Information and Updates
We are happy to announce that we are opening our campus for in-person instruction in the fall! Grades K-6 will begin on-campus instruction on September 2nd. Grades 7-12 will start remotely on September 2nd and will begin on-campus instruction on September 8.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding as COVID-19 is unfolding. Because of the size of our school and the availability of outdoor spaces, The Waldorf School of San Diego will be able to facilitate students on-campus 5 days a week. We are actively researching and developing the safest and most effective way for our students to learn in the classroom. The health and safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff are our highest priorities. We will be uploading updates of further logistics on our COVID-19 page.
We are pleased to announce that on-campus tours have resumed! Tours are limited to one family at a time and proper social distancing protocols will be observed. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot today! We are available for any questions or inquiries regarding enrollment for the 2020/21 school year, please refer to our Tour page or email email@example.com to connect with our Admissions Director, Julie Joinson.
For general questions about COVID-19, information about community resources, or if you are uninsured, click here for more info. Please check this page regularly for updates.
Communications and Updates
8/26: School Re-opening
Greeting All –
As many of you are aware, San Diego County has been removed from the COVID watchlist. Yesterday, we received correspondence that the school waiver process has been suspended because San Diego County is giving all schools the green light to open campuses as of Sept 1st. With this news, we have made the decision to proceed with our plans to open the lower school campus for Nursery through 6th grade on September 2nd. We have also made the decision to move forward with opening both campuses for the remaining grades, 7th – 12th, on September 8th.
We are very excited to welcome our students back to campus. In preparing for our return, we want to provide you with detail about drop-off and pick up procedures.
- Each morning, parents must log in to Parent Square and fill out a health screening. Students who do not have a completed screening may cause significant delays in the morning drop-off process, as the screening will have to be done onsite before your child is allowed on campus. Please be sure to take a minute to complete the screening before you leave your home each morning.
- Upon arrival to campus:
- Early Childhood students should be dropped off at their designated drop-off location at 8:30 am where we will check names off the health screen list, verify temperatures, make sure everyone is wearing the proper mask and have a water bottle. Teachers will gather students and escort them to their play areas.
- Grades students at the lower school should be dropped off in the drop-off lane starting at 7:45 am where we will check names off the health screen list, verify temperatures, make sure everyone is wearing the proper mask and have a water bottle. Students will be escorted to their cohort path where they are greeted by their teachers and sent off to class.
- High School Students should be dropped at the front gate at 8:00 am where we will check names off the health screen list, verify temperatures, make sure everyone is wearing the proper mask and have a water bottle. They will then be sent across the street to the Colina pool where they will do morning circle before being escorted to their cohort area.
- Pick-up from campus:
- Early Childhood students will be at their designated pick-up location with their teacher or assistant. When parents arrive, students will be escorted to their car.
- Grades students (1st-6th) will be released from their cohort unit to admin staff in front of the school when they receive a text from the parent they have arrived.
- Grades students (7th & 8th) will be escorted to the Annex house by their teacher where parents will pick up.
- High School students will be released to designated locations along the Colina campus driveway where parents will pick them up.
We want to stress the importance of arriving at school on time; this allows us to provide the best support to our families and our teachers. We also want to encourage everyone to please review the Health and Safety plan posted on our website.
For classroom specific questions, please contact your child’s teacher directly.
Together, we can make this safety process quick and successful for an easy drop-off and pick-up experience. We are looking forward to a great 20/21 school year!
[Friday, Aug 28 at 8:52 AM]
A Re-opening FAQ sheet will be posted this weekend, addressing all of the questions (and more) on this post.
We have attached the At a Glance Calendar for 20/21 – it will be updated when and if are able to add more in-person events. The calendars on the school website, BigSis and now Parent Square are all synced and updated.
7/21: Coronavirus *Enrollment Deadline*
We have received inquiries asking us to consider extending our enrollment deadline. Unfortunately, we are not able to extend the deadline without jeopardizing our ability to plan and open for the 20/21 school year.
To summarize this is what WSSD is offering for the 20/21 school year:
We have submitted plans to you for opening with on-campus learning. However, at this time, the State of California is requiring schools to open with distance learning if the county in which the school is located is on the State COVID Monitoring List. Once that county has been off of the list for 14 days, the school can begin in-person learning. A school may apply for a waiver to this rule. As mentioned, WSSD has begun the application process for this waiver. Unfortunately, the county has not provided a timeline for approval of the waiver. In our preliminary discussions with the county about the waiver they have indicated that our plans are favorable. We will open for in-person learning when we receive the waiver, or once San Diego County is off of the Monitoring List for 14 days, whichever comes first.
We are one of the very few schools in the county who will be ready, willing, and able to provide in-person learning as soon as legally permitted to do so. We sincerely hope that you will join us!
If you are opting to enroll in our homeschool program please contact our business office at firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be required to sign your current enrollment contract. Once you have notified the business office of your switch to homeschool your TADs account will reflect the homeschool tuition.
Thank you for your continued support
7/20: Coronavirus *Update on 20/21 Reopening Plan*
Greetings All –
We are providing you an update and our response to the State of California’s announcement on Friday regarding the safe opening of schools and the delivery of new guidelines for reopening.
In short, the new guidelines provide that schools located in counties that are on the COVID Monitoring List may not physically open for in-person instruction until their county has come off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days. San Diego County is currently on the Monitoring List.
There is an exception to the opening restriction. Local health officers may grant a waiver to schools that apply to allow certain schools to reopen for in-person instruction, regardless of the county’s status on the Monitoring List.
What does this mean for WSSD?
These new guidelines do not apply to Licensed Day Care Centers. Since WSSD is a Licensed Day Care Center, our Early Childhood Program is unaffected and Nursery and Kindergarten classes will open on campus as planned on September 3, 2020.
Grades and High School
We have already begun the application process to local health officers for the waiver to allow WSSD to re-open and will keep you apprised of any updates.
In the case that the waiver is not granted, we will be subject to the Monitoring List restriction and will not be permitted to have in-person learning until San Diego County has been off of the Monitoring List for 14 days. Counties in California are being added and subtracted daily to the Monitoring List based on changing conditions within those counties. We are hopeful that with the new restrictions that were imposed on San Diego County beginning July 5, the numbers used as metrics for the Monitoring List will begin to decrease in such a way that San Diego will be removed from the Monitoring List in the near future. In the meantime, we will provide a robust and rich distance learning experience, just as we had prepared for in our re-opening plans. As soon as schools are given the go-ahead to reopen we will open and will be ready to welcome everyone back on campus pursuant to the re-opening plans we circulated last week.
We would like to remind our families that WSSD is a non-profit private organization with a zero balance budget. We do not have an endowment or reserves. 80+% of our budget costs are covered by tuition. With that in mind, we would also like to remind our families that the vast majority of operational costs of the school remain the same with distance learning. Faculty and staff continue to work full time to deliver the curriculum remotely. We require the same financial resources to pay the faculty and staff that deliver and support distance learning, as we do during on-campus learning. Because of this, it is not financially feasible to reduce tuition during distance learning. Doing so would require WSSD to close.
Since we are one of the few schools in the county that will be ready and able to open for on-campus learning, we have received a flood of applications for the 20/21 school year. We would like to remind you that the deadline for re-enrolling families in the 20/21 school year was extended to this Wednesday, July 22. We cannot plan and open the 20/21 school year without knowing the tuition dollars that we will be collecting from your enrollment contracts.
Because of the complexities involved in planning for the school year amid a pandemic, we will not be able to accept new enrollments mid-semester. We will consider new enrollments in January, space permitting. Because of the changes made to the configuration of the school to accommodate physical distancing, enrollment openings will be very limited. We understand that it is difficult to proceed with imperfect information, because we, as a school, are doing the same.
We understand how turbulent these times are for families. We are committed to the continuity of your children’s education throughout these unprecedented times and providing them with a safe and thoughtful place for them to come into their own. We will continue to support your children’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development in the new school year in the most supportive and healthy way possible. We will keep you informed. WSSD is here for you. We are all in this together!
7/15: Coronavirus *20/21 Reopening Plan*
Greetings All –
As promised, we are writing to you today to provide you with our plans for re-opening the school for in-person instruction in the fall. We have gone and will continue to go through extensive planning and consideration to bring our Waldorf family back together albeit in new, but safer ways. All of the details of the plan have been informed by our intention to provide high-quality in person learning while following best practices aimed at keeping our community healthy. Our reopening plans are guided by the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for in-person re-opening of schools and they are based on the documented benefits of school for children and their families, as well as the understanding that the coronavirus is a very different disease in children than adults. The success of our re-opening requires hard work, preparation, flexibility, and collective action.
