Like many events in 2020, the beginning of the school year looks wildly different than anything we’ve seen in the past. Still, the administrators and teachers at Las Vegas Day School are very excited to welcome students back to school. We’re acutely aware of the concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19 and we share these concerns. The safety of our students, families, and staff is our number one priority, and we’ve created a detailed COVID-19 Response Plan that outlines the new health and safety guidelines put in place in response to the pandemic.
Even as the landscape of how we live our lives is rapidly changing, our priority remains setting up our students for success and preparing them for the future. Maintaining a structured learning environment is an essential component of this success. As students return to school, we’re making every effort to provide the enjoyable activities associated with socialization and group learning while taking conscious steps to control the spread of dangerous germs. Keeping our students and families safe will require a concentrated effort from students, parents, teachers, and school administrators. You can expect to see these changes to protect the health of everyone involved with our school.
Reduced Interaction Between Students
In the past, large, varied groups of students have shared common areas for convenience. During these uncertain times, it’s vital to make changes that limit large groups. Typical social distancing precautions will be observed in classrooms, but the biggest changes will take place in common areas. Schedule changes to avoid the mixing of groups like staggered pick-up times and restructured recess times will be used on a daily basis. Group activities including assemblies and field trips are temporarily postponed and students will eat lunch in the classroom. The specific details of all changes can be found in our COVID-19 Response Plan.
Limited Campus Access for Parents and Guests
Typically, the LVDS staff is happy to invite guests and parents to be a part of our campus activities during various occasions throughout the school year. During these uncertain times, it’s vital that parents observe certain restrictions to protect students and staff on campus. For the convenience of all parents, a detailed list of restrictions is available in the COVID-19 Response Plan, under the heading Campus Access.
Some of the most notable changes parents should be aware of include the suspension of activities before and after school and very limited access to classrooms. At this time, parents will be required to make an appointment to enter your child’s classroom. To ease this transition for younger students, parents will be allowed in the courtyard for drop-off and pick-up at their child’s classroom door. While these conditions may feel strange at first, they are put in place for the health of our students and families.
Increased Sanitation and Hygiene Practices
It’s hard enough for adults to remember the rules of social distancing and all the new preventive measures everyone has integrated into everyday life. It will be especially difficult for children to remember these practices while dealing with the excitement of a new school year. The staff at LVDS is prepared to guide students through proper hygiene practices and provide alternatives that limit the transmission of germs.
Maintaining an immaculate campus has always been a priority at Las Vegas Day School. Still, we’re increasing sanitation techniques to avoid the transmission of COVID-19. All high-touch surfaces like desks, tables, door handles, faucets, and counters will be regularly disinfected. Enhanced deep cleaning will be done nightly by professionals as well.
Personal hygiene is essential to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. We understand that it can be difficult for children to remember the practices used to help prevent the spread of germs. Our faculty members are prepared to reinforce hygiene practices throughout the day. Students will be reminded to wash their hands after recess, before lunch, and when preparing to enter the classroom. Staff will also remind students to use hand sanitizer throughout the day and avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Structural Changes to Promote Safety
In order to observe social distancing requirements and eliminate areas that are most likely to encourage the transfer of germs, we’ve made some changes to school common areas as well as in the classroom. Students will quickly notice that all drinking fountains have been removed. Instead, touchless water bottle fillers have been placed in multiple locations. All bathroom sinks have been remodeled with touchless faucets and towel dispensers. While middle school lockers are still in place, they won’t be used until further notice, and large spaces like the gym and multipurpose room will be divided into usable spaces.
Students should be prepared for a few changes inside classrooms as well. Desks are placed farther apart and equipped with protective screening. Kinderschool cots will also be placed farther apart during naptime. All classrooms will be equipped with hand sanitizers and appropriate disinfectants. While students will be placed slightly farther apart, classrooms will still be a place for socialization and collaborative learning activities.
We understand that this is a stressful time for all students, parents, and families. It’s impossible to completely eliminate the spread of germs in any facility, but we’re confident that the changes we’re making will help keep everyone safe. All students and staff will have daily temperature checks upon arrival to campus and the school‘s full-time registered nurse will be taking care of all health concerns. As the world struggles to navigate these changing times, LVDS faculty and staff hope to provide a source of comfort and reassurance to all students and families.
While the information in this post will help students prepare students for some of the changes they can expect during upon returning to school, it’s not a complete resource of all the changes and restrictions. Please remember to examine the LVDS COVID-19 Response Plan, and discuss it with your child. As changes occur throughout the year, our website will always contain the most up-to-date information. With the continued collaboration and participation of parents, students, and staff, we look forward to a safe, happy, and productive school year.
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