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Rocky Hill Country Day School’s Virtual Campus and Distance Learning will continue for the duration of the academic year. While our physical campus is closed, we are thankful for our school community and the closeness we have even as we distance.

The Admission’s Team is available to answer questions about enrollment for new students for the 2020-21 school year.  Contact Jan Cooney, Director of Admission, at jcooney@rockyhill.org.

#MarinerStrong

Student and family health and safety is of paramount concern and we will continue to monitor and update policies and protocols as information becomes available.

Communication
  • All parents, faculty, and staff will receive emails as soon as decisions are made.
  • We will post updates to this page as information becomes available.
  • Look to our social media channels for suggestions and ideas for at-home strategies related to social distancing, managing stress, and keeping active. Facebook, RHCD Instagram, Mariner Instagram
Head of School Update - April 28, 2020

Good afternoon, 

As I mentioned last week, though campus will remain closed for the remainder of the year, we are ready to finish the year strong! With a little over a month of classes left, we are busy solidifying plans for our end of year events, including Move Up Days and Commencement. I’m very excited to share them with you and hope to do that in the next week or so. 

I’d also like to reinstate my “Listening Lunches” with students! I’m going to start this Friday with Lower and Middle School students at 11:30. I’ll send an invite, so be on the lookout for it. No agenda, just a chance to see each other’s faces.  

Lastly, I wanted to give some insight into our planning for school in the Fall. Of course, the Governor will have much to say about what is possible, but while we await her decisions on moving through the phases of her Weathering the Storm plan, we are preparing for four potential scenarios:

  1. We return to campus as usual in September 2020.
  2. We return to campus in September, but with limitations on gathering size or some other restrictions.
  3. We return to campus in September, in full or with restrictions, then need to close campus for some period of time due to the pandemic.
  4. We are unable to return to campus in September.

It goes without saying that we are fervently hoping for #1! However, we will be prepared for each scenario by evaluating: 

  • additional needs to ensure the health and safety of our community,
  • possible adjustments to our Distance Learning Model,
  • ways to welcome our new students and families into our community, and
  • modifications required for our athletics program.

I will continue to keep you informed as decisions are made or as we need to pivot based on new information from Governor Raimondo. As always, please reach out should you have any questions or concerns; my virtual door is always open!

Sincerely,

Head of School Update - April 23, 2020

Dear Community, 

As I imagine you all have heard, the Governor announced today that school campuses will remain closed and distance learning will continue through the rest of the school year. While not surprising, this is very disappointing news. 

In light of this decision, I want to relay some important information:

  • our school calendar will remain the same, with school ending the week of June 8th.
  • we have already begun planning our end-of-year events, such as Moving Up ceremonies and Commencement, so please stay tuned for more details about those.
  • we will arrange for students and faculty to pick up their belongings in a way similar to the process at the start of distance learning. Again, please stay tuned as we work out those details.
  • we will begin the process of calculating food and bus service credits. Martha Cunningham, Chief Operating Officer, will reach out in the coming weeks with more information.

Indeed, we are all so sad to receive confirmation of this expected decision, but remain grateful for the steps undertaken to keep us all healthy, and for this tremendous community that we share.  

Wishing you health and peace,

Head of School Update - April 14, 2020

Dear RHCD Community, 

I hope you were able to enjoy the long weekend! I have a few items I would like to share and re-share.

  1. As I mentioned in my email of March 20th, given that students cannot access food or bus services during this time of remote learning, we will be offering credits to families for those services. The Business Office will address the details of this process once we know the full extent of school days missed, so please expect to hear from Mrs. Cunningham some time later this spring and to see a credit on your account. If your student is leaving or graduating from RHCD, we will work out a refund.
  2. Check out our #RHCDHeroes on Instagram and Facebook. Rocky Hill alumni, parents, partners, community currently at the front lines of Covid-19. Look for opportunities to help us nominate more #RHCDHeroes.
  3. Lastly, don’t forget about Spirit Week. Join the fun and send your photos to Megan Williams!

I hope you have a peaceful week!

My best,

Head of School Update - April 9, 2020

Dear students and families, 

I appreciate your understanding as you receive more messages from me than usual. There is a lot to communicate these days.  

As we continue to navigate this extraordinary moment of disruption to our typical school experience, the RHCD Admin Team has been considering the move to an alternate reporting system for this second semester. After lengthy discussion, research, and reviewing of evidence, we have made the decision to go to a Pass/No Credit final grade for Middle and Upper School students for the second semester of this school year. 

I want to clearly state one fundamental tenet: assessment and reporting are two very distinct things. “Assessment,” or evaluation of learning, checks for student understanding of material, provides evidence of progress in a skill, and allows for direct feedback to a student on areas of mastery and areas of growth. “Reporting” is when, at the end of semesters, we give a ‘mark’ to report how much we think students have learned during the semester. With that in mind, please note the following: 

Reporting:

  • MS/US = Pass/No Credit for 2nd semester
  • LS = Narrative comments only for 2nd semester
  • In all divisions, narrative comments will continue
  • Upper School transcripts will show Pass or NC with credit of .5 or 0
  • GPAs will be calculated out of 7 semesters rather than 8

Assessment:

  • Teachers will continue with progress monitoring/checking for understanding/assessment and meaningful feedback, though it may look different than before distance learning.
  • We will continue to address individual/personal learning differences as best we can in this new environment.
  • Our assessment/progress monitoring may very well look different in a few weeks than it does now as our facility with distance learning improves.

Our rationale for the decision:

  • Provides the greatest opportunity for equity
  • Homelife for some students (and teachers) might not be very conducive to distance learning
  • Our students with learning differences are not necessarily as well served by this model
  • This is a new, unfamiliar learning environment for most students and faculty so none of us is likely at our best,
  • Everyone is feeling the distraction, fear, unsettledness of this pandemic, making learning difficult (See Maslow’s hierarchy of needs)
  • Many, if not most, colleges are themselves grading their students this term with P/F or similar, and will treat this period as a “bubble” on applications for the next few years.
  • By making the decision across the board, we remove pressure from students and present consistent reporting for all students to colleges.

Please reach out to your Division Head, Tara Dowling, and/or me if you have any questions or concerns about this decision. Also, Tara Dowling will host the Upper School PTL meeting next Thursday, April 16, to discuss the impact of this decision and this period of campus closures on college admissions. 

Sincerely,

Head of School Update - April 3, 2020

Dear Community, 

Three quick notes for this Friday afternoon:

  1. Our RHCD School holidays on April 10 and 13 remain; enjoy the time with your family.
  2. Attached please find our Video Meeting Policy and Procedures. If you have any questions you may reach out to me, Martha Cunningham, or your Division Head.
  3. In this period of distance learning, we remain committed to our mission to educate the whole child – mind, body, and spirit. Practically speaking, this means that we are scheduling school days in ways that allow for both synchronous (at the same time) and asynchronous (at varying times) learning so that students do not spend full days in front of a screen. This varies by division, so I encourage you to reach out to your Division Head if you have questions, but can look like a couple of hours ‘in class,’ or a full day with ‘no classes.’ Faculty are working hard to balance their ‘live’ classes so that students’ experiences are balanced, though this is still a work in progress after just a week. We continue to fine tune our practices!

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns. 

Head of School Update - March 30, 2020

Dear RHCD Community,

As you may already know, the Governor announced today that Rhode Island school campuses will remain closed, and distance learning will continue, through April 30, 2020. We have anticipated this, and so, as the situation continues to evolve, so will our distance learning. True to our competencies, we will examine how things go this first week, and then innovate, re-navigate, and adjust as necessary. To that end, please share thoughts and concerns with your Division Head and/or me so that we can make this ‘outside the box’ learning experience the most beneficial for all.

