Covid9-19 and Coronavirus — FAQ for our Community
Our campus is closed due to the current situation with COVID-19 and the Governor’s order that school campuses be closed “until further notice”. Learning continues at KWS with our Learning Beyond the Classroom programs that have been designed for each of our grades.
Welcome to our FAQ/resources page related to COVID-19, KWS and our Community. We hope you find these “Frequently Asked Questions” and resource links to be helpful. It is our intention to keep these revised and up to date as situations change and additional information becomes available. Please stay safe and well, we treasure you as members of our KWS family.
Our most “Frequently Asked Question” has been, simply, how is KWS responding to the current pandemic?
In our ‘rapid pivot’ to our Learning Beyond the Classroom model, one of our most powerful discoveries, which should not have been a surprise, was the recognition that KWS is creative and nimble, and has mobilized quickly and well. We announced the closing of buildings and grounds on a Friday and mobilized over that weekend to begin presenting a new model, adapted to current circumstances. We can do things that a larger school cannot. Our size, the intimate nature of the relationship between our teachers, students and families, and our deep understanding of our students’ needs, has enabled us to ramp up rapidly to present a nearly uninterrupted (though extensively transformed) educational experience which is still very much informed by Waldorf principles.
Our students, as well, are impressing us with their ability to adapt to the situation, learn new methods and models rapidly, and ‘go with the flow’ – but again, this is not a surprise to us at all; it’s what we do every day as a Waldorf School. This is an advantage and will continue to be one, both during this pandemic and beyond.
By the way, thanks for asking! Please let us know how you are doing, as well.
Now, on to our “FAQ”
Campus, Grounds and Timing
When will we be able to have school on campus again and how will that decision be made?
That will depend on the Governor of Pennsylvania, who has ordered school buildings closed until further notice, and Federal, State and Local guidance, as well as our own evaluation of our readiness to safely conduct on-campus classes.
While our buildings and grounds may be closed, we are still providing Learning Beyond the Classroom; i.e. remote and distance learning with full engagement between our teachers and students, and with extensive educational and enrichment activity support for our families.
What happens to the rest of this semester?
Kimberton Waldorf School is providing Learning Beyond the Classroom according to our existing calendar for Academic Year 2019-2020.
Will there be a Graduation?
It is too soon to make any determination regarding an on-campus Commencement event; depending on the timing and nature of guidance from National, State and Local authorities we will keep families informed based on the latest information available.
What about student trips – will they happen later in the year?
At this points trips are suspended until further notice. We are looking into the situation regarding trips in more detail (i.e. the possibility for rescheduling) and will be making determinations later in the year, as more definitive information becomes available.
What about college applications and counseling?
School is still happening, and we are supporting the college application and counseling process.
What about foreign exchanges that were scheduled or cut short?
Nearly all of our international students were able to enjoy their stays here, with just a handful having to return home early. The students who have had to leave early know that they are welcome back here when the international COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
Exchange trips for our students intending to travel this year have been postponed. For these students, and for those students who had to return early from exchange trips, we are hoping to be able to reschedule and will work with families once international travel becomes feasible again.
For students who are planning an exchange for next year, we are encouraging them to continue with their planning, but not make any travel arrangements that are not refundable.
For international students who would like to come next year, we recommend going through the entire application process but to hold off on getting a visa or making travel plans.
Learning Beyond the Classroom – Remote and Distance Learning
We don’t have individual laptops for each child; our children are sharing a tablet etc. how do we participate?
We have a limited number of Chromebooks still available and may be able to provide equipment if needed. We have also had generous offers of equipment from families who have laptops or tablets to spare.
Please contact your child’s teacher or class advisor if you have a technology need and we will do our best to provide your child with the necessary equipment for them to continue learning.
We’re working on Learning Beyond the Classroom while navigating how best to parent and talk to our children during this pandemic; are there resources to help us adapt? It’s all new to us.
Elsewhere on this page, you will find links to helpful resources about dealing with the pandemic, age-appropriate advice on talking with your children about difficult subjects, and other recommended parenting information. We hope you find this helpful.
How does this new style of “distance” learning relate to the Waldorf education we signed up for?
Our valiant and creative teachers have been working for weeks to adapt our educational philosophy and style to a Learning Beyond the Classroom model. Here are the guiding principles as we adapt Waldorf Education to our new model: Our mission continues to be to know ourselves (self-development), know the child, and teach the curriculum. We have all been assessing what we know, what we need, what the children do and don’t need, and how we can best deliver the curriculum – including parent education from Early Childhood Education through Grade 5, in particular, [Why specify the grades here? Can’t we just say including parent education? and emphasizing communication with parents across all grades.
As we settle in to this new method, we will be constantly aware of our mission to deliver age and developmentally-appropriate education and will be revising and adopting best practices as they become apparent, and as we get feedback from our parents, our faculty, and most importantly, our students.
One additional note on Learning Beyond the Classroom: We are quickly learning and adapting to new technologies just as our parents and students are. We are following all possible updates regarding security of our students and data, including security of online platforms and how to protect educational sessions from unwanted visitors or intrusions. You can be confident we are doing our utmost to staying ahead of all applicable developments in this regard.
Is there anything going on right now on campus; is anybody there?
Our outstanding maintenance and housekeeping staff are continuing to make sure that our buildings are safe and in good shape, but there is no one regularly working on campus at the moment. The Governor has put in place at ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order; please help contain the spread of COVID-19 by following those guidelines and staying home as much as possible.
