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July 21, 2020 - Summit Reopening Plans and Next Steps

Dear Summit Families, I’m writing to update you with Summit’s reopening plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year beginning August 18.

Since Governor Cooper’s announcement last Tuesday confirming that schools may reopen for in-person learning under “Plan B” health and safety guidelines, our administrative team has worked to update Summit’s reopening plans. Our plan updates reflect both faculty and family feedback, and our continued priority to protect the health and safety of our students, families, and faculty while ensuring the continued education of our students with integrity to Summit’s mission.

In this update, I’m sharing with you (1) Summit’s updated plans for reopening school on August 18, (2) a summary of family survey responses, representing a snapshot of the feedback and suggestions that helped inform our schedule for reopening, and (3) our next steps in preparing for the start of the school year, including updating plans on beginning-of-year events.

One Summit Family: Our Commitment to a Safe and Healthy School Year This is a time that is unlike any other we have faced as a school. Our ability to keep our students, faculty, and families safe, and ensure our students’ continue to learn, grow, and thrive academically, social-emotionally, physically, and in character will require our commitment as one Summit Family. We all must do our part, and we must continue to remember that regardless of whether or not one family has chosen to return to school remotely and another has chosen to return to school on-campus--we are all in this together. Our “One Summit Family” plan is grounded in this belief and reflects our commitment to reopening Summit’s campus with the highest standards of health and safety for our students, faculty, and families. The plan is linked below for your review:

One Summit Family - Plan B (English): One Summit Family - Plan B (Spanish): I ask that all families take the time to review this updated plan in detail, with attention to the following key components:

  • Summit Family Health Pledge: The Summit Family Health Pledge enlists our shared commitment--faculty, students, and families--in upholding the necessary guidelines and procedures to keep our Summit family safe. We will require all faculty, staff, families, and students to sign and agree to the pledge in returning to on-campus learning. Each family will receive a copy of the Summit Family Health Pledge via email to sign and return electronically.

  • Plan B School Schedule: Summit is able to host on-campus learning due to our already-existing commitment to small class sizes, as well as the quality of our facilities and expansive campus. These qualities of a Summit education enable us to accommodate social distancing guidelines necessary for on-campus learning.

We have outlined a phased reopening plan for on-campus learning at Summit to support successful implementation and adjustment to on-campus safety procedures, and to also build capabilities for a remote learning scenario if it ever becomes necessary for Summit to transition to Plan C (remote learning).

  • Week 1: Hybrid Schedule

    • August 18: Virtual Book Day

    • August 19-21: On-Campus Learning, 8:30 - 3:10

  • Weeks 2-3: Hybrid Schedule

    • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: On-Campus Learning, 8:30 - 3:10

    • Thursday, Friday: Remote Learning

  • Starting Week 4: Full-Day and Full-Week Schedule

    • Summit will transition to a full-day schedule for the full-week of learning beginning September 8.

Flexible Schedule Options: The phased reopening plan also includes flexible schedule options. On 4-week intervals, families can elect Remote Learning Only or to continue the Hybrid Schedule once we resume full-day/full-week learning the week of September 8. Rationale: Campus safety procedures and guidelines will require adjustments and learning new habits and routines to keep our campus safe and open for learning. We believe that gradually transitioning into full-day, full-week learning over the first three weeks of the year will best support our students, faculty, and families in learning, adjusting to, and effectively adopting the necessary guidelines for on-campus learning. The three-week transition period will also support our ability to refine and improve procedures and provide further staff training and support as may be necessary. Additionally, we recognize that the next school year will be fluid and require us to be prepared for potential periods of remote learning if necessary based on state and/or local health and safety conditions. By implementing a short-term hybrid schedule to start the year, our students, teachers, and families will be able to develop the necessary routines and structures to support a more successful pivot to remote learning if ever necessary for health and safety reasons. With this purpose, teachers will be on campus during Hybrid Schedule Remote Learning days to support collaboration and coordination as a faculty as we implement, refine, and continuously improve our remote instruction practices.