I want to send one particular note to our seniors. This is such a challenging time for everyone, but I have particular sympathy for seniors in high school and college who are missing out on significant milestones in the spring of their last year. While I can’t make any promises about the future, I can tell you that this is one of the things at the top of my mind. I know the situation with senior internships continues to be fluid, so look for updates from Ms. Snyman or Mr. Gwaltney. Hopefully we will be able to hold prom later in the year, and we will be back in school for senior activities and Commencement. Should that not be the case, please know that we will be creative about how we might still provide those experiences for you, if possible. We’re thinking of you!

I want to also offer my thanks for the inspiring messages, pictures, and videos I have received from you, providing encouragement, sharing excitement over new ‘distance learning spaces,’ and expressing gratitude for this community.

We will continue to address issues around athletics and other events, so stay tuned for updates from the Division Heads and me. This is surely a difficult time for all, and more challenging for some. I and my administrative team remain ready to hear your questions and concerns, so please reach out.

With gratitude,

Head of Upper School Distance Learning Update - March 25, 2020

 

Dear Families and Students,

I hope you are staying safe and well through the unprecedented changes in daily life we are all experiencing.

I am writing to share some specific information about this Thursday and Friday. As you heard from Diane Rich, these days will be a “dry run” of technology tools and basic strategies faculty will use to connect with students to lead remote, distance learning beginning Monday, March 30. Teachers have been hard at work getting plans in place, and their dedication and concern for our students’ well-being — during this uncertain time especially — continues to inspire me.

Schedule: we will follow the normal daily rotation on Thursday and Friday, and thereafter, with classes and Advisory during their usual scheduled meeting times.

  • Thursday 3/26 is an E day, and Friday 3/27 is an F day.
  • All E Day blocks will meet on Thursday (E, D, B, G, and A).
  • Blocks C and F will meet on Friday.
  • Advisory will meet on Thursday at 11:05.
  • ACE will meet on Thursday and Friday as scheduled.
  • No all-Upper School events on Thursday and Friday.
  • Monday 3/30 (A Day) is the first full day of school.

Dry Runs: Teachers will have brief “live” online meetings with students, and go over a short list of very basic class details. Teaching will not happen on Thursday and Friday, rather we will use that time to make sure everyone understands the technology tools, deal with any snafus, and gather feedback.

Tools and Platforms: For now, we will all use the tools RHCD has had in place this year and that we are most familiar with using: the Student Portal, Gmail and Gmail Chat (G-Chat), and the rest of the robust Google Suite of tools, including Drive, Docs, Calendar, etc. Google Hangouts Meet will be the live platform through which teachers and students will connect. Teachers and Advisers will be sending a Calendar invitation with links to the Hangouts. Not everything we do will be exclusively online in the coming weeks, but live meetings will be part of the experience.

We are aware how primary predictability and support are in students’ ability to learn and be successful in school. We are working to make as much predictable for students as we can, though I know so much seems uncertain. I will write to you in the Upper School Weekly News over the weekend with a more full explanation of distance learning at RHCD, and to answer many questions. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need to hear more now.

Remember, for those that absolutely need to, Upper School-ers can come to campus today from 1:00 – 3:00pm. Otherwise the campus is closed, but school is open on Monday! See you then.

Mike

Mike Gwaltney
Head of Upper School

Head of Middle School Distance Learning Update - March 25, 2020

 

Dear Middle School Parents,

I hope this email finds you and your children well and managing to get through this unprecedented and difficult time. I can tell you that the faculty has been hard at work preparing to transition to distance learning.  Considering our eight competencies, we feel we are ready to be Navigators as we learn how best to do this together, and certainly Communicators, Critical Thinkers, and Innovators as we find new and exciting ways to connect and grow as learners.  It would be equally easy to see how we are going to be Globally Minded, Self Aware, Ethical, and Citizens during this period of uncertainty.

So, without further ado, here are the nuts and bolts of the next few days.

What distance learning (DL) will look like.

  • First, we must recognize that this is new for all of us, and we expect there to be quite a learning curve as we settle into DL.

  • DL will be a combination of both live, teleconferencing sessions and supported offline work using a wide variety of online resources with teachers available to work with students as needed, similar to holding office hours.  There will be times when the students will be working on assignments during class periods, rather than connecting directly with their teachers as well. 

  • Direct instruction will be for varying lengths of time during class periods and will be coordinated by each teacher.  To begin, we feel teachers will connect with students in this way no more than twice per six-day rotation. 

  • Platforms: Video conferencing will be done using Google Meet. Throughout this letter, I will mention classes having a “Meet”, and this is what I’m referring to. Teachers will create these sessions and the students will receive an invitation to join each session via an email and also as an event in Google Calendar.  There are a lot of conferencing platforms available, but we are all familiar with Google tools and apps, and we are able to provide support for this platform through our tech department. Please take a few minutes to view the tutorial How to access and use Google Meet for Students and Families put together by Mrs. Gustavel, our librarian.

  • Students “being well” is almost more important than students “doing well”.  Taking care of oneself, and feeling connected, positive, and supported is paramount during these unsure times.  The learning should be exciting, interesting, challenging at times, and certainly fun.

Thursday and Friday will be used for our “Dry Run” of distance learning.

  • This will be a Dry Run of our online conferencing between teachers and their students.  We expect there to be bumps and hiccups, and the purpose of this dry run is to work through these as they come up as best we can to make our restart on Monday, 3/30 as smooth as possible

  • Preparing for DL:  Consider setting up a sensible space at home for DL, especially for the live sessions.  This might include a dedicated desk, good lighting, a non-distracting background, and be somewhat quiet.  Some students may find it easier to plug in earbuds or headphones to help with this.

  • For 6th and 7th grade students, please download Google Meet and Google Hangout on their iPads from the App Store, as well as those 8th graders using iPads.  For those on laptops, they can open these apps just by clicking on the invites in the GMail or in their Google calendars.  

  • On Thursday and Friday, we will be following the regular schedule, which the students have access to in Veracross.  Thursday is an E day, and Friday is an F day. During these 2 days, every class will meet at least once.

    • On Thursday: students will connect with each of their teachers during all of the scheduled periods with a Google Meet. Those are period E, D, G (band or chorus), B, and A.  

    • On Friday: students will connect with only those classes that didn’t meet on Thursday, which will be period F (8:30 a.m.) and period C (1:15 p.m.)

    • French:  This is a note just for French students.  Ms. Hudson is recovering from a non-Corona illness that will keep her away from her classes through next week. The plan right now is for French to restart on Monday, April 6.  I will certainly keep you posted on that.

    • All of these Dry Run meetings will be short and used for;

      • Teachers and students to say hello and really about reaching out to make this connection.

      • Checking the students’ ability to connect online and, if needed, to identify any issues and hopefully work them out.

      • Getting some of the novelty of online conferencing out of the way.  Once again, this is new for all of us, and I expect MS students to be, well, typical middle schoolers, which can be silly with everyone talking at once as they feel their way around these first encounters.  That will go away in time as this becomes familiar and more normal.

      • Any other messages the teachers want to convey about the restart of school to put the students’ minds at ease, acknowledging that the first week will continue to be about transitioning to this new environment.

    • Advisory groups will have a Meet on Thursday at 11:00 a.m., which is our Community Period

    • Teachers will be taking attendance during these sessions, which will let us know if anyone is missing from these practice periods.  If your child is unable to connect on Thursday, please have them email me to let me know there is an issue. If your child is sick, you can put that into Veracross as you normally would, or email me.

  • ACE – Students who go to ACE during any of these periods will be connecting with their ACE teachers, and this will be the norm during with our Distance Learning

Scheduled Communication: Each division will be sending out its weekly communication by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday each week, as we have all year.  The MSWA will certainly be different, but it will have important updates to help us all be on the same page as we move into the spring.  

