Letter from the COVID-19 Task Force with Policies, Protocols, and References

Dear friends,

The Free Union COVID Task Force has been working non-stop this summer to lay out our recommendations for the school’s reopening and Covid-related policies. While our work will not soon be “done” because we will continue to monitor the situation, review the latest data and research, and adapt our recommendations to the most current understanding of the virus, we are happy to be able to share this document encapsulating the most up-to-date version of our plan for reopening the Free Union campus this fall.

We realize that you have probably spent the summer conducting your own mental gymnastics related to school reopening and what your family’s fall might look like. We hope that this document allows you to have a clearer understanding of what the school will be doing to mitigate health risks, while also optimizing some of the school’s inherent strengths: small class sizes; recognition of the power and potential of outdoor learning; an expansive campus; and a flexible faculty who are committed to meeting children’s needs. We feel strongly that the school is uniquely positioned to be able to continue with its important work, while conscientiously and responsibly protecting the health and safety of staff and students.

While we have put a great deal of thought and effort into developing the school’s policies and protocols, we recognize that our recommendations are only as effective as everyone’s collective buy-in allows it to be. The school’s ability to operate on site this year hinges upon our entire community’s cooperation, and the decision and actions of even just one family could compromise that. Please commit yourself to doing everything your family can to reduce your own risks of exposure outside of school, as well as fully complying with the school’s new protocols. In order to ensure that the community has all reviewed this Handbook, we are adding a new online form to the back to school paperwork. This form will ask you to attest to having read and understood the new policies and protocols.

The Task Force is optimistic that our recommendations for health and safety, instituted faithfully, will allow the school, along with its students and faculty, to flourish. We are grateful that the school community is one that values the kinds of cooperation and flexibility that are such assets right now. This year our school will operate in some very different ways than we usually do at Free Union, and there will inevitably be a few bumps in the road as we all adjust to the new reality of starting a school year in the midst of a global pandemic, but we remain focused on preserving the essence of this special school while also capitalizing upon the school’s proven ability to adapt and pivot in effective ways in the face of significant challenges.

If you have any questions regarding any of the information put forth in the Policy and Protocol Handbook, please feel free to reach out. You should email your questions to Eric, who will forward it on to the appropriate members of the Task Force.

Wishing you all peace and health,
The Task Force

Free Union Country School COVID-19 Policy and Protocol Handbook