Click on the tabs below to see the questions and answers.
- Q: What state directives and guidance is King following to plan for reopening?
- Q. Why is King using 6 feet between students when feasible while other schools are using 3 feet?
- Q. Has King converted spaces that were previously not for academic use into classrooms?
A: King’s reopening plan follows the State of Connecticut guidelines as well as best practices as recommended by credible scientists and Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. The King Reopening Task Force has dedicated resources to staying abreast of the latest information.
A: King has committed to following the State of Connecticut guidelines requirements for reopening school: “Maximize social distancing between student workstations, achieving 6 feet when feasible, when determining the classroom layout. Desks should face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or students should sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.”
- Q: What personal protection protocols will be in place on campus?
- Q: Is King School requiring COVID-19 testing of students or faculty?
- Q: Has King School considered the pool testing that some other schools are conducting?
- Q: Is there a daily health form that students and staffulty need to submit?
- Q: Is there a Family Community Compact that families will complete?
- Q: What personal protection protocols will be in place on a school bus?
- Q: How will King monitor that people on campus are following the protection protocols?
- Q: How will King respond if a student or family’s actions do not comply with the Community Compact?
- Q: Can a family choose for their child(ren) to learn all remotely?
- Q: Why did King decide not to do daily temperature checks on campus?
- Q: How has King reconfigured its use of physical space for social distancing?
- Q: Are there quarantine protocols for students returning from a summer vacation?
- Q: How has King modified its plan for food management?
- Q: Has King changed its policy of campus access for parents?
- Q: Has King changed its policy of campus access for visitors, vendors, and contractors?
- Q: Will staffulty undergo COVID-19 training?
- Q: Is King taking additional measures to support the mental health of students, families, and staffulty?
- Q: What should someone on campus do if they feel ill?
- Q: What happens if a student or teacher has a symptom of COVID-19?
- Q: How will King respond if a student/family or staffulty member tests positive for Covid-19?
- Q: What set of conditions would have to develop during the Fall to lead the administration to switch fully to KingIsHome?
- Q: If King switches to KingIsHome, will the program be different from what was done last Spring?
- Q: Will students share any materials/supplies?
A: Please click to read about our personal protection protocols, including protocols for face mask and coverings, social distancing, cleanliness, health checks and testing, and travel.
King has partnered with Encon HVAC & Energy Solutions to find the best systems for our needs, and we will continue to adhere to frequent preventative maintenance inspections and filter changes in the HVAC system. We have invested in the recommended air purification systems called Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization. This system produces harmless ions which render pathogens non-viable. This type of system has been installed at Virginia Tech, Harvard University, and Duke University. In addition, portable air purifiers will be used in specific areas. In order for NBI to work effectively, windows should not be left open. When possible, classes will be held outside.
Not at this time. The medical professionals we have consulted do not recommend testing; they strongly recommend screening for symptoms 2 weeks before school starts as a more effective strategy. Many tests are unreliable and give a false sense of confidence to community members. We will continue to follow developments in COVID-19 testing, and we will re-evaluate as new and better options become available.
King's Reopening Task Force continues to review new information and options regarding COVID-19 testing for our community, as we take the safety of all members of our community seriously. In addition to the health and safety precautions we have researched and implemented, we have consulted with local medical professionals, the companies who offer testing, and other independent schools. Neither the CDC, the Connecticut Department of Health, the Connecticut Department of Education, the Stamford Department of Health nor the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools currently recommend COVID-19 testing of students and staff in school settings. Based on our findings, King will not be conducting COVID-19 testing at this time.
Currently, the best and scientifically proven methods for preventing the spread of COVID-19 remain mask wearing, social distancing, proper hygiene and thorough cleaning. In following these initiatives and daily symptom screening, we believe our community will successfully reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. King has spent the last several months investing in a host of materials, equipment, technology, training, personnel and procedures in an effort to provide as safe an environment as reasonably possible.
We will continue to revisit our approach to testing and to COVID-19 prevention as warranted by changes in testing technology, public health agency guidance and the overall COVID-19 risk level in the “Fairchester” community.
A: Yes. Our health and safety guidelines require that all students and staffulty who will enter a campus building, including a building on the Italian Center campus, submit a completed daily health questionnaire through Magnus prior to coming on campus. The form will indicate that anyone experiencing symptoms of illness should not come to campus. The health questionnaire is being finalized and will be available soon. Click here for instructions for downloading the Magnus App.
A: When King has the finalized busing protocols from the bus companies, we will share them. Parents should feel free to contact busing companies directly. Our understanding is that students will be required to wear masks, but occupancy may not allow for 6 feet between passengers. King is working on a method for facilitating carpooling for interested families.