  • Plan B Health and Safety Procedures: We have made updates to clarify key procedures, including use of face coverings (when masks are required, and when mask “breaks” are appropriate) and guidance on social distancing (required when stationary, opportunities for outside learning and breaks).

Please continue to keep in mind that this remains and will continue to be a fluid situation. We will refine our plans as needed, and we will be prepared to pivot plans as may be necessary or required to ensure the health and safety of our students, families, and faculty. Survey Results Thank you for the feedback you have shared to help us ensure our plans best support our Summit family as we navigate the year ahead. We received responses from over 100 families on our most recent school reopening survey. In sharing with you our updated reopening plans and school schedule, I want to share with you the overall survey results: How do you prefer your child return to school in August?

  • 85% of families prefer their child return to school through On-Campus Learning

  • 15% of families prefer their child return to school through Remote Learning

If you prefer your child return to school for on-campus learning, what is your preferred schedule for doing so?

  • 67% of families who prefer on-campus learning prefer a full-day, full-week schedule

  • 33% of families who prefer on-campus learning prefer a hybrid schedule (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday on-campus learning, Thursday/Friday remote learning)

While there are differences in preferences for how we return to school, from across my many conversations with families and in the comments shared in surveys, I have heard a common theme from across our Summit family-- We all place deep value on the qualities of a Summit education on campus in the community of fellow classmates, teachers, and families. And, we all care deeply about the health and safety of our children, faculty, and families and must ensure that Summit’s reopening plans protect our Summit family. For some families, this means returning to school remotely, and for others this means returning to school for on-campus learning with a commitment to upholding safety protocols and procedures. Some of our students will return to Summit for on-campus learning in August. Some of our students will return to Summit for remote learning in August. But ALL of our students will return to Summit. To the best of our ability, we will support every student and family in returning to school in a safe, healthy, and joyful way.

Our Next Steps Our team will now work to ensure our readiness to implement our plans for the start of the school year. Below are a few key next steps we will take over the coming weeks: 1. Town Hall Meetings | July 22 - 23 I will be hosting virtual town hall meetings this week and next to answer any questions you may have about Summit's plan for reopening. I welcome you to join any one of the following sessions to discuss your questions:

  • Wednesday, July 22: 12:00 PM

  • Wednesday, July 22: 5:00 PM

  • Thursday, July 23: 8:00 AM

Town Hall sessions will be held via Zoom and can be accessed using the link sent to your email.

You are also welcome to contact me at any time with your questions. 2. Update on Start of Year Event Plans | Week of August 3 We will be working to finalize plans for the following key events to start the school year, and will update families by the week of August 3 with further details.

  • 8th Grade Graduation - August 13 / POSTPONED: We have decided to postpone 8th Grade Graduation, which had been scheduled for August 13, in light of Governor Cooper’s decision to extend Phase 2 until at least August 7. An update on August 7 will inform our options under guidelines for group gatherings

  • Book Day - August 18: Book Day will be held virtually this year to accommodate limits on group gatherings and our desire to keep our campus safe for reopening. We look forward to sharing with you a schedule and details for our Virtual Book Day this year!

  • Move Up Day / TBD: We will not be able to host on-campus Move Up Day this fall due to limits on group gatherings. We look forward to updating you on plans to celebrate our students moving up to the next grade level in other ways!

3. Family and Faculty Training | Weeks of August 3 and August 10 To support a successful implementation of our plan, we will put together a training video for all families and students to develop a shared understanding of the priorities, expectations, and procedures of which we will all share responsibility across our Summit family. We will also design our training for faculty and staff to leverage the existing strengths and talent on our team and further develop our shared capabilities and mindset to best execute on our priorities this year and Summit’s larger mission. One Summit Team. One Summit Family. In closing, I want to thank you for your patience, support, and partnership in ensuring our students, families, and faculty are best supported in rising to the challenges before us this year.

As I’ve shared previously, this next year will be different, but I have full faith that, together, we will ensure Summit continues to be the school that we know and love. We are indeed all in this together as a Summit family. Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions, concerns, or feedback as our team strives to best support our students, families, and faculty in this year ahead. We will continue to keep you updated as we approach the start of the school year. One Summit team. One Summit family.

With gratitude,


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