Can I stop in to get school supplies, stuff from my locker, etc.?
The Governor’s stay at home order allows people to go to schools to get supplies. Your child’s teacher will let you know if there are supplies to be picked up. If there is something that you need to pick up please contact your teacher to make arrangements to pick up. That said, unless absolutely necessary, please follow the ‘Stay-at-Home’ order.
Who’s taking care of the animals?
Carmen Maciarello, our Farming Program teacher, is taking very good care of our farm animals and they will be happy to see you and your children once the ‘all clear’ is given.
Will the classrooms be safe when we return?
Our campus is safe now, and will be safe when we return. Our hard-working maintenance and facilities staff has worked to ensure our safety by keeping buildings clean and sanitized. All of our buildings are closed while the Governor’s order is in effect.
Our KWS Community and How We Can Support Each Other
I am hurting financially and need to figure out how to navigate upcoming commitments to KWS, who do I talk to; what are my options?
Please contact Lisa Cordner in admissions (email@example.com) or the business office (Becky Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org).
How do I contribute to (or receive help from) the food pantry?
Your help is welcomed and deeply appreciated. Please Contact Deb Merroth-Ahola (email@example.com) or Tonya Rice (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on what is needed (generally, non-perishable, unexpired food items and personal care products) and when and how to drop off needed items, or email to arrange for support from our food pantry.
Please take advantage of this resource if you are experiencing food insecurity; our community is here to help you and your family.
What else can I do to help?
As mentioned above, some members of our community are experiencing sudden financial disruption, ranging from temporary layoffs or loss of income to job loss and uncertainty regarding future options.
Kimberton Waldorf School believes strongly in the power of community, and in the ability of our community to come together in times such as these. Along with our Food Pantry, we offer several options to help fellow KWS families:
- Our TERRY NEVILLE FUND is designed to assist families who find that an unexpected financial situation has endangered their ability to keep their children enrolled at Kimberton. This fund keeps students enrolled, and keeps our classes – and our community – whole and together. To support this fund, please click on the “Yes, I can help” link below (leave ‘annual fund’ in the designation) and enter “TERRY NEVILLE FUND” in the comments section of our giving page. (Your comment will ‘overrule’ the annual fund designation) Your support will help a KWS family keep a child in school.
- GENERAL ASSISTANCE financial support – to be directed where needed most, can be given through the school’s giving page. Simply click on the link below (leave ‘annual fund’ in the designation) and specify “USE WHERE NEEDED MOST” in the comments section. This might cover anything from direct assistance to another KWS family experiencing sudden financial distress, to support for faculty or staff undergoing similar situations, to other unforeseen circumstances where short-term, limited assistance could provide relief, to other needs to be determined by the board and administrative structure of the school. This type of assistance provides the greatest degree of flexibility to cover any eventualities and we ask you to please consider it if you can.
We are working on other avenues for assistance and will continue to update you as they ‘come on line.’ For now these are the most direct and powerful and we hope you will consider participating in whatever way is meaningful or helpful for you and your family.
PLEASE CLICK ON THE PHRASE BELOW:
YES, I CAN HELP!
What impact will a continued pandemic have on the school’s finances?
Our school’s administration, Finance Committee and Board are working together to evaluate the current, rapidly changing situation and planning for all possible contingencies. We are anticipating some loss of revenue due to a number of factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and welcome your financial support and your continued participation in our community as we continue to celebrate our shared commitment to Waldorf Education. We will be communicating about the upcoming Academic Year and will be welcoming your 2020-2021 commitments as soon as possible and appropriate. While we are working to help stabilize tuition pressures on families experiencing financial setbacks, we are also aware that some are in a position to help. We are reaching to individuals and organizations that are “friends of the school” and looking into ways in which the Federal relief package could help. If you are in a position to assist, or would like to discuss other ways of supporting KWS and Waldorf Education, please contact Doug Brouder in our Development office (email@example.com).
Other questions? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- CDC Guide to Preventing Spread in Communities
- Chester County Information
- World Health Organization
- Preparing: How to speak to our kids and how to stay centered so our kids can co-regulate with us.
- Signaling Security via Decluttering: When the world feels like it is in chaos and closing in, creating a decluttered space is like soul arnica.
- Wrapping Warm Rhythm Around Our Children: When so much is changing and shifting how do we stengthen predictability and the feeling that all is well in our family’s world.
- Dialing Back Schedules in Preparation and Decisions Afterwards: How to walk children and teens off their busy lives in preparing for the cancellations of school and after school activities, and the opportunity it offers when life gets back to normal.
- Filtering Adult Information is More Important Now Than Before: With so much scary information out there, how can we keep our kids informed in the right way for their age?
- Simplicity Parenting: Audio Series – Troubling Times: Anxiety Rising, Schools Closing, and Way More Time at Home With The Kids
- Waldorf Today article: Talking to children about COVID-19
- How to talk to children about difficult news
- Explaining the New to Our Kids
- How to Talk to Kids About the Coronavirus Outbreak
- How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus
- Message sent to the KWS Community March 30, 2020
- Message sent to the KWS Community March 12, 2020
- Message sent to the KWS Community March 8, 2020
- Message sent to the KWS Community March 5, 2020
- Message sent to the KWS Community February 28, 2020
- COVID-19 Flyer Attachment from February 28, 2020
- Message sent to the KWS Community February 4, 2020
- Message sent to the KWS Community February 3, 2020