Book Pick Up Today!  To reduce the number of people on campus at any one time, each division has a set time slot for parents (and students if needed) to come to campus to pick up materials.  The MS slot is 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Parents with children in multiple divisions can certainly go to the other buildings when they are here. Student locker numbers can be found on the three class bulletin boards in Hale.  Most of the MS students brought home many of their books when we left for Spring Break. The students should have all of their binders, notebooks, textbooks, and novels. Also, if they are in the band, they will need their music folder and instrument.  I’ve put the music folders on two tables in the Hale hallway. The sheet from Mr. McNamara listing the students and folder numbers is there as well.  

The doors to the buildings are propped open, and there is hand sanitizer on tables inside the entrances.  All of the band folders are in Hale. Bring a bag.  

School restarts on Monday, which is an A day.  Your child should be ready to begin at 8:30 a.m. and plan to follow their schedule on Veracross. I will have more information about next week in my MSWA this weekend.  I’m mindful of how long this letter is, and hopefully, this gives you what you need to get your student through to the weekend. Be well.

 Sincerely,

Mike Jedrey
Head of Middle School
Head of Lower School Distance Learning Update - March 25, 2020

Dear Lower School Families, 

I hope this email finds you and your children well! Despite the unsettled nature of our world at the moment, your children have been in our thoughts, and the joy they bring each day has been greatly missed. We very much look forward to reconnecting with our Lower School friends even if in the virtual realm for the time being. 

Our Lower School faculty are devoting a great deal of time and effort researching and collaborating to develop a distance learning plan that will allow our students to continue to learn and grow with meaningful intention. Though virtual learning will be ongoing for all of us, we set out on this new adventure with a healthy degree of confidence and a heightened level of excitement about the variety of experiences it will offer! Our communication and sharing of more detailed information will be ongoing. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of what to expect. 

Catch a glimpse of distance learning in Lower School!

  • A grade-specific learning timeframe (an adapted Monday through Friday “schedule”) has been developed to offer a sense of routine along with the flexibility to accommodate the variables present in the current lives of our students, families, and faculty. Classroom Teachers will share their respective “schedules” with their classroom families directly.
  • Virtuoso subjects will be incorporated into each grade’s learning timeframe.
  • Classroom Teachers and Virtuosos will create a routine agenda and lesson plan. Lessons will be presented in a variety of formats, both off-line and some live, with resources to balance screen time with hands-on ways to engage in related-content and skills.
  • ACE students will resume their work with Amy Laurent. Families will be hearing from Director of ACE, Holly Cotta, and Amy directly regarding scheduling.
  • For the time being, faculty will have students utilize supplies and materials gathered from home along with online resources. Faculty will communicate a plan with families directly if additional supplies or materials are needed.
  • Families and students are able to stop by campus this morning during the designated Lower School time of 9:00-11:00 a.m. (or with siblings during their designated division times) to gather any personal school belongings. A health and hygiene protocol will be strictly enforced while on campus today.
  • SeeSaw will be the primary posting location and communication tool for Classroom Teachers and Virtuosos, though other formats may also be added.
  • Classroom Teachers and Virtuosos will offer routine accessibility to students and families to facilitate lessons and projects, to check-in, answer questions, and most importantly, stay connected.
  • My routine communication will continue, including my Lower School Weekly News emailed to families by Sunday evening for the start of each week. I am also available to families for any reason via email (ppontarelli@rockyhill.org) and cell phone (401-374-7452).

Let’s get together to say “hello” and test our distance learning tool!

  • On Thursday and Friday of this week, Classroom Teachers, along with Virtuosos, invite students to join them on Google Meet, the platform we will be using for face-to-face gatherings. This will be a great way for students to connect with their teachers and classmates prior to the start of our distance learning on Monday, March 30! It will also allow us to determine any connectivity needs.
  • Please take a few minutes to view the tutorial How to access and use Google Meet for Students and Families created by Wendy Gustavel.
  • Below is the Google Meet schedule for each grade. We look forward to “seeing” and chatting with our students!

Thursday, March 25

Friday, March 26

9:00 a.m.   4th Grade

10:00 a.m. Preschool Group 1

9:30 a.m.   3rd Grade

10:30 a.m. Preschool Group 2

10:00 a.m. 2nd Grade 

11:00 a.m. Preschool Group 3     

10:30 a.m.  1st grade

12:00 p.m.  Kindergarten

12:00 p.m.  5th grade

Though our learning environment will look different in the short term, we are committed to continuing to foster the long term social-emotional well-being of each of our Lower School children and our Nursery-5 community. There is no better time than now to come together as a caring, supportive, and mindful community to meet each other where we are, and instill a sense of calm and inspiration. I am grateful for your patience, understanding, trust, and partnership in the days ahead.  Our eight student competencies will certainly come to life as we begin as navigators on this journey together with our students.

I send each of my Lower School friends their choice of a virtual hug, high five or fist bump! I look forward to remaining in touch and seeing you all soon.  Be well!

Warmly, 
Patty

Patricia Pontarelli
Head of Lower School

 

Head of School Letter to Community - March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020

Dear Alumni, Parents of Alumni, Former Faculty, Former Trustees, Grandparents, and Friends,

During this time of unrest, disruption, and uncertainty, I am reminded of what it means to be a part of this wonderful community: we celebrate our joys together, we share our sorrows with one another, and we walk together in this period of hardship and anxiety. More than the obvious service-related components of RHCD, it is the emotional elements which are the benefits of being a small, more intimate community. We are strong, resilient, and kind. From our youngest preschoolers to alumni from the 1940s through 2019, we care about the well-being of each of you. So first, I want to wish you good health and good spirits.

Second, I want to share a bit of what is happening here at RHCD. As of March 13th, we have moved to teleworking for our employees and will launch distance learning on March 30th when students return from Spring Break. Our whole team is dedicated to bringing the best education possible to our 300 students who now find themselves in uncharted territory. While it might be easy to succumb to negativity and despair, I am already seeing the enthusiasm and creativity of our community shine through. Our Third Grade held a virtual playdate this weekend, hosting an at-home scavenger hunt that had students running around their homes, giggling as they secured their items. Our first virtual town hall for employees was held on Friday and it was great to see everyone’s smiling faces. We will hold town halls daily to keep our community connected. And within the greater educational network, teachers, heads of school, counselors, mindfulness experts, physicians, and coaches alike are sharing resources, ideas, and words of encouragement. I am reminded on a daily basis that the human spirit is strong, especially in times of crisis.

At the same time, we understand the gravity of the situation at hand. As of today, we have no known cases among our families or employees. Rhode Island has 106 cases as of Monday and Governor Raimondo continues to put social distancing measures into place, calling for sacrifice from small businesses, workers, and the entire state. Our young alumni have been sent home from colleges, some missing their final semesters and commencement ceremonies. Our grandparents, older alumni, and parents of alumni remain at highest risk and we know there will be more difficult times ahead. We are hard at work addressing the daily issues before us and preparing for future disruption.

Our hope is to be a resource for all of our friends and family when we can. We are leveraging our social media channels to share suggestions and ideas for managing aspects of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, we hope you will share your news at social@rockyhill.org, post a fun photo or video, or let us know how we might be able to help you if we can. In addition, we have a COVID-19 Resource page on our website where you can check for updates and the latest recommendations.

As we navigate these uncharted waters, we are relying on the framework of our athletics program, The Mariner Way, a philosophy centered on Resiliency, Effort, and Pride. It is a mindset that applies to all of our community members. We are stronger together and I encourage us all to look out for one another. Do you have a favorite teacher from your years at RHCD you could message? Are there classmates to whom you can send a virtual hug? I’ve had several virtual social gatherings this week which have greatly bolstered my spirits – give it a try!

