COVID-19 Updates

BACK TO BROOKSTONE

We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to our beautiful Brookstone campus in August.

We are so proud of the strength and resilience of our Brookstone community. From the way our students, teachers, and parents successfully navigated our Distance Learning this past spring to the grace and poise shown by our outstanding seniors, now, more than ever, demonstrates Why Brookstone?

For the past several months, the leadership team has been working on one thing: plans for a SAFE return to school. Two main principles have guided our thinking and planning: prioritizing the health and safety of our school community and providing the most Brookstone-like experience possible, with an emphasis on the academic program. This committee, working with advice from health providers and national education organizations, has taken under consideration a wide range of actions to address sanitation, physical distancing, as well as containment.

These plans represent our most up-to-date thinking about the year to come; please understand that all of these plans are subject to change in response to the evolving circumstances. Feel assured that we are on top of the research and professional guidance as a school and that we have a flexible, adaptable, and thorough plan to serve our students well. We invite you to be flexible with us as we move towards the start of school.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

The safety of our employees, students, families, and visitors remains Brookstone’s overriding priority. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, Brookstone School and all of its partners are continuing to work closely together to monitor situations and remain current on recommendations from national resources. The purpose of these protocols is to do our part in the community to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential risk of exposure to our students, employees, and visitors.

List of 6 items.

  • HEALTH SCREENINGS AND SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

    • Temperature Checks: We will implement a daily student and faculty screening process that will include digital temperature checks upon arrival.
    • Attendance: We will require stringent adherence to established policies regarding school attendance when sick.
  • SANITIZATION FOR PREVENTION

    • Air Purification System: Brookstone has made a substantial investment in a Global Plasma Solution (GPS) installation in the school’s HVAC system. GPS’s advanced plasma air purification technology will work to clean safely the air inside our buildings. The patented technology uses a precise electronic charge to create an electrical field filled with high concentrations of ions. These ions attack and kill viruses, mold spores, and bacteria and steal away hydrogen from the pathogens leaving them to die. Through laboratory testing, it has been determined that 99.4% of the viral particles become inactive after being exposed to the GPS bipolar ionization. This includes SARS-CoV-2 among many other pathogens.
    • Classrooms: Our faculty and day/night cleaning staff will clean classroom spaces regularly and with the appropriate cleaning solutions. Additional staff members for facilities have been added to support increased sanitation efforts.
    • Supplies: Though students will be using their own supplies in most situations, any shared items will be subject to new safety and cleaning protocols.
    • Hygiene: Faculty and students will wash and/or sanitize their hands as they enter the classrooms in the morning, between classes, and after movement around campus. Touchless hand sanitizers are being installed in areas throughout campus.
    • Drinking Fountains: Drinking fountains are being replaced with water bottle filling stations and hand washing stations.
    • Playgrounds: Playgrounds will be disinfected between each use.
  • LUNCH PROCEDURES (PER DIVISION)

    • Cafeteria Schedule: We have modified the cafeteria schedule to minimize large group gatherings and allow for physical distancing as much as possible.
    • Lower School: The Lower School will have a staggered lunch schedule and will be served in the cafeteria.
    • Intermediate School: Intermediate School will have a staggered lunch schedule and will have lunch in the Cougar Cafe located on the first level of the cafeteria building.
    • Middle and Upper Schools: Middle and Upper Schools are having a combination of lunch delivered to alternative outdoor/in-classroom settings.
    • Sun Shades: Sun Shades will be installed to provide additional outdoor options for our Middle and Upper School students to eat lunch and have break time comfortably
  • MASKS/FACE SHIELDS

    An Important Note on Facemasks: Facemasks can be uncomfortable and also introduce another hassle factor into our day. They are, however, demonstrated to greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. All non-masked individuals who have had sustained exposure to the COVID-19 virus are considered high-risk and must be quarantined for 14 days. However, when individuals are masked, the risk drops significantly; this has major implications for how a school can conduct on-campus operations. Based upon health department guidelines, governmental directives, and advice from a team of physicians, Brookstone will implement the following:
    • Mandatory Face Coverings: All faculty and students will be required to wear face coverings.
    • Mask Choice: We appreciate that there are many different styles of masks on the market today. As the priority is that students utilize face covering to protect against the spread of the virus, students may wear a mask of their choosing.
    • Mask Requirements: The requirements of any masks are that they fit snugly against the sides of the face so there are no gaps, cover the mouth and nose, and in addition to solid colored masks, students may wear masks with a small print or pattern such as gingham/seersucker. No logos or writing other than student name, small monogram of their name, and/or Brookstone logo. 
    • Brookstone Masks: There will be several styles of Brookstone branded masks available in the Cougar Shop for purchase. A gaiter style face covering will be included in those available for purchase. The Brookstone branded masks are expected to be available the week before school begins.
    • Face Shields: Transparent face shields will be utilized during certain lessons to allow for enhanced auditory and visual cues. These have been purchased by the school and will be provided to the students.
  • PHYSICAL DISTANCING