A: As with all rules at King, we expect students to follow the letter and the spirit of our protection protocols. In addition to modeling this safe behavior, King faculty will set clear expectations for students, who will commit to following the protocols in the Community Compact and infractions will be addressed as needed.
A: Families who elect to have their children learn fully remote this fall will be able to do so. Using a variety of digital platforms will facilitate remote learning. Read details about the Lower School, Middle School and Upper School fully remote programs. Please contact your Division Head as soon as possible, and no later than September 4, to commit to this option.
A: In consultation with experts, including architects, King has purchased directional signage to help the community move throughout the buildings while maintaining proper social distancing. Bathrooms and common spaces will also have signage specific to the parameters and use of the space to ensure the safety of our community. Additionally, we have added hand washing stations throughout campus.
Flik Dining Services will, as always, continue following all proper health, safety, and cleaning protocols. Lunches will be delivered to students in classrooms. Students will place their daily orders the week prior. Students will eat a minimum of 6 feet apart and desks/tables will be cleaned after each lunch.
All students are automatically enrolled in the King Food Service Program. The month of September provides the opportunity to try the program. Should the student decide NOT to participate in the King Food Service Program, please complete this form no later than September 30. In order to maintain quality and effective staffing, we are unable to offer withdrawals from the program after September 30.
Sample selection #1:
a. Ham, Salami, Swiss Cheese on a Kaiser, and Bag of Chips
b. Entree Roasted Vegetable & Penne Salad, and Bag of Chips
c. Sun butter and Jelly on Whole Wheat, and Bag of Chips
Sample selection #2:
a. Hamburger, Sweet Potato Fries
b. Veggie Burger, Sweet Potato Fries
c. Entree Caesar Salad with Dressing
(All options come with bottled water, and Chef's Choice of Fruit)
A: King is restricting all non-essential visitors/vendors/contractors from entering buildings at this time. Only essential visitors/vendors/contractors may come into the building. Please note, for delivery personnel, King has confirmed that the following delivery services are following either CDC, and/or WHO recommendations to keep their employees and packages safe from infection: UPS, USPS, FedEx, and WB Mason.
The following protocols must be met:
- All visitors/vendors/contractors must answer health screening questions.
- All visitors/vendors/contractors are required to wear face coverings.
- Hand sanitizer must be used at all points of entry to buildings for visitors and vendors to use upon entering a building or any room within a building.
- Contractors must report to the Simon House.
- Site deliveries should include only minimal contact, and cleaning protocols should be followed. Delivery personnel should practice social distancing measures and wear a mask, and they should stay in their vehicle if this is not possible.
A: Yes. All King colleagues will undergo COVID-19 training to ensure the health and safety of all members of the community. We also will post flyers throughout the campus reminding students and colleagues of the importance of adhering to proper hygiene and social distancing rules, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and appropriate use of face coverings.
A: Please refer to our Positive COVID-19 Cases and Exposure Protocols to learn about King’s protocol and response plan related to a diagnosed case of COVID-19. If a student or staffulty member tests positive for COVID-19, we will follow the CDC Guidelines for Exposure, which provides instruction for maintaining confidentiality while notifying all community members who have been in close contact with the COVID-19 positive community member.
A. Should the virus numbers in Connecticut or Fairfield County increase to a higher risk number, or there is a King specific COVID-19 outbreak situation, we will follow state and local department of health guidance to determine if a campus closure is required to maintain an acceptable exposure COVID-19 risk for our community. We are prepared to respond to a wide range of situations which may require sending groups of students home, entire grades, and entire divisions. If a student or staffulty member tests positive for COVID-19, we will follow the CDC Guidelines for Exposure, which provides instruction for maintaining confidentiality while notifying all community members who have been in close contact with the COVID-19 positive community member.
Should campus closure be required, King will notify all members of its community by email and social media postings, and we will be ready to move quickly to our KingIsHome program. Our priority is always to keep all members of our community safe, while also providing a complete and engaging education throughout the school year.
A: We are proud of what we were able to provide and accomplish during KingIsHome this past spring. We also recognize that that program could best be described as emergency learning. Over the summer, each division has worked to create contingency plans for just this situation that would allow us to remain connected, value balance and wellbeing, and continue teaching and learning. Specifically, we are implementing more structure and accountability for students.
- Q: What best practices and priorities are guiding King’s academic program?
- Q: What should students do if they are unable to attend King on campus due to illness, quarantine, or other family considerations?
