This spring, we’ve been faced with the unique challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we're uplifted by the spirit with which the Kent Place community has adapted. We're proud of what we — and you — have accomplished. As we look to make the best decisions for all of our students, faculty and staff, we'd like to tell you how we’re preparing for the fall.

We're Thinking Differently About September

We’ll follow the guidelines set forth by the governor and the CDC, but if the government allows it, it’s absolutely our goal to be back on campus for the start of the new academic year. However, because of the current uncertainty, we’re looking at a variety of teaching and learning options, as well as ways to maintain our strong sense of community. We will be investing in additional professional development for our faculty in order to deliver our full curriculum goals whether on campus, virtually, or in some combination. 
 
Regarding the first day of school, we’ve decided to keep to our usual September calendar, but we must also make plans should the situation require us to revise the academic calendar during the year.

We're Dedicated to Providing an Outstanding Education

Change offers unexpected opportunities for growth. We’ve stepped boldly into the virtual-learning space — honoring our mission to provide a superior education and embracing the innovation that this current disruption has inspired.
 
We’re committed to providing an engaging, challenging curriculum. We’ll continue to offer an environment in which each student thrives — whether on campus or within a virtual setting. At all times, faculty are responsive to students’ learning needs. Classroom teachers, learning specialists, and advisors will support your daughter’s individual educational journey.
 
We believe students learn best when they’re bolstered by a strong sense of community. Thus, as we prepare for the academic year 2020–21, we’ll simultaneously be prioritizing the elements of our program that build and sustain community.

We'll Make Informed Decisions, Based on the Best Data Available

The next few weeks will give us more information about the status of the coronavirus. We’ll make informed decisions, based on the best data available, in consultation with academic departments and programs, about any changes to next year’s schedule and curriculum.
 
The three scenarios we’re preparing for are fluid; it’s likely that we may find ourselves moving among them. Please use this visual to learn about the pathways our families may encounter.:

On-campus and in-person learning means that if we are permitted to be at school, we’ll mitigate the potential threats of COVID-19 in a series of protocols we’ll develop over the summer with input from the New Jersey Departments of Education and Health. This may mean smaller cohort groups of students spending the entire day together. We’ll explore the necessary training, purchase of materials, and operational measures this would entail and evaluate the risks and benefits of this model, which depends on permission from government officials to return to school.

A hybrid model means that some remote learning occurs for portions of our student body, delivered by our own teachers, and some learning takes place on our campus. If fewer students are allowed on campus or if family situations require a student to learn from home, we’ll offer both in-person and online learning every day. This model is also dependent on permission from government officials.

Full remote learning would be rooted in the academic excellence and personalized approach for which Kent Place is known. Although this is not the choice we want to make, we’re prepared to deliver, enthusiastically, student-centered programs for everyone learning from home if circumstances, or periods of time, require this approach. Maintaining the balance between academics and community is particularly important in helping students thrive in a remote environment. Our dedicated faculty and staff will honor our mission and values to serve students. We can’t predict what our health landscape will look like in late summer; however, we must be as ready as we can be. This model may be determined by government officials.

Planning Task Forces

Hybrid Learning Preparation Task Force. This group’s responsibility is to research and plan for a hybrid-learning environment in 2020–21. Hybrid learning is a pedagogical design that proves maximum flexibility between online and on-campus instruction while retaining our primary focus on the wellness and engagement of our learners. In addition, this group will consider the academic schedule to optimize our learning-management system and faculty professional growth, and create a system for a sustainable, challenging, and holistic learning environment for our students whether remotely or on campus.

Reopening-Campus Task Force. We will make plans for on-campus teaching and learning with adherence to state and CDC guidelines and will be focusing on arrival and dismissal, cleaning protocols, group sizes, classroom procedures, shared materials, lunch and snack procedures, health-screening and nurse-station protocols, visitor policy, group activities (such as physical education and sports), and movement through buildings.

Community-Building Task Force. The goal of this group is to enhance and maintain our school community by supporting all constituencies — students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumnae — whether on campus or remotely. With belonging, connectedness, and inclusion, at the center of our work, we can maintain and grow our community bonds. The task force plans to consider the survey data compiled during spring remote learning as a tool to inform how we better support the needs of the entire KPS community.

We're Here to Help

We recognize that families in our community may be experiencing hardship due to the pandemic, and we have put structures in place to support them. Our Advancement Team has partnered with members of our community to establish an Emergency Tuition Relief Fund, which will meet the financial-aid needs of those KPS families who have felt a significant impact from COVID-19 and are concerned about their child’s ability to return in the fall. For more information, please contact Julia Wall P ’27 ’23, Director of Enrollment and Strategic Planning, at wallj@kentplace.org.
Kent Place School is an all-girls K through 12 independent college preparatory day school with a coeducational Preschool, located in Summit, NJ.