Health and Safety First
Our plans depend on the dedication of our school community and we call on each and every family to continue to follow health guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as set out by health officials To that end, we highly encourage all families to follow the advice of experts when not at school — wearing masks when out in public, physically distancing from those not in your household, practicing frequent hand washing measures, and following other state and local guidelines to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Teachers, students, and parents will also need to remain as flexible as possible. WSSD may be able to reopen and then need to close if there is a resurgence of the virus.
A cornerstone of our plan is our ability to minimize circulation of students and teachers outside of dedicated spaces and class groups. In consideration of the safety of these cohort unit communities, we ask that families refrain from travel to high risk areas. If such travel is unavoidable, please notify us so that we may stay informed, support one another, and take extra precautions, if necessary. Of course, we must all avoid public gatherings where a safe social distance cannot be maintained. We ask that these guidelines be adhered to two weeks prior to the start of school, during the school year, and during breaks with less than two weeks duration. As a Waldorf community, we all share the value of caring for each other and with your help, we can minimize the chance that our in-person instruction will be interrupted due to COVID-19 within our school community.
Recently, San Diego and Los Angeles Unified School Districts have announced that they are not opening their campuses in the fall. It is evident that the size of the student populations, the configuration of their campuses, and the cut in school budgets would not permit the Districts to make the accommodations necessary to ensure the health and safety of on campus learning. Thankfully, since WSSD has small class sizes and a campus with many outdoor areas, we are able to proceed with plans for re-opening in a safe and responsible way. Our plan to utilize these outdoor spaces to conduct a majority of classroom instruction. This plan was created in compliance with the school re-opening guidelines provided by the San Diego Public Health Department, the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education
(CDPH and CDE guidelines school reopening).
Reopening plans for each part of our school are attached.
While no one prefers to wear face coverings, at the start of the school year, masks or face shields will be required for 1st-12th grade students and teachers while indoors. Masks or face shields will not be required outdoors unless physical distancing is not possible. Evidence has shown that masks or face shields reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by as much as 6 times. Combined with physical distancing indoors, masks or face shields reduce our risk of spreading the virus even more and helps us avoid shutdowns. We will consider relaxing this requirement in the future as evidence and health department guidelines change. Outdoor, physically distanced mask/shield-optional time will be maximized and indoor masked/shield activity time will have breaks built into the schedule to limit the length of time masks or shields need to be worn.
We understand that the use of face coverings at school is not what any one of us imagined. These are certainly unprecedented times. We have been in contact with other Waldorf schools who are holding summer camps where children are required to wear face coverings and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The children have been so delighted to spend time with one another that wearing a face covering has been a non-issue. We are very encouraged by these anecdotes.
Children in Early Childhood will not be required to wear face coverings while they are with their own class, and they will not be physically distanced. Evaluations of child care centers world-wide suggest that young children are not acquiring the virus from their peers. Developmentally, facial communication and play is most important in this age group. This is in alignment with our evaluation of current data and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations which states:
“In Pre-K, the relative impact of physical distancing among children is likely small based on current evidence and certainly difficult to implement. Therefore, Pre-K should focus on more effective risk mitigation strategies for this population. These include hand hygiene, infection prevention education for staff and families, adult physical distancing from one another, adults wearing face coverings, cohorting, and spending time outdoors.”
We understand that some families are not comfortable having their child(ren) on campus because of health concerns. WSSD’s Faculty and Administration have worked hard to offer an option for these families to ensure their child(ren)’s continuity of learning. To that end, WSSD is offering a Homeschooling Option for the 20/21 school year to accommodate the needs of these families during the pandemic. This Homeschool Plan will be an option for Grades 1-8 and for Kindergarten students of mandatory school age (6+ years). As a friendly reminder, the Homeschool Option is NOT Distance Learning. For the Homeschool Option, the parent is the teacher and will be supported by a Homeschool Coordinator. If you enroll your child(ren) in the Homeschooling Option, your child’s place will be held in his or her class. The plan and pricing for the Homeschool Option is attached.
For those in our community who will join us on campus, we must be clear that conditions may change such that state and local guidelines may require us to close the campus and provide distance learning. We will be ready to accommodate remote learning quickly and effectively.
The creativity and resilience of the Waldorf spirit helps make this amazing education accessible to every family who wants it and that still holds true, even in a pandemic.
With all that said, we are pleased to provide you with our reopening plans for the fall. There are five plans attached here: (1) Early Childhood, (2) Grades, (3) High School, (4) Homeschool Option, and (5) Health and Safety.
For questions regarding:
Early Childhood Plan – please contact Katherine Giglio at email@example.com
Grades Plan, High School Plan, and Homeschool Plan – Please contact Clare Knauss at firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and Safety Plan – Please contact Rachel Davis at email@example.com
If after reviewing these plans you find that your needs are not met, you will have until Wednesday, July 22 to let us know that you would like your deposit returned (and any already paid 20/21 tuition payments). Those families who have not yet enrolled their child(ren), similarly, will have until July 22 to deliver their deposit to hold their child(ren)’s place for the 20/21 school year.
We would like to remind the community of our Tuition Assistance program which has recently been revised and expanded. We warmly encourage any families who find themselves in financial hardship, for whatever reason, to please contact Jehanne Spriggs at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about Tuition Assistance. We also encourage any current Tuition Assistance recipients whose needs have changed to contact Jehanne Spriggs. We remain committed to preserving each and every family as part of our school community, and to welcome all families, making Waldorf as accessible as possible.
Maintaining the strength and unity of our community is integral to a Waldorf experience; we must, therefore, strive to maintain the cohesion of our connection through shared experiences and time on campus, to the extent that this is possible. We are doing our best to listen to what parents need, and offer it to them. We are committed, above all, to ensuring the future of our school, for the good of our beloved students, families, faculty, and staff.
Perhaps most importantly, we should remind ourselves of the essence of Waldorf education that we hold so dear: offering meaningful, developmentally appropriate experiences to young people so that they contribute towards goodness, beauty, and truth in the world and fulfill their human potential for the future.
Finally, we want to acknowledge and express our deep gratitude to the Faculty, Administration, Staff, and parents who have contributed valuable hours, and heartfelt consideration in creating these plans for the fall. This has been a Herculean task.
On behalf of the faculty, administration, and board, we want to express our warmest thanks, as always, for your continued support of the Waldorf School of San Diego.
6/26: Message From Leadership
As we plan for re-opening in the fall, we want to reiterate that we continue to make the following our priority:
- The health and safety of our community
- The educational experience of our students
- The long term financial health of the school
In furtherance of these priorities we have the following updates for the GRADES:
After multiple walk-throughs of the campus and measurements of the classrooms to accommodate physically distanced desks, we are very pleased to announce that each Grade will remain together as a cohort; there will not be a need to split classes. There will be classroom changes for some Grades to ensure that proper distancing is possible. In addition, in spite of changes made to accommodate health and safety measures, the full curriculum, including all subjects, will be delivered, with some modifications to music and movement classes. Recess will be offered; Grades will have separate play areas.
While we are thrilled that WSSD will be positioned to offer, with health and safety measures in place, what we believe is the most near-normal educational experience in the county, we also anticipate and will be prepared for possible school closures as may be mandated by the State of California. As further discussed below, more details will be forthcoming.
We understand that some families would like more details about the 2020/2021 school year before they can commit to enrolling their child(ren). To accommodate those needs amid extraordinary circumstances, and to properly ensure the financial health of the school, we are offering the following:
On July 15, we will provide you our complete re-opening plans for EC, Grades, and the High School (including our plans in the case of school closures), and our health and safety measures plan. In the event the re-opening plans do not meet your needs, you will have until July 22 to let us know that you would like your deposit returned (and any already paid 20/21 tuition payments). Those families who have not yet enrolled their child(ren), similarly, will have until July 22 to deliver their deposit to hold their child(ren)’s place for the 20/21 school year. For some of you, tuition payments for the 20/21 school year begin in early July. You may contact the finance office at email@example.com
Putting these plans together in short order is no small feat. Reconfiguring a school under normal circumstances takes months. Our small but mighty school will be completing it in weeks. We thank you in advance for your patience.
We want to remind the community of our Tuition Assistance program, which has been revised to provide additional assistance. We warmly encourage any families who find themselves in financial hardship, for whatever reason, to please contact Jehanne Spriggs at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about Tuition Assistance. We also encourage any current Tuition Assistance recipients whose needs have changed to contact Jehanne Spriggs. We remain committed to preserving each and every family as part of the school community, and to welcome all families, making Waldorf education as accessible as possible.
