Learning Plan and Living with COVID in 2020-2022
In March 2020, Foothill Country Day School, like all schools in Los Angeles County, was ordered to close campus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a few days, our teachers launched a comprehensive distance learning program. Parents and faculty worked together to provide an education that was consistent with Foothill's mission, ensuring that no child lost their learning progress. Our parents were surveyed in late May about the content and quality of the instruction, the communication from the school, their student's feelings about the workload, and their general outlook on distance learning. Foothill got stellar reviews and our parents offered invaluable suggestions to improve the program. Here is a sample:
FCDS was able to quickly respond to the restrictions prompted by C-19. Distance learning was interactive, not just packets of work sent home. --1st Grade Parent
The homeroom teachers have been fantastic. They were able to create content that was easy, manageable and consistent. And they sent emails explaining, assisting, and following up -- right fron the beginning. -- 4th Grade Parent
My child continued to learn and grow. My child made significant improvement and learned NEW lessons in their time at home. The creative curriculum and support from the teachers has been exceptional. -- Kindergarten Parent
The consistent Zooms with the teachers were very helpful. The quality of work and assignments was very appropriate. Teachers were amazing with their communication with students and emails to parents. -- 6th Grade Parent
I thought the time spent on distance learning was perfect. There was more time for us to do other activities. Not having to drive them to and from school and other activities freed up a lot of time to get things done. Academically, I am very happy with the hard work teachers put in to keep up the Foothill standards. I have heard from parents in other schools that their students basically stopped learning since March. -- 8th Grade Parent
Compared with my older son in the public high school, my son at Foothill had a lot of interaction with his teachers and classmates and stayed engaged throughout. He enjoyed the mini term. --8th Grade Parent
Foothill faculty and administrators took the survey data to heart and spent the summer of 2020 improving the program. Since July, the School has invested nearly $100,000 in professional development for teachers. Faculty members have been offered extensive technology integration training in addition to workshops on pediatric first aid and CPR, and diversity, equity and inclusion. Our teachers gave up the majority of their summer break to learn more about how to make their lessons engaging, efficient and effective.
In September 2020, Foothill students in grades Kindergarten - 8 began the school year in distance learning and we continue to offer a five day per week, full-time schedule to all our students. Our preschool, The Seedling School at Foothill Country Day School, is a state-licensed preschool program and was allowed to open for in-person learning with an array of safety precautions including masks and social distancing.
An October 2020 survey of Foothill families and faculty indicated that about half of our community would prefer to return to campus and about half would prefer to remain in distance learning. As a result, Foothill will be offering a CONCURRENT (not hybrid) learning program: all students will experience live instruction five day a week, but some students will be on campus, while others are learning at home virtually. Stable cohorts of 10-12 students will learn together.
On November 11, 2020, Foothill applied to the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health for a waiver to open on-campus learning to Kindergarten - 2nd grade students.
On December 4, 2020, we were granted a waiver pending a visit from the Department of Health. In January, the County asked that schools remain closed in response to the rising case rate of COVID 19.
In late February, the case rate in Los Angeles County allowed schools in grades Kindergarten through 6 to open for in-person learning. Foothill welcomed our youngest students, grades Kindergarten - 2, safely back to campus on February 23, 2021. We brought back grades 3-8 over the course of March and early April. We continued to offer a concurrent model of education, both distance learning and in-person, for the rest of the school year. Parents have chosen their path, as described in the chart above.
Our Pathway to Reopening was phased to ensure all our safety protocols and academic and outdoor schedules would have their intended outcomes for keeping students safe and engaged during in-person and distance learning. Thanks to this safe and measured approach, we are proud to say that Foothill did not have to toggle or close due to a COVID illness or exposure.
In fall of 2021, Foothill reopened fully to all grades for in-person instruction, following all County Department of Public Health requirements. Masks were required inside the buildings most of the school year, but by spring masks became optional. About half of our students chose to continue wearing masks. During the 2021-2022 school year, individual grade levels occasionally experienced COVID-positive cases. All students in those grade levels were tested and monitored while the COVID-positive students recovered at home. Using this multi-layered approach, our school was able to avoid severe cases and all grade levels continued in-person learning for the entire school year.
To learn more about our pathway to reopening, please view our Return to Campus Guide, Return to Campus FAQ and our Healthy Community Guidelines for 2021-2022 in English, Spanish, and Chinese.