- Q: What will faculty do if they are unable to attend King on campus due to illness, quarantine, or other family considerations?
- Q: How has King modified its plan for off campus school trips and activities?
A: Students who are unable to attend King on campus due to illness, quarantine, or other family considerations will be able to participate in classes from home. While we are still working out the details, we are confident that students will be able to continue their course of study at home while we carry out our on-campus program.
- Q: Is there a change to the school’s fees?
- Q: Is there a change to the dress code?
- Q: Will King provide additional training to students, staffulty, and parents on digital tools for online learning?
- Q: Who do I contact with questions on the reopening plan?
- Q: Will the school store be open?
A: To try to offset wearing masks daily, we will not have Formal Dress days this year. Students in Grades 4 through 8 who have athletics on a given day may attend school in their sports-related attire due to COVID related limitations to our use of locker rooms and changing spaces. You can learn about the dress code here.
A: Faculty and Staff are being trained this summer on all of our digital tools for online learning. Students will also be trained in the early days of classes beginning. We are planning on offering parent training once the staffulty and students are all set. Our new Director of Technology Integration and Innovation has been pivotal in training our faculty and introducing new technology to enhance the student experience.
A: If you have questions about your child’s schedule or program of study, please contact your respective Division Head. If you have questions about protocols relating to COVID-19, please contact Nina Newman.
- Q: What is the new LS schedule and how will it benefit students?
- Q: Will the new schedule allow students to learn the material included in King’s pre-COVID-19 curriculum?
- Q: Will homework be managed differently with the new LS schedule?
- Q: What is the role of Assistant Teachers?
A: Our LS students will continue to be assigned homework to reinforce the academic skills learned in class. Students will have access to their workbooks, journals, and appropriate tech Apps to support the lesson that was taught. Our teachers will carefully plan and assign homework assignments to ensure that we continue to balance social and emotional health and wellbeing with our academic expectations.
A: The Assistant Teachers will work closely with the lead teacher to implement and maintain the integrity of our instructional program. The Assistant Teachers will also collaborate with the lead teacher on curriculum and teaching strategies, helping to cover the class should the lead teacher be absent, thereby providing consistency in the teaching and learning of our students.
- Q: How will the Performing Arts program be structured?
- Q: How will the Physical Education program be structured?
A: Students will continue to build foundational musicianship skills through movement, games, chants, and music literacy exercises. Woodwind and brass instrumental units in Grades 2-5 will be replaced with age-appropriate Orff instrument projects (think dulcimers, xylophone, and unpitched percussion instruments such as drums and rhythm sticks) and singing will be kept to a minimum to ensure safety. Each student will be provided with a music class “kit” to minimize sharing of materials.
A: Students will have PE four days a week and will maintain a 6 feet social distance. For this year only, because our Grade 4 and 5 students will not have access to the locker room to change for PE classes, they may wear their school uniform or King athletic clothing to school. For additional information, you can read about the LS Physical Education program and the LS dress code.
- Q: Will all students be required to wear a mask?
- Q: Has the LS changed its drop off and pick up routine?
- Q: How will recess and playground use be managed?
- Q: Why is the Lower School not having Remote Wednesdays like the Middle and Upper Schools?
- Q: How will the After Care program be managed?
A: Grades PreK-K, will enter and dismiss using the Simon House driveway entrance. Grades 1-3 will enter and dismiss using the main entrance. The Grade 4 and Grade 5 students will enter and dismiss from school using the Grade 5 entrance. During dismissal, students will remain in their classrooms and wait to be dismissed as their car arrives.
A: We understand the need for children to move their bodies and stay physically active. Getting outside for a mask break, fresh air, and movement is important to support physical and mental health on a daily basis. Our staffulty will work to ensure children wash hands after touching play structures and maintain 6 feet of space from other children as much as possible. The LS will also engage in the following health and safety practices to reduce exposures:
- Offer outdoor play in staggered shifts
- Establish daily routines for cleaning playground equipment
- If multiple groups are outside at the same time, they will have a minimum of 6 feet of open space between outdoor play areas
- Always wash hands immediately before and after outdoor playtime
- Maintain the same groups from day to day
A: The Lower School is holding on campus learning 5 days a week to provide consistency for our youngest learners. We know from research as well as our experience this past spring that elementary school aged children (and their parents) have a harder time with remote learning. Lastly, we are confident in our ability to offer Lower School students times during the day to get outside and remove masks safely in order to mitigate mask fatigue.
- Q: What is the new MS schedule and how will it benefit students?
