Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Stratford School's Distance Learning Program for students in Preschool through Grade 8 provides continued growth and educational development as well as support for our families during this unprecedented time.  For prospective parents, we are offering virtual tours.

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COVID-19 Updates

We appreciate your patience and partnership as we all try to navigate this continually evolving COVID-19 situation.

Our Distance Learning program is now underway.  Since we closed our campuses on March 16, our teachers and staff have been working incredibly hard and have successfully made the transition to distance learning with their students in grades Preschool through 8th Grade. While much has changed and will continue to change, the core values of our work endure: we will continue our focus on the growth and development of our students, we will continue learning together, and we will continue our outreach and support to our parents. Read more about our Distance Learning program HERE

We will continue to update this page with information as it becomes available. We are committed to supporting our students with continued authentic and engaged learning, even from outside the bounds of our campus.

April 29, 2020

Dear Parents:
 
As we are now in the midst of our sixth week of distance learning, we’d once again like to thank all of our families for being such supportive partners in navigating these uncharted waters. With your involvement and feedback, you have amplified the tireless efforts of our curriculum team and your children’s educators to create phenomenal levels of engagement in what is an ever more robust distance learning program at each grade level. We are so proud of how our students have not only embraced this new learning platform, but have continued to thrive and find innovative ways to stay connected to each other and their communities! 
 
Beyond simply delivering our curriculum, our dedicated teachers and staff strive to provide continuity and stability during this stressful, unprecedented time in our lives. Each day, parents express their appreciation for the kindness and care that our teachers have shown to their students, and for this we are honored to continue to make a difference in the lives of our Stratford families. 
 
As we continue our partnership during this health crisis, we have been carefully planning our next steps by not only focusing on our own programs but also keeping abreast of guidance from national, state, and local authorities. We are all looking forward to getting back to a state of “normalcy,” but at the same time our first priority will always be protecting the safety and well-being of our students and community.  
 
With that said, taking into account two critical directives: (1) the April 1, 2020 decision by the California governor to mandate the closure of California public schools through the end of the school year and (2) the April 27, 2020 extension of the “safer at home” / "shelter in place" orders for several California counties through May 30, we have made the difficult decision to keep all Stratford School campuses closed through the end of the 2019/2020 school year, which will conclude on Friday, June 5, 2020.
 
Although we will not be able to bring our campus community together in person in the upcoming weeks, we are planning innovative ways to celebrate the end of this school year, including a reimagined graduation for the Class of 2020. We look forward to sharing more information and details for these upcoming events very soon.
 
Also, given the current “re-opening” indicators from state and local authorities, we are maintaining our plans to host our Summer programs as scheduled. We are working on a comprehensive response plan to ensure the on-campus health and safety of program participants that will comply with best-practices for social distancing, health monitoring, and campus sanitization.
 
We again thank you for your partnership during these challenging times. We believe that together, we are forging a revolutionary path through this unprecedented period that will enable our children to maintain not only educational continuity, but also a healthy and resilient outlook for the future.

March 27, 2020

Dear Parents:

We would like to begin with a sincere note of thanks, not only to you, our parents, for your incredible support and agility during this unprecedented time; we also send a heartfelt thank you to all of the nurses, doctors, medical teams, and first responders for their selfless commitment to keeping our community safe.

As we approach our first full week of Distance Learning … in one word, it’s been inspiring! Inspiring to see how students embrace this new way of learning. Inspiring to see our parents join us as partners in continuing their child’s education. Inspiring that in spite of navigating life under a Shelter at Home mandate, we see the connection and warm smiles of our students and teachers -- all working together to be engaged and passionate about learning in this new way. Nurturing this connection with teachers and classmates is key to helping your child feel secure with a sense of normalcy at a time of serious disruption.

We are also inspired by parents who have taken time to share feedback -- we are listening carefully and in the days and weeks ahead, you will see enhancements to our various distance learning programs based on the constructive feedback received!

Next week, we look forward to augmenting the distance learning schedule with more content and connection. In preparation, you should expect to receive an email from your child’s teacher that provides an outline of coursework and goals for learning in the upcoming week. Please know that your teachers are an email away if you have any questions or concerns. We understand that as parents, you are shouldering multiple responsibilities, and we remain available to help support you and your child through these unprecedented times.

At the time of our March 20 email update, we anticipated reopening our campus on April 20. However, on Wednesday, March 25, several California counties announced the extension of school closures through Friday, May 1. Although we all look forward to returning to our physical classrooms, we are confident that our robust distance learning program will continue to deliver an accelerated learning approach that goes well beyond what many schools are providing, or have chosen not to provide during this critical time. Our distance learning program offers a significant degree of educational continuity. Similar to summer, without a program in place, students can quickly fall behind at a critical time in their education. 

As challenging as this period is for all of us, life will get back to normal, and we will return to our campus. When we do, students who have continuously taken part in our distance learning program will enjoy a seamless transition, and should be well-prepared to matriculate to the next grade level*.

As we shared with you in prior communications that kicked off our Distance Learning Program, our education team has taken a very thoughtful and intentional approach to how distance learning can be most effectively accomplished for the various program levels. For details on the specific objectives, goals and benefits we are targeting for the program in which your child is enrolled, please visit our Distance Learning page here.  

