Back on Campus

BACK ON CAMPUS (UPDATE: preschool and kindergarten students are on campus, first through eighth grade students will return on January 19th. More info below.)

Orchard returned to in-person learning in the fall of 2020, and we met or exceeded current CDC guidelines as we prepared our facility and planned programming for our students’ return. You will find all the information you need about returning to Orchard on this site. From important FAQs to progress about our three new natural playgrounds, and from Head of School updates to urgent timelines, we've got you covered.
 

A MESSAGE FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL SHERRI HELVIE (Updated November 12, 2020)

A short time ago Mayor Hogsett and Dr. Caine shared that they are ordering all public and private schools (first grade through 12) to transition to remote learning no later than the end of the day on Friday, November 30th. Out of an abundance of caution, and in response to rapidly rising positivity rates in our county and surrounding areas, today, Thursday, November 12th, will be our last day of in-person instruction for grades K-8 through Tuesday, January 19th. The county has mandated that schools must remain in remote learning through Friday, January 15th.
 
While I don’t think this news comes as a surprise given the rapidly rising rates of COVID-19 in our county, state, and country, nevertheless I know that it’s a transition that brings a sense of loss. Our time together across these past 12 weeks has been filled with enthusiasm and appreciation that we have been able to come together at school safely for in-person teaching and learning.  I am so proud of our students, teachers, staff, and families for what we have accomplished together, including the great care and attention of our faculty and staff in making sure that we are fully prepared to transition to remote learning.  We look forward to welcoming back our students on campus when we are allowed to do so by Marion County, and to partnering with our families to make sure that our Orchard students are well supported by the love, connection, and learning that will guide our work through these upcoming weeks.

Thank you to our students, teachers, parents, and friends who worked so hard to make the 2020-2021 school year a successful start! We are looking forward to seeing all of our Owls again on January 19th!

Enjoy the video below that captures some of our favorite moments from the first few months of school. 





REMOTE LEARNING AT ORCHARD

 
On March 11, The Orchard School made a proactive decision to close school and launch remote learning to ensure the safety of our faculty, staff, and students. Teachers worked hard to refine and expand remote learning plans that align with our mission to develop and educate the whole child. The opportunity to innovate while supporting the greater good provided many positive learning moments for everyone during such a unique time. 

After creating a robust Back on Campus plan complete with major facilities upgrades to ensure the safety of all Orchard community members, we returned to campus in August to start the 2020-21 school year. On November 12, Mayor Hogsett and Dr. Caine shared that they are ordering all public and private schools (first grade through 12) to transition to remote learning until January 19th.

While our preschool and kindergarten Owls hold the nest down on campus, you can keep up with remote learning at Orchard by clicking the logo below.





BACK ON CAMPUS PLAN

We are taking full advantage of our ENTIRE 43 acres as we plan for teaching, learning, and playing across the school day.





CLASSROOMS IN THE FALL


We have been reviewing classroom spaces and assessing our ability to set up classrooms with physical distancing guidelines in place.  All of our classrooms, including our multiage preschool, elementary school, middle school, and specialist classrooms, have ample room to safely accommodate our classes of students.  

This summer we will be removing and storing some classroom furniture and items in order to maximize the spaces that our students and teachers are using.  We will limit the sharing of materials within classrooms, create individual sets of supplies for students, and arrange classroom furniture in order to maintain appropriate spacing between students to help prevent the spread of viruses.  Teachers will supervise students as they practice frequent handwashing across the day.  





Back on Campus FAQs

List of 15 frequently asked questions.

  • Is Orchard planning for five days of instruction per week?

    We are planning for five days of instruction per week for on campus instruction.  We have ample space in our 144,000 + square foot indoor facilities, and across our 43 acres and extensive outdoor facilities to follow CDC guidelines around physical distancing during instructional time, lunchtime, and recess.
  •  Will faculty, staff, or students be wearing face coverings?

    All faculty and staff in the school building will be wearing face coverings (e.g. cloth masks, or face shields) in the fall, and will continue to do so as long as it is in line with public health guidance.  We have not made a final decision about which, if any, of our students will be required to wear face coverings, but all students may choose to wear them when they are on campus.  
  • What about temperature checks?

    We are investigating temperature screening tools to take temperatures of all students as they enter the school building every day.  Anyone with an elevated temperature will visit the school nurse for a follow up temperature check in a separate room, away from our regular nursing area.  The school nurse will determine if a student should go home for the day after performing additional temperature checks.  
  • Will I be able to walk my child inside to the classroom?

    CDC guidelines advise that schools should limit visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as much as possible.  Parents will be able drop off their children outside of school entrances which are supervised by school administrators and faculty. Faculty and staff outside and inside the building will supervise children as they arrive, and ensure that they make their way to their classrooms.  These practices are a significant shift for our community, and we will be actively planning for safe ways to offer students and families orientations to their classrooms, introductions to their teachers, and regular communications that will continue to provide families with insights and information about their children’s experiences across the school day.
  • What will classrooms look like in the fall?

