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COVID-19 UPDATES

COVID UPDATE REGARDING DAILY TEMPERATURE CHECKS

Recent information from the CDC has changed the guidance on universal symptom screenings, including temperature checks, for schools.  The newest guidelines state that the CDC does not recommend that schools conduct these screenings as an effective way to identify COVID cases, while the Georgia Department of Public Health continues to recommend that schools conduct temperature screenings. Since starting daily checks of all students on August 12th, our first day of school, we have identified very few students with elevated temperatures.

Upon review of these recommendations from the CDC and Georgia DPH with consideration of the results of our temperature checks, we have made the decision to begin the process of gradually discontinuing morning temperature checks in the car lines, entry to buildings, and on our school buses starting next week.  Our plan is to conduct temperature checks three days per week starting Monday, October 19th and reevaluate as needed. Parents/guardians should monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day, and students who are sick should stay at home.

We will continue to monitor the COVID situation in our school community, area and health district, and seek guidance from both the CDC and Department of Public Health on recommended guidelines and practices to help slow the spread of the virus.  As always, we appreciate your support and understanding.

 

UPDATE REGARDING START OF 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR - JULY 8, 2020

 

Families, Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Our administrative and leadership team continues to monitor the ongoing situation regarding COVID19 and seek guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health in planning for the upcoming school year. Our plan is to have a very traditional school experience beginning on the first day of school, August 6th, with a number of changes that are designed to decrease the spread of COVID19 and improve the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and their families.  

Daily disinfecting and deep cleaning

Common areas and surfaces will be disinfected daily with weekly deep cleaning. Student restrooms will be disinfected three times daily.  Electrostatic sprayers will be used in disinfecting our campus.  

Our custodial staff has received additional training regarding sanitation and disinfection, and we have reviewed our disinfecting chemicals to ensure they meet CDC guidelines.

Hand sanitizer dispensers and sanitizer will be placed in every classroom.  These were ordered in May.  While our supply chain has been interrupted, we expect to have the dispensers in place when school starts.  We will be emphasizing hand washing and coughing/sneezing etiquette with students.

Health and safety protocols

Students, faculty, and staff may wear masks/face shields at any time; however, at this time we have not made a final determination on whether or not they will be required of certain students in certain situations. The Department of Public Health is expected to release mask recommendations/guidelines for Pre-K – 12 schools next week.  For example, we are considering requiring Middle and Upper School students to wear a mask when changing classes and in the hallways.  Again, we are studying this option and will let you know as soon as a decision has been made.

We will conduct temperature checks each morning for all students, faculty, and staff.  Our plan is to conduct the temperature checks in the car line before the student exits the car and, for our bus riders, before the student boards the bus.  For Upper School student drivers, temperatures will be checked before they enter the buildings.  A temperature of 100.4 is considered a fever. If a student’s temperature is 100.4 or higher, the student will not be able to remain on campus or ride the bus to school. If a student’s temperature is 100.4 or higher during the school day, the student will be asked to wear a mask and wait in a designated area until the student can go home with parent/guardian.  The student will only be allowed to return with a Doctor’s note of clearance/return to school order.

We ask parents to keep their student at home if he/she has fever (temp of 100.4 or higher) and/or any of following symptoms: chills, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. The student will only be allowed to return with a Doctor’s note of clearance/return to school order.

In accordance with Department of Public Health guidelines, we will work with Public Health officials regarding positive COVID19 test results of students, faculty, and persons of close contact (i.e. immediate family members).  Public Health will ultimately determine who has been in close contact with an individual who has a positive test.  Such individuals will be subject to the state’s required 14-day quarantine rule. Information regarding close contact and the need for quarantine or isolation if appropriate will be communicated by division.  We will provide additional guidance on this in the future.

Other changes

All of our water fountains will be replaced with refillable, touch less, water bottle refilling stations.  Students will need to bring their own water bottles.

Cafeteria changes planned include: cafeteria staff wearing masks and gloves, pre-made salads instead of salad bar, use of single serve condiments, and drinks dispensed by staff.  Pre-K and kindergarten students will eat lunch in their classrooms rooms or common areas.  We are working on final plans for the cafeteria.

Large indoor group gatherings such as school assemblies will be limited at this time.

The Upper School exam exemption policy for second semester exams will be suspended indefinitely. Second semester exam exemption will be by grades only.  

