A Message From David Lowell 12-11-20

Today the Lower School gathered virtually for Giving Chapel, the first in a series of special chapels. As with so many things this year we have had to adapt our usual practices and think creatively how to sustain our traditions. I am especially appreciative of Kristen Haferbecker, 2nd grade teacher, for all her good work inspiring and supporting our students to realize their power for good through this service project. You are welcome to join us for our annual Hanukkah Chapel on Tuesday, December 15 and the most raucous of all chapels, St. Nick Chapel on Friday, December 18.

Shortly after we return from Winter Break, we will be hosting a series of virtual Lower School curriculum coffees from 9:00-10:00am on Zoom. I hope you will join us.

  • Kindergarten: Monday, January 11
  • Beginning Years (PreK-1st): Friday, January 22
  • 2nd and 3rd Grades: Friday, January 29
  • 4th and 5th Grades: Monday, January 25

Limited in Person Campus Visits
I want to share my thinking around why  we postponed the Lower School Limited in Person Campus Visits at this time. As is so often the case during these COVID days information changes regularly. On 11/30 we received communication from Washington County Health that due to the Washington County metrics for the past weeks being consistently high all Washington County schools were only able to do Comprehensive Distance Learning with very limited in-person instruction based on the Governor’s requirements. The recommendation was to as much as possible do Comprehensive Distance Learning only for safety. I interpreted this to mean that we should further limit in-person visits to campus and communicated this to the LS faculty, wanting families to  have sufficient time to change plans before the scheduled visits on Friday, 12/4.
On 12/3 the OES COVID Response Team met with Washington County Health to discuss our practices and their expectations. After this meeting the school received additional guidance that we could continue to follow our current limited on campus visit practices with extra vigilance.  At this point I decided rather than reschedule what we had recently cancelled, that we would simply plan on campus visits after the break. Having already disrupted family plans once, I did not want to do so again with even less notice.
We all know that children benefit from learning together in school for so many reasons. We also know we need to do this safely and intentionally at a time when the rate of COVID infections is rapidly rising and at unprecedented levels. Today Chris Thompson, Kirstin McAuley and I are meeting to continue working on our campus learning plan for Lower School, so that we can continue to offer limited in person visits to campus for our students as state and county guidelines allow. We will be sharing details of these plans during the upcoming Lower School curriculum coffees.
Lower School Reminders:

Self Quarantine: I am beginning to hear from families about self-quarantining before going to visit family over Winter Break. Know that we will ask you to self quarantine for two weeks after your return from interstate travel.

Gift Giving: As the season of giving approaches I want to remind you of the OES Gifts for Faculty Policy from the OES Handbook.

LS Student Zoom Accounts
The students that have not logged out of their student Zoom accounts still have active Zoom accounts and are able to chat, have meetings etc. Please check your children's iPads to be sure they are signed out.  Here is a video from Debra Hernanz explaining how to sign out of Zoom.