Finally, dear parents, we want you to know that the school faculty and staff will keep working and meeting with dedication and tenacity throughout the summer. We are getting ready to prepare to offer your children a fall learning experience that is as rich as possible. We recognize that we are all under great stress with this unprecedented situation. Although we have been instructed to stay physically distant, this does not prevent us from keeping our hearts together. We send you and your families blessings and good wishes during this time.
Thank you for your continued support,
6/18: Message From Leadership
Dear Cherished Community:
We are very grateful to all of you who took the time to fill out the survey we circulated last week. Your responses and comments are extremely helpful in navigating our plans for the 2020/2021 school year. We understand that there are varying viewpoints and comfort levels with respect to health and safety. We acknowledge also that school offerings and schedules significantly impact working families. We must balance these considerations along with the social and emotional health of the children.
Today we have an exciting announcement to make. Because of the size of our school and the availability of outdoor spaces, WSSD will be opening up our campus in the fall with on-campus instruction 5 days per week! Although we are not able to provide all of the details to you today, we can give you an outline of our plans. Please note that we are providing this information to you today to help you plan in these uncertain times, and these plans are not final and subject to change.
The final plans for EC, the Grades and the High School will look slightly different based on state guidelines and licensing requirements. Generally speaking, most classes will be split into two groups to enable smaller class sizes for increased physical distancing indoors. These smaller classes will alternate between indoor space and outdoor space (with shade and protection from the elements). In addition, classes will remain separate from one another so that students and teachers will mingle with the same cohort as much as possible.
The re-opening task force continues to work diligently on planning all of the health and safety measures on the campus. Here are some examples: temperature and symptom checks upon entering campus, hand washing stations, additional bathrooms, physically distanced desks in Grades and High School classrooms. We will provide you a very detailed description of our health and safety precautions as soon as they are finalized. We understand that our policy regarding masks will be of great importance to many of you. The task force is taking up the work on this and is examining state and local guidelines and the policies of other Waldorf and local schools in order to formulate our own. Next week we will provide you with more specific timelines of when you can expect to receive more information.
We understand that families may not be ready to decide whether or not to send their children to campus until all of the details of the opening are provided. Our policy around this regarding contracts and deposits will be provided to you next week, after our May board meeting scheduled for Monday, June 22 at 4:00.
Some of you have asked about the composition of the re-opening task force. It is comprised of a team of faculty for each of: Early Childhood, Grades and High School; the Director of Pedagogy, the Administrator; and parents, including a board representative, a pediatrician and an epidemiologist.
We understand that this communication may raise more questions than it answers. However, we want to provide you what we can at this time. Planning for the fall amid a pandemic is hard work and there is no playbook; we are a small school with all hands on deck and are working as quickly and as diligently as we can to transform and pivot to the changing times; we request your patience, understanding, and flexibility.
We also acknowledge that opening up the campus for in-person instruction may not accommodate the needs of some families who wish to remain at home. We are exploring a distance learning option for those families, but at this moment we cannot guarantee that we can provide both on-campus and distance learning, because of limited financial and human resources. We will keep you updated.
Here is a note from our Director of Pedagogy, Clare Knauss:
One of the main pillars of Waldorf education is the human aspect of our work. The special relationship created between teacher and student is paramount. When the teacher imparts the content of a lesson, lit up with fire and enthusiasm for the subject, magic begins to happen. Human connection, seen in the play of facial expression in the teacher and the interest and response in the mimicry of the student, improves learning outcomes, and develops social wellbeing. Human interactions constitute the heart of Waldorf education. The task of teachers at all levels is to support the developing individuality of each student and the social health of the class as a whole. Relationships are strengthened and deepened because they are cultivated over many years in interactions that electronic means cannot replace. This is why we are so happy to get back to school and provide the students with a safe space in which to learn. With the new modifications in preparing for getting back to school, we want to assure you that this is already a major step towards getting back to normal and deepening teacher and student interaction in the aforementioned manner.
Thank you for your continued support,
5/21: Message From Leadership
As we move closer towards summer and the end of the school year, we remind our Waldorf community that our educational values have not changed during these challenging times. We encourage the pursuit of individual passion and a drive for learning. We emphasize play and movement for every child as a healthy life foundation. Daily we seek the experience of nature, which replenishes us. In our homes we strengthen the foundation of family with shared activities, renewed closeness, and warmth, which is more important now than ever.
Our community, our country, and our world is clouded in uncertainty. We empathize with the anxiety and discomfort caused by uncertainty surrounding your businesses, your financial situations, your relationships, and what your children’s school will look like in the fall. We are writing to provide an update to you on our plans for the 2020/2021 school year and to share how we are assimilating information and formulating decisions in this environment of uncertainty, and to provide you assurances in any way we can.
WSSD has established a re-entry Task Force, composed of board members, parents, faculty, and staff, that is working in consultation with medical and health professionals, to develop a safe and comprehensive plan for our return to campus. As will be discussed below, the State of California has yet to propose guidelines for K-12 schools. Therefore, we are unable, right now, to know exactly what the school experience will be like in September. What we can provide to you right now as we strive for flexibility and transparency in our process, is an outline of the three major areas we are working on.
We are focusing on these areas:
• The health and safety of our community
• The educational experience of our students
• The long term financial health of the school
To that end, of this you can be certain:
• We are committed to preserving each family as part of our school community through these challenging times
• We are committed to providing a rich Waldorf educational experience for our students
• We will communicate plans as they develop
Earlier this month Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled the Resilience Roadmap for State Reopening that lays out how California’s economy will open in four phases. As of today, we are in the first part of Phase 2. The opening of schools, with modifications, is included in the second part of Phase 2. The Governor has indicated that the second part of Phase 2 could begin as early as July. We currently do not have any plans to open earlier than the originally scheduled start dates of the 2020 school year in September. Once the state has entered into the second part of Phase 2, the State will provide guidance for the opening of schools.
Without State guidance in place, we recognize that we must forge ahead with adaptive planning that will evolve as the science, guidelines, and circumstances do. Despite this uncertainty, we are developing plans based on the following assumptions:
• School campuses will reopen in the 2020-2021 academic school year with the probability that California will experience continued outbreaks of COVID-19. We must prepare for the potential of localized, rolling closures of the school triggered by outbreaks.
• Every aspect of our school, including our physical campus, our academic calendar, daily schedules, programming, social habits, will require modifications based on guidance from national, state and local health officials, which will likely include physical distancing, wellness checks, masks, frequent disinfecting of classrooms and other areas, as well as intermittent transitions to distance learning.
• We will not be returning to a pre-COVID normal for some time and physical distancing is here for the foreseeable future. The risk of a surge in cases that would require a return to a statewide or local shelter at home order is very real.
RETURNING TO SCHOOL: THREE PLANS
In order to prepare for the fall we are developing three plans. Specific decisions and additional plans regarding on-campus modifications will be finalized over the next few months and shared as soon as is practicable. The following is a work in progress:
PLAN A: MOSTLY “NORMAL OPERATIONS” AT CAMPUS
In Plan A we welcome all students and staff back to our beautiful campus. The community will follow specific health precautions which will be in accordance with our local, state, and federal requirements and may include such things as:
• Adults must attest to being symptom-free each day
• Adults will be wearing masks
• Building staff will have sanitizing and disinfecting protocols in place
• We will reduce or eliminate shared materials
• We will re-imagine classes, festival and community gatherings
PLAN B: THE HYBRID MODEL
In Plan B we recognize that there may be scenarios where the campus is open, but due to possible state limitations on class size, for example, it may not be feasible to have all students on campus at the same time. Students will receive instruction on campus part of the time, and via our Beyond the Classroom distance learning platform part of the time, combining synchronous (live) instruction with asynchronous (accessible anytime) instruction in a schedule intentionally designed to provide a healthy school/life balance. This hybrid model does not change our mission or our commitment to provide a rich Waldorf educational experience. In addition as a part of this model we are exploring an avenue for those families who are not ready to have their children return to campus to continue to attend the school from home.
PLAN C: CAMPUS CLOSURE/DISTANCE LEARNING
If the State requires school campuses to remain closed, we are planning for campus-wide distance learning via our Beyond the Classroom platform.
Plan A is our preferred option, if feasible. We are brainstorming creative ways to make a Plan A work in the face of likely class size restrictions. We are also in close contact and collaborating with other Waldorf schools around the country, as well as AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America), and will be following closely what Waldorf schools in Europe have done, as some have already reopened.
