarding the start of school is communicated on Friday, August 14, we will solicit questions and feedback in anticipation of a Zoom-base presentation on Tuesday, August 18, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., when senior administrators at the school will respond to the questions and feedback that have been submitted.
Changes and revisions continue to be made to the plan, which in the aggregate comes to over 40 pages of information. Once a decision regarding whether we will open on campus or online is communicated to the community on August 14, any last revisions will be incorporated, and the plan will be made available in a downloadable PDF format.
Sewickley Academy plans to adhere to the calendar we have shared with families as much as possible. We are prepared to be flexible and deal with the conditions we encounter while also accommodating the differing needs of our families, including our faculty and staff and their families, to ensure everyone’s health, safety, and welfare.
Sewickley Academy has developed policies to outline our return to school guidelines and reopening of our campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be following guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD).
Sewickley Academy will be following guidance and recommendations from the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Faculty, staff, students, maintenance, and Metz employees will self-screen each morning and verify each day that they have self-screened and will not come to campus if they are symptomatic. This should be done no more than two hours before attending school and attendance is to be reviewed by the school nurse or athletic trainer by 7:30 a.m. Students and their families will have access to the Magnus Health app to report their daily screenings (more information will be provided prior to the start of school).
During the first two weeks of school, if a screening was not conducted at home prior to arriving on campus, the student will be directed to Rea Auditorium where the school nurse will assess that individual for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. They will be allowed to remain at school if they pass the assessment. If they do not pass, they will be sent home immediately. After the two-week transition period, any student who arrives on campus without having self-screened will not be permitted to remain on campus.
All faculty, staff, maintenance, and Metz employees must self-screen at home prior to arriving on campus. Anyone who arrives on campus without having self-screened will not be permitted to remain on campus.
Coaches and student-athletes will follow the additional guidelines for athletics and their specific sports.
Vendors, contractors, and visitors will also need to self-screen before arriving on campus and should not visit if symptomatic. If they have not been able to self-screen, the host should notify the school nurse or athletic trainer and escort the individual to the Lower School entrance. The school nurse or athletic trainer will meet them outside of the building to conduct the screening.
Anyone with a temperature less than 100℉ and without COVID-19 symptoms (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea during the school day) will be permitted to attend school on campus.
Face masks will be required for anyone on campus for any reason. This includes faculty, staff, administrators, students, parents, vendors, or other visitors. Bandanas and gaiter-style masks are not permitted, and all face masks with any patterns, markings, or other logos must be appropriate for school use. Current recommendations are for face masks made of cloth to be two-ply and not just a single layer of cloth for maximum effectiveness. Exceptions to the wearing of masks are as follows:
• Because the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledges that the use of face masks may be difficult in Early Childhood, teachers will work to support children as they learn how to safely wear their masks.
• The CDC encourages the use of a face mask. They recognize that wearing cloth face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people. Any individual who may have concerns about their ability to comply with this requirement must discuss possible alternatives with Beth Brown, RN, BSN.
A face mask will be provided by the school for faculty, staff, maintenance, and visitors. Individuals may also choose to wear their own personal face covering.
Families must provide their children with appropriate properly-sized face masks for school use. We suggest two for each day in the event that one is soiled. A paper bag with the student’s name on it must be provided by parents for safe placement during periods of mask-free time.
Masks should be cleaned daily at home.
We will set aside mask-free times, like recess or outdoor class, while maintaining physical distancing.
Masks can also be removed while eating, drinking, or engaging in an activity (e.g. PE class) when spaced at least six feet apart.
Yes. Families who have concerns about their child’s ability to participate in on-campus instruction safely should check with the Director of Support Services along with the school nurse who will work with families who may need accommodations to allow their child(ren) to access our programming remotely.
In order to deliver an outstanding educational experience for our students, Sewickley Academy depends on our excellent faculty and staff, and compensation and benefits are our largest single cost. Also, because Sewickley Academy is a bricks-and-mortar school, most of our costs do not change when the program needs to move online. Because our costs do not change appreciably just because we shift to Virtual School, we are unable to provide tuition discounts to our families.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to follow CDC’s COVID-19 Guidelines. If a case is confirmed to be COVID-19, then the school nurse/athletic trainer will call the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) as required to report and follow their guidelines to determine a course of action. The school nurse will share information about exposure to the affected part of the school community while protecting the infected individual's confidentiality, and the impacted facilities will be closed until they are cleaned and disinfected. In order to return to school, anyone recovering from COVID-19 must be cleared by their physician. Usually, 10 days since symptoms first appeared and three days with no fever (without fever-reducing medication), and other symptoms have improved. If a parent or family member has COVID-19 symptoms, they will need to consult their physician. A parent will notify the school nurse/athletic trainer to discuss the physician’s recommendations. All faculty, staff, students, maintenance, and Metz employees who have a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to follow CDC’s Guidelines for Exposure, which currently requires families to quarantine for 14 days and provide medical clearance from their physician before returning to campus. The school nurse/athletic trainer will follow the Allegheny County Health Department’s Guidelines for contact tracing. Faculty, staff, and families will be notified of possible exposure to a person with a confirmed case by ACHD.