    We have been reviewing classroom spaces and assessing our ability to set up classrooms with physical distancing guidelines in place.  All of our classrooms, including our multiage preschool, elementary school, middle school, and specialist classrooms, have ample room to safely accommodate our classes of students.  This summer we will be removing and storing some classroom furniture and items in order to maximize the spaces that our students and teachers are using.  We will limit the sharing of materials within classrooms, create individual sets of supplies for students, and arrange classroom furniture in order to maintain appropriate spacing between students to help prevent the spread of viruses.  Teachers will supervise students as they practice frequent handwashing across the day.  
  • Will school supply lists look different this year?

    Largely, no, in terms of school supplies.  However, we will be looking for increased opportunities to be outside for all of our students, so appropriate outerwear will be needed (rain gear, waterproof shoes or boots, etc.).
  • What other upgrades is Orchard making to the facilities to promote public health?

    We are updating our school-wide air filtration systems for improved air quality, and installing systems that reduce the distance that viruses can spread, and increase the sanitation of surfaces.  We are installing touchless faucets, toilets, urinals, soap dispensers, and hand sanitizers throughout the building in order to minimize the need for touching shared surfaces.  We are also exploring touchless door entries for high volume entrance locations.  
  • Is Orchard making changes to school cleaning schedules and practices?

    We are adding additional custodial staff to support increased cleaning and sanitation practices across the school day and in the evenings, focusing especially on high-touch areas and surfaces.  You can read more about the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning and sanitation practices here.  
  • How will lunch and snack be handled?

    Students will continue to have lunch and snack provided at school every day.  Lunches will be prepared in the kitchen by our food service vendor Aladdin, and delivered to classrooms.  We will use reusable containers in order to reduce waste, and all containers will be thoroughly sanitized.  All of our students will eat in classrooms under the supervision of faculty and staff, and students with food allergies will be served meals that are in keeping with their dietary needs.  Aladdin personnel will follow best practices for maintaining a healthy work and school environment, and meals will be prepared in accordance with food safety guidelines.
  • How will outdoor spaces be utilized to maximize physical distancing?

    We will take full advantage of our 43 acres as we plan for teaching, learning, and playing across the school day.  Our new natural playgrounds are being built over the summer, and these updated spaces will include three amphitheaters that can be used as outdoor teaching spaces.  Our woods, fields, track, and outdoor spaces will continue to be a central part of our progressive program which is developmentally appropriate, and curricularly aligned.  For recess activities, students will remain in small groups, and class recess times will be staggered in order to limit the number of students in outdoor spaces at the same time.
  • Will students be in the same groupings across the day, or mixing?

    CDC guidelines recommend keeping cohorts of students and teachers together, and limiting the mixing of cohort groups as much as possible.  We will keep our groups small across the day in our Early Childhood, Elementary School, and Middle School classes, and minimize interactions across cohort groups in order to limit the chances of infections amongst students and staff.  We will work to create cohort groups that take into account racial and gender diversity, learning styles, and peer connections to support our students. In the Middle School, in most cases faculty will rotate to teach their students in grade level classrooms, rather than requiring students to move to multiple spaces throughout the day.
  • Will Orchard be offering extra-curricular activities in the fall?

    We are currently reviewing our after-school activities, including sports, Kids Connect, and clubs and classes in light of guidelines from both the CDC and the Indiana Department of Education. We will provide more updates on our extra-curricular activities later this month as part of our return-to-school plan.
  • Will families be able to choose between on-campus and remote learning?

    We will not have a separate remote learning program when on-campus instruction is in session.  However, we will work with individual families whose students have extended absences due to illness or family circumstances in order to help students stay current in their studies, and to feel connected with what’s happening on campus.  We are exploring ways to make it easier for teachers to record mini-lessons that are delivered in the classroom so that absent students can access them, and continuing to use select tools from the online systems that we relied upon through the end of last school year in order to make assignments and materials easily accessible for students.  
  • Will Orchard refund tuition if we return to remote learning?

    We do not have plans to issue tuition refunds if we return to remote learning.  Our operating expenses for next year will be significantly higher as we plan for the safest scenarios for in-person instruction, as well as the potential to shift to remote learning in the event that our local community experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases.  We will follow the guidance of the Indiana State Department of Health and the CDC as we monitor and evaluate the safest way to educate our students across the school year.
  • Who can I email if my questions aren’t answered here?

    You may reach out to your child’s division director (Hal Schwartz in EC/ES, or Angie Brothers in MS), Assistant Head of School Nick Eble, or Head of School Sherri Helvie.  You are also welcome to e-mail our Healthy@Orchard team, and we’ll be sure to put you in touch with someone who can answer your questions.

BROCHURES