1. When will school reopen?
SMS families should anticipate distance learning for the weeks of March 30th and April 6th. The school will continue to assess when it will reopen, but the exact date of which has not yet been determined.
2. What is the best way to get in touch with the school right now?
Email! Administration and faculty are all regularly checking email so email is likely fastest. Voicemail can also be picked up remotely so your call will be returned if you leave a message.
3. Is the school’s campus closed?
Yes, the school building, grounds and playground are closed.
4. What are some strategies to support my child’s distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic? How can I set my child up for success?
5. How can I help manage distance learning if I have multiple children in different grades?
For the first two weeks, students in preschool through grade 4 will receive instruction through Quick Time and Loom videos which will be emailed to parents each morning by 9am. These are “on demand” meaning that parents can set-up a school day schedule that works for their family. Students in grades 3 and 4 were sent home with their computers and should be fairly independent in their work. Students in grades 2 and younger will need access to a computer and some adult support. The flexibility provided by offering “on demand” instruction will allow families to create a schedule that works for all the children. If Lower School adds a synchronous learning platform to the Quick Time/ Loom videos, live class meetings will be scheduled with siblings in mind and every effort will be made to avoid any conflicts.
Middle School schedules for video classes (Using Google Meets) have been sent to students and all middle school parents. In addition, teachers will be posting assignments on Google Classroom. Students were sent home with the materials they would require for classes that can not be accessed online. Middle School students should be able to work independently on their work. Parents can best support their success by providing a quiet, organized work space for their child and checking in to see if work is completed. Should students have difficulty or need assistance, encourage them to reach out to their teachers directly. Self-advocacy remains a key skill for middle school students.
The school places boundless value on your child’s online security. As our distance learning software usage grows, we will be sure to let families know of any changes we have made to our offerings. These offerings will meet or exceed COPPA compliance. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule)
6. Will there be a dress code for live class meetings?
Guidelines for behavior will be sent out to parents in advance of the Lower School adding any live class meetings. It is important to also keep in mind, during any distance learning it would be helpful for children to be in a “school mindset”. One way to do this is the dress accordingly. Learning might not be taken as seriously if one is in one’s pajamas.
Middle school student expectations will be sent out to parents in advance of the beginning of classes. Students should dress in appropriate clothing for school. While we recognize that there will be a more relaxed dress code for online classes, students should not attend a video class in pajamas or any other clothing that they would not wear to school.
7. What are some helpful resources for managing my child’s schedule?
It is helpful for children to have a set routine. In their emails. Lower School teachers provided a model schedule of their school day. Parents can use the class schedules as a guide when creating a home schedule.
MS students should attend their video classes each day from 8:00-12:30. Follow up work may be assigned to be completed outside of the scheduled video class. Helping your child manage their time effectively and including needed movement breaks would be helpful.
8. Will the school be offering any form of tuition reimbursement during this time of distance learning?
Our faculty has been trained on distance learning in order to allow us to continue to help students learn and remain connected. We are more committed than ever to providing an excellent education, and these days of distance learning will count as school days. Teaching and learning will continue and therefore SMS will continue to collect the annual tuition.
Our mission is to provide a dynamic curriculum that inspires students to learn with confidence, lead with character, and achieve lasting success, and we are fully committed to living this mission in the midst of a local and global crisis.
9. How should I talk with my child about COVID-19?
There are some great articles online about helping children (and all of us!) understand the changes COVID-19 has brought about. Here are links to a few:
COVID 19 update — our campus is closed but #SMSstaysconnected!
At this time, there are no known cases of COVID 19 in our SMS community. As Head of School Jim Heus wrote in a letter home to parents:
“In keeping with our nation’s efforts to maintain social distancing, and consistent with Governor Raimondo’s two-week suspension of public schools throughout the state, we will launch our plan for distance learning. We have planned, rehearsed and are ready to execute ‘virtual’ instruction on Monday, March 30th.”
Please CLICK HERE for FAQs on COVID 19 and distance learning.