I welcome your questions and ideas as we continue to find ways to serve as a community resource, and hope you will think about your RHCD friends and family as a network that will always be here for you.

Be well,

Diane Rich
Head of School

Head of School Update - March 17, 2020

Dear Parents and Students,

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, I have been paying attention to the guidance from the CDC and Rhode Island Department of Health. Given the changing circumstances, I have decided that Rocky Hill Country Day will extend spring break through March 27th. This time will be used by faculty to prepare materials for virtual learning as we anticipate we may need to move to this model for a period of time. As of now, we will begin distance learning for the week of March 30th. We will update you in regard to software and piloting plans next week. Please have your student(s) prepared for a potential trial run on March 26 or 27. If you have concerns about tech resources from home, please complete this TECH SURVEY so we can accommodate your student.

With regard to athletics, we are monitoring the situation carefully with NEPSAC and RIIL, and news will be forthcoming as the situation becomes more clear. We know waiting for information is hard for all of our Super Fans, but we will tackle this The Mariner Way.

We will continue to update you with more information and plans in the coming days. If you have not completed the TRAVEL SURVEY please do so.

Finally, while I know we all crave certainty, what I promise to offer is clarity and what I ask from all of us is patience during this time of uncertainty. So, here’s what you can expect: given the fluidity of this situation, we will be making decisions 1-2 weeks in advance unless otherwise directed by the Governor, the CDC, or the President. You can also expect that, even if there’s nothing new to report, I will write to you at least once a week just so that we can stay connected.

In good health,
Diane

Head of School Update - March 13, 2020

Dear Members of the RHCD Community,

Since my last email, there have been many new COVID-19 (coronavirus) developments around the world and here at home. As we continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation with coronavirus, I want to share with you some updates and possible changes for Rocky Hill Country Day.

Our approach is to thoughtfully prepare and follow guidelines from the RI Department of Health (DOH), RI Department of Education, and Center for Disease Control (CDC), knowing that the situation continues to evolve.

At this time, we are considering and suggest parents make contingency plans for the following possibilities:

  • Extending spring break
    Conducting virtual learning for a period of time

If it becomes necessary to move to short-term online classes, we want to ensure all students have the ability to participate. Faculty will have support and assistance to conduct online classes and began preparation for this before our departure for break. To ensure student success, we ask families to complete this TECH ASSESSMENT so that we can support students if the need arises.

We are asking all families to complete this TRAVEL SURVEY so that we are aware of any travel that may have occurred over spring break. As announced by Governor Raimondo, any community member that traveled outside of the continental US must self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, if you have traveled domestically, consider a 14-day isolation period.

Spring sports practices will be suspended next week. Megan Williams is in close contact with the RIIL, SENE, and NEPSAC leadership on this issue. Our leagues continue to evaluate the spring season and may make adjustments. As information becomes available, we will share it with you. The DOH has shared these guidelines for athletes: GUIDELINES

In response to the Governor’s request for people to remain at home, we are closing campus for non-essential employees from March 16 – 20. Following guidance from the CDC, we will clean and disinfect all of our facilities over the break. Our primary concern is the health, welfare, and safety of our community.

Please be sure to follow good hygiene recommendations such as washing your hands frequently, maintaining a social distance, and contacting your healthcare provider if you have health concerns. PARENT AND CAREGIVER GUIDE

RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website
RI Department of Health
The Rhode Island Department of Health has launched a 24-hour hotline for anyone with questions about the coronavirus, (401) 222-8022. Residents can also call 211 after 4:30 p.m. for assistance.

As a school community, we share deep concerns and care for all of our community members. We will continue to update families as soon as decisions are made and if plans change. I send you all my wishes for a safe and restful remainder of the break and will be in touch with you soon.

Sincerely,

Diane Rich
Head of School

Head of Middle School - eLearning Preparation - March 6, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

Like you, we are paying close attention to the news and listening to official sources, so we know how best to prepare for the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. As Head of School Diane Rich said in her email four days ago, we value preparedness in place of panic. The faculty have begun conversations with students about the possibility of “eLearning,” and faculty and staff are working together to establish protocols and tools to support remote, digital classwork should it become necessary.  Our work this week in our LEEP groups gave the Middle School practice in several tools that might be quite useful for distance learning, should it become necessary.

We are asking all students to take their books and other materials home with them over Spring Break. While at this time there is not a reason to expect classes not to meet as planned on Monday 3/23, it is impossible to predict what the situation will be in two weeks.

In the event eLearning becomes necessary, we will email more information. For now, I want to share these expectations for eLearning days:

  • RHCD Middle School students will be expected to participate in learning activities and assignments, as they are able. Unlike a typical Snow Day, these are days “on,” not off.
  • Students are expected to be online and to read and respond to email each weekday.
  • Any synchronous activities (live sessions) will follow the Daily Schedule, for example on an “A Day” students in an A Block class may have a live class session between 8:30 and 9:30.

As a reminder to Mrs. Rich’s email, we request that students and families avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory, and to inform us if travel takes you to a Level 2 or 3 country, or if you have contact with someone who has traveled there recently. If you find the Advisory Level of a country to which you have traveled has changed upon your return, please self-quarantine.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we work to be prepared for the unknown.

Have a wonderful Spring Break.

Mike Jedrey
Head of Middle School

Head of Upper School - eLearning Preparation - March 5, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

Like you, we are paying close attention to the news and listening to official sources, so we know how best to prepare for the novel coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease it causes. As Head of School Diane Rich said in her email four days ago, we value preparedness in place of panic. Upper School teachers have begun conversations with students about the possibility of “eLearning,” and faculty and staff are working together to establish protocols and tools to support remote, digital classwork should it become necessary. 

We are asking all students to take their books and other materials home with them over Spring Break. While at this time there is not a reason to expect classes not to meet as planned on Monday 3/23, it is impossible to predict what the situation will be in two weeks.

In the event eLearning becomes necessary, we will email more information. For now, I want to share these expectations for eLearning days:

  • RHCD Upper School students will be expected to participate in learning activities and assignments, as they are able. Unlike a typical Snow Day, these are days “on,” not off.
  • Students are expected to be online and to read and respond to email each weekday.
  • Any synchronous activities (live sessions) will follow the Daily Schedule, for example on an “A Day” students in an A Block class may have a live class session between 8:30 and 9:30.
  • Students who do not have access to broadband internet, should let their adviser know ASAP.

As a reminder to Mrs. Rich’s email, we request that students and families avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory, and to inform us if travel takes you to a Level 2 or 3 country, or if you have contact with someone who has traveled there recently. If you find the Advisory Level of a country to which you have traveled has changed upon your return, please self-quarantine.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we work to be prepared for the unknown.

Warmest regards,

Mike Gwaltney
Head of Upper School

Head of School Update - March 1, 2020

Dear Community,

With the recent news reports about the spreading of the COVID-19 virus in the United States, and the first presumptive positive case in Rhode Island occurring this weekend, I want to share some information with you, and also note that I support Senator Jack Reed’s recent reminder that “public health experts recommend preparedness over panic when it comes to the coronavirus.”

We are not aware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases in our school community, though we will continue to monitor this ever changing situation. As we have to date, we are following the guidance of the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as collaborating with other New England schools as we all work to manage this situation.