- Q: Will the new schedule allow students to learn the material included in King’s pre-COVID-19 curriculum?
- Q: Why does the schedule not include honors classes for science and world languages?
- Q: Will homework be managed differently with the new MS schedule?
- Q: What is the role of Associate Teachers?
A: Teachers and staff have worked throughout the summer to ensure the fidelity to our pre-COVID-19 curriculum. Our modified schedule approximates the amount of instructional time while allowing for deeper learning and opportunities for independent exploration. That said, it is important to recognize the unique nature of this school year, where it will be essential to continue to balance the social and emotional wellbeing of our young adolescents with their academic growth.
A: We are still working out the nuances of this planning, but homework will be managed slightly differently this coming year. The main difference, however, lies in the timing. Our purpose and expectation for assigning homework remains:
- To preview and review material covered in class
- To reinforce academic skills learned in class
- To assess independent thinking and practice of skills
- To reinforce and build students’ executive functioning skills, such as time management, planning and prioritization, materials management, flexible thinking, and self-advocacy
These purposes will remain constant, but grade level teams will carefully monitor the time required to complete assignments to ensure that we continue to balance social and emotional health and wellbeing with our academic expectations.
A: Associate Teachers are early career professionals with experience in the classroom. They will collaborate with lead teachers to support and enact lesson plans for course sections that are broken into two groups. These associate teachers will allow for us to effectively maintain social distancing protocols in our classrooms while enacting scripting lesson plans in what we are calling satellite classrooms.
Click here to view a video explaining the way that this will work.
- Q: How will the MS drama preseason and Fall Play program be structured?
- Q: How will the Athletics program be structured?
- Q: How will the clubs program be structured?
- Q: Has the MS changed its drop off and pick up routine?
- Q: How will King decide which students are grouped together in the A and B cohorts?
- Q: Why is King having Remote Wednesdays in the Middle School?
A: The Middle School is holding Remote Wednesdays to address the following needs:
- A break from full day mask wearing
- Community safety and building sanitization
- Community events and programming
- More opportunities for one-on-one extension, enrichment, and extra help
For more information on remote Wednesdays in the Middle School, please click here.
- Q: What is the US schedule and how will it benefit students?
- Q: Why is King’s Upper School starting the year with a hybrid model as opposed to starting the year with the pre-COVID schedule?
- Q: Why has the Upper School asked students who requested more than five academic major courses to reduce their schedule of in-classroom courses?
- Q: Why didn’t the Upper School build new spaces or use large tents to create more classroom space?
- Q: Will the new schedule change how and what students learn this year?
- Q: Will homework be managed differently with the new US schedule?
- Q: How will Advanced Placement (AP) courses be managed?
A: Please refer here to our Upper School Reopening Plan. On that website page, you can watch informative videos to learn about the US schedule model and strategy, as well as the schedule’s components including blended learning, Remote Connect Wednesday, and the modular schedule.
A: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, King’s first goal has been keeping our community safe, which this fall means adhering closely to guidelines from the State of Connecticut that recommend six feet of distance between students in classrooms. Our hybrid schedule marries that commitment with our other goals: to maintain our excellent program and to prioritize the student experience. It offers King’s full range of programming (including arts and athletics) and protects the engaged learning and close collaboration that power our students’ experience.
A: Our commitment to six-foot physical distancing has necessitated limiting enrollments in elective courses. All affected students and their families were notified in July. We arrived at this solution in consultation with the College Counseling Department, who are already communicating it to colleges and universities, and who are confident, given the individual responses we have received as well as collective statements like this one from more than 300 college admission deans, that the decision protects what will be most important in our students’ application processes.
A: In addition to limitations on building due to zoning restrictions, King’s approach to engaged teaching and learning requires spaces where students and teachers can be heard through masks while separated 6 feet apart. Spaces that we can convert into classrooms where students will be able to participate fully in class, we are converting, including several in both the Upper School building and the Italian Center.
A: In King’s Strategic Plan, we committed to meaningful and collaborative project- and research-based learning experiences. Advancing that commitment has been central to the design of our hybrid schedule. Students will have both in-classroom time with teachers and classmates, as well as online time to dive deeply into independent work, collaborate with peers and teachers, and strengthen subject-specific skills. While we are eager to have all of our students in the classrooms when it is safe to do so, we are grateful that our approach to teaching and learning works so well within our current restrictions.
A: Students should expect about the same amount of homework daily across their courses as they would have had in King’s pre-COVID schedule. Because students will have fewer active courses at once under the modular block schedule, each course will be allowed a slightly longer homework assignment each day that it is active.
