Private schools' reopening plans for the fall semester remain fluid

Private schools’ reopening plans for the fall semester remain fluid

Many expect to have at least some lessons in person

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This story was updated at 12:10 a.m. Aug. 20, 2020, with details about some schools that previously had not announced their plans.

After a battle between state and county officials about private schools reopening in the fall, administrators have been reexamining their approach to having students return to campus.

Some schools were beginning to roll out their schedules in late July when Dr. Travis Gayles, Montgomery County’s health officer, announced that private schools in the county were prohibited from having in-person instruction until at least Oct. 1.

Three days later, in early August, Gov. Larry Hogan banned blanket private school closures in the state.

Gayles again issued a health order keeping nonpublic schools in the county from reopening, but later rescinded it when the state’s health secretary issued a statement backing Hogan’s approach.

Private school leaders spent the summer considering various reopening scenarios. Many invested in new technology and training to improve the quality of online instruction, if needed. They also worked on safety measures for in-person classes.

Although private schools have permission to open their doors in the fall, some have opted to follow the lead of their public education counterparts and stick with remote learning.

Many schools note that their plans are subject to change and they are prepared to pivot in response to health conditions in the community.

Here’s a snapshot of plans for some local private schools, as of Friday afternoon:

Academy of the Holy Cross, Kensington
Classes will begin virtually on Sept. 1. It will reassess the conditions in the county Oct. 1 to determine if and when a hybrid plan might be put in place.

Barrie School, Silver Spring
Staggered in-person opening starting Aug. 26 for age 1 through kindergarten; Sept. 14 for lower elementary (grades 1-3); Oct. 5 for upper elementary (grades 4-5). Middle and upper school (grades 6-12) will begin the year with online instruction with plans to reevaluate on Oct. 14. All students will have the option of full-time virtual instruction.

The Bullis School, Potomac
Classes on campus five days a week for lower and middle school students. Upper school students will be in-person four days, home on Wednesdays for virtual learning. Option of remote learning and livestream classes offered for students unable to attend in person.

Connelly School of the Holy Child, Potomac
Beginning Sept. 1 with distance learning, adding some on-campus experiences, including athletics and team building activities, week of Sept. 14. School will reevaluate learning model week of Sept. 21, with plans to used a phased-in hybrid model with smaller cohorts of students rotating between campus and online instruction.

Feynman School, Potomac
Open in session starting Sept. 8, five days a week on campus, with a virtual option, according to the school’s website

Geneva Day School, Potomac
Open, but with reduced size classes and revised procedures.

Georgetown Hill Early School (several campuses; including Potomac and Montgomery Village. Bethesda location is closed for renovations)
Open, with reduced class size and safety protocol.

Georgetown Preparatory School, North Bethesda
Delaying the start of in-person instruction and the opening of residence halls until October. Will start Sept. 8 with virtual instruction.

Gonzaga College High School, Washington, D.C.
Online only for first quarter

Green Acres School, North Bethesda
K-8 students will start year fully remote Aug. 31. Pre-K classes will be held on campus until noon beginning Sept. 8 and continue in the afternoon online with synchronous and asynchronous activities. When circumstances permit, students will return to campus, but can choose to learn remotely.

Holton-Arms School, Bethesda
Opening virtually. By Oct. 5, the school will assess if opening in a hybrid learning mode on Oct. 13 is feasible.

Landon School, Bethesda
Beginning Aug. 26, distance learning with gradually phased-in, on-campus, smaller group activities through at least Sept. 25, according to the school website.

McLean School, Potomac
Starting year with all virtual instruction though first quarter on Oct. 22. In early October, it will be announced if it is safe to move to school-based hybrid instruction. Full-time virtual instruction will be an option as well.

The Nora School, Silver Spring
Online through Oct. 2, with some options for small groups of in-person support.

Norwood School, Bethesda
Beginning Sept. 8, students in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten will attend school on campus for half days (with the option to learn from home), while students in grades 1-8 will attend school remotely in September. The hope is to begin the process of bringing back additional grades, both in the lower school and middle school, in early October.

Oneness Family/Montessori School, Chevy Chase
Redesigned in-person classes for ages 2-K with health safety protocols. Will start part-time for two weeks to adjust. Students will stay in designated pods. Will start with blended program for grades 1-12, including meetups in pods at parks and nature trails. Will reevaluate and announce changes, if any, by Nov. 2.


Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney
Starting school year with distance learning

St. Jane de Chantal School, Bethesda
Hybrid model with students K-8 divided into two teams, alternating between two days on campus and three days at home with remote learning. Pre-K will be on campus daily. Option for full-time remote learning. Orientation week begins Aug. 31 and classes Sept. 8.

St. John’s College High School, Washington, D.C.
Full distance learning instructional model for the month of September, according to the school website.

Sandy Spring Friends School
All academic and co-curricular programming for grades K-12 will be online for the first semester. It will also provide scheduled opportunities for in-person, socially distanced “meet-ups” for small groups of students on campus every three weeks on a rotating basis. There will be limited in-person preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds.

The Siena School, Silver Spring
All online for first semester

Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, Bethesda
Starting virtually and remaining virtual with limited in person on-campus activities through early October. Working on efforts to bring toddlers, preschool and pre-kindergarten earlier.

Washington Episcopal School, Bethesda
In person for nursery and pre-school students; virtual for K-8. Plans for phased-in reopening as circumstances allow.

Washington Waldorf School, Bethesda
Will begin the year with a hybrid of remote and on campus learning. In September, preschool to grade 3 will be on campus for a half day and will be in outdoor classrooms. Grades 4-12 will have remote learning and occasional on-campus time outdoors. After September, the school hopes to phase in more on-campus learning and offer extended days.

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