March 16, 2020, 2:15 PM PDT 
 
We have been notified that beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda have instituted a policy of "shelter in place." Our schools will close at the end of business TODAY.
 
We invite parents to come to campus and pick up learning materials and devices before 6:30 p.m.
 
March 13, 2020, 1:10 PM PDT 
 
Dear Stratford Families:
 
In light of the most recent coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, we have made the difficult decision to close school starting Monday, March 16 (see specific notes regarding Middle School below), and transition to distance learning. Although we have been fortunate NOT to have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our school community, we are proceeding as a result of the rapidly changing public health outlook and increasing student absenteeism, which has compromised authentic and engaged learning. Per the preparations we referenced in previous communications, we will transition to distance learning and continue as long as the situation dictates. Please carefully review our Distance Learning Continuity Plan below, outlined by program level (Preschool, Elementary and Middle School). Once Spring Break begins, there will be no expectation of distance learning, as students and families will be on vacation as planned. 
 
We recognize that these times are very stressful. Rest assured that our entire team is working incredibly hard to not only ensure health and safety, but also to provide continuing, high quality education.  We understand that this will take some adjustment, but we will work closely with you as educational partners for your children. We ask for your patience and understanding in these trying times. Let us all work together on behalf of our Stratford children. 
 
Reminder: Travel Guidance and 14-day Self-Quarantine Triggers
In anticipation of regular school resuming after Spring Break, circumstances permitting, we are advising that any students or staff members who travel to an area under the CDC’s Travel Health Notice Level 3 (or with household members who travel to these locales) OR who travel on ANY cruise ship -  NOT come to school for a 14-day period from the date of their return. 
 
We also ask that, once we return, if any student or staff member is alerted to having been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (second-hand exposure), they immediately seek medical consultation, self-quarantine/do not return to campus for 14 days, and notify the school. 
 
Distance Learning Continuity Plan
As outlined in last week’s communication, we have developed plans to provide support for all program levels, as we continue with our current curriculum and shift teaching techniques to a distance learning scenario. We will phase in our Distance Learning Continuity Plan to ensure your family is supported. 
 
Early Childhood (Preschool - Pre-K)
On Monday, March 16, schools will close for early childhood students. The day will be used for faculty meetings, training, and planning. By the end of business on Tuesday, we will begin sharing with you distance learning activities and experiences that will emphasize interaction, creativity and skill practice (children of this age thrive on repetition and familiarity). These activities will utilize some age-appropriate technology and will not need specialized materials. Distance learning for our early learners will remain holistically focused on all developmental learning domains: language, cognitive, artistic, health and physical, and social-emotional, and may be conducted in English or the family’s home language. The primary tools for communication between teachers and families will be Kinderlime and email. 
 
Elementary School  
On Monday, March 16, schools will close for elementary students. Teachers will use the morning to collect all workbooks, journals, and learning resources that students might need for the weeks of instruction leading up to Spring Break. The afternoon will be used for faculty meetings, training, and planning. On Tuesday, March 17, you are invited to campus from 8:00-11:00 a.m. to pick up these materials from your child’s homeroom teacher. By the end of business on Wednesday, March 18, we will begin sharing with you distance learning activities and provide direction on how you can best support your child’s learning. Learning activities will include a combination of independent assignments, adaptive learning platforms already being used by students, and live-streamed sessions (using common video conferencing tools like GoogleMeets and Zoom) to maintain the continuity of learning. It is expected that students in Grades K-2 will need higher levels of support than students in Grades 3-5. The primary tools for communication between teachers and families will be the Parent Portal and email.
 
Middle School
On Monday, March 16, schools will remain open for middle school students. The day will operate on a normal schedule and teachers will use class time to share with students important information and have them collect textbooks and resources for the weeks of instruction leading up to Spring Break. On Tuesday, March 17, schools will remain open on a modified schedule for students to receive basic technology training on our learning management system (Schoology) and video-conferencing platform (Zoom), collect a Chromebook and charger and retrieve any other textbooks, workbooks, and resources that they may have forgotten. In addition, School Leaders will communicate the details of the modified schedule to parents via email.  Middle School will be closed for students beginning Wednesday, March 18. By the end of business on Thursday, March 19, learning activities will be sent by email and posted to students and parents. Learning activities will include a combination of independent assignments, adaptive learning platforms already being used by students, and live-streamed sessions to maintain the continuity of learning. The primary tools for communication between teachers and families will be the Parent Portal and email. 
 
This school closure means that any planned school events and all extracurricular activities from now through Spring Break will be canceled and rescheduled. Upcoming ERB CTP testing will be rescheduled once school resumes.
 
Since the public health situation surrounding the emergence of COVID-19 began to evolve, we have been closely monitoring the advice of experts, and our leadership team has been convening daily to assess the current situation and review our contingency protocols.  It was with intensive, fact-based deliberation that we have made this difficult decision and mobilized our distance learning protocols. We are extremely grateful for the support, resiliency, and compassion of our parents, teachers, and staff as we all work together to make sure we are doing what is right to maintain a healthy and safe school community. We will keep you updated on new developments as they relate to our school community while our campus is closed.
 
Thank you.