Middle School students will not dress out for P.E. classes. Middle and Upper School students participating in interscholastic sports will dress out for practices.

As we move forward into the school year, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and environment. I strongly believe that a traditional school day with live, face to face instruction is the best option for our students and our community.  We plan to have a traditional school day unless we are legally required to close, and the more that we all do to slow and limit the spread of the virus, the more likely we are to enjoy a traditional school experience.  So I encourage all of us to live, yet live with a few (sometimes inconvenient) changes.  We will continue to share updated information with you, and we look forward to seeing our students, faculty, and staff on August 6th for the 2020-2021 school year.

W. Carroll

Head of School

 
COVID UPDATE REGARDING START OF 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR - MAY 14, 2020

 

Dear Westfield,

I appreciate the efforts of our faculty, staff, families, and especially our amazing students.  We are truly living through an historic and unusual time, and I know that these times have presented unparalleled challenges both for Westfield and for the entire world.  I am grateful for the many blessings in my life, especially for our school.  Even so, I find myself longing for a return to something that seems normal, and I know that most of you probably feel the same way.  As such, I am writing to let you know about our plans for the safe and complete reopening of Westfield by August 1, 2020.   

Our plans are as follows:

June 8, 2020:  Partial Reopening of Campus. Groups of 8 or fewer students may be allowed on campus for summer athletic workouts or other practices and meetings with proper social distancing and cleaning protocols followed.  Year round faculty and staff report to work and follow social distancing and cleaning protocols.  Admissions tours and activities resume with social distancing and cleaning protocols.    

July 6, 2020:  Intermediate opening of campus and resumption of team athletics and practices.  Changes are being made regarding the use of locker rooms and cleaning schedule.  We are currently reviewing the information on camps and are exploring the possibility of offering camps beginning on this date.

August 1, 2020:  Graduation for the Class of 2020.  Details TBA.

August 3 – 5, 2020:  Pre-planning for our faculty and staff.

August 6, 2020:  First Day of School

While we fully expect traditional school next year, we realize that this very fluid and dynamic situation is ever changing.  We are working on contingency plans that will prepare us for several different scenarios, knowing that, in such unchartered territory, plans and ideas are subject to change. In the meantime, we have ordered a full supply of disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, hand soap, masks, gloves, touchless thermometers, and pulse oximeters.  Our custodial staff continues with daily disinfecting and weekly deep cleaning and has already undergone additional training regarding the proper use of chemical disinfectants. Our administrative staff has had training and consultation on communicating COVID 19 positive tests results of students and faculty.  We are planning to conduct additional training for our teaching faculty regarding distance learning and the use of technology in the event that we are required to temporarily transition to distance learning at any time during the upcoming school year.  However, I am forecasting students attending a traditional school day throughout the next academic year.

I have learned throughout this pandemic that forecasts are difficult particularly when information is incomplete and inconclusive.  In addition, national and local authorities may impose certain requirements of our school, and we will certainly follow any such mandates.  Thus, as I lay out our plans, please understand that the plans are subject to change.  So again, I am forecasting having traditional school throughout the 2020-2021 Academic Year.  The political and economic environment is moving towards a full reopening of the economy as long as our health care system is not overwhelmed, and that is exactly what we are planning towards.  We appreciate your support and your prayers, and we look forward to reopening our campus and seeing students on the first day of school in August.

Sincerely,

William Carroll

Head of School

 

COVID UPDATE REGARDING GRADUATION PLANS - MAY 1, 2020

 

Dear Seniors and Parents and Guardians of Seniors,

Graduation is hereby being postponed until August 1st.  I am writing to give you a bit of information regarding the decision.  First though, I want you to know that I feel awful that your senior year has been irreparably altered by the pandemic, and yet I continue to hope for a traditional graduation experience that celebrates this once in a lifetime milestone.  And I am proud of the Class of 2020!   

I have solicited both formal and informal feedback on two different scenarios for holding graduation in two weeks.  I appreciate all those who have shared their ideas and thoughts and data including the senior class officers who have spoken with me.  I found that many people are concerned about the number of guests that could attend if we had the program this month, and the larger the gathering becomes, the harder it is to ensure the proper degree of social distancing.  In addition, shelter in place orders have been extended for the medically compromised and for the elderly.  I also want to let you know that I received a recommendation to postpone the event from Amber Erickson who works for the Georgia Department of Public Health and is Director of Epidemiology, Community Assessment and Research Initiatives for the North Central Health District.  She has recommended that we postpone the event based on data from the Middle Georgia area.  I have also heard from several members of the medical community who expressed grave concerns regarding a gathering of this size.