The proactive measures we are taking:

  • Asked our international students to remain in the United States during Spring Break
  • Scheduling a disinfectant cleaning of the school over Spring Break
  • Supporting our faculty so they can use virtual learning tools, if necessary
  • Asking families to avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory
  • Asking families to inform RHCD if they or a family member travel to any Level 2 or 3 countries over Spring Break (via a Veracross form) or have contact with someone who has traveled there recently.
  • Asking families to self-quarantine upon return if you find the
  • Advisory Level changed once you arrived in that country
  • Asking families to prepare to be away from school/work if restrictions are put in place once you’ve left the United States and have difficulty returning as expected
  • Reviewing our policies and procedures

As recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cautionary steps you can take:

  • get a flu vaccine
  • regularly wash your hands
  • take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, such as avoid touching eyes and mouth if possible
  • follow good respiratory hygiene, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • keep a safe distance from others if you are not feeling well
  • stockpile three days’ worth of food and water as you would for any potential disaster
  • seek medical care if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms
  • avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory
  • self-quarantine upon return if you find the Advisory Level changed once you arrived in that country
  • prepare to be away from school/work if restrictions are put in place once you’ve left the United States and have difficulty returning as expected

More information can be found HERE.

As the spread of the COVID-19 virus becomes more global, we urge everyone in the RHCD community to remain supportive and empathetic of those whose families and loved ones may potentially be affected. Though there is no reason to suspect any member of our community has the virus, several students have reported overhearing insensitive comments related to the issue. Allow me the opportunity to remind everyone that we are a small and supportive community, and we encourage everyone on campus to treat one another with kindness, respect, and dignity, reflecting the spirit of our community.

As always, you and your family’s health and well-being continue to be our top priority, and we sincerely thank you for your understanding and your support. As this situation evolves, even over Spring Break, we will continue to keep you informed.

Sincerely,
Diane

Important Information for RI Residents – Office of the Governor and RI Department of Health

Health and Safety Resources

Look here for recommendations for keeping yourself and your family members safe and minimizing the community spread of the virus.

Travel Updates

The restrictions related to travel are changing frequently. Please check these resources before considering travel or when returning from travel.

Resources for Children and Families

As families are spending more time at home and limiting social activities during spring break, here are some resources for at-home activities as well as talking to your children about the virus.

Talking with Your Children/Teens

Keeping Intellectually Active at Home

  • NEW Highlander Institute:  Considerations for Distance Learning
  • Z-Library:  Resource free books online
  • Mindful.org:  Zoom Exhaustion is Real. Here are Six ways to Find Balance and Stay Connected
  • Quaran-teen: A Weekly Webcast Serial: “Aiden Tyler is your typical middle school student. Rides the bus. Likes comic books. Tolerates his sister. But, his life is about to be turned upside down by the Coronavirus. Yes, you heard that correctly. Aiden Tyler, Quaran-teen is a new and original middle-grade serial written and read in real time by author Rex Ogle (Free Lunch). That means as YOU experience things, Aiden will be experiencing them too. Join us every Tuesday, as Rex shares Aiden’s story that’s full of laughs, facts, hearts, and farts. Scroll down for links to upcoming and previous episodes!
    Target audience is grades 4-8 but all are welcome!”
  • Yoga Storytime Videos for Kids: “Yoga storytime is here – integrating movement and literacy…you’ll find read-along videos of …popular yoga books for kids, so you can create a storytime for everyone to enjoy from the comfort of your home…”

Keeping Physically Active at Home

RHCD Response

Rocky Hill Country Day School is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), World Health Organization (WHO), RI Department of Health (RIDOH), and RI Department of Education (RIDE). 

RHCD Response

Rocky Hill Country Day School is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), World Health Organization (WHO), RI Department of Health (RIDOH), and RI Department of Education (RIDE). 

Student and family health and safety is of paramount concern and we will continue to monitor and update policies and protocols as information becomes available.

Communication
  • All parents, faculty, and staff will receive emails as soon as decisions are made.
  • We will post updates to this page as information becomes available.
  • Look to our social media channels for suggestions and ideas for at-home strategies related to social distancing, managing stress, and keeping active. Facebook, RHCD Instagram, Mariner Instagram
Head of School Update - March 30, 2020

Dear RHCD Community,

As you may already know, the Governor announced today that Rhode Island school campuses will remain closed, and distance learning will continue, through April 30, 2020. We have anticipated this, and so, as the situation continues to evolve, so will our distance learning. True to our competencies, we will examine how things go this first week, and then innovate, re-navigate, and adjust as necessary. To that end, please share thoughts and concerns with your Division Head and/or me so that we can make this ‘outside the box’ learning experience the most beneficial for all.

I want to send one particular note to our seniors. This is such a challenging time for everyone, but I have particular sympathy for seniors in high school and college who are missing out on significant milestones in the spring of their last year. While I can’t make any promises about the future, I can tell you that this is one of the things at the top of my mind. I know the situation with senior internships continues to be fluid, so look for updates from Ms. Snyman or Mr. Gwaltney. Hopefully we will be able to hold prom later in the year, and we will be back in school for senior activities and Commencement. Should that not be the case, please know that we will be creative about how we might still provide those experiences for you, if possible. We’re thinking of you!

I want to also offer my thanks for the inspiring messages, pictures, and videos I have received from you, providing encouragement, sharing excitement over new ‘distance learning spaces,’ and expressing gratitude for this community.

We will continue to address issues around athletics and other events, so stay tuned for updates from the Division Heads and me. This is surely a difficult time for all, and more challenging for some. I and my administrative team remain ready to hear your questions and concerns, so please reach out.

With gratitude,

Diane

Head of Upper School Distance Learning Update - March 25, 2020

 

Dear Families and Students,

I hope you are staying safe and well through the unprecedented changes in daily life we are all experiencing.

I am writing to share some specific information about this Thursday and Friday. As you heard from Diane Rich, these days will be a “dry run” of technology tools and basic strategies faculty will use to connect with students to lead remote, distance learning beginning Monday, March 30. Teachers have been hard at work getting plans in place, and their dedication and concern for our students’ well-being — during this uncertain time especially — continues to inspire me.

Schedule: we will follow the normal daily rotation on Thursday and Friday, and thereafter, with classes and Advisory during their usual scheduled meeting times.

  • Thursday 3/26 is an E day, and Friday 3/27 is an F day.
  • All E Day blocks will meet on Thursday (E, D, B, G, and A).
  • Blocks C and F will meet on Friday.
  • Advisory will meet on Thursday at 11:05.
  • ACE will meet on Thursday and Friday as scheduled.
  • No all-Upper School events on Thursday and Friday.
  • Monday 3/30 (A Day) is the first full day of school.

Dry Runs: Teachers will have brief “live” online meetings with students, and go over a short list of very basic class details. Teaching will not happen on Thursday and Friday, rather we will use that time to make sure everyone understands the technology tools, deal with any snafus, and gather feedback.

Tools and Platforms: For now, we will all use the tools RHCD has had in place this year and that we are most familiar with using: the Student Portal, Gmail and Gmail Chat (G-Chat), and the rest of the robust Google Suite of tools, including Drive, Docs, Calendar, etc. Google Hangouts Meet will be the live platform through which teachers and students will connect. Teachers and Advisers will be sending a Calendar invitation with links to the Hangouts. Not everything we do will be exclusively online in the coming weeks, but live meetings will be part of the experience.

We are aware how primary predictability and support are in students’ ability to learn and be successful in school. We are working to make as much predictable for students as we can, though I know so much seems uncertain. I will write to you in the Upper School Weekly News over the weekend with a more full explanation of distance learning at RHCD, and to answer many questions. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need to hear more now.

Remember, for those that absolutely need to, Upper School-ers can come to campus today from 1:00 – 3:00pm. Otherwise the campus is closed, but school is open on Monday! See you then.

Mike

Mike Gwaltney
Head of Upper School

Head of Middle School Distance Learning Update - March 25, 2020

 

Dear Middle School Parents,

I hope this email finds you and your children well and managing to get through this unprecedented and difficult time. I can tell you that the faculty has been hard at work preparing to transition to distance learning.  Considering our eight competencies, we feel we are ready to be Navigators as we learn how best to do this together, and certainly Communicators, Critical Thinkers, and Innovators as we find new and exciting ways to connect and grow as learners.  It would be equally easy to see how we are going to be Globally Minded, Self Aware, Ethical, and Citizens during this period of uncertainty.