    • Doors: Adherence to designated entrances for Lower School classrooms and Intermediate, Middle, and Upper School buildings
    • Limitation of visitors to campus: To limit the spread of COVID-19, we will be strictly limiting visitors to campus. Any visitor (including parents) will be required to check in at a division office and undergo the health screening.
    • Events: We will continue modifying programs and events as necessary in compliance with crowd sizes and social distancing measures.
    • Crowds: We are reducing the number of students who will be on the playgrounds and in other common spaces at one time.
    • Acrylic Dividers: To help maintain physical separation, acrylic desk partitions will be utilized in classroom settings.
    • Containment: An addition to physical distancing is the approach we are utilizing being referred to by independent schools as a containment model and is different and distinct from the model of trying to socially distance every individual student from the others. Students will be contained in groups either by class or division, and interaction among those groups, including the use of shared space and resources, will be minimized. One of the main goals of the containment model is that, in the event of a positive test, we might be able to focus our response to impact as few families as possible. However, please note that this does not mean students will be confined to a single classroom all day long. Quite the contrary. We expect students will spend more time outdoors and moving about than previously has been the case. With our campus situated on over 100 acres of land, we have the largest campus space in the area and every intention of making great use of it all!
  • SYMPTOM ASSESSMENTS AND ESTABLISHED PROTOCOL

    • Clinic Support: We are adding a support nurse position to the clinic. This new position will allow the clinic to separate symptomatic students from well students needing attention for an injury or daily medications. This position will also aid in our health and safety screenings each day.
    • Clinic Expansion: Two additional rooms have been added to the Clinic area. These rooms will be utilized to separate students displaying COVID-19 symptoms from those needing other health services.
    • Symptoms & Exposure Protocol: With medical guidance, Brookstone has created a “COVID-19 Decision Tree” which will govern student or employee re-entry into the campus environment after a possible or verified COVID-19 infection or exposure.

LEARNING

Brookstone will conduct on-campus operations within a learning environment designed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the community. These protocols have been developed with input from physicians and in conjunction with public health agency guidelines. We are excited to welcome students back to campus to resume classes in-person on August 12th. We recognize that some families may not feel comfortable returning to full capacity or may be in quarantine/isolation due to potential COVID-19 circumstances. Brookstone School is committed to our Mission Statement and will provide the best educational experience possible for these families through a blend of synchronous instruction through virtual class attendance and asynchronous reinforcement. This option is available for any family. Our virtual programming has been comprehensively redesigned to deliver the Brookstone experience to all students.

List of 3 items.

  • HYBRID LEARNING

    As events have continued to evolve with the pandemic, we recognize the need to offer a virtual option to our families, either for individuals that need it during short term COVID-19 related absences or as an option for longer periods of time. We are still anticipating a brick and mortar opening of school but have also decided that offering a hybrid model is best for our families. Within our Hybrid Learning design we provide on-campus and virtual programming from which families may choose. We have a team of faculty and administrators that has reviewed the distance learning feedback we received from faculty, parents, and students. A new distance learning model, not a modification of where we were in April and May, is being created. This new model is not a reflection of crisis planning but a robust and comprehensive approach to increase learning, engagement, and accountability for all involved. While the details are still be defined, the key points at this time are:
    • Virtual Learning will be available to students who need to be absent for short term COVID-19 illness/exposure. These students will be allowed to rejoin the in-person classrooms once they are cleared to return to campus.
    • Parents choosing Virtual Learning will do so for a designated period of time.
  • STUDENT LIFE

    A big part of the Brookstone experience is the joy that comes from being able to pursue passions and to discover new interests by participating in a variety of campus-based activities. We will need to adjust how we make that possible for students, but we are already exploring new and innovative ways to preserve this important portion of our culture.
    • Fine Arts: Our fine arts faculty members are imagining new ways to engage our musicians, thespians, and visual artists to allow for ongoing training, performances, and shows.
    • Athletics: Brookstone will follow the guidelines of the Georgia High School Association regarding fall athletic competitions. If GHSA deems it safe for students to play interscholastic sports, Brookstone will allow its student-athletes to compete.
    • Student Clubs: Some student clubs and organizations will meet online; others will meet in person with proper physical distancing.
    • Servant Leadership: Students will discover new ways of serving our community, and we stand ready to support these efforts while following our health and safety protocols.
    • Extended Day: As part of focusing on containment, the format of Extended Day will be different this year. The students will be kept in their smaller groups, and the locations will be in the students’ school division. We will be able to provide more details on Extended Day in the coming weeks.
    • Retreats and Field Trips: Off-campus field trips and student retreats will not take place for the time being. These safety measures will be adjusted when advisable under the evaluation of current conditions.
  • TRAINING AND STAFFING

    • Global Online Academy (GOA): Each faculty member participated in at least two GOA professional training courses over the summer focused on designing online and on-campus learning that prioritizes relationships and student support, develops and exercises student agency, and builds engaging, navigable, and student-centered learning experiences.
    • Speaking Clearly: Local audiologists from Columbus Speech & Hearing will be participating in our faculty pre-planning to train us regarding effective communication techniques as we adjust to teaching in masks.
    • Substitute Teachers: We have been actively evaluating applications for substitute teachers to ensure we have a robust list of qualified substitute teachers when providing coverage should any faculty member need to be absent for Covid-19 reasons. Each of these substitutes will have training regarding our health and safety protocols.

Resources

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External Websites: