7380 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

Gillispie School / covid19  / HoS Update: 6/30/20

HoS Update: 6/30/20

Hello Gillispie Families,


To those of you returning and those of you who are new, welcome! As it currently stands we are very excited to start our year on campus Tuesday, September 1. At this time, the School feels that with the safety and health measures being put into place around distancing, including the strategic use of masks, stepped up hygiene measures, increased campus cleaning, and proper ventilation, we can come together daily on campus. While it is impossible to eliminate all risk, the School has worked diligently to plan for a learning community for 2020-2021 that protects the health and safety of our members to the best of our ability.


Given that there is not a 100% guarantee of complete safety from Covid-19, the School must remain flexible and ready to pivot if the situation changes at any time before or during the school year. In addition to the On-Campus Learning Model, we have plans for a Hybrid or Blended Learning Model for elementary students that toggles between at-home and at-school learning, which would be put into effect should distancing requirements change and make it necessary to reduce the number of students on campus at one time. If the state and/or local government reinstates a return to shelter-at-home ordinance similar to what was experienced last spring, we will provide a Distance Learning Model for early childhood and elementary students, building on what we learned from our previous experiences.


Whether learning takes place on campus or off-site, we are designing a program that is educationally robust and driven by Gillispie values. We will regularly ask for feedback from teachers and parents as we move through what will likely be a dynamic year.


General Guidelines

Procedures are being put into place for the health and safety of our families and staff, and we are making families aware of these guidelines so they know what to expect. We are following specific guidelines from the State of California Community Care Licensing (CCL), as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the State and San Diego Public Health Departments.


COVID-19 Preventative & Emergency Measures are fluid and will be updated as required by governing entities.


What new safety protocols will be implemented at Gillispie?

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of potential exposure, we have updated our health and safety protocols to accommodate the recommendations of federal, state, and local agencies. These include:

  • Enhanced sanitation practices

  • Additional and continuing student and employee training related to health and safety

  • Hygiene protocols including frequent hand washing and proper use of restrooms

  • Health screening procedures

  • Limited and stable groups of children and teachers

  • Physical distancing practices

  • Face coverings as required

  • Increased ventilation and access to outdoor spaces

  • Limited campus access (students, staff, and essential personnel)

Will masks be required?

For students in Kindergarten through Grade 6, masks will be required to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Parents are to provide masks for their children that are either disposable surgical masks or cloth coverings. If a child loses or forgets his/her mask, the School will provide a disposable mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance on how to wear and handle the mask for greatest effectiveness (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)


For children in our early childhood program, wearing masks will be optional.


As well, Gillispie employees will be wearing masks or face shields when working with other individuals on campus. Parents are asked to wear a mask when they are dropping off and picking up their child(ren) whether they are in their cars or on foot.


What will an On-Campus Learning Model look like?

  • In addition to the health and safety protocols mentioned above, parents can expect staggered student arrival times between 8:00 and 8:30 AM and departure times between 2:00 and 2:30 PM to accommodate for delivery of a more concentrated curriculum and varied instruction models.

  • To allow for additional classroom cleaning during the day, a portion of the school day will be spent in shaded outdoor elementary classrooms and early childhood outdoor areas, which will also be regularly cleaned.

  • Elementary student desks will be spaced six feet apart and each student will have access to their own “toolbox” of regularly used supplies.

  • Early childhood students will be placed in stable groups of children with the same teachers and will remain with them throughout the day.

  • For their social-emotional development, early childhood students will not be expected to socially distance while in their limited stable class groups. Teachers will not discourage interaction among other students within their group.

  • A combination of specialty classes will be presented either through video or live, depending on the grade level.

  • There will be scheduled times that allow elementary students to get exercise twice daily while maintaining physical distancing.

  • School-provided healthy snacks will be eliminated; families are encouraged to provide extra snacks from home. If families purchase lunch from outside vendors, food must be in sealed containers. Ki’s will continue to be the School’s designated vendor offering prepackaged items only.


What happens if students are not able to return to campus due to their own existing medical conditions or because of the health of immediate family members? Or what happens to students who need to self-quarantine?


For elementary students: Though we cannot exactly replicate the on-campus learning experience, we are developing an at-home model that will allow students to continue their learning.

  • A device such as a laptop, Chromebook, or iPad will be provided to the student to use at home.

  • Access to educational software, services, apps, and resources will be provided through the above devices.

  • On-campus lessons (audio and video, either live or recorded) will be delivered to the student through Gillispie learning management systems.

  • Opportunities to connect and collaborate with fellow distance learning students and teachers will be provided through daily office hours and morning meetings.

  • Responsive, friendly technology support will be available to parents and students during school hours.


For EC students:

  • For students electing not to return to campus this year, we invite you to consider Gillispie at H.O.M.E. (Hands-On Mindful Exploration), a lively distance cohort experience for our littlest learners. Current Gillispie students that participate in the 9-month subscription will have a space reserved for on-campus learning for the 2021-22 school year. For more info about this new program, see https://www.gillispie.org/gillispie-at-home/

  • Students who need to self-quarantine will utilize the distance learning model to stay connected to classmates and teachers with at-home activities similar to current classroom explorations.


What happens if a student or employee gets sick with COVID-19?

The School Nurse will immediately consult with the San Diego County Public Health Officer and will:

  • Proceed as directed by the Agency;

  • Notify all students, their families, and our employees while maintaining privacy protocols;

  • Carry out contact-tracing measures as outlined by the San Diego County Public Health Officer. This may include quarantining members of a classroom, an area of campus, or the entire school.


Will there be before- and after-care options?

For the present time, there will be no before-school care. We will provide after-care options, most likely closing at 5:00 p.m., once we establish who requires it. The survey attached will allow us to see what our families’ needs are. For your planning purposes, the School may have to increase after-care fees because cohort groups will have to be smaller requiring more faculty to be employed.


What will a Distance Learning Model look like for elementary students?

As adults, we grew as an educational community. Teachers and administrators met regularly in the spring to put practices into place that focused on learning and connecting. This summer every faculty member is receiving professional growth that will add to their understanding of and expertise around distance learning. From surveys and discussions of students, teachers, and parents, the School is committed to:


  • Providing synchronous and asynchronous opportunities in academic and specialty classes

  • Daily meetings with teachers in whole groups and small groups

  • Office hours for children to individually ask questions of their teachers

  • Class meetings where students can share with one another to build classroom community engagement

  • Providing Learning Management Systems that organize and streamline instructional resources, communication, and access to learning activities

  • Gathering virtually through Monday Morning Meetings and regular parent webinars


What will a Distance Learning Model look like for early childhood students?

As a licensed provider of childcare through the State of California Community Care Licensing Department (CCL), it is our intention to remain open for essential workers (as defined by the Health Order) should another stay-at-home order be put into effect. For those that do not continue attending on campus, and for any school closures due to COVID-related measures (for example, deep cleaning), the following will be provided:


  • Age-appropriate home learning activities and suggestions through a distance learning online platform

  • Learning supplies needed for activities

  • Opportunity for daily virtual touchpoints with a teacher and other students

  • Gathering virtually through Monday Morning Meetings and monthly parent webinars


For early childhood students, any COVID-related closure that lasts more than two weeks will result in a tuition discount of 35% for every day that the School is closed after the aforementioned two weeks. Students who continue to attend on-campus offerings for essential workers will continue to pay full tuition.


What is the tuition refund policy for families who choose to disenroll?

Families may withdraw without penalty by July 31, 2020. Any family that withdraws prior to July 31, 2020 will receive a refund of any funds paid for 2020-21. We have made this one-time exception to our typical policy because enrollment deposits were made before anyone understood the impact of the pandemic. Additionally, the first payments will not be due until August 1, 2020. This applies to the annual and 10-payment plans.


What can families expect in terms of communication?

Communication updates will be shared with families throughout the summer on a timely basis. In addition, more specific information will be presented in the Student and Parent Handbook which will be online by mid-August. Please take a few moments to complete this brief survey which will help us implement the plans described above. We ask that it is returned by Friday, July 3.


If I may, I ask that you process this information privately and not in front of your children. As we know, children are barometers for our feelings, and if you can remain open-minded and excited about boldly taking on the upcoming year’s opportunities, they will respond with more enthusiasm and less fear. It seems the constant in our lives is change, and Gillispie is dedicated to delivering an education that will challenge and support our students to learn and grow, developing both their resilience and flexibility. We cannot wait to see your children!


Alison Fleming

Head of School

No Comments

Post a Comment

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to Gillispie's Community Blog!