In light of all the challenges we face, we are determined to implement the closest match to a full Waldorf experience in the new school year. We hope to build a sense of familiar routine and security for the students in a time of change, which will do much to increase their resilience. Most importantly, we will be developing this new landscape together, as a community of caring individuals, committed to raising the children in our care.
In closing, we want to reiterate how grateful we are for our incredible community. We would not be able to accomplish what we have without the support of every one of us, who are doing what would have seemed impossible a few short months ago, personally, and professionally, and you have granted us grace at every turn. For that, we want to express our heartfelt appreciation.
5/15: Message From Leadership
As, sadly, we are unable to gather and be together at our campus, and therefore unable to participate fully in the traditions of our school, here is a taste of what WSSD has been up to the past couple of weeks.
- Graduation plans are in the works for 12th and 8th grades! We are working on planning outdoor ceremonies that comply with state COVID-19 guidelines and look forward to being able to celebrate these rites of passage with both our rising and graduating students.
- The virtual presentation of the 8th grade projects was a huge success. These projects give our students the ability to showcase their amazing talents If you were not able to attend please find links to the presentation at 8th grade project link.
- WSSD celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week by delivering flower bouquets to all teachers and assistants. Thank you to our community for their generosity in this endeavor.
- The Gala Committee is busier than ever planning our first ever Virtual Benefit. Stay tuned for more details!
- We hope you enjoyed our Celebration of Spring communication!
We also want to acknowledge the community, faculty, and staff in their work of pivoting the school to these new times. Here are some of the efforts in that regard:
- The school has established a Task Force that is working on the re-opening plan for the 2020/2021 school year. More details about plans to date will be provided to the community next week.
- We are creating a virtual tour of the school that will be completed soon and uploaded to our new website.
- The Business Office continues to work with families on tuition relief and financial planning for the upcoming year.
- PG and LC continue to evaluate distance learning successes and opportunities. Your feedback is strongly encouraged!
- We want to express our gratitude to the employees dedicated to facilities. They are working tirelessly to keep the campus clean and sanitized as teachers, admin, and staff performs some work on campus. We require sign-in sheets and enforce social distancing, the use of masks, and limited movement within the campus for everyone’s health and safety.
And, a note from our Pedagogical Director, Clare Knauss:
“Educate through the Head, Heart and Hands” has been the motto of Waldorf educators for many years. The idea behind this is that learning should involve the whole human being, with sensory experiences involving will activity, enthusiastic feeling, and engaged thinking. Today, with Covid 19, we have a new reality where it is not possible to engage in person with one another. Yet the teachers are rising to the challenging task before them, adapting and working an artistic Waldorf curriculum into a creative online offering. A none too easy task.
In the Grades, the teachers are engaging the students online for social time, sending work home generally through Google Classroom, doing some live lesson Zooms, arranging office hours and parent meetings. Teachers continue to check-in, endeavoring to meet the needs of students and parents for rhythm and connection.
Rhythm and connection continue to be the cornerstone of work in Early Childhood with emails and phone calls helping with home life, advice given for games, crafts and recipes, parent meetings through Zoom, office hours, and letters written to the children. In the High School, ongoing work is happening rhythmically in seminar blocks, with track lessons in languages, humanities, math, and the arts continuing mainly with live Zoom, Google Classroom, and plenty of homework. Online learning is more conducive for older students, but they still miss each other and enjoy creating a feeling of connection in weekly class meetings.
We are striving as teachers, to not just deliver Waldorf curriculum, but to make sure students continue to feel safe, supported, and still a part of their class community. We believe that it is even more important to sustain human connection, even while maintaining social and physical distancing. Zoom meetings allow us to see familiar faces and feel comforted. Class Meetings continue to take place. We would like you all to know that we are committed to upholding the connection between students, teachers, and parents throughout this difficult time until we can be together again, and we truly look forward to that!
Thank you for your continued support,
4/10: Response from Community
The impact of COVID-19 is felt by everyone in our community. Many are under tremendous stress—parents trying to work while at home with small children, high school kids taking care of younger siblings while trying to attend to their own education, some have lost jobs, and others are putting themselves at risk while working overtime on the front lines. None of us can ever know the challenges faced by every family in our community, but what we can do is offer unconditional support. Community, personal connection, and something larger than each of us are at the heart of our mission and pedagogy. It is one of the things that draws families to our school; it is something each family creates and contributes to. And like every one of you, our staff is doing our very best to keep these ideals at the forefront as we make our way through these challenging times.
This is uncharted territory for everyone, including the school. We have tasked ourselves with finding innovative ways to provide some continuity in the education of your children, looking ahead to ensure that our doors can remain open so that you have a place to return when this crisis is over, and finally, to be true to our values and provide support to those in our community who are in need due to financial hardships or otherwise. We know every situation is different and would like to take a moment to address that, particularly in regards to the responses we received following our communication about tuition.
We realize that this sudden halt in the economy has had varying impacts on our community. Some families have had the good fortune to have little to no financial disruption, some have experienced a reduction in their income, while others have completely lost their source of income. The question is: as a community, how can we support each other through this? Every one of us is feeling the stress of uncertainty—distanced from our loved ones and disrupted from our routines for an unspecified period of time with the unanswered question about the length of our current financial situations. Yet despite the tension we are all feeling, we have seen so many steps up to do what they can in support of others.
To that end, we want to express our sincerest gratitude for the immediate willingness that so many of you in the community have shared to protect the income of our teachers and staff, even while your own jobs may be in jeopardy. We are eternally grateful for your giving hearts. Your continued financial contributions ensure that we have the staff needed to do the challenging work of rapidly transitioning our curriculum to a distance learning platform as well as to continue paying the expenses that allow us to keep our school afloat. What you are doing is more than paying for a commodity or service, you are allowing for our unique educational curriculum to thrive and continue. The imagination of Waldorf education is a safe and insightful place for children to fully come into their own during their childhood development, and your financial support contributes to the entire Waldorf community by helping to make sure that Waldorf education can continue to exist, and in turn, change the world we live in.
But please know that we will ask you to pay what you can. For those whose finances have been impacted, this may feel like a burden. While we are asking for your support, we want to ensure that we are also working with those of you in dire need to provide the support to survive in this current situation. And so, if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot currently make your full tuition payment, please reach out to our business office at email@example.com
We want you to know that WSSD has also applied for government-provided assistance made available to small businesses and nonprofits. We are seeking support from both the CARES Act and the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. We are in constant communication with our bank to get help in facilitating the approval of these applications. We are counting on this relief to allow us to absorb the delay in tuition payments so that we can be sensitive to our family’s needs.
Finally, we want to take a moment to thank our teachers. We count on them as the spiritual pillars of the Waldorf environment for our children and without them, none of this is possible. During the time of hiatus, our teachers have not stopped their work. The physical absence of the children in our classrooms makes their work difficult, but that is a challenge they have worked hard to overcome. We ask that the community continues to do what it can to keep the spiritual pillars nourished enough to protect the sacred environment of Waldorf education through gratitude, support, protection, and collaboration. Together, this community can thrive even in a time of great change and uncertainty. Together, we can make sure that our children are loved and supported and educated now and in the future. Together, we can stand strong and strengthen the foundation of our community to nurture a future of compassionate free-thinkers and change-makers.
Please let us know how we can support you during this time.
With our sincerest gratitude for all,
4/3: Message from Leadership
We imagine it is overwhelming for most of us to be receiving so many communications from so many facets of life regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our society. The truth is, the world has forever changed. We hope that there will be much on the other side of this that we will recognize as growth, improvement, and evolution of society to a more compassionate and cooperative place; the kind of place that Waldorf Education already creates on a micro level on each of its campuses. Let’s hope so!
In the meantime, as the phrase Governor Newsom has used many times in his addresses to California, we must ALL work together to “meet this moment.” In order to ensure that WSSD continues to thrive in the face of the adversity facing all of us, the WSSD community must also work together to “meet this moment.”
Although it is unlikely that public schools will reopen prior to the next school year, we continue to carefully monitor guidance from federal, state and local public health and education agencies. If we know one thing it is that things change daily. We want to be clear that the 2019/2020 school year is not over!
We have quickly launched our distance learning program. It goes without saying what a BIG step this is for a low-tech school. Everyone should understand that this new way of teaching and learning will require adjustment, understanding, and time, for everyone (students, teachers and parents) to find their groove. Very little about this process will be perfect. A lot about this process will take patience, flexibility, and surrender.
