While we understand the added burden that the pandemic brings to the students, the faculty, and the parents, the academic rigor at The Heights will be consistent with the expectations that are set during any other year. Our goal, as always, has been to assist parents, as the primary educators, by providing students a strong liberal arts education with a commitment to foster the same level of intellectual, moral, physical, and spiritual formation that is critical to our mission as a school.
Lower School: Lower school students who are not stay-at-home students will attend each day. Please note that lower school dismissal will be at 2:15pm to allow for staggered pick-up.
Middle School: Hybrid, split by clans alternating through September 25, with the aim to have all in-person students on campus each weekday beginning September 28*
- Red Rose and White Lily students in-person on September 9
- Gold Cross and Red Cross students in-person on September 10
- September 11 – 25: clans alternate in-person; Flower clans on 9/11, Cross clans on 9/14 and so forth.
Upper School: Hybrid, split by clans alternating through September 18, with the aim to have all in-person students on campus each weekday beginning September 21*
- Red Rose and White Lily students in-person on September 9
- Gold Cross and Red Cross students in-person on September 10
- September 11: all in-person upper school students. Half day of classes, ending at 12:05 p.m.
- Gold Cross and Red Cross students in-person on 9/14, 9/16, 9/18
- Red Rose and White Lily students in-person on 9/15, 9/17
During the hybrid model, on the days students are at home, they will participate in their core classes virtually. These classes all take place from 8:20am-9:50am and are as follows:
- Sixth grade: Literature and History
- Seventh Grade: Literature and Latin/Language Arts
- Eighth Grade: Literature and Ancient History
These Core classes are taught by their mentor and will be live streamed through the link made available through Schoology. For the remaining classes (non-Core classes), during the hybrid model, students will receive two days worth of academic assignments to do on the days they are at home.
For upper school students, the usual floater schedule has been replaced this year by the standard/block schedule. The floater schedule enables the school to teach one additional course during the school day (eight classes but seven class periods) by allowing one class to “float” through the weekly academic schedule. For 2020-21, the floater only applies to seventh and eighth grade students. The students will have the floater fully explained to them on their first day at orientation with their schedules in front of them. For the first few weeks, the floater schedule will repeat two days in a row to accommodate the alternating schedules. In general, students get the hang of it quickly. If your son needs assistance with this, have him speak to his Core teacher.
Parents should look for an email with login credentials to Schoology for each student no later than Saturday, September 5. Both students and parents can watch this brief tutorial to become familiar with the learning management software. The use of Schoology will vary among the three schools.
For those families who elect not to have their son attend school in person, a distance learning and mentoring model will be offered starting September 10. If you would like to change from distance learning to in-person instruction or move your son to distance learning, the change must be discussed and approved beforehand by the appropriate school head.
Parents will receive an email each evening with a link to inform the school of any absence for the following day. The form will request specific information as to why a student will be absent.
Protocol for Symptoms that Develop at Home:
The ongoing efforts to allow on-campus instruction greatly relies on the willingness of parents to keep their sons at home and have their sons tested whenever symptoms of a COVID-19 like illness are present. Please review the Maryland Department of Health’s document for further information on symptoms and testing here. The flowchart at the end of this document is particularly helpful and worth printing to have on hand.
Protocol for Symptoms that Develop at School:
Any student with symptoms while at school will be taken to the Medical and Health Information Office on campus for evaluation by the school nurse and will await pick up in an isolated area, preferably outside on a bench, deck, or covered gazebo.
The Heights will notify WTOP for any school delays or cancellations. In addition, information will be listed on the homepage of heights.edu website and through other direct means of communication with parents to communicate weather-related closings and delays by 5:30am.
Please note that lower school dismissal will be at 2:15pm each day to allow for staggered pick-up. An email has been sent home to lower school parents with additional details. Students will be encouraged to wait for their parents in pre-arranged locations and faculty will be in the parking lot to help with the pick-up. Although parents are encouraged to stay in their cars, they are certainly allowed to get out of their vehicles and look for their sons when needed.
Lower School dismissal time will now be 2:15pm. The purpose of this change is to de-densify the campus as much as possible before the regular 3:05pm pick-up. If your son 1) has an older brother in middle or upper school, which dismisses at 3:05pm, 2) carpools in the afternoon with a student in the middle or upper school, or 3) takes the afternoon bus, the lower school faculty will provide supervision for the lower school student until 3:05pm. If one of the three scenarios listed above pertains to your son, please email Lower School Head Colin Gleason at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, September 8, to request coverage from 2:15pm-3:05pm. If none of the three scenarios listed above pertains to your son, then he should be picked up at 2:15pm.
Yes, if your older son has a study hall in the morning, but has younger siblings that should be at school, there will be a designated outdoor classroom for students who have study hall.
Lower School: Lower school students can be dropped off as early as 7:45am. Students should wear their masks as they get out of their cars and head down to the Valley. They will then drop their belongings off at their respective line-up spots. Homeroom teachers will review this with them on the first day of school. On the first day of school, homeroom teachers will be waiting for their students near the gazebo area at the top of the parking lot. Parents should drop off their sons near this area without getting out of their cars. Lower School faculty will be on hand to help direct traffic and students. Throughout the year, drop-off time will be from 7:45-8:15am.
Middle and Upper Schools:Designated entryways have been assigned by grade: 6th and 8th grades will walk up the hill to the right of the main building and through the courtyard; 7th grade will walk around the left side of the main building to the fish pond; all upper school students will enter through the front doors of the main building.