Over the past 6-8 weeks of the pandemic, I have learned that forecasting various scenarios is challenging if not impossible as information changes daily.  As such, I do not yet know what Baccalaureate on July 31st and Graduation on August 1st will look like.  I am thinking through at least three scenarios which will depend upon pandemic conditions as we get closer to that time.  We hope to have a traditional graduation experience; however, it is possible that attendance may have to be limited.  Please pray for us to have wisdom as it is surely needed during such times.   

We do plan to distribute caps and gowns on May 8th, as well as have the Seniors turn in their books, school uniforms etc., and we will be providing final details about this early next week.  Also, we will be doing an internet broadcast to recognize graduates sometime on May 15th and will give final details as they become available.     

We miss you, we pray for your health, and we pray that God bless you all,

William Carroll

Head of School

 

COVID UPDATE - APRIL 16, 2020

 

Dear Westfield Families,

We pray that your family is safe and healthy.  As we continue distance learning, we appreciate all that our students, teachers, families, and staff are doing to support our academic program.  The challenges of the pandemic are real; and yet, I believe that the history of Westfield shows that we will emerge from this crisis as a strong and united community.    

We would love to reopen our campus before the end of the school year.  With each day that passes, our leadership team is concerned that the campus may not reopen; however, we have not made a final determination.  If we can legally and safely reopen school, we will do so and will return to face to face live instruction.  We would also love to host our traditional end of year events such as honors programs, class parties, field days etc.  However, we have made tentative plans to conclude the academic year using distance learning and ask that you please make note of the following:

The last day of classes for grades Pre-K through 11th will be Friday, May 15th.  The final day for any new assignments will be Monday, May 11th.  There will be no exams or end of year tests for Middle and Upper School classes except for the AP and dual enrollment classes.  AP exams for Upper School students must be taken online at home through the College Board following the directions provided by AP/ College Board.  Dual enrollment courses will conclude under the direction of the professor for each class. 

The last day of classes for our seniors will be Thursday, May 7th, with the final day for any new assignments on Monday, May 4th.  Seniors will need to turn in all books, uniforms, etc. on Friday, May 8th.  Drop off details will follow at a later date.  As mentioned above, senior AP exams will be taken online at home through the AP/ College Board.  Baccalaureate and commencement exercises are planned for Thursday, May 14th and Friday, May 15th; however, if by May 1st those dates are not possible, then baccalaureate and commencement will be Friday, July 31st and Saturday, August 1st. 

Lower School student packets will continue to be available for pickup every Monday from 9 am until 6 pm in the LS turnaround.  Please be sure to take the top packet.

Many of you have inquired about our plans for Camp Westfield this summer.  We plan to make a decision about whether or not we can offer our summer camp program on or about May 1st.  

The teacher, administrators, and I are available to help and support you so please get in touch with one of us if we can help in any way.  Again, thank you for your support.  We appreciate your continued prayers for our school community, state, and nation.

Sincerely,

William Carroll, Head of School

 

COVID UPDATE - APRIL 2, 2020

Westfield’s distance learning will resume on Monday, April 6th, following this week’s scheduled spring break, and continue until the remainder of the school year as per Governor Kemp's executive order. Our faculty and staff are working diligently to ensure the quality of our academic program, and we appreciate your support and your efforts to partner with us in providing distance learning. Truly, we are blessed to have an excellent faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping students learn whether it is face-to-face classroom teaching or virtual instruction at a distance.

We know that this is a very challenging situation as we continue to journey through unchartered waters.  Less than a month ago, our students were learning in the classroom, having lunch in the cafeteria, enjoying time on the playground, socializing together in the Quad, playing spring sports, and preparing for state literary competition and our spring musical.  Our seniors were getting ready to take a step into the “real world” as part of our Westfield Senior Experience shadowing week.  To say that yesterday’s news from Governor Kemp was disappointing is an understatement; however, we know that the health and safety of our school family, our community, state, and nation are at great risk, and we must do all that we can do to keep everyone safe by following the shelter-in-place orders and the CDC/public health guidelines.

