|Dear Stevenson Families,
Almost one full year after we announced our move to remote instruction owing to the pandemic, I am delighted to be able to share our plans for returning to campus instruction. Rapidly improving case numbers and related metrics in Monterey County allow us to plan to return immediately after spring break, and we have begun the process of preparing both our employees and our facilities for this joyous moment.
While we are eager to get students back on campus, because of the CDC and state’s assessment of risk among older adolescents we are required to wait until the case numbers place the county in the red category (7 cases per 100000—we are at 9.9 at the time of writing). We are confident of crossing this threshold soon, and will use the next couple of weeks to prepare a smooth and seamless transition back to campus instruction.
On Friday, we will send out a survey to all grade 9-12 students’ families to gauge each student’s intent to return to campus. This survey will be accompanied by an updated return to campus website, which will be informed by state and county guidance that we will receive over the next few days. Your responses will help us determine how many students intend to return, which will allow us to plan accordingly.
In the meantime, I write to share some upcoming changes to our calendar that are necessitated by our imminent return to campus instruction.
We plan to use the week of April 5 for teacher preparation and student orientation, with resident students returning in phases that week and through the weekend of April 10-11. Campus instruction for all students in grades 9-12 will then begin on Monday, April 12, for those who are ready and able to return. Students who cannot return or choose not to return to campus instruction at that time will continue to receive the same excellent remote instruction that we have provided all year, alongside their peers on campus, in a hybrid model of instruction. We are still fine-tuning the exact details, and will update you as we finalize arrangements.
We had reserved April 16 as a day with no academic classes, so teachers could prepare their students’ narrative comments and midterm grades. We no longer feel it is appropriate to take a day away from students for this work just as they return to campus, so we have adapted our reporting process for the spring semester as follows:
Friday, March 12 will now be an instructional day, and not a breather day. Please note this change in the weekly schedule, and the impact it has on the 8-day cycle:
Friday, March 12 was a breather day, becomes Day 7
Monday, March 15 was Day 7, becomes Day 8
Tuesday, March 16 was Day 8, becomes Day 1
Wednesday, March 17 was Day 1, becomes Day 2
Thursday, March 18 was Day 2, becomes Day 3
Friday, March 19 was Day 3, becomes X Day
The schedule returns to its regular rotation on Monday, March 22
Friday, March 19 will be used for 1:1 meetings between students and their teachers in order for our students to receive midterm feedback from their teachers.
Midterm grades will be issued to students and shared with parents and guardians during the week before spring break.
In place of narrative midterm comments, we will send full narrative reports, including an advisor report, at the end of the spring semester in June. While this is not our usual process, we have determined that it is most important that we focus on preparing for and executing a smooth return to campus instruction. Students and their parents/guardians will still receive extensive narrative comments from their teachers, but this year they will come at the end of term.
In the run up to spring break, we will be erecting sizeable tents across campus in order to provide the additional space we need for proper physical distancing, and we will be “road-testing” the technology we have installed to support hybrid instruction in these and other spaces. Our teachers are adapting their class plans to accommodate this significantly different model of instruction, and the information from the survey you will soon receive will allow us to allocate classrooms and dormitories based on accurate data.
This has been a demanding year for all of us, and spring will bring new challenges, some but not all of which we can anticipate. I am confident that we will be ready to meet whatever we face, and know that we will do so in the same spirit with which we’ve met the past twelve months. Our safe return to campus instruction is inspiring and exciting for all of us, and we could not be more eager to welcome students back in a few weeks.
Dr. Dan Griffiths
Head of the Upper Division