So, without further ado, here are the nuts and bolts of the next few days.

What distance learning (DL) will look like.

  • First, we must recognize that this is new for all of us, and we expect there to be quite a learning curve as we settle into DL.

  • DL will be a combination of both live, teleconferencing sessions and supported offline work using a wide variety of online resources with teachers available to work with students as needed, similar to holding office hours.  There will be times when the students will be working on assignments during class periods, rather than connecting directly with their teachers as well. 

  • Direct instruction will be for varying lengths of time during class periods and will be coordinated by each teacher.  To begin, we feel teachers will connect with students in this way no more than twice per six-day rotation. 

  • Platforms: Video conferencing will be done using Google Meet. Throughout this letter, I will mention classes having a “Meet”, and this is what I’m referring to. Teachers will create these sessions and the students will receive an invitation to join each session via an email and also as an event in Google Calendar.  There are a lot of conferencing platforms available, but we are all familiar with Google tools and apps, and we are able to provide support for this platform through our tech department. Please take a few minutes to view the tutorial How to access and use Google Meet for Students and Families put together by Mrs. Gustavel, our librarian.

  • Students “being well” is almost more important than students “doing well”.  Taking care of oneself, and feeling connected, positive, and supported is paramount during these unsure times.  The learning should be exciting, interesting, challenging at times, and certainly fun.

Thursday and Friday will be used for our “Dry Run” of distance learning.

  • This will be a Dry Run of our online conferencing between teachers and their students.  We expect there to be bumps and hiccups, and the purpose of this dry run is to work through these as they come up as best we can to make our restart on Monday, 3/30 as smooth as possible

  • Preparing for DL:  Consider setting up a sensible space at home for DL, especially for the live sessions.  This might include a dedicated desk, good lighting, a non-distracting background, and be somewhat quiet.  Some students may find it easier to plug in earbuds or headphones to help with this.

  • For 6th and 7th grade students, please download Google Meet and Google Hangout on their iPads from the App Store, as well as those 8th graders using iPads.  For those on laptops, they can open these apps just by clicking on the invites in the GMail or in their Google calendars.  

  • On Thursday and Friday, we will be following the regular schedule, which the students have access to in Veracross.  Thursday is an E day, and Friday is an F day. During these 2 days, every class will meet at least once.

    • On Thursday: students will connect with each of their teachers during all of the scheduled periods with a Google Meet. Those are period E, D, G (band or chorus), B, and A.  

    • On Friday: students will connect with only those classes that didn’t meet on Thursday, which will be period F (8:30 a.m.) and period C (1:15 p.m.)

    • French:  This is a note just for French students.  Ms. Hudson is recovering from a non-Corona illness that will keep her away from her classes through next week. The plan right now is for French to restart on Monday, April 6.  I will certainly keep you posted on that.

    • All of these Dry Run meetings will be short and used for;

      • Teachers and students to say hello and really about reaching out to make this connection.

      • Checking the students’ ability to connect online and, if needed, to identify any issues and hopefully work them out.

      • Getting some of the novelty of online conferencing out of the way.  Once again, this is new for all of us, and I expect MS students to be, well, typical middle schoolers, which can be silly with everyone talking at once as they feel their way around these first encounters.  That will go away in time as this becomes familiar and more normal.

      • Any other messages the teachers want to convey about the restart of school to put the students’ minds at ease, acknowledging that the first week will continue to be about transitioning to this new environment.

    • Advisory groups will have a Meet on Thursday at 11:00 a.m., which is our Community Period

    • Teachers will be taking attendance during these sessions, which will let us know if anyone is missing from these practice periods.  If your child is unable to connect on Thursday, please have them email me to let me know there is an issue. If your child is sick, you can put that into Veracross as you normally would, or email me.

  • ACE – Students who go to ACE during any of these periods will be connecting with their ACE teachers, and this will be the norm during with our Distance Learning

Scheduled Communication: Each division will be sending out its weekly communication by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday each week, as we have all year.  The MSWA will certainly be different, but it will have important updates to help us all be on the same page as we move into the spring.  

Book Pick Up Today!  To reduce the number of people on campus at any one time, each division has a set time slot for parents (and students if needed) to come to campus to pick up materials.  The MS slot is 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Parents with children in multiple divisions can certainly go to the other buildings when they are here. Student locker numbers can be found on the three class bulletin boards in Hale.  Most of the MS students brought home many of their books when we left for Spring Break. The students should have all of their binders, notebooks, textbooks, and novels. Also, if they are in the band, they will need their music folder and instrument.  I’ve put the music folders on two tables in the Hale hallway. The sheet from Mr. McNamara listing the students and folder numbers is there as well.  

The doors to the buildings are propped open, and there is hand sanitizer on tables inside the entrances.  All of the band folders are in Hale. Bring a bag.  

School restarts on Monday, which is an A day.  Your child should be ready to begin at 8:30 a.m. and plan to follow their schedule on Veracross. I will have more information about next week in my MSWA this weekend.  I’m mindful of how long this letter is, and hopefully, this gives you what you need to get your student through to the weekend. Be well.

 Sincerely,

Mike Jedrey
Head of Middle School
Head of Lower School Distance Learning Update - March 25, 2020

Dear Lower School Families, 

I hope this email finds you and your children well! Despite the unsettled nature of our world at the moment, your children have been in our thoughts, and the joy they bring each day has been greatly missed. We very much look forward to reconnecting with our Lower School friends even if in the virtual realm for the time being. 

Our Lower School faculty are devoting a great deal of time and effort researching and collaborating to develop a distance learning plan that will allow our students to continue to learn and grow with meaningful intention. Though virtual learning will be ongoing for all of us, we set out on this new adventure with a healthy degree of confidence and a heightened level of excitement about the variety of experiences it will offer! Our communication and sharing of more detailed information will be ongoing. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of what to expect. 

Catch a glimpse of distance learning in Lower School!

  • A grade-specific learning timeframe (an adapted Monday through Friday “schedule”) has been developed to offer a sense of routine along with the flexibility to accommodate the variables present in the current lives of our students, families, and faculty. Classroom Teachers will share their respective “schedules” with their classroom families directly.
  • Virtuoso subjects will be incorporated into each grade’s learning timeframe.
  • Classroom Teachers and Virtuosos will create a routine agenda and lesson plan. Lessons will be presented in a variety of formats, both off-line and some live, with resources to balance screen time with hands-on ways to engage in related-content and skills.
  • ACE students will resume their work with Amy Laurent. Families will be hearing from Director of ACE, Holly Cotta, and Amy directly regarding scheduling.
  • For the time being, faculty will have students utilize supplies and materials gathered from home along with online resources. Faculty will communicate a plan with families directly if additional supplies or materials are needed.
  • Families and students are able to stop by campus this morning during the designated Lower School time of 9:00-11:00 a.m. (or with siblings during their designated division times) to gather any personal school belongings. A health and hygiene protocol will be strictly enforced while on campus today.
  • SeeSaw will be the primary posting location and communication tool for Classroom Teachers and Virtuosos, though other formats may also be added.
  • Classroom Teachers and Virtuosos will offer routine accessibility to students and families to facilitate lessons and projects, to check-in, answer questions, and most importantly, stay connected.
  • My routine communication will continue, including my Lower School Weekly News emailed to families by Sunday evening for the start of each week. I am also available to families for any reason via email (ppontarelli@rockyhill.org) and cell phone (401-374-7452).

Let’s get together to say “hello” and test our distance learning tool!