In addition, the school is availing itself of any and all federal and state assistance available to non-profits, including the SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program as well as the Paycheck Protection Program. We need to be realistic in our planning, however, in that these funds will take time to arrive.
We have received many questions regarding tuition. As we have previously communicated, all faculty and staff are being paid during the closure of the school; this is another way WSSD is “meeting the moment.” The only way that WSSD is able to continue to pay those whose work has decreased because of the school closure is through the collection of tuition. While we continue to offer curriculum we will be holding families to their tuition contracts so that we may continue to operate the school as seamlessly as possible, and so that WSSD families may see the same faces at school when everyone returns. Of course, we will consider any family’s requests and inquiries regarding tuition on a case by case basis.
Finally, a couple of technical issues regarding distance learning.
Some parents have set up email addresses for their children for Google classroom purposes so that the parents’ email box does not get overwhelmed with Google Classroom emails. We discourage students in the Grades from having their own email address. We suggest that parents use the technology available through their mail application to filter out Google Classroom emails to a separate mailbox folder that the parents may check at their convenience without the interruption of receiving those emails in their normal inbox. If you would like assistance in setting this up, please contact technical support.
Early Childhood: Helga Conklin, hconklin@
And last, but certainly not least, we will be providing a standard format through which parents can provide feedback regarding the distance learning model; please watch for this community communication over the weekend. We take your feedback seriously and will try to accommodate as best we can. We are all putting in heroic efforts to get through this.
We are looking forward to going back to normalcy when the threat of COVID-19 is over. We need EVERYONE’S support and contribution to “meet this moment.” Thank you all so very much for your continued support.
3/27: Message from Leadership
Dear WSSD Parents,
In these trying times, we hope that you are all doing well and adjusting to a difficult situation. Our community of parents, students, faculty, and staff at WSSD is more important than ever. Every family and student constitutes a unique, irreplaceable gift within our social fabric. Today, we are writing to you to introduce the opening of our distance learning which begins on Monday, March 30th. Faculty and staff have been working long hours to design a program that connects with you and your children, while at the same time attempting to guard and nourish the essentials of truth, beauty, and goodness that uphold Waldorf education. This program, in this particular format, is new for our Waldorf school community and it requires flexibility and goodwill to unfold it in a nourishing way. We welcome feedback from parents, as we creatively meet the needs of the students in our care. Once the faculty and families have both had the opportunity to work together over the next few weeks, Leadership will survey our community and solicit feedback and suggestions from both teachers and parents, which will be instrumental in helping us make anticipated adjustments and improvements to the way we are working together to educate your children.
Preparing for Monday, March 30th
By Sunday 5:00 PM, you will receive by email sign-in instructions from the school so you can gain access to your Google Classroom account. This will enable you to assist your child in learning from home.
Support for Parents
Our focus next week is for families to become comfortable using our new distance learning platform and to develop ways to connect with individual students, families, and classes. Each teacher will welcome you to the Google Classroom platform and will explain when and how to schedule times to “meet” or communicate with them.
We are aware of the unintended and unavoidable burden this mode of learning places on you as parents, especially in the lower grades, as we strive to uphold our desire to minimize our children’s media exposure. However, extraordinary times call for flexibility and temporary compromises, and we are grateful to partner with you and trust that our shared values will remain consistent and help us move through this challenge, and grow stronger together. Please keep us informed of your challenges, and let your teachers know if your child is experiencing difficulties with our lessons so that we can adjust the program. We are certain you have already learned a lot in these past two weeks about new family rhythms.
We expect to make adjustments as we step through this new format and ask you to stay in close communication; all teachers will have office hours. Your teacher will notify you of these.
Simple Guidelines for Families
• Prioritize nourishment and rest.
• Keep a daily rhythm & routine as much as possible.
• Create a dedicated workspace for your child(ren) to experience their online learning.
• All Grades students will need a flat surface, free of clutter, for working.
• Try to keep school materials organized and readily available in the workspace.
• If you have artwork from your child that can be displayed in this area, it may be motivating
• All students will be assigned movement activities that will require some indoor or outdoor space; outdoor time remains essential for good health.
• Offer your child(ren) comfort, reassurance, and honesty during this time.
• Don’t offer more detail than your child is asking for. If children ask about something you don’t know the answer to, it’s alright to get back to them later or find out together.
• Talk about all the positive things that are happening to keep people safe and healthy.
• It’s great for children to see you washing your hands, drinking plenty of water, resting and taking care of yourself.
• Clare Knauss,cknauss@
• The WSSD IT (information technology) team is available Monday through Friday for technical support and questions. Grades: Ian Cuevas, icuevas@
• Rachel Davis, Rdavis@waldorfsandiego.
• Merav Segal, the School Counselor, is available to families for consultation, short-term support, and referrals for outside support. Please notify Clare Knauss if you are in need of this service.
• To offer support/resources to others in need in our community or the school contact Liza Ferraro, lferraro@
Attached to this communication please find general instructions from the Early Childhood, Grades, and High School chairs. Your teachers will be contacting you directly with further instructions.
As the sun has been shining these past days, our school playground looks woefully empty. We eagerly anticipate the children’s return and hold each member of our community in light and love until that joyful day arrives!
3/24: Supply Pick-up
Greetings All –
- Each family will be scheduled for a specific time
- Stay in your vehicle and staff will bring your student’s supplies to your car window
- Unless absolutely necessary, only one family member may come to the campus during your pick up time
- We have made our way through each classroom sanitizing the environment the supplies are coming from
Please note that your safety, security, and comfort is of the utmost importance to us and if you are not comfortable coming to the campus to pick up supplies, please reach out to us and we can make alternative arrangements for delivery, or for you to acquire the supplies on your own.
I hope you have been able to stay positive and healthy.
3/23: Case in Our Community
Greetings All –
I hope this message finds you all well and healthy. I write this communication with a heavy heart tonight as we were just informed that one of our community members has tested positive for the Coronavirus. It appears to be a mild case at this point. We are holding them in our thoughts and prayers for a quick and speedy recovery. I did speak with our community member via phone this evening and they did advise they are on the mend and feeling better.
The community member is a parent in our Lilac Kindergarten and was last on campus Thursday, March 12th. They have been in self-quarantine since the onset of symptoms (March 14th.) No other members of the family have presented any symptoms to date. Our staff and faculty have been notified and also have not presented any symptoms to date. Wednesday will mark the 14th day from possible exposure to any families, staff, and faculty who may have come in contact with the parent or other family member.
Although we have completed sanitation of our entire campus, we have made the decision to continue to keep the Lilac classroom quarantined until we complete further sanitation of all material items in the room.
As a school, this will change our course of action over the next week. Early Childhood will not be issuing supplies to families to take home this week but will wait until twenty-one days out from the March 13th date. Early Childhood will focus on establishing our new electronic communication and on-line support through this time.
If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to me, Rachel Davis, Administrator
3/18: Message from Leadership
We are thinking about all of you daily and hope you are all well. It has been a busy week as we prepare to engage students Beyond the Classroom. Plans are coming along nicely and you will be receiving communication from your class teachers and high school faculty soon.
As a reminder, although we are hard at work preparing, your students are currently on Spring Break. This is a time to enjoy family and settle into this new way of life.
We have very limited staff on site as we have moved most of our meetings and communication to online platforms.
Thank you for all of the warm wishes, heartfelt messages and offers of support, it has been a daily dose of encouragement.
Communication will continue to come regularly, but if you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to send them my way.
Thank you for your continued support.
3/16: Message from Leadership
We hope this message finds you as well as can be expected under these circumstances. Leadership Council and Faculty Leadership came together today and we have the following updates:
- Spring break has officially been moved to today March 16th and will run through March 29th.
- During Spring Break faculty and staff will be preparing for remote learning to begin on Monday, March 30th.
We will be providing you a communication next week that will include details. These are unprecedented circumstances. We are sorry if the sudden rescheduling of Spring Break causes disruption for our families.
As we previously communicated, all faculty and part-time staff will be compensated during the school closure. In addition, hourly employees will continue to be paid during Spring Break.
We are still working on possible child care alternatives and will provide more information when we have it.
We will also continue to provide weekly updates or more frequently if needed.
You are all in our thoughts as we continue to work through navigating these uncertain times.
3/14: Message from Leadership
The Leadership Council is thankful to our community for reaching out to us with such heartfelt gestures over the past couple of days. You rely on us daily to care for your children and we are going to continue to provide care and guidance as well as we can in these uncertain times. We want to assure everyone that all admin, faculty and hourly staff will be paid through this temporary closure. We are working together on ways to offer possible alternatives for curriculum support and ways to support families and employees that are looking for alternative childcare due to work schedules. To the extent we have any at-risk employees we are making special arrangements for them.
