Head of School
First, I want to take a moment to wish you all a happy holiday season. Many of us have been working toward this break to enjoy some downtime and “normalcy.” Though I recognize that this season will be anything but normal, I do want to thank you all for helping us get to this point. Despite the challenges of returning to school on campus this school year, it has been a great fall season! The entire Oakwood community stepped up and helped navigate these challenging times safely. Even the return from Thanksgiving Break went as well as we could possibly have hoped.
Fall Safety and Success
One of the reasons we have done as well as we have, and the reason we felt confident opening the doors of the school every day this Fall, is because of the stringent protocols we put in place. The fact that everyone has worked hard each day to remain in masks, six feet apart, in cohorts, along with the many other mitigation strategies we have in place, has allowed us to remain on campus for 15 weeks. Thank you. It has also been a result of a thousand healthy decisions you all have made outside the school to remain safe. And I know that many of those decisions have been difficult. Thank you so much.
As we go through Winter Break and the holiday celebrations involved, I trust we will all enjoy time with family. I hope you are all able to make these days special and memorable. Some of you are traveling. Many are staying home. No matter your activity, I pray you find strength and rejuvenation during this time of spiritual reflection and celebration.
As we anticipate our return to instruction in January, we look forward to having everyone back feeling refreshed. We know we will have to pick back up where we left off with our focus on safety and health. As pleased as we are with this past Fall, success cannot breed complacency. All those are decisions we made, and all the sacrifices that were made will need to continue, and protocols will continue to have to be followed as long as this pandemic lasts.
So, as we did following the Thanksgiving Break, we’ve scheduled in a buffer to allow everyone to “detox” for a week after various holiday celebrations. We are asking again for that same commitment and consideration. As a gift to each other, let’s take the post-holiday period of Teacher Workdays and then Distance Learning as a time to voluntarily self-quarantine at home. As with Thanksgiving, please don’t see those Distance Learning days as extra vacation or travel time. Instead, let’s see this as a chance to serve each other. To work together for the collective good. If every family takes this seriously, we can continue to offer on-campus instruction in the coming days and weeks. We’ll be doing our part inside the building. We’re asking you all to continue doing your part outside the building.
To remind you of the schedule, January 4-5 will be Teacher Workdays, with no instruction. Then, January 6-8 we will begin with Distance Learning. The goal is to return to campus on January 11. As always, that return is subject to local health departments and government directives.
Again, whether you are traveling or staying home, I pray you find strength and rejuvenation during this time of rest and celebration. Enduring a pandemic is no small feat. May this holiday time of spiritual reflection point us, still today, to the divine intervention announced by angels of peace on earth. I pray that you experience that peace during this break.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! I look forward to seeing you again in the new year!
Dear Oakwood Community,
We are looking forward to the return of our students to on-campus learning this Monday, December 7th.
In preparation we are reminding families and students of the importance of monitoring individual health and following safety protocols. Our presence on the Oakwood Campus and in the classroom is contingent upon transparency and communication. We ask that families stay vigilant in daily review of symptoms. Any student exhibiting a symptom on the list should stay home and contact the Front Office.
Keeping symptomatic students home is the first layer of defense in preventing the possible spread of Covid-19 at Oakwood School. It is our best chance at maintaining in-person learning through the winter as cases rise in the Northern Virginia area.
Wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, and increased sanitizing protocols is our second layer of defense. Students should exit their vehicle in the morning masked and ready to enter the building. Every student should have at least one clean/sanitized backup mask in their backpack. Please review handwashing and the importance of staying distanced with your child before they return to Oakwood.
The Oakwood Administration
Oakwood School's At-Home Learning Policy
As we approach the holiday season and families make plans for travel we feel it is imperative to reiterate the guidelines along transitioning from an on-campus learner to an at-home learner. Please read some pertinent points below and click on the link to read our policy in full.
Requests for transition to at-home learning must be emailed directly to Dr. Susan Autry, Academic Supervisor.
It takes at least 1 day/24 hours to transition a student from on-campus to at-home learning.
Your child must meet one of 2 criteria to transition:
1. A student or immediate family member has health needs that make attending school in-person a significant risk.
2. A student or immediately family member is required to isolate or self-quarantine due to exposure to or possible exposure to Covid-19.
Because of the nature of our hands-on instruction, temporary transition from on-campus to at-home learning is a complicated process at Oakwood. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult than just turning on a camera. The quality of education in the classroom is delivered by a team of teachers and support staff working on-campus tirelessly and the transition of students between on-campus and at-home requires an enormous amount of work and effort.
For this reason, it is imperative we give priority At-Home instruction to those who must remain separated from campus for health reasons.
Link to Full At-Home Learning Policy
Dear Oakwood Community,
We have spent the first eight weeks of school in unprecedented times and we at Oakwood are thankful for a return to close collaboration and connection with our students.
While the hallways and playground are visibly different from a year ago, it is important to note that the spirit of Oakwood remains. The heart of our community, the thoughtfulness and care we all have for one another and our willingness to work together to provide a safe and caring environment for Oakwood students are evident every day.
We would like to acknowledge and thank you, our Oakwood parents, for your part in this process. Your diligence in completing daily health checks, keeping your children home for minor ailments, participating in virtual events with the same attention and appreciation for the work our faculty and administration contribute, and your flexibility in responding to an ever-changing environment.
As we embark upon the next and possibly most difficult part of our year, we are asking you to stay vigilant with the routines that have kept us healthy. We understand that, after nearly eight months of living in a pandemic, the practices we have adapted have become exhausting and, naturally, we are all impatient to return to a recognizable norm.
We ask you to take a few minutes to review the video below, as these practices remain critical to maintaining a safe environment for your children.
Our commitment to providing safe in-person instruction continues to be the driving force behind the protocols we have put into place. We are so thankful to have you, our Oakwood family, working with us to achieve this goal.
The Oakwood Administration
Oakwood School Fall 2020 Plan
Dear Oakwood Families,
On behalf of the Oakwood Administration, I sincerely hope your family is staying healthy and enjoying time together this summer.
A few of you have inquired, and the rest of you are likely wondering, “what will Oakwood be doing in the Fall?” I would like to take a moment to explain Oakwood’s current plans for the upcoming 2020-2021 School Year.
A number of weeks ago, we formed a Task Force to examine and address the options Oakwood could consider. This Task Force has been working hard to develop plans based on recommendations and guidance for reopening Virginia schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and the Virginia Council for Private Education (VCPE).
As a result, Oakwood is prepared to offer two Options to families.
Oakwood Options for Fall 2020
Option 1: Monday through Friday On-Campus in-person instruction with social distancing and safety measures implemented in all classrooms and campus spaces.
Option 2: For families with medical or health concerns, On-Line remote-access to live instruction happening on Campus.
As a part of Oakwood’s plan, we will be reaching out to each individual family for their preferred Option regarding instruction in the Fall.
While full details of each plan will be forthcoming, including Oakwood’s Health and Safety Plan, I wanted to share today these two basic Options with you all for your family’s planning purposes. These plans are subject to the Governor’s allowance that schools remain open, of course. We are continuously monitoring the appropriate authorities as they issue guidance and restrictions.
We are hard at work this Summer preparing the details and the building for the Fall. We will be in touch with more specific details regarding the overall plan, and how Oakwood will safely and sensibly be ready for your child to be on campus or to learn from home come September 8, 2020.
M. Lane McIntyre
Head of School
Center for Disease Control
Virginia Department of Health
Fairfax County Health Department
Virginia Department of Education