A: King is offering a select few AP courses fully online through a new partnership with One Schoolhouse, an online consortium of independent schools. All affected students and families have already been notified, and One Schoolhouse led a webinar specifically for King families with details about their approach and our partnership. We moved those few AP courses to One Schoolhouse in order to staff additional in-classroom sections necessitated by social distancing in other courses.
The remainder of our AP courses will be offered following the same hybrid block schedule as our other courses. We are planning the modular intervals to conclude by early May 2021 so that every AP course will have completed all of its rotations by the start of AP exams, and we are working on plans to sustain learning in our most content-cumulative courses even across intervals when they will not meet.
- Q: What will occur on students’ two weekly online learning days?
- Q: Will students on their online learning days participate remotely in the classes occurring that day in classrooms on a campus?
- Q: Can students on their online learning days choose whether to learn from the Italian Center or from home?
- Q: Will King staffulty enforce King policies — including personal protection protocols — at the Italian Center?
- Q: Why aren’t we using the Italian Center Ballroom for classroom space?
A: Families may opt to keep their student home on online learning days or to send them to the Italian Center for supervised online learning. Either way, students’ school day will be structured similarly to a day in the school building, with an advisory period at the start and then set periods during which they will be accountable to completing lessons for a given class.
A: When instructors see a benefit to having a full section of students participate synchronously in a particular lesson — some from one cohort inside the classroom, and others from the other by videoconference — our schedule aligns in-classroom and online periods to allow for it. However, we expect most online lessons will comprise a series of learning activities for students to complete within a given period but independently.
A: Absolutely, yes. In fact, we are hiring some staffulty specifically for this purpose. What’s more, we are developing new policies to suit the space to a full range of online learning experiences, and planning new activities to ensure that the students’ day is much more than an extended silent study hall.
- Q: How will the US Fall Play be structured?
- Q: How will the Athletics program be structured?
- Q: How will the clubs program be structured?
A: Clubs will be active both via Zoom (and other platforms) as well as in small, in-person groups. We will primarily use Remote Connect Wednesdays for this purpose, and we expect our students to actively engage with their clubs according to their meeting schedules. Service clubs will continue to engage with their broader, off-campus community work, though in a modified manner.
- Q: Has the US changed its drop off and pick up routine?
- Q: How will King decide which students are grouped together in the A and B cohorts?
- Q: Why is King having Remote Connect Wednesday in the Upper School?
- Q: How will the college counseling program be managed?
A: At this time, we are not changing our approach to student parking and drop-off and pick-up. There will be monitors in the lots and in the US circle making sure students are following protocols. Students learning at the Italian Center should follow their standard drop off and pick up routine. We will alert you to any changes in times for drop-off and pick-up.
A: As was the case in the spring and summer, the College Counseling Office will continue to be fully available to meet with families through Zoom. All College Counseling programming, such as Grade Level College Nights, will also take place via Zoom. Links to schedule Zoom appointments will be made available to all families at the start of the school year. Our personalized, developmental approach to College Counseling will not change.
You will recall from our reopening materials that the purpose of the hybrid schedule is to enable the 6-foot social distancing that state and federal guidelines recommend for the safety of our students and teachers. That distance reduces the capacity of most of our classrooms to just six students plus a teacher.
We scheduled our sections before splitting the Upper School so that, if the public health guidance has evolved by January, we may reintegrate the division at the start of Semester 2.
Splitting the high school by grade-level — having some grades in the building on certain days and other grades on other days — would not fit us into our classrooms because it would not split many sections, most of which comprise students in the same grade. Instead, we split each grade and prioritized keeping siblings, regardless of their grade, in the same cohort. Alphabetical last name proved a helpful starting point.
We made non-alphabetical swaps when we could avoid splitting a class section that was so small before the split — usually five or fewer students — that splitting it would have made it too small. We also made swaps to avoid massively imbalanced section splits. Every non-alphabetical swap served our top priorities: engaged learning, and fitting ourselves safely into classrooms.
Our commitment to social distancing is too firm — and our resulting room capacities too tight — to allow students to switch cohorts. Clubs, activities, and assemblies on Remote Connect Wednesdays, as well as all our after school athletics and performing arts programming, will provide opportunities to mix with students across cohorts, and our whole student life team — deans, counselors, and advisors — will be working to ensure the best social experience we can.
At this time, while we are focusing on reopening the school safely next week, we do not have active plans to re-mix the cohorts later in the year. It is a compelling idea, but if re-mixing cohorts required us to assign some students new teachers midway through their courses, we would not do it.