This has been a very busy week on campus planning for our September opening. We continue to receive numerous inquiries about Cape Cod Academy and are touring many families daily. Our enrollment is increasing, and interest is high.
We are reviewing and upgrading our technology systems, paying particular attention to strengthening our internet connectivity throughout all school buildings. Technology will be an important piece of back-to-school learning, and having a more robust and stable technology infrastructure will better enable us to meet the needs of all of our students. We have invested in new equipment for teachers and classrooms, so our faculty members will be well equipped to handle the demands of teaching and learning in any environment.
In addition to investing in technology, we realize that we need to repurpose some spaces in order to maintain safety protocols. In preparation for reopening, we have inventoried and planned the best use of our buildings, classrooms, and outdoor learning spaces to enhance safety and to lower the number of students in any given area. As a result, we will not open the senior corner or middle school lounge in order to limit gatherings of students. These changes will be in place as long as we need to adhere to pandemic-related health and safety guidelines.
As we rethink how spaces and classrooms will be utilized, we are creating student cohorts who will largely remain together throughout each day. This will look and feel different for our students, but we respect that during this time, it is the best way to keep everyone safe. Cohort design is reported to be one of the most effective methods to stop the spread of viral infection. As a result, we have planned "pods" where specific groups of students will be housed. The student cohorts will have their own doors in and out of the buildings, and all groups will have direct access outdoors. Teachers will travel to the groups of students in grades K-8 for class instruction. For grades 9-12, we have planned locations that will minimize student movement within a specific area, and these students will regularly use the same spaces. Surfaces will be cleaned after each class use. All classroom locations have a specific outdoor area either adjacent or easily accessible to their physical classroom.
Access to the building by non-school personnel will be extremely limited. Initially, food deliveries will not be allowed on campus. It is possible that once we establish routines and habits for day-to-day operations, some of these restrictions may be lifted. All students should plan to bring lunch, snacks, and drinks from home. If a student forgets a drink or a snack, he or she can go to the reception desk where minimal packaged food items and water can be provided. Juice and milk will not be available at this time.
New behaviors and routines will be the norm. We are confident that students will quickly adapt to the necessary changes we have adopted to ensure community safety. This will be most challenging in our lower school. As a result, we have decided to bring back only lower school students to the campus on September 8 and 9. This will allow us to provide explicit instruction and focused support to these students as they become accustomed to being in our buildings with physical restrictions. All teachers and staff will be on campus those days; however, only lower school students will be in the building. This will give us time to support their transition back and acclimate them to a very different environment and behavioral norms.
Middle and upper school students will be required to attend their first two days of classes remotely. During these two days, they will be introduced to their teachers, course subject matter, and the procedures and protocols they will be required to follow when they arrive on campus on September 10. It is our expectation that when they do arrive on campus, they will do so seamlessly and safely.
-Jeff Thompson, Headmaster