School Continuation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Guiding Principles

In planning for school continuation, Bertschi School formed a School Continuation Task Force (SCTF). SCTF took into account health guidelines for reopening schools so that Bertschi can continue educating students through the COVID-19 pandemic, and flexibly toggle between scenarios as needed.

The SCTF also prioritized the developmental needs of students at each grade level, the needs of families of essential workers, and the integrity of the Bertschi School experience including academics, social-emotional learning, and community building.

The following principles were considered in the modeling and planning of all school scenarios:

  • Preserve Bertschi's core curricular program, mission, values, and teaching principles
  • Prioritize the physical, emotional, and psychological health and safety of students, families, faculty, and staff members
  • Build and sustain community connections by maintaining rituals and traditions that define Bertschi
  • Recognize and support the diverse needs and unique demands placed on families during potential school closures due to a pandemic
  • Meet the needs of diverse student learners through learning services support
  • Ensure faculty and staff practices are sustainable and promote health and long-term retention
  • Build in the flexibility to toggle efficiently between scenarios as needed
  • Serve and support families of essential workers within our community

Current School Scenario

Bertschi School is committed to a return to campus for students and faculty as soon as the level of community spread and transmission makes it viable. No matter where our students learn, we will remain true to our mission, pedagogy, and community. In making decisions for how and when to return to on-campus learning, we are following the guidance provided by the governor, including important data points for King County, and the advice of leading health experts.

Currently, our Pre-K and Kindergarten students have the option to learn on campus four days per week, or to remain in full-time distance learning at home. Both options are supported equally and fully by our faculty.

Students in 1st through 5th grade are engaged in full-time distance learning until our school and local community can safely transition to a Week On/Week Distance hybrid learning model.

Students of essential workers and our faculty/staff are eligible to participate in our Remote at School program on campus five days per week.


School Scenario Parameters

The following are the data points used in decision-making when moving from one school scenario to another (e.g., from full-time distance learning to hybrid learning):

  • High-risk Status for King County (more than 75 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period): Full-Time Distance Learning model for grades 1-5. Pre-K and Kindergarten students may have the option to learn on campus as staffing and facilities allow.
  • Moderate-risk Status for King County (25-75 cases per 100,000 residents over a two week period): Week On/Week Distance hybrid model if a sustained time period supports it, and Pre-K and Kindergarten on campus 4 days per week
  • Low-risk Status for King County (fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 residents in the recent two-week period): Week On/Week Distance hybrid model, with consideration of Full Time In-Person learning if possible.

We continue to use the King County Dashboard of Key Indicators of COVID-19, updated every Wednesday, to help us track data trends that will inform our need to toggle from one school scenario to another. Bertschi is fully prepared to "toggle" from scenario to scenario as the community health data allows.


Full-Time Distance Learning

This scenario will be used during periods of high risk in King County, or when the data does not yet support a stable period of moderate risk.

During periods of high-risk status in King County, students engage in our full-time distance learning program. Students of essential workers and faculty/staff children have the option to learn on campus through the Remote at School program. Pre-K and Kindergarten students may have the option to learn on campus as staffing and facilities allow. Full-Time distance learning features the following:

  • All hardware and software provided
  • Regular, structured daily schedule with a balance of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded or independent) learning
  • All materials needed for classroom and specialist work provided using periodic pick ups and drop offs at the school
  • The use of Google Classroom, Zoom, and a small set of technology tools based on age level
  • Live specialist teaching using a monthly intensive rotation
  • Fridays reserved for community connections, fun, and assignment catch-up

Hybrid School Model

This scenario will be used during stable periods of moderate risk in King County.

During periods of moderate-risk status in King County, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students attend school on campus four days per week. First through 5th Grade students engage in a Week on/Week Distance model. Students of essential workers and faculty/staff children have the option to learn on campus every week through the Remote at School program. Hybrid School features the following:

  • Classes are divided in smaller cohorts and spread across all spaces campus to ensure physical distancing
  • Cohorts have limited number of in-person adult interactions
  • Masks are worn by all on campus at all times
  • Only students and essential faculty/staff allowed on campus
  • Time periods away from campus are long enough to most effectively mitigate the transmission of COVID-19
  • Extensive cleaning procedures, ventilation, air purification, and other health and safety protocols in place

Full Time In-Person Learning

This scenario will be considered during periods of low risk in King County, and we have the staffing and facilities to support it.

During periods of low-risk status in King County, Bertschi School will consider ways to bring students in Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade on campus full time. This scenario depends on having the facilities and staffing in place to safely support on-campus learning for all. Full Time In-Person Learning would feature the following:

  • Classes are spread across all spaces campus to ensure physical distancing
  • Classes have limited number of in-person adult interactions
  • Masks are worn by all on campus at all times
  • Only students and essential faculty/staff allowed on campus
  • Extensive cleaning procedures, ventilation, air purification, and other health and safety protocols in place

Learn More & Apply for Fall 2021 Enrollment

Our application for Fall 2021 is open. Learn how to apply here.