  • On Thursday and Friday of this week, Classroom Teachers, along with Virtuosos, invite students to join them on Google Meet, the platform we will be using for face-to-face gatherings. This will be a great way for students to connect with their teachers and classmates prior to the start of our distance learning on Monday, March 30! It will also allow us to determine any connectivity needs.
  • Please take a few minutes to view the tutorial How to access and use Google Meet for Students and Families created by Wendy Gustavel.
  • Below is the Google Meet schedule for each grade. We look forward to “seeing” and chatting with our students!

Thursday, March 25

Friday, March 26

9:00 a.m.   4th Grade

10:00 a.m. Preschool Group 1

9:30 a.m.   3rd Grade

10:30 a.m. Preschool Group 2

10:00 a.m. 2nd Grade 

11:00 a.m. Preschool Group 3     

10:30 a.m.  1st grade

12:00 p.m.  Kindergarten

12:00 p.m.  5th grade

Though our learning environment will look different in the short term, we are committed to continuing to foster the long term social-emotional well-being of each of our Lower School children and our Nursery-5 community. There is no better time than now to come together as a caring, supportive, and mindful community to meet each other where we are, and instill a sense of calm and inspiration. I am grateful for your patience, understanding, trust, and partnership in the days ahead.  Our eight student competencies will certainly come to life as we begin as navigators on this journey together with our students.

I send each of my Lower School friends their choice of a virtual hug, high five or fist bump! I look forward to remaining in touch and seeing you all soon.  Be well!

Warmly, 
Patty

Patricia Pontarelli
Head of Lower School

 

Head of School Letter to Community - March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020

Dear Alumni, Parents of Alumni, Former Faculty, Former Trustees, Grandparents, and Friends,

During this time of unrest, disruption, and uncertainty, I am reminded of what it means to be a part of this wonderful community: we celebrate our joys together, we share our sorrows with one another, and we walk together in this period of hardship and anxiety. More than the obvious service-related components of RHCD, it is the emotional elements which are the benefits of being a small, more intimate community. We are strong, resilient, and kind. From our youngest preschoolers to alumni from the 1940s through 2019, we care about the well-being of each of you. So first, I want to wish you good health and good spirits.

Second, I want to share a bit of what is happening here at RHCD. As of March 13th, we have moved to teleworking for our employees and will launch distance learning on March 30th when students return from Spring Break. Our whole team is dedicated to bringing the best education possible to our 300 students who now find themselves in uncharted territory. While it might be easy to succumb to negativity and despair, I am already seeing the enthusiasm and creativity of our community shine through. Our Third Grade held a virtual playdate this weekend, hosting an at-home scavenger hunt that had students running around their homes, giggling as they secured their items. Our first virtual town hall for employees was held on Friday and it was great to see everyone’s smiling faces. We will hold town halls daily to keep our community connected. And within the greater educational network, teachers, heads of school, counselors, mindfulness experts, physicians, and coaches alike are sharing resources, ideas, and words of encouragement. I am reminded on a daily basis that the human spirit is strong, especially in times of crisis.

At the same time, we understand the gravity of the situation at hand. As of today, we have no known cases among our families or employees. Rhode Island has 106 cases as of Monday and Governor Raimondo continues to put social distancing measures into place, calling for sacrifice from small businesses, workers, and the entire state. Our young alumni have been sent home from colleges, some missing their final semesters and commencement ceremonies. Our grandparents, older alumni, and parents of alumni remain at highest risk and we know there will be more difficult times ahead. We are hard at work addressing the daily issues before us and preparing for future disruption.

Our hope is to be a resource for all of our friends and family when we can. We are leveraging our social media channels to share suggestions and ideas for managing aspects of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, we hope you will share your news at social@rockyhill.org, post a fun photo or video, or let us know how we might be able to help you if we can. In addition, we have a COVID-19 Resource page on our website where you can check for updates and the latest recommendations.

As we navigate these uncharted waters, we are relying on the framework of our athletics program, The Mariner Way, a philosophy centered on Resiliency, Effort, and Pride. It is a mindset that applies to all of our community members. We are stronger together and I encourage us all to look out for one another. Do you have a favorite teacher from your years at RHCD you could message? Are there classmates to whom you can send a virtual hug? I’ve had several virtual social gatherings this week which have greatly bolstered my spirits – give it a try!

I welcome your questions and ideas as we continue to find ways to serve as a community resource, and hope you will think about your RHCD friends and family as a network that will always be here for you.

Be well,

Diane Rich
Head of School

Head of School Update - March 17, 2020

Dear Parents and Students,

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, I have been paying attention to the guidance from the CDC and Rhode Island Department of Health. Given the changing circumstances, I have decided that Rocky Hill Country Day will extend spring break through March 27th. This time will be used by faculty to prepare materials for virtual learning as we anticipate we may need to move to this model for a period of time. As of now, we will begin distance learning for the week of March 30th. We will update you in regard to software and piloting plans next week. Please have your student(s) prepared for a potential trial run on March 26 or 27. If you have concerns about tech resources from home, please complete this TECH SURVEY so we can accommodate your student.

With regard to athletics, we are monitoring the situation carefully with NEPSAC and RIIL, and news will be forthcoming as the situation becomes more clear. We know waiting for information is hard for all of our Super Fans, but we will tackle this The Mariner Way.

We will continue to update you with more information and plans in the coming days. If you have not completed the TRAVEL SURVEY please do so.

Finally, while I know we all crave certainty, what I promise to offer is clarity and what I ask from all of us is patience during this time of uncertainty. So, here’s what you can expect: given the fluidity of this situation, we will be making decisions 1-2 weeks in advance unless otherwise directed by the Governor, the CDC, or the President. You can also expect that, even if there’s nothing new to report, I will write to you at least once a week just so that we can stay connected.

In good health,
Diane

Head of School Update - March 13, 2020

Dear Members of the RHCD Community,

Since my last email, there have been many new COVID-19 (coronavirus) developments around the world and here at home. As we continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation with coronavirus, I want to share with you some updates and possible changes for Rocky Hill Country Day.

Our approach is to thoughtfully prepare and follow guidelines from the RI Department of Health (DOH), RI Department of Education, and Center for Disease Control (CDC), knowing that the situation continues to evolve.

At this time, we are considering and suggest parents make contingency plans for the following possibilities:

  • Extending spring break
    Conducting virtual learning for a period of time

If it becomes necessary to move to short-term online classes, we want to ensure all students have the ability to participate. Faculty will have support and assistance to conduct online classes and began preparation for this before our departure for break. To ensure student success, we ask families to complete this TECH ASSESSMENT so that we can support students if the need arises.

We are asking all families to complete this TRAVEL SURVEY so that we are aware of any travel that may have occurred over spring break. As announced by Governor Raimondo, any community member that traveled outside of the continental US must self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, if you have traveled domestically, consider a 14-day isolation period.

Spring sports practices will be suspended next week. Megan Williams is in close contact with the RIIL, SENE, and NEPSAC leadership on this issue. Our leagues continue to evaluate the spring season and may make adjustments. As information becomes available, we will share it with you. The DOH has shared these guidelines for athletes: GUIDELINES

In response to the Governor’s request for people to remain at home, we are closing campus for non-essential employees from March 16 – 20. Following guidance from the CDC, we will clean and disinfect all of our facilities over the break. Our primary concern is the health, welfare, and safety of our community.

Please be sure to follow good hygiene recommendations such as washing your hands frequently, maintaining a social distance, and contacting your healthcare provider if you have health concerns. PARENT AND CAREGIVER GUIDE

RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website
RI Department of Health
The Rhode Island Department of Health has launched a 24-hour hotline for anyone with questions about the coronavirus, (401) 222-8022. Residents can also call 211 after 4:30 p.m. for assistance.