Seniors who drive to school should park in the designated parking areas. The designated parking area for senior drivers is the middle two rows of parking spaces in the main lot on campus. The designated parking area for juniors and sophomores is the East Gate Swim and Tennis Club lot at 10200 Gainsborough Road. Potomac, Maryland. Heights shuttles to and from East Gate will be provided. Please contact Mr. Acevedo at email@example.com with any questions.
- Each of our Virginia buses will be limited to 25 non-sibling students to reduce the seating density. Brothers are permitted to sit next to one another. Assigned seating will be required.
- The bus company has established daily cleaning routines between trips.
- Facial coverings are to be worn on the buses at all times.
- The East Gate and Grosvenor Shuttles will operate as usual with facial coverings in use.
We will stagger lunch times so that only one grade is in Chesterton Hall to pick up their lunch. The school has designated indoor and outdoor locations where students will have ample space to eat their lunches with proper social distancing.
If the school must shift to an extended plan for the hybrid model or to an all-distance model for a prolonged period of time, the school will make arrangements to refund unused lunch fees. For students on the Tuesday/Thursday lunch plan who may be attending school on different days during the hybrid model, arrangements have been made to accommodate those students on the days they are at school.
Any new student who has a family member that is a current student or alumnus will be in the same clan as the family member. Students in third grade will learn of their clan assignments at the third grade orientation on Tuesday, September 1. Students in ninth grade will learn of their clan assignments at the freshman orientation on Thursday, September 3. All other new students will be informed of their clan assignments before the start of school.
There will be clan events during the year, modified to adapt to health requirements.
For lower school students, the physical education program is part of their daily schedule. P.E. uniforms will be distributed during the first week of classes.
Middle school students will continue to have P.E. classes every day that they are at school, and P.E. uniforms will be distributed during the first week of classes. Athletic Director Dan Lively will send an email home to parents of middle schoolers with information regarding fall sports and weight training.
For upper school students, the WCAC has postponed fall sports until January. Athletic Director Dan Lively will send an email home to parents of upper schoolers with information regarding fall sports and weight training.
Lower School – Due to the amount of outdoor education the following lower school dress code will be in place until at least Columbus Day:
- Dress pants or dress shorts
- Polo shirt
- Shoes: sneakers, boots or hardy dress shoes
The school uniform for students in grades six and seven is unchanged.
The school uniform for students in grades eight through twelve is unchanged with the exception that sport coats will not be mandatory. Appropriate standards of dress and grooming will be maintained to promote a professional sense of work and responsibility.
A registered nurse, Isaac White RN, has been hired to assist students at the school who become sick or develop symptoms. The school’s Health and Medical Information Office provides an isolated space for students who develop symptoms at school. He can be reached and answer any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org, 301.365.0227 x199.
At this time, we do not plan to have regular temperature screening. However, the school nurse will perform a temperature check for any student who develops an illness during the school day.
Any student or teacher who has a symptom-based suspected case of Covid-19 should stay at home and must get tested or evaluated by a physician before returning to school. The following symptoms are indicators, when not associated with another condition, as evaluated by a physician.
- Fever or feeling feverish (such as chills, sweating)
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Muscle aches or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
Positive Test: In the event of a positive Covid-19 PCR test, the individual should remain isolated at home until:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset and
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms have improved and a physician suggests return to normal activities.
We request a phone call to our school nurse as soon as possible to notify our school of a positive test. If there are no symptoms associated with a positive test (asymptomatic case), then the individual should remain home in self-isolation for 10 days from the positive test date.
We will not require students to be tested before starting school, but remind parents of their commitment to daily screening of students for symptoms.
Again, if a student has a symptom-based suspected case of COVID-19 he should stay at home and must get tested or evaluated by a physician before returning to school.
The Heights has reviewed the best approaches to spread mitigation if confirmed COVID-19 cases appear.
These approaches may include:
- Reviewing desk assignments for contact tracing and asking any students with known exposures to remain at home;
- Cancelling in-person classes for one homeroom or if needed, the whole grade;
- Distance learning for a specific group to allow time for any potental cases of the virus to develop;
- Moving to a hybrid 50-50 model by individual grade or multiple grades with further monitoring;
- Targeted temperature screening or symptom questionnaire screening;
- Deep cleaning during and after school hours of any specific area;
- Requesting the testing of a particular grade or homeroom.
Based on guidance from the Maryland governor’s COVID-19 Guidance for Maryland Schools, (hyperlink to: https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/MD-Schools-Guidance-and-Benchmarks-1.pdf) the Maryland Department of Health strongly recommends that all Marylanders refrain from nonessential travel outside of Maryland due to the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in other states. Any Marylander returning from out-of-state travel should get tested for COVID-19 promptly upon arrival in Maryland. Any Marylander who travels to a state with a COVID-19 test positivity rate above 10% should get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received. The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia are exempt from this recommendation.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Persons returning from international travel should follow CDC guidance regarding quarantine following travel.
The Heights follows the CDC recommendation regarding facial coverings. These guidelines can be found in the section entitled “Cloth Face Coverings” in the CDC’s Back-to-School Planning for In-Person Classes document.
Building Ventilation will be monitored daily to ensure healthy air flow indoors:
- Classes will be held outdoors as much as possible and when not interfering with academic goals.
- The maintenance team will monitor ventilation in buildings and recommend fan use and the opening or closing of windows to maximize healthy airflow.
In addition, as the weather becomes colder, filtration of classroom air systems will be upgraded in several indoor spaces.