Let us remember to take care of ourselves and each other and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.
Thank you very much for all of your support,
WSSD Leadership Council
3/13: School Closure
Out of an abundance of caution, and in consultation with local public health, The Waldorf School of San Diego has made the decision to join the San Diego Unified School district by closing our school in order to curb the potential transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We will close starting Monday, March 16 and will continue to monitor the situation to determine a re-entry date. All school events will be canceled during this time and student(s) should be kept home.
While your student(s) remains home, we encourage you to continue practicing good hygiene, which includes:
- 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.
- If you feel for any reason your child may have or has been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your doctor immediately. Virus symptoms can range from mild to severe and could include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in a few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
The Waldorf School of San Diego is in the process of determining what options we have for our students to continue learning while the school is closed. We are considering all available options including the possibility of distance learning via the Internet.
We will remain in close contact with the San Diego County Office of Education and local public health officials throughout the duration of this closure and will provide updates to families as appropriate.
We encourage you to stay informed of the situation by regularly checking updates from San Diego County Public Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
We understand this is a time of uncertainty and concern. We will work through this together to keep our students, families, and staff safe.
If you have questions about our school, please contact Rachel Davis, Administrator.
3/9: Message from Leadership
Greeting All –
In the coming weeks, WSSD is scheduled to hold/host various community events and this time we do not intend to cancel these events. We are monitoring the California Department of Public Health guidelines on a daily basis and if the situation should change we will revisit our decision.
We will also continue to send out regular updates. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions in the meantime.
3/4: Message from Leadership
Greeting All –
As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward. We wanted to share with you some of the steps our school is taking to prevent the spread of illness across our campus, and plan for the
possible spread of the coronavirus in our community.
As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily.
Our community is prepared to alter our procedures and planning should the situation change. We are currently discussing the impact of spring travel, upcoming school trips, and other non-typical school activities will have in the context of the coronavirus. We will communicate any changes affirmatively when the time is appropriate. It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations will be followed.
In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of this community. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.
When should I keep my child home from school?
Do not send your child to school if you suspect he or she may be ill and has exhibited any of the following signs or symptoms:
- An elevated temperature of 100 degrees or more during the last 24 hours.
- Vomiting within the last 24 hours.
- Repeated episodes of diarrhea within the last 24 hours.
- Chills, loss of appetite, unusual fatigue, and/or lingering headache.
- A significant amount of nasal discharge, particularly if the discharge is yellow or greenish in color.
- A persistent cough.
- A significant sore throat.
- An earache.
What happens if my child feels sick while at school?
While we usually monitor ill students for a period of time, given the circumstances parents may be called to pick up their child more immediately.
What can families, students, and school personnel do to keep from getting sick and spreading COVID-19?
The CDC recommends the following preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick (and do not return to school until you are fever-free for 24 hours without medication). We ask you to strictly adhere to this policy.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The health and safety of students and our school community is our highest priority.
We are closely monitoring international and national advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and staying in close contact with the local health department.
We are also monitoring any overseas travel to or from China by all of our employees, international students and exchange students and are reviewing the status of any planned trips to Asia.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Lori Williamson at 619-280-8016 Ext 309
Early Childhood Communications
4/1: Early Childhood Supply Pick-up
- Each family will be scheduled for a specific time
- Stay in your vehicle and staff will bring your student’s supplies to your car window
- Unless absolutely necessary, only one family member may come to the campus during your pick up time
- We have made our way through each classroom sanitizing the environment the supplies are coming from
3/28: EC Curriculum Support Plan
Plan for Learning
Each Monday, beginning March 30, teachers will offer activities and lesson materials for the week through Google Classroom for parents to provide for their children. The materials will be presented through written information and sometimes audio recordings and/or videos. All recordings and videos are for parents only. Parents will be guided in setting up an age appropriate rhythm for their child that includes activities such as story, songs, finger games, art, indoor and outdoor games, and cooking activities.
Communicating with Learners
- Parents may access all materials by signing in to Google Classroom (sign in information will be sent to your email.)
- Teachers will provide an overview each week that will include a focus on an aspect of Waldorf early childhood pedagogy.
- Supplemental articles and resources will be offered which may include a reading assignment for the upcoming parent meeting.
- Each activity will include a description and list of supplies.
- A gift of materials for some activities will be made available. Supply bag pick up: Thursday, April 2 or Friday, April 3. (details forthcoming)
- Weekly or bi-weekly Zoom parent meetings will be held by the class teacher. You will receive an invite via email. The first class ZOOM meetings will be:
Nursery Zoom class meetings: Tuesdays 7:00-8:00pm (First meeting April 7)
Kindergarten Zoom class meetings: Thursdays 7:00-8:00pm (First meeting April 9)
Morning Glory Zoom class meetings:
Thursday 8:30 class: Wednesdays 10:00-11:00am (First meeting April 8)
Thursday 10:30 class: Wednesday 1:00-2:00pm (First meeting April 8)
Friday 8:30 class: Fridays 10:00- 11:00am (First meeting April 10)
Friday 10:30 class: Fridays 1:30-2:30pm (First meeting April 10)
Expectations of Children:
- Children will participate in the daily life of the family supported by the rhythm and activities provided by the class teacher.
Expectations of Parents
- Parents may review the weekly overview, activities, and articles/resources provided on their own and not give access to their children.
- Parents are encouraged to continue their efforts to eliminate screen time for their young children to the best of their abilities given the conditions. Young children need the living human connection to be part of their experiences; that breath of life and warmth that one finds only in relationship to another or in nature. Teachers are available to help parents stay strong in this effort and help them find healthy alternatives for those challenging times of day when parents can be tempted to turn to a screen to occupy their child.
- Parents are encouraged to reach out to their teacher with any questions, concerns,or suggestions. Teachers will respond within 24 hours.
Commitment of Teachers
- Teachers will respond to emails and Google classroom messages within 24 hours.
- Teachers can be reached by phone during their Office Hours: Tues. and Thurs. 1-3 or by appointment.
- Teachers will hold weekly or bi-weekly Zoom class meetings.
- Individual Parent/Teacher Conferences will be arranged for each family.
- Parents can email or call their teacher with any concerns.
- Parents may also email the EC Chair, Katherine Giglio firstname.lastname@example.org
- Google Classroom has a FAQ section that will be updated periodically by the teacher. Please check this section first as teachers may use this space to answer common questions.
- At this time, teachers will not be offering zoom or facetime meetings with the children but will be sending children periodic postcards through the mail.
To get started and access your online curriculum links and materials, follow the instructions which will be emailed separately to you regarding how to set up your google classroom account.
3/28: EC Ready, Set, Go!
Good Afternoon Dear Parents,
Hopefully, by now you have all had a chance to read the post Leadership sent yesterday regarding the unfolding of the WSSD Distance Learning Program which begins Monday. I am attaching the EC Chair Message portion of that post as well as a new document entitled Early Childhood Curriculum Support Plan. In this document, you will find more details about what the teachers have set up in order to share resources, materials and communications for your class. We are very excited to begin working with you in this way. We continue to have discussions with Waldorf Early Childhood schools, programs, and organizations not only in America but also world wide as we consider how best to support your beautiful young children through this seemingly long but truly temporary situation. We will continue to reevaluate the program we offer you and appreciate your feedback. The next couple of weeks are just the beginning!
I would like to remind you to check your emails this Monday, 3/30, to be sure you receive an invite to your Google classroom. Once you reach the site you will see an overview message from your teacher and perhaps additional posts. At the top of your screen will be the word Classwork. When you click on that icon , you will go to a page that has a number of topics your teacher has created to organize all they are sharing with you this week. Each week there will be a new overview and new posts on the classwork page. If you have any technical difficulties , please contact our IT/Tech specialist Helga Conklin.( her contact info is in the attached documents)
It takes a village to raise a child. So, let us join our hearts and minds in service of our community of children.
Have a lovely weekend, Katherine Giglio, EC Chair
3/27: Message from the Early Childhood Chair
Dear Early Childhood Parents,
The last week our school was open, I was in New Jersey at a conference spending long hours dedicated to the study of Biography and the Social Arts. We spent our time looking at Rudolf Steiner’s theory of the development of the twelve senses. We discussed qualities of each sense including the sense of warmth, touch, movement, and a vital sense of life. We considered how these senses and all the other senses are so important to the child’s development of a positive sense of self and an open, caring sense for the other. It was quite a shock to have spent so much wonderful time focused on human development and social relationships and then come home to an empty campus and social distancing. However, as in all fairytales, wisdom and harmony arise out of the challenges placed before the hero who has a loving heart. We have been given an opportunity to stretch ourselves, to support each other with love and empathy, and to face our fears with the courage of a hero. I am happy to share this journey as a member of our beautiful school community!
