We finished strong! #BRCSfamily #BRCSstayconnected
June 26, 2020
As we continue to look ahead to re-opening school in August, there’s no better time to be part of the BRCS family! Since we are a small school community, we are able to be nimble and flexible.
Two weeks ago, I shared with you that BRCS is developing a comprehensive plan in accordance with Governor Northam’s guidelines for re-opening K-12 schools. Private schools must submit plans to the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE). These plans must address health and safety protocols as well as educational practices. At this point, all Virginia schools are in Phase II of school re-opening. We are permitted to run summer camps during Phase II, so we already submitted our Phase II plan and are operating our summer camps under that plan.
The next step is to begin preparing for Phase III, which is the expected status for all schools by August. We are in the process of developing the Phase III plan now. We will continue to prioritize student and employee health and safety and on-campus, in-person educational opportunities for all students.
Here are some of the steps we’re taking to move forward with our program for next year:
- Phase III guidelines permit on-campus instruction if classroom capacity allows for 6 foot distancing. After measuring classroom space throughout both campuses, I am happy to report that we have sufficient space to provide in-person instruction for all preK-12 students, every day. It’s such a blessing to have this gift of abundant space!
- Phase III guidelines also recommend very limited use of shared spaces. We anticipate that students will remain in their “home base” classroom for the majority of the day when school opens. We are looking at schedules that ensure students get extra time for recess and other physical activity throughout the day.
- For larger gatherings like chapel, we are considering creative solutions to preserve the best parts of those gatherings while maintaining 6-foot distancing.
- Our Athletic Department staff will follow recommendations for safely resuming fall sports. Coach Padilla sent out an email today with updates.
Major considerations for health and safety measures, to ensure compliance with Department of Health guidelines, include:
- Developing health screening protocols for all members of the BRCS community. We are piloting screenings during summer camps. We anticipate further guidance on this process for the school year.
- Consulting with local health care providers to develop policies that will promote a healthy campus environment.
Over the next several days, we will continue to map out many specifics of our re-opening plan. I will send an email update at least every other Friday, or more often if there are important updates to share with you. Between updates, please feel free contact me by email or at the Lower School office. I am grateful for our incredible team of educators at BRCS who will work with diligence and innovation to formulate and carry out our plan. Thank you for understanding that this situation is constantly changing, and we are doing our best to stay up-to-date with the most current information available.
We are praying for your families – for God’s blessing, protection and provision this summer. I am truly looking forward to being together again in just a couple of months!
June 12, 2020
I’m sure you have been keeping up with Governor Northam’s announcements this week about plans for reopening schools in Virginia. There is much to consider, and we all have questions about how those guidelines may impact BRCS next year. In the midst of this rapidly changing situation, these two things remain constant: our God’s sovereign care for His people, and our school’s capacity to be proactive and adapt quickly. Those constants are an anchor for all of us as we discern our next steps.
I want to share with you our school’s goals for the coming school year. After reviewing Governor Northam’s announcements this week and seeking counsel from ACSI and the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE), here are our key priorities as we prepare for the 2020-21 academic year:
- Provide in-person, on-campus educational experiences for all preschool-12th grade students.
- Follow best practices for the optimal health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, in accordance with mandates from the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
- Design our academic and extracurricular programs to maximize opportunities for all students, within the parameters of VDH mandates.
- Ensure we steward our financial resources and facilities with wisdom and creativity this summer and into next school year.
- Communicate regularly with our families over the summer as we finalize our plans for reopening school.
Reopening school will be a collaborative effort. Community is what BRCS does best, and this is our opportunity to shine! As our Leadership Team refines our plans for next year, we will be seeking the knowledge and insight of our faculty, staff and parents. We will also continue to consult with ACSI, VCPE, local resources and the BRCS Board of Directors in the coming days and weeks to ensure we have the most accurate and up-to-date information to guide our decisions.
I also want to thank you for participating in our end-of-year virtual learning survey – 87% of our parents responded, and we are very grateful for the insights you shared. We were very encouraged that 88% of parents on both surveys indicated they were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with BRCS’ transition to virtual learning. Parents also offered many thoughtful ideas about ways to improve the experience. These results and ideas will factor into planning for any virtual learning model we may need to use in the future.
Thank you for extending grace and patience as we move forward together. Have a safe and relaxing weekend!
Karen K. Shomo
Head of School
In the news!
We are a family at BRCS
Let’s Stay Connected
BRCS has a private parent group on Facebook. Only school families are able to join. This is a great place to ask questions and talk with other families.
Even though the students are out, we will continue to post updates. We hope that you will find encouragement in what is shared and stay up to date.
Encouragement from our BRCS Family!
Distance Learning Project from Art: Fort had requirements (slanted or pitched roof, two rooms and a hall).
Mailing letters to White Birch community. We just put “resident” so the Lord can direct it to the one who needs it. Hopefully they will write back.
Soccer Juggling Challenge turned into a fundraiser for scholarship. Thank you!