Note: As of August 31, 2020, the state of California enacted the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which includes new and different metrics impacting school re-opening. The Open School COVID task force amended our plan and published it on September 9, 2020. The information below is for the UPDATED plan.
The Open School looks forward to a time when we can resume school on campus in all its communal richness. But until the COVID-19 pandemic has been resolved, life at The Open School will need to adjust accordingly.
Our full plan is published here. You can also watch the video below, or continue reading this article, for a simplified explanation of the plan.
The school can be in one of four phases depending on environmental factors:
At each phase, the School Meeting will discuss and vote on motions regarding the actual number of days per week they will attend, given restrictions on operations, logistics, and specific community needs at the time. In addition, the COVID task force will re-evaluate these parameters every 4-6 weeks, taking into account new information, data, and experience of the school community.
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At the start of each semester, regardless of what phase we are currently in, each student and staff member is assigned a pod.
These pods are flexible, meaning they can remain separate, or intermix with other pods to form larger groups, depending on the current phase.
The pods are autonomous, meaning they can create their own rules and restrictions depending on their preferred level of caution.
Because pods are autonomous, each pod may set its own maximum degree of intermixing, as long as that maximum is lower than the maximum set by the phase.
All students and parents in a pod must consent to any intermixing between pods, or it can’t happen. This way everyone has control over their level of viral exposure. These decisions are made by consensus within the pod. If no consensus can be reached, staff will consider rearranging the pods.
Most of the rules and restrictions regarding COVID-19 safety are set by the School Meeting and apply to all pods. However, each pod can add additional rules to their own sub-lawbooks for increased safety if they would like to be extra-cautious.
The sub-lawbook is created by students and staff in the pod. Parent input is welcome, but the students and staff in the pod are not required to incorporate it (just like how our regular School Meeting works).
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Following is a brief summary of the rules that all pods must follow.
The Open School views this unexpected shutdown as an opportunity to create something new. In the 2020-2021 school year, we are implementing a pilot program for virtual democratic education. This virtual program will grant access to many of the benefits of The Open School to all our students during Red and Orange phases, as well as students who decide to continue quarantining, part time or full time, in other phases.
Nonetheless, The Open School recognizes that child care is a significant part of what families’ tuition pays for. If it turns out that we will be in Red or Orange phase with no in-person school for an extended period of time, we will modify our enrollment contracts to allow families to unenroll mid-year without being on the hook financially for the remainder of the year.
If you are interested in enrolling part time in order to limit your exposure to COVID-19, you can find details about our part time program here.Go to top ▴
We’ve created a Tuition Hardship Grant for families who have been economically impacted and cannot pay their tuition. Please consider giving to this fund to help our community stay together as we weather this storm.
Our school operates on a shoestring budget, and though our expenses are not lower during this time, we understand that many parents cannot continue to pay full tuition with their kids at home and their income decreased. Our community has committed to make sure the school remains strong throughout this time so when it is over, we have a school to return to.
Current families who need to apply for the grant can do so here. Grants are given out each month, so please re-apply each month. We love you!Go to top ▴
Staff will continually monitor the changing conditions in our area, and will communicate these conditions to the school community on a weekly basis via email and GroupMe. We will also notify our community if any student or staff has come into contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, although we will keep the identity of exposed individuals confidential.
All staff will attend a training session before school starts in August on the application and enforcement of this plan, followed by additional staff meetings each quarter. Also, enrolled families must attend an orientation before school starts which will cover this plan.Go to top ▴