The Sage School will reopen for in-person learning this fall, school officials have determined, but the school is taking a number of safety measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
At the start of the school year, which begins Sept. 8, the student body will be divided into four groups, or “bands,” according to Assistant Head of School Chris McAvoy. The bands, which will consist of about 20 students each, will remain separate from each other on campus.
It’s the school’s “yellow” plan, according to McAvoy. The “green” plan would mean all students back in school together and the “red” plan would entail all students working from home.
“One of the things that’s really challenging about this pandemic is it attacks right at the social nature of being human,” McAvoy told the Idaho Mountain Express. “We have to find a way to protect that while protecting against a global pandemic.”
Under the yellow plan, students will attend school four days a week—Monday through Thursday—and work from home on Fridays. All students and staff will wear masks indoors and when social distancing is not possible, though the school plans to take advantage of outdoor classroom space as much as possible, McAvoy said.
The school is also adjusting some of its usual beginning-of-the-year field studies and travel traditions. Typically, the school’s eighth graders go to San Francisco for two weeks at the start of the school year. This year, McAvoy said, school officials are looking into shorter trips closer to home.
Even if the school does shift into its “green” plan as the school year progresses, allowing all students back into the same building at once, certain precautions—such as mask-wearing and social distancing—will still be necessary, McAvoy cautioned.
“The thing we have to remind ourselves, and to remind parents and the valley, is that even when we’re in green, that’s still not normal,” McAvoy said. “There’s still a lot of things we need to tend to in green.”