I hope you are beginning to settle into a new family rhythm and finding ways to provide physical activity for your growing children. Please know that the Early Childhood faculty and staff are holding each child and family in their hearts and wish you all peace, strength, and vibrant health.
Teachers and administrative staff have been working tirelessly the past two weeks to create something previously unheard of – online Waldorf curriculum for children! It has been both challenging and exhilarating to quickly design a cohesive online program for Early Childhood, Grades, and High School that maintains the intention, integrity, creativity and wisdom that is woven into our school’s Waldorf curriculum. You can imagine the lively conversations regarding the appropriate use of media given the circumstances! And this is where our faculty shines; our talented teachers are dedicated to the wellbeing of the children and will present to you next week the fruits of their collaboration.
Over the weekend, I will send you another letter via Parent Square that gives more details of our Early Childhood Curriculum Support Plan.
Monday, March 30, you will receive our first Early Childhood Distance Learning materials via a Google Classroom which has been set up for each class. Please be sure to check your email inbox for sign in instructions from the school so you can gain access to your Google Classroom.
It is the hope of the Early Childhood faculty that this platform will guide you as your family finds a new daily rhythm. We humbly offer our suggestions to strengthen your efforts to provide your children with a wholesome, balanced, and joyful homeschool experience that reflects how we work with your children at school. Most importantly, we are creating opportunities for parents to stay connected with their teachers and each other. You will receive information from your teacher about your first ZOOM class meeting that will take place the week of April 6-10.
Next Thursday, April 2 or Friday, April 3, there will be an opportunity for parents to pick up a supply bag with materials to support some of the early childhood activities. Your child’s rain gear and clothing left at school will also be bagged and available at that time. Details of your specific pick up day and time will be forthcoming. I know you and your child will welcome this gift from the teacher. I hope that many memorable moments will be shared between you and your child – simple moments as you craft together, engage in purposeful housework together, laugh and cuddle together, read stories in forts you have built together, lie in the grass together, and just be present with each other. Togetherness is the true gift of our challenging times. Treasure it! It passes by so fast but, the impact on your child’s development will last a lifetime.
Remember you have a community to lean on should you need support.
Class Teachers: Office Hours by phone: Tuesday and Thursday 1-3 or by appointment, email or on Google Classroom
Katherine Giglio, EC Chair: by email email@example.com
Clare Knauss, Pedagogical Director: by email firstname.lastname@example.org
IT/ Tech Support:
Helga Conklin: by email email@example.com
To offer support/resources to others in need in our community or the school:
Liza Ferraro: by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative or other concerns:
Rachel Davis, Administrator: By email email@example.com
Take good care and many blessings to you all,
Katherine Giglio, Early Childhood Chair
Lower and Middle School Communications
3/27: Message from the Grades Chair
Dear WSSD Parents and Students,
Beginning on Monday, March 30, and on Mondays thereafter, daily lesson plans will be provided in Google Classroom for each grade. The lessons will be delivered similar to the regular school schedule with the main lesson first, followed by a subject lesson or two. Additional subject lessons may be added in the weeks following the first week. We will unfold this slowly, in a paced manner, so as not to overwhelm families and students. Again, we will welcome your feedback after moving through the first few weeks and will conduct a survey after allowing ample time to adjust to distance learning.
Lesson plans will provide students between one and three hours of activity and instruction for the students per day according to their grade level. Lessons may include written assignments, activity instruction, and pre-recorded audio or video lessons. All online material is available through Google Classroom. Whenever possible, we will have an online submission of assignments, in particular for the upper grades students. Let us know if this is a challenge.
COMMUNICATING WITH LEARNERS
Parents will access the material by signing in to Google Classroom. Teachers will create a plan to check in with individual students and their families by providing office hours. Every family will be informed by their teacher of their particular check-in system.
EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS
- Students should understand that distance learning is an important part of this year’s school experience.
- Students should bring their best efforts to this new experience.
- Students will strive to work independently and ask their parents for assistance when needed.
- Assignments should be submitted on time as soon as students and parents have learned how to manage this.
- Students are encouraged to engage with optional activities, some of which may be suggested by teachers if they complete their assigned work for that day.
EXPECTATIONS OF PARENTS
- Parents should provide a dedicated place and time for students to work at home. Following the regular school day schedule will be helpful, when possible.
- Parents should recognize that they may be required to provide support to help their children remain engaged in learning and access digital material; the need to facilitate this may be greatest in grades 1-5. Parents may also need to assist their children in submitting assigned work.
- It is not appropriate to complete assigned work for your child; however, ensuring your child understands the learning task, has the required resources, and is located in a productive learning space, is most appropriate.
- Parents are encouraged to reach out to any teacher via email. It is also possible to schedule a Google Chat, Zoom, or a phone call.
- If your child is unwell and unable to participate in the daily lessons, please advise your class teacher.
COMMITMENT OF TEACHERS
When possible, class and specialty teachers will work collaboratively to plan and deliver lessons. This collaboration will enhance the quality of the teaching. If necessary, teachers will organize needed supplies for pickup at school by parents. Teachers will offer office hours for which details will be provided separately
Please email ahead if you wish to schedule a phone conversation. Teachers will let you know if they are available on Facetime, Google Chat or Zoom. Parents can email their student’s class teacher and/or the Director of Pedagogy, Clare Knauss at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions about the curriculum. For administrative questions contact Administrator, Rachel Davis at Rdavis@waldorfsandiego.org
To get started and access the online curriculum links and materials, please follow the instructions, which will be emailed to you separately this weekend, regarding how to open a Google Classroom account.
Mary Carmichael, Grades Chair
High School Communications
4/5: Message from Nathan Wilcox and Updated Quick Reference Guide
Dear High School Parents and Students,
On behalf of the high school faculty and WSSD leadership I’d like to extend my deep gratitude to you all for your patience and great working last week. It was such a pleasure to join together in our Zoom sessions and see your students getting back to work during this trying time for us all. I am so proud of our community.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, I’d like to share a few important updates with you all:
*Next week’s Zoom session links will arrive in your inboxes by 5 pm. Please use those links beginning Monday morning to access another successful week. We have added passwords to our Zoom Classes for additional security and privacy. The passwords will be in the weekly Zoom email.
*This week on Monday and Friday we are adding a layer of support for our students. Students will check in on Mondays and Fridays from 9:00-9:07 with their mentors then join Morning Circle at 9:10. We will be using separate links for the Mentor Check-ins. Coach’s mentees will meet with Mr. Johnson. Also this week we will be taking attendance in Morning Circle.
*As he is needed to support his family, Coach will not be teaching the Athletics class for Grade 12 on Wednesday.
*We are happy to add two new layers to our offerings beginning this week. Both new options are entirely optional and will not be graded.
Students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to join Liza Alvarez for Zoom-based art classes Monday and Wednesday 1:30-2:30. Liza’s classes will focus on art creation at home using the materials at hand. She’s eager to see any students who are eager to make art.
11th graders will have a second option this week as well; SAT prep classes with Mr. Johnson will be held via Zoom Wednesdays 1:30-2:20. You’ll see both options in your Zoom links shortly.
*Both Passover and Easter are this week and will be celebrated by many members of our community. Because we have already given the students two weeks off for our “Spring Break” we have decided not to take further days off for the observation of these important holidays. As is the case in normal times, students whose families choose to take off school time to celebrate religious holidays are more than welcome to do so without academic penalty.
Please contact your student’s mentor and seminar teacher to notify them in advance if a student is planning to take days off for religious observation so that we can support the student fully and extend their academic deadlines as needed in supportive ways.
You all are awesome! Call me with your questions or concerns of any kind.
I look forward to seeing our students tomorrow at 9 am!
Nathan Wilcox (He, Him, His)
High School Chair
The Waldorf School of San Diego
3/29: Message from N. Wilcox and Quick Reference Guide
Dear High School Students and Parents,
We hope you are all having a safe and restful final weekend before our online experience begins for all high school students tomorrow morning at 9am.
Please see the attached “Student Quick Reference Guide for all things Online Learning”. In it you will find a schedule for the week ahead and an overview of our offerings. Please stand by to receive updates to this document in the coming weeks; whenever we enhance our online program we will update this document for use by one and all.