In any case where a person who tests positive for COVID-19 has been on campus, all areas where that individual spent time will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Sewickley Academy will follow the guidance of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Department of Safety and Security in case of any known infection. This extensive guide can be found in the Health, Safety, and Transportation section of our Reopening Plan under the “Decision Tool” tab.
Yes. Bus transportation is expected to be provided by public school districts that currently serve Sewickley Academy. In addition, we will continue to provide private bus service for those families choosing that option.
Busing for student-athletes will follow the protocols developed by the Athletic Department.
Visitors will not be permitted on campus. If families need to drop off something for their child(ren) during the day, cubbies will be located in the vestibule of each division. Please label the item, and we will make sure we deliver it to your child(ren). Special guests will be invited to join classrooms virtually and, likewise, student field trips will be limited but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Divisional overnight trips will be suspended for the year. Instead, students will have the opportunity to experience virtual field trips as planned by the classroom teacher.
Yes. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottle, snacks, and lunch from home but will also have the option to order from a limited “cold” boxed lunch menu provided by Metz and Associates. The boxed lunches will be delivered to the division and distributed to classrooms where students will eat lunch. The cafeterias will not be open to serve breakfast, lunch, or snacks.
Limits on the number of individuals in any space, either indoors or outdoors have been set by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which currently has a limit of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. Sewickley Academy will limit the number of students and faculty per classroom or gathering space to 25 or less, keeping desks facing forward and practicing social distancing to the extent possible. Classes that are typically larger than 25 (i.e. The casts of the Middle School musical and Senior School plays and the chorus) will either split into two groups with an instructor or maintain six feet of social distancing while rehearsing.
Sewickley Academy will take the necessary precautions and recommendations from the federal, state, and local governments, CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), as well as the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) to safeguard the participants and staff of our athletic programs. Sewickley Academy realizes knowledge regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing and will adjust its policies and protocols as new information and treatments become available. See our Framework for the Reopening of Athletic Facilities and the Beginning of Athletic Activities.
Limits on the number of individuals in any space, either indoors or outdoors have been set by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which currently has a limit of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors. In addition, Sewickley Academy is taking the following precautions to increase the safety of students, faculty, and staff:
Each Lower School homeroom will operate as an isolated cohort, or pod, staying together throughout the day. The two homerooms in each grade will function as a larger cohort. These homerooms will maintain social distancing from one another (i.e., the two homerooms will not mix students) but will share common faculty members between them. The Early Childhood (EC) homerooms will each have two assigned teachers, and there will be one specialist assigned to work with the three Early Childhood classes all day. The students in these three classes will refrain from mixing whenever possible, and the students in each homeroom will only work with their two teachers and the EC-assigned specialist. Grades 1-5 will have three faculty members assigned to it – the two homeroom teachers and one specialist who will be only with those two homerooms all day. These will be the only adults these students engage with each day.
In the Middle and Senior Schools, we will limit the number of students and faculty per classroom or gathering space to 25 or less, keeping desks facing forward and practicing social distancing to the extent possible. Classes larger than 25 (i.e., the casts of the Middle School musical and Senior School play and the choral ensemble) will either split into two groups with an instructor or maintain six feet of social distancing while rehearsing. While safety precautions are in place, the divisions will not have planned group assemblies together, nor will they gather in large groups in the common areas. Instead, those activities will happen in advisory, and some of the content will be delivered virtually. Limited numbers of students will be able to work and socialize in the common spaces and library throughout the day. Any assembly over 25 persons will be held in spaces, such as the Events Center or outdoors, where more controlled social distancing can be reinforced.
In the Lower School, virtual assemblies will continue to take place every Tuesday morning, with the exception of those Tuesdays immediately following a day off. In order to comply with limits on gatherings indoors, these assemblies will be delivered virtually to each classroom and will be made available to families to view shortly thereafter.
While state-mandated restrictions are in place regarding the number of people that can gather, the divisions will not have planned group assemblies together, nor will they gather in large groups in the common areas. Instead, those activities will happen in advisory, and some of the content will be delivered virtually. Limited numbers of students will be able to work and socialize in the common spaces and library throughout the day.
The Music Department is currently exploring how chorus, band, and orchestra can happen safely. These classes will only take place if we can be assured that we have done all we reasonably can to reduce the inherent risks. More detailed information will be provided as soon as we have it.
High traffic areas of the school will be cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day. Additional monitoring to ensure compliance with safety rules will be developed in each division in a manner appropriate to the developmental needs of the students.