July 2, 2020
Sweetwater Episcopal Academy strongly believes that schools are fundamental to child development and well-being, and generally provide our children academic instruction, social and emotional skill development, safety, improved health, opportunities for physical activity, and other benefits. SEA believes that the in-person, on-campus learning modality inarguably provides the student with the optimal learning environment.
With that well-recognized and well-documented reality, and recently reiterated in school reopening guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Sweetwater Episcopal Academy strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school. Therefore, SEA has continued to refine and upgrade its policies for school reopening based on available evidence from relevant governmental agencies, public health officials, community leaders, and professional educational organizations supporting independent schools across the nation. Several key principles inform these policies:
● Policies must be flexible and responsive to new information as it becomes available.
● Policies should be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the local community. It should be done with close communication and guidance with state and local public health authorities.
● Policies should be practical, reasonable, and appropriate for a child’s developmental stage.
● Policies should be focused on supporting the overall health and well-being of all children, families, our teachers, staff members and our SEA community.
● COVID-19 policies, in particular, are intended to reduce, not eliminate, risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of COVID transmission, but the implementation of several coordinated interventions can significantly reduce that risk.
The SEA Re-Entry Plan, Phase II, accessible here, is a continuation of COVID-19 updates amplifying our previously published Re-Entry Plan, Phase I, released June 1. In addition, there is a recent article from the American Academy of Pediatrics that supports the importance of children returning to school. You can read the article here. As more and more details are made available on a daily basis, it is important to remember that the pandemic itself, prevailing medical knowledge and treatment experience, and preparations to best return to normal operations are in a constant state of flux. We will continue during the summer and upcoming school year exploring, learning, and adapting “best practices” in order to provide your child and all of our employees with the safest and best learning environment possible. Thank you for your understanding and continued support throughout this journey.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Yours in Education,
Know! To Reassure and Support Children During the COVID-19 Crisis (Prevention Action Alliance)
Talking to Your Child About the COVID-19 Crisis: A Parent Resource (National Association of School Psychologists)
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
How can I help stop the spread of Coronavirus?
To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 and flu, follow these important tips:
- Follow the guidelines and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
Who can I contact with questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Florida Department of Health number for those with COVID-19 questions is 1-866-779-6121 and can be reached 24/7, or you can email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
How long will SEA be closed?
Per the School Closure Order by Governor DeSantis on March 13, 2020, along with the Florida Department of Education and with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, SEA will be closed through April 15, 2020. During this time, there will be no school or school-sponsored athletics, activities, or meetings. Student instruction is continuing online. We will continue sending email communications and posting new updates regarding the extended school closure on the school website and on social media.
What do I do if I am having trouble accessing assignments for my child during the extended school closure?
Please reach out to your child’s teacher or Head of School via email and they will be able to help troubleshoot the situation.
What if I am having technology issues during the extended school closure?
If you are having tech issues during the extended school closure, please contact email@example.com.