Fifty years ago, Westfield was founded a group of dedicated families who took a leap of faith to create a new school that would provide a Christian environment and a higher quality education for their children.  Since that time, Westfield has overcome challenges and weathered the storms.  We are a strong school community, and we will be stronger because of this current time in our school history.  We are Westfield.

Thank you for your support, patience, and understanding as we continue to monitor this situation and make decisions.  Most of all, we appreciate your prayers.  We continue to pray for God’s protection, and we know that He is faithful.

COVID UPDATE - MARCH 31, 2020

On behalf of our faculty and staff, we miss seeing our students and families. We are blessed to have the opportunity of working with them. We love seeing how they are working hard on school at home, maintaining positive attitudes, and celebrating our virtual spirit week. We look forward to their return to campus. 

As you are aware, Governor Brian Kemp has issued an executive order to close schools through Friday, April 24, 2020.  While we had hoped to return to campus next Monday, we believe it is in the best interests of our students, faculty/staff, and families to follow this order.  After this week's spring break, we will return to distance learning on Monday, April 6th.  It is our hope and prayer that we will be able to reopen our campus on Monday, April 27th as per the Governor's order.

We are working with our Middle and Upper School faculty to enhance our distance learning capabilities via MyWestfield (RenWeb) and live instruction/tutoring sessions through Microsoft Teams.  Lower School families will receive an email from Anne Moore, Lower School director, with information and details about school packet pick up beginning next Monday, April 6th.

I want to personally thank each of you for your support, encouragement, and prayers during this challenging and unprecedented time in our school history. Certainly, this pandemic is a situation that is unique and unprecedented.  We are saddened and disappointed that we cannot have our students on campus for face-to-face instruction, as well as school activities and special events; however, we know the health and safety of our community and school family are our most important priorities.  We are truly grateful for our school family.

Today, we will be announcing a new service, FLIK to Go, offering take home meals (casseroles, pasta dishes, salads, and desserts) along with home staples such as milk, bread, ground beef, chicken, toilet paper, etc. available for purchase and curbside pick up from Westfield.  We hope that this service will be helpful to our school families while also helping to support our partnership with FLIK and the FLIK employees. 

On behalf of our entire faculty and staff, thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue distance learning.  We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation every day and will apprise you of decisions as soon as we are able.  Please continue to check your email daily.  

We pray that you and your family have a safe and healthy spring break and enjoy spending time together. Thank you for your continued support and your prayers for our school, community, state, and nation.   

COVID UPDATE - MARCH 26, 2020

This morning, we notified all faculty/staff and all families of our students that a member of our faculty/staff had received a positive test result for COVID-19. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with this individual and their family. Please understand that the school is legally required to protect the privacy of this individual who shall remain anonymous. Second, the school has been regularly disinfecting all of our indoor common areas in accordance with the guidelines published by the CDC. We will conduct additional disinfecting of any areas that this individual would and could possibly have had contact. Third, we have no way of knowing when this individual could or would have been contagious nor can we know who could possibly have been exposed. However, in an effort to provide full transparency, we want all of you to know of the potential for exposure to the virus because of shared common areas. We encourage everyone to continue efforts to comply with the safest and best practices that are being recommended by the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health.

As we all are dealing with the many challenges of this pandemic, I know that I am having some difficult moments adjusting to a different model of education, and I imagine this to be the case for many in our community. I believe in face to face live instruction for many reasons, and the research has clearly shown that live, face to face instruction, is the best model for the vast majority of students. However, we are living through unprecedented times, and the transition to electronic courses is simply the best option that we have at this moment. Our teachers and staff are working on how to best educate, mentor, and support our students and their families during this time. I know that we all need patience as we adjust to a different model of learning, and as we adjust to greater uncertainty.  