You all will receive email invites throughout the day for new google classrooms associated with our core high school classes. Please accept invites to those classrooms as they arrive preferably before school starts tomorrow; these portals will serve as tools for the students going forward. Faculty will instruct students in their use.
Finally, you will receive an email by 5pm today containing Zoom links for all your students classes for the week ahead Your students will use those links daily for the week; we’ll send new links each Sunday evening for the week ahead.
Thank you so much for your support and patience during this time. And please join me in thanking Sheila Garczynski, Virgina Arnold and Rachel Davis for their incredible leadership and diligence as we make this incredible transition.
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.
I look forward to seeing our students tomorrow at 9am!
Nathan Wilcox (He, Him, His)
High School Chair
The Waldorf School of San Diego
3/27: Message from the High School Chair
Dear WSSD Parents and Students,
It was wonderful to see nearly all of you in our class meetings earlier this week. As you heard in those sessions, the high school faculty and administrative team have worked together throughout this early Spring break to reimagine our high school’s curriculum and delivery during this time. Our new plan is set to begin this Monday, 3/30/20 at 9am. We are seeking to bravely and effectively face this challenging time in service to our high school students.
You will receive a complete schedule and information sheet entitled “Student Quick Reference Guide” for the high school’s Zoom-based curriculum in a follow-up email this weekend. Please review that document with your student; it outlines exactly what your student’s week will look like while experiencing our online curriculum.
The Links for all Zoom classes will go out once per week through weekly emails. They will also be posted and pinned to the top of parent square. You’ll see the first of those emails this weekend. Use the links in that email Monday through Friday starting next week on 3/30. A week from now you’ll receive a similar email with links for the week of April 6-10.
As you will see in the “Student Quick Reference Guide,” which you will be receiving this weekend, morning circle, seminar and a single track class will be offered daily via Zoom.
- For the initial stage of this program we are offering our core academic subjects (Seminar, history, English, Spanish, athletics and math) along with a weekly class meeting for each grade and a weekly student government meeting.
- Students will also receive a weekly check-in with their mentor.
- Our school counselor Merav Segall is available to all students and parents.
- We will roll out additional courses and student supports over time, always with the goal of achieving a healthy balance for our adolescents.
Google classrooms have been set for each of your student’s core classes. You and/or your student will receive email invites to these google classrooms this weekend. Thank you for accepting those invitations when you receive them. Teachers will direct students to these google classrooms beginning next week to retrieve materials and assignments. Here are some best practices we suggests parents and students adopt as best they can during our online curriculum work beginning next week:
- You are encouraged to work together as a family to create a consistent set up for your student’s zoom sessions: the best environment for your student will be seated at a desk in a private room with a solid background behind them and a strong internet connection. Avoid personal backgrounds such as bedrooms.
- Parents, please stand by to support your student technically if needed, but do not attend our zoom classes. If you’d like to observe a class, please contact Mr. Wilcox in advance, just as you would during regular school sessions.
- Students, don’t worry too much about your grades as we get started in this new way: we simply ask you to do your very best with each class. We will not penalize you if you experience technical challenges at home or challenges of any other kind: we are all in this together!
In summary, the WSSD high school faculty and staff are eager to meet your needs. I love our school and I’m eager to see you all online in the short run and back together again in person as soon as possible.
For more information about the high school’s approach, use the following resources:
For overall inquiries about the high school, contact Nathan Wilcox at 619.962.8194 or email@example.com
For technical inquiries about our online plan for next week, contact Virginia Arnold VArnold@waldorfsandiego.org
For overall inquiries about WSSD during this time, contact Rachel Davis at Rdavis@waldofsandiego.org
Nathan Wilcox, High School Chair
3/19: Important Updates from the High School Chair
Dear High School Families,
I encourage you to share this update with your students. The high school faculty and I think of them every day. We miss teaching them so much.
We have been working together all week on a detailed and thoughtful plan for the high school in the weeks ahead. That plan will go into action at the end of our Spring Break on Monday, March 30.
Here are a few important updates:
- We will hold class meetings for students and parents early next week via Zoom. Rachel, Merav and I will join with your class sponsor to lead those meetings. We will speak directly with your students to begin, then turn to parent concerns and questions.
- Here is the schedule for those class meetings: 9th Grade Parents and Students will meet on Monday 3/23 at 9am. 10th Grade Parents and Students will meet on Monday 3/23 at 11am. 11th Grade Parents and Students will meet on Tuesday 3/24 at 9am. 12th Grade Parents and Students will meet on Tuesday 3/24 at 11am. Please join us! We will send you a link to each of these meetings through email in advance.
- In those class meetings we will share many of the details about our plans for the high school during this difficult time. We’ll talk about the daily and weekly class schedules, all to be delivered remotely, that we are planning for students and the platforms we’ll be asking students to use in place of in-person teaching. These platforms will include Google Classroom and Zoom, as well as Parent Square/email.
- I encourage you to download and register for Zoom on your home computer, tablet or smartphone in the coming days, before the class meetings. Doing so will allow you to participate in our class meetings and prep you and your student for some of the work ahead. Information on how to set up a Zoom account will be sent out with the class meeting links.
- I want to stress our strong commitment to meeting your students’ needs. We are living through a dramatic and challenging moment in human history. Your students need and deserve so much at this moment. We commit to meeting their needs in the weeks ahead. Specifically, we’ll strive to offer balance to your students. We don’t want them on the computer all day and we don’t want them missing out on the learning they need either. They deserve the very best, and I’m very optimistic. We’ll give you lots more specifics via the Zoom meetings on Monday and Tuesday, and we’ll follow those meetings up with more information in writing for you throughout next week. We’re all in this together!
- I want to be sure you all know that we are available to you and your students right now. Although we are officially “on Spring Break” please do not hesitate to reach out with your questions, concerns and needs. Your student can call their sponsor, their mentor, our school counselor Merav, or me, at any time and so can you. We are so eager to support you!
- Your students came home with some assigned homework last week. At this time we encourage students to go ahead and work on any already assigned projects and assignments. But none of that work is due during these 2 weeks off. They’ll learn about how to submit that work our first week back together.
- Your students also came home with some materials that were not yet attached to assignments. For example, the ninth graders have their copy of The Grapes of Wrath and tenth graders came home with their copy of Pride and Prejudice. Students should not work ahead with any new, as-yet-unused materials like this: they should await assignments with those materials once we are up and running on March 30.
- To reiterate: students (and parents!) with any questions or concerns about anything are more than welcome to reach out to their teachers directly via phone whenever they wish. We are available and eager to help. All our phone numbers are available via the high school handbook or the WSSD directory, listed in the parent section of Bigsis. If you need to get in touch with any member of our team and are unable to do so, call me.
Thank you everyone. I am so proud of our community during this difficult time. Thank you for standing with me in support of our students and our school.
(He, Him, His)
High School Chair
Waldorf School of San Diego
What lies beneath us and what lies before us are tiny matters to what lies within us.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among humans and animals. On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 as the official name of the disease responsible for causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. The breakdown of this new name COVID-19 is “CO” for corona, “VI” for virus, “D” for disease, and “-19” for 2019.
How serious is COVID-19 to the public?
Any outbreak of a novel virus is always a public health concern. The risk to individuals, however, depends on the characteristics of the virus, including how easily it spreads between people, the severity of illness that it causes, and the medical measures available to control the virus and its impact (such as vaccines or medications) and how effective these measures are. This virus is spreading quickly and has caused illness that has resulted in death in a small percentage of those who develop symptoms. As community spreading occurs in more and more countries, the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 continues to grow both globally and in the United States. In fact, on March 11, 2020, the WHO characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic.
What are the symptoms?
Patients infected with the COVID-19 virus have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms that include:
- Difficulty Breathing
Hows does it spread?
Person-to-person spread is now the main way the COVID-19 virus is spreading, meaning through close contact (within 6 feet/2 meters) with someone who is infected with the virus. The COVID-19 virus is thought to spread through respiratory droplets produced when a person infected with the virus coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in mouth or noses of people nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs. These droplets can also land on surfaces that people touch; if people aren’t washing their hands and frequently touched objects often, they can spread the virus when they touch their face (mouth, nose, or eyes) after touching these surfaces. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum.
How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent getting sick, is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are a few proactive steps everyone can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including the COVID-19 virus, and protect yourself and others:
- 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 that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 2019 Novel Coronavirus
- Practice social distancing if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, especially if you are at high risk for health complications if exposed.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or your elbow, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick to prevent the virus from spreading
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces often.