Are We There Yet?
During long car trips, my daughters, perhaps like your children, loved to call out from the back seat of the car, “Are we there yet?” Their patience with the journey was a struggle, one that was difficult to sustain over the many hours we drove. We’d get an early start, and we’d stop for breakfast about an hour into the trip. It was that stop that gave us the frame of mind for being on a road trip. It often bought me some time before the next call from the back seat inevitably would sound – “Are we there yet?”
The global pandemic has taken our community on a long road trip, and as much as I’d like to tell you we are almost at our destination, it is likely that it will still be some time before this journey safely concludes. What is most important for you to know right now is that our administrative leadership and board are considering a variety of different roads we might travel as we wind our way along on this trip.
There are many scenarios to explore as we work our way toward a full return to campus and school. The obvious, and most desired option is having all students return to campus in the fall; this would certainly be optimal for students, parents, and teachers. We miss each other, we miss the routine of school, and the opportunities that exist when we are in each other’s company. For this option to occur we need a safe environment that does not threaten the physical health of our community. It is the most optimal outcome and the model we are historically most prepared to deliver.
We also know that The Roeper Home Learning Program will continue to evolve, and faculty will become stronger in delivering a Roeper education through this medium. We are committed to spending time this summer strengthening our skill set, enhancing our methodology, and readying ourselves to be able to deliver a strong Roeper education through this program in the fall. While this scenario does not make returning to work easier for parents, it does provide a clear educational model that is safe and would allow our students to continue their education in a supportive and sustained manner.
There is also a hybrid option where we spend part time on campus and part time in the Roeper Home Learning Program. As we’ve seen in other countries, there are a variety of scenarios that might allow smaller groups to return to campus while maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks, having a regular hand washing routine, and engaging in a significant cleaning regiment. In these cases, schedules are altered to control the number of people on campus at any given time, and there is a mixture between online and in person teaching. This is of course the most complex and challenging of options to develop, and yet it may be the area we spend the most time assessing and modeling.
Scenario planning for the fall and beyond can feel like driving on our trip and having the road ahead continuously changing. All of us would like to have a clear plan, we would like to have a known direction, but the scientific information and the national circumstances in front of us are in a constant state of flux. I know this lack of clarity is unsettling, especially for a community that appreciates clear direction. What I can promise you is that as a school leadership team we are continuously reviewing scenarios, constructing new options, and always focusing on delivering a Roeper education consistent with our mission and philosophy. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our community and understand the trust you place in us to make that our priority.