How are we fighting the spread of the coronavirus?
In addition to holding around 90 percent of our daily instruction outdoors, there are a number of other actions we take to mitigate the possibility that the coronavirus could spread at our school.
We are a very small school. Our total enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year has been capped at 15 students, eight of whom are siblings. For the 2021-2022 school year, we will limit our enrollment by welcoming around 10-12 new students. This means that in our entire school, we still anticipate a total enrollment of just 25-30 children. There is more than enough space on our campus for our 25-30 students to still spend the bulk of their day outdoors.
Every student and teacher is required to wear a mask whenever we must go indoors — usually because of the weather or because a particular lesson calls for the use of technology best accessed inside. When we are outside, masks must be worn whenever physical distancing of 10 feet is not possible, unless a person is physically close to a family member.
Singing only takes place outdoors and everyone must wear a mask when singing — even when physical distancing is still possible.
We strive to maintain physical distancing of 10 feet between any non-family members. Tables and chairs for lessons in which children will primarily be seated are purposefully set up to establish appropriate distancing. Sometimes, physical distancing is not feasible but these moments are limited as much as possible.
We have hand washing stations in each of our outdoor classrooms. Children and teachers must wash their hands at five scheduled intervals during the school day, in addition to other, unscheduled times when hand washing is required, such as after going inside to use the bathroom.
Children are frequently reminded to avoid touching their faces.
Children receive a temperature check upon their arrival each morning.
Like everyone else, we look forward to the day when masks and distancing will be a thing of the past. But we have done our best to make lemonade out of lemons with the pandemic — primarily by creating attractive outdoor spaces and holding so much of our instruction outside, a change that we anticipate largely keeping in place, even in a post-COVID world. Children do seem happier when they are outdoors. And children learn more when they are happy. The weather in Tampa Bay is spectacular for much of the year — the perfect setting for outdoor education.