Please note that this plan is still under development and subject to change.

Check back at the beginning of August and September for revised and increasingly firm plans. We will re-evaluate our plan towards the end of October 2020 and make changes based on recommendations from DESE and the CDC, and on what worked and didn’t work for us during the first months of the school year.

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we navigate this uncharted territory. Supporting our students, and providing them with the best education possible is still our number one priority during this time. We continue to strive to do so while also keeping our community safe.

Four Winds School will operate

Monday in-person

Tuesday-Friday remote

We are hoping that meeting once per week in person will help maintain our sense of community and accountability, while letting the building air out during the rest of the week. Four Winds will be acquiring medical grade air filters to purify the air, and follow the safety measures listed below.

If you are not familiar with how our program works under normal circumstances, please take a moment to read about it here. Understanding the schedule and philosophy on which we have based our new plan will be helpful in understanding our new procedures. It may also be helpful to learn about our teachers before proceeding, too. Thank you!

Mondays (in-person)

For at least September and October 2020, if not longer, Four Winds School will adhere to the following safety procedures to avoid the contraction and/or spread of COVID-19: 

Half of the students (up to 7)  will have assigned work stations in the quiet room, and the other half will have assigned work stations in the main classroom. Teachers will rotate classrooms and deliver each lesson twice (once to each “pod”), and may “float” between pods when necessary.

Students will: 

  • keep their masks on at all times (a policy which be very strictly enforced) except when eating
  • sit only at their assigned work station in their assigned pod, and refrain from touching other work surfaces
  • bring their own pens, pencils, and other supplies every week so as not to share or touch communal materials
  • wash their hands upon entering the building, and use hand sanitizer throughout the day
  • bring enough water for the day and packed, nut-free food (that does not require the refrigerator, microwave, or toaster oven) for snack and lunch
  • enter/leave the classroom one-by-one to maintain proper social distancing (with the help and facilitation of the teachers)
  • sanitize their work station at the end of the day 

Teachers will: 

  • take students’ temperatures with a forehead scanner thermometer in the parking lot at drop off. If they have an elevated temperature, parents will take them back home. We know this doesn’t protect against asymptomatic carriers, but we certainly want to prevent feverish students from entering the community.
  • model appropriate sanitation, hygiene, and social distancing practices with a positive attitude
  • prompt hand washing on entering the building, and frequent sanitizing
  • facilitate students entering and leaving the classroom one-by-one, and monitor their interactions during outside time, to ensure proper social distancing
  • enforce a very strict “three reminders and you go home for the day” mask policy
  • clean the bathroom and wipe door knobs at the end of the day

Individuals will have to stay home if they are sick in any way. (This includes teachers, so it is possible that if we can’t find a sub we might have to cancel school for that day if it happens. However, we will also try to increase our sub list over the summer in order to avoid this outcome at all costs.)

If any member of the students’ or teachers’ household comes down with COVID-19, we will cancel in-person school for at least two weeks and quarantine at home. After the two week period, individuals can return once receiving a negative test result.

Monday Schedule (subject to change)

  • 8:30-9am Poem and creative writing in each pod
  • 9am-9:30 Announcements and check-in in each pod
  • 9:30-10:30 Class which, in the beginning of the year, will focus on independent learning skills so the students will be able to function at home during the rest of the week. For example, we may use the time to teach students to design their bi-weekies, use the math or Latin textbooks, and use Khan Academy and other online tools like Zoom and Google Classroom. We will also use this time to teach the new school routine. Once that is all sorted out, probably after a month or so, this class period will be Humanities with Becca in one pod and Science with Hattie in the other.
  • 10:30-11am Break time (outside, when possible). Students will eat snack at an appropriate distance, and then we will play group games from a distance (circle games such as “wa” are perfect for this, as well as many rhythm, movement, and theater games). Students will wash hands before returning to their assigned station/pod.
  • 11am-12:30pm Academic work time, during which students should focus on subjects they have struggled with, or need one-on-one help with, during the other four days at home. At the beginning of the year we will likely use this period to teach more independent learning skills. Teachers will “float” between pods when necessary, and Alethea will be present during this time to help students with math.
    • Note: We chose to shorten academic work time from three hours to one-and-a-half hours to accommodate the addition of a second hour-long class during the school day. Additionally, we’re worried that without the ability to move about the classroom as much, it would have been much harder for students to do it for the full three hours. Students may still take a lap around the building or go to the bathroom one at a time.)
  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch and Physical activity. After eating lunch (outside, when possible) we will go on an appropriately distanced walk around the neighborhood, or engage in other physical activity such as yoga or a game.
  • 1:30-2:30 Class, during which Hattie and Becca will switch rooms and deliver their morning lesson to the opposite pod. This way both pods get a science and humanities lesson each Monday.
  • 2:30-3:15 Project time, during which students can work at their desks in their pod. At the beginning of the year we will distribute the school’s project supplies among each workstation so students don’t have to share materials. Students will also be encouraged to bring in materials of their own for this period. Like always, students may instead choose to read, or work on academic work during this time, and may take needed bathroom or lap breaks one at a time.
  • 3:15-3:30 Disinfect and good bye. Students will sanitize their work stations, pack their belongings, and get picked up. 

Tuesday-Friday (remote): 

Note: We are fortunate enough to be able to equip every student with a Chromebook (though they are allowed to use a personal computer instead if they so choose), and all of the textbooks they will need for independent learning. 

Major changes since the spring: 

  1. Students will be held accountable to a virtual biweekly. We will provide suggested requirements, such as “5th graders should complete between two to five math lessons per week” as guidelines which can then be adjusted as necessary. For some students getting one math lesson/week would be better than what we saw this Spring, whereas others seemed to excel at home. We’re hoping this will still give students and families a sense of flexibility, while increasing accountability.
  2. We will meet at least twice daily over Zoom (or another video platform such as Google Meets) to maintain our sense of community.

Tuesday-Friday schedule (note that Becca will lead most of this as Hattie will have a newborn!)

  • 8:30-9am Poem and creative writing together over Zoom
  • 9am-9:30 Announcements and check-in together over Zoom
  • 9:30-12:30 Academic work time. Details to come. This will probably look similar to the “office hours” system we had in the spring. We will probably encourage students to do between 1 and 3 hours of work during this time, while taking needed movement, snack, and screen breaks.
    • Note: We may offer one-to-one, in person help at the school (by appointment) during this time. Details to come.
  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch and “recess” Academic break and time for kids to socialize over Zoom or Google Hangouts if they so choose.
  • 1:30-2:30 Afternoon class over Zoom. We’re still working out the details for this. Right now we are considering:
    • Tuesdays: Essay writing with Becca
    • Wednesdays: Math with Alethea
      • 30 minute “Mathtivity” for everyone, which is something we did every other week during the school year and every week once we were remote
      • 30 minute check-in with the Khan Academy folks (which Alethea was doing on a weekly basis last spring)
    • Thursdays: Reading group/book club with Becca to discuss the previous week’s assigned reading chapters, and prep for the upcoming reading assignment
    • Fridays: Individual video check-ins with students, parents, and teachers about progress
  • 2:30-3:30: Optional Project Time The DESE guidelines for remote learning suggest that students should only do half a school day’s worth of work, and we think it would be good to honor that. Therefore, we may not hold any official classes or office hours during this time. If families want to maintain structure for the whole school day, however, project time or “study hall” maybe be a good use of this time.

Please contact us using the form below with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.