As an independent school, Kent School’s decision to open is made with advice of the Governor, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, the Kent County Health Department, and CDC guidelines. Last week the Governor and Maryland School Superintendent Karen Salmon held a press conference. She said, “Now, with the state firmly in recovery, schools will have the flexibility to determine, in consultation with their local health officers, how they will open. Continuing in Stage 2 of Recovery, schools can choose to reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.”
The CDC also issued new guidelines for schools last week encouraging schools to open in the fall. The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall Kent School’s small class sizes and its large classrooms, as well as all of the mitigation measures put in place, make it possible for faculty and students to safely return to campus. The positivity rate in Kent County for the past week at 0.44%, is significantly lower than other counties on the Eastern Shore. At all times during the academic year, however, the School must follow the mandates of the Governor and the Kent County Health Department. The Kent County Health Department has reviewed the School’s Return to Campus Plan and agrees with its measures.
The layers of mitigation utilized for a safe return to campus will include face coverings for parts of the day, distanced desks, frequent hand-washing and sanitizer stations. The School has refitted all bathrooms with touchless faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers. Filters in air handlers have been upgraded and ventilation is being supported with open windows and fans. We are deeply grateful to Kent County Economic Development for the recent COVID-19 Modification Grant for supporting these improvements.
The School is renting tents for the back field so that all classes will have the opportunity to teach and learn outdoors. The Kent School campus is rich with beautiful outdoor teaching spaces and we plan to take full advantage of our unparalleled environment for learning this academic year.
There is an emerging body of research that indicates that children are less susceptible to infection compared to adults. International schools that are open have not reported any cases of COVID-19 transmission from students to staff and from students to other students with appropriate risk mitigation strategies in place. That said, Kent School will have an option for distance learning for families who are not comfortable with their children returning to campus.
Nancy Mugele, Head of School said, “We believe that being together as safely as possible is the best option for the well being of our students, and nothing can replace the robust interactions that happen daily in the classroom. Although we live in a changing time, the mission of Kent School remains unchanged – to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence in a family-oriented and student-centered environment which fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.”
For more information and to view the School’s Return to Campus Plan, visit www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School is an independent school serving children from Preschool through Grade Eight.