Our first goal in transitioning to a distance learning model is to make sure that parents in grades PK-6, and students in grades 7-12, know how to access teachers’ resources on MyWestfield (RenWeb). RenWeb can behave slightly differently on different browsers, and can look different in the mobile application. We believe that RenWeb offers the simplest, most efficient means of communicating with students and families regarding the learning activities that teachers design for students. Naturally, the learning activities for our students vary greatly depending upon the age and subject area, and the way that our teachers use RenWeb will vary in the same manner. Please email helpdesk@westfieldschool.org if you need help with RenWeb. In addition, we all be utilizing e-mail to communicate with students and parents. We want to be a great resource for our families, and we want to communicate well. The trade-off to such an effort is that your e-mail inbox can get full. We are available, and we are here to help you during this challenging time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

We are making plans for the short, intermediate, and long-term future in light of the current state of the pandemic. As our nation, our state, and our region increase the quantity of COVID-19 tests over the short term, we hope to gain some clarity regarding our plans for returning to our regular school day. As of this moment, we are literally monitoring the data and the recommendations of state and federal agencies. While maintaining social distancing recommendations, we are developing training and have already begun training a few teachers on how to live webcast a meeting with students. Of course, such a tool will require adequate internet access and hardware on the student and teacher end; nevertheless, our goal is to have this ready should the social distancing continue. We are also in the early planning stages regarding our end of year events and activities including parties, field days, awards programs, and graduation. Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make decisions about such programs. In addition, we are considering the possibility of offering certain grocery staples and meals to our families through our partnership with FLIK Independent Dining. Please watch for more details on all of these matters.   

Please be in prayer for our employee and family and for good health and safety for our students, the faculty, and the families of our community. Please pray for wisdom for our local, state, and national leaders. We ask you to pray with your students about the pandemic, praying for health care providers, praying for our leaders, and praying for those who are not well.

 

COVID UPDATE - MARCH 16, 2020

Our campus will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 18th until April 6th. During this period of time, no school activities, events, athletic practices/games, etc. will be held.  We have transitioned to online learning for core academic classes (no electives or enrichments).  MyWestfield (RenWeb) is our primary vehicle for communication and online learning.

We are making plans for the short, intermediate, and long-term future in light of the current state of the pandemic. As our nation, our state, and our region increase the quantity of COVID-19 tests over the short term, we hope to gain some clarity regarding our plans for returning to our regular school day. As of this moment, we are literally monitoring the data and the recommendations of state and federal agencies. While maintaining social distancing recommendations, we are developing training and have already begun training a few teachers on how to live webcast a meeting with students. Of course, such a tool will require adequate internet access and hardware on the student and teacher end; nevertheless, our goal is to have this ready should the social distancing continue. We are also in the early planning stages regarding our end of year events and activities including parties, field days, awards programs, and graduation. Right now, we just don’t have enough information to make decisions about such programs. In addition, we are considering the possibility of offering certain grocery staples and meals to our families through our partnership with FLIK Independent Dining. Please watch for more details on all of these matters.    

On March 26th, we notified all faculty/staff and all families of our students that a member of our faculty/staff had received a positive test result for COVID-19. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with this individual and their family. Please understand that the school is legally required to protect the privacy of this individual who shall remain anonymous. Second, the school has been regularly disinfecting all of our indoor common areas in accordance with the guidelines published by the CDC. We will conduct additional disinfecting of any areas that this individual would and could possibly have had contact. Third, we have no way of knowing when this individual could or would have been contagious nor can we know who could possibly have been exposed. However, in an effort to provide full transparency, we want all of you to know of the potential for exposure to the virus because of shared common areas. We encourage everyone to continue efforts to comply with the safest and best practices that are being recommended by the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Please be in prayer for our employee and family and for good health and safety for our students, the faculty, and the families of our community. Please pray for wisdom for our local, state, and national leaders. We ask you to pray with your students about the pandemic, praying for health care providers, praying for our leaders, and praying for those who are not well.    

Our 50th Anniversary Gala & Auction originally scheduled for this Saturday, March 21st was postponed. Please watch for more details on the event and the auction, as we hope to reschedule this event as soon as possible.  We appreciate the tremendous support already shown for the auction/gala, and we look forward to celebrating our 50 years of Westfield soon.

The Westfield Senior Experience (WSE) Week for our senior class, originally scheduled for March 23 – 27, has been cancelled.  Seniors are being given instructions to contact their mentors.  

The Booster Club Golf Tournament and Raffle, originally scheduled for April 17th, has been postponed.

Additional changes to our school schedule may be necessary as we continue to navigate this unprecedented and rapidly changing situation.  We will continue to share information as it becomes available through MyWestfield (RenWeb), email, and our social media sites.  As always, we are grateful for the privilege of educating your child, and we appreciate your patience and support. We ask for your continued prayers for our school community and our nation during this time.