As a school community, we share deep concerns and care for all of our community members. We will continue to update families as soon as decisions are made and if plans change. I send you all my wishes for a safe and restful remainder of the break and will be in touch with you soon.

Sincerely,

Diane Rich
Head of School

Head of Middle School - eLearning Preparation - March 6, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

Like you, we are paying close attention to the news and listening to official sources, so we know how best to prepare for the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. As Head of School Diane Rich said in her email four days ago, we value preparedness in place of panic. The faculty have begun conversations with students about the possibility of “eLearning,” and faculty and staff are working together to establish protocols and tools to support remote, digital classwork should it become necessary.  Our work this week in our LEEP groups gave the Middle School practice in several tools that might be quite useful for distance learning, should it become necessary.

We are asking all students to take their books and other materials home with them over Spring Break. While at this time there is not a reason to expect classes not to meet as planned on Monday 3/23, it is impossible to predict what the situation will be in two weeks.

In the event eLearning becomes necessary, we will email more information. For now, I want to share these expectations for eLearning days:

  • RHCD Middle School students will be expected to participate in learning activities and assignments, as they are able. Unlike a typical Snow Day, these are days “on,” not off.
  • Students are expected to be online and to read and respond to email each weekday.
  • Any synchronous activities (live sessions) will follow the Daily Schedule, for example on an “A Day” students in an A Block class may have a live class session between 8:30 and 9:30.

As a reminder to Mrs. Rich’s email, we request that students and families avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory, and to inform us if travel takes you to a Level 2 or 3 country, or if you have contact with someone who has traveled there recently. If you find the Advisory Level of a country to which you have traveled has changed upon your return, please self-quarantine.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we work to be prepared for the unknown.

Have a wonderful Spring Break.

Mike Jedrey
Head of Middle School

Head of Upper School - eLearning Preparation - March 5, 2020

Dear Students and Families,

Like you, we are paying close attention to the news and listening to official sources, so we know how best to prepare for the novel coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease it causes. As Head of School Diane Rich said in her email four days ago, we value preparedness in place of panic. Upper School teachers have begun conversations with students about the possibility of “eLearning,” and faculty and staff are working together to establish protocols and tools to support remote, digital classwork should it become necessary. 

We are asking all students to take their books and other materials home with them over Spring Break. While at this time there is not a reason to expect classes not to meet as planned on Monday 3/23, it is impossible to predict what the situation will be in two weeks.

In the event eLearning becomes necessary, we will email more information. For now, I want to share these expectations for eLearning days:

  • RHCD Upper School students will be expected to participate in learning activities and assignments, as they are able. Unlike a typical Snow Day, these are days “on,” not off.
  • Students are expected to be online and to read and respond to email each weekday.
  • Any synchronous activities (live sessions) will follow the Daily Schedule, for example on an “A Day” students in an A Block class may have a live class session between 8:30 and 9:30.
  • Students who do not have access to broadband internet, should let their adviser know ASAP.

As a reminder to Mrs. Rich’s email, we request that students and families avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory, and to inform us if travel takes you to a Level 2 or 3 country, or if you have contact with someone who has traveled there recently. If you find the Advisory Level of a country to which you have traveled has changed upon your return, please self-quarantine.

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we work to be prepared for the unknown.

Warmest regards,

Mike Gwaltney
Head of Upper School

Head of School Update - March 1, 2020

Dear Community,

With the recent news reports about the spreading of the COVID-19 virus in the United States, and the first presumptive positive case in Rhode Island occurring this weekend, I want to share some information with you, and also note that I support Senator Jack Reed’s recent reminder that “public health experts recommend preparedness over panic when it comes to the coronavirus.”

We are not aware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases in our school community, though we will continue to monitor this ever changing situation. As we have to date, we are following the guidance of the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as collaborating with other New England schools as we all work to manage this situation.

The proactive measures we are taking:

  • Asked our international students to remain in the United States during Spring Break
  • Scheduling a disinfectant cleaning of the school over Spring Break
  • Supporting our faculty so they can use virtual learning tools, if necessary
  • Asking families to avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory
  • Asking families to inform RHCD if they or a family member travel to any Level 2 or 3 countries over Spring Break (via a Veracross form) or have contact with someone who has traveled there recently.
  • Asking families to self-quarantine upon return if you find the
  • Advisory Level changed once you arrived in that country
  • Asking families to prepare to be away from school/work if restrictions are put in place once you’ve left the United States and have difficulty returning as expected
  • Reviewing our policies and procedures

As recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cautionary steps you can take:

  • get a flu vaccine
  • regularly wash your hands
  • take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, such as avoid touching eyes and mouth if possible
  • follow good respiratory hygiene, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • keep a safe distance from others if you are not feeling well
  • stockpile three days’ worth of food and water as you would for any potential disaster
  • seek medical care if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms
  • avoid travel to any country to which the CDC has applied a Level 3 Travel Advisory
  • self-quarantine upon return if you find the Advisory Level changed once you arrived in that country
  • prepare to be away from school/work if restrictions are put in place once you’ve left the United States and have difficulty returning as expected

More information can be found HERE.

As the spread of the COVID-19 virus becomes more global, we urge everyone in the RHCD community to remain supportive and empathetic of those whose families and loved ones may potentially be affected. Though there is no reason to suspect any member of our community has the virus, several students have reported overhearing insensitive comments related to the issue. Allow me the opportunity to remind everyone that we are a small and supportive community, and we encourage everyone on campus to treat one another with kindness, respect, and dignity, reflecting the spirit of our community.

As always, you and your family’s health and well-being continue to be our top priority, and we sincerely thank you for your understanding and your support. As this situation evolves, even over Spring Break, we will continue to keep you informed.

Sincerely,
Diane

Important Information for RI Residents – Office of the Governor and RI Department of Health
Health and Safety Resources

Look here for recommendations for keeping yourself and your family members safe and minimizing the community spread of the virus.

Travel Updates

The restrictions related to travel are changing frequently. Please check these resources before considering travel or when returning from travel.

  • DHS:  Travel Restrictions
  • CDC:  Travel Recommendations and Restrictions
  • CDC:  Travel Notices
  • CDC:  Self-Quarantine Guidelines (RI residents returning from ANY travel outside the US are required to self-quarantine for 14 days)
    Note:  In your household, only the traveler is subject to quarantine but it’s a good idea for everyone to monitor their own symptoms as outlined in the self-quarantine guidelines. The traveler should stay home; not go to work, school, or public areas; not use public transportation; and separate themselves from other people in the home. As much as possible, they should stay in a different room from other people in the home and use a separate bathroom, if available.
Resources for Children and Families

As families are spending more time at home and limiting social activities during spring break, here are some resources for at-home activities as well as talking to your children about the virus.

Talking with Your Children/Teens

Keeping Intellectually Active at Home

NEW

  • Highlander Institute:  Considerations for Distance Learning 
  • Z-Library:  Resource free books online
  • Mindful.org:  Zoom Exhaustion is Real. Here are Six ways to Find Balance and Stay Connected
  • Quaran-teen: A Weekly Webcast Serial: “Aiden Tyler is your typical middle school student. Rides the bus. Likes comic books. Tolerates his sister. But, his life is about to be turned upside down by the Coronavirus. Yes, you heard that correctly. Aiden Tyler, Quaran-teen is a new and original middle-grade serial written and read in real time by author Rex Ogle (Free Lunch). That means as YOU experience things, Aiden will be experiencing them too. Join us every Tuesday, as Rex shares Aiden’s story that’s full of laughs, facts, hearts, and farts. Scroll down for links to upcoming and previous episodes!
    Target audience is grades 4-8 but all are welcome!”
  • Yoga Storytime Videos for Kids: “Yoga storytime is here – integrating movement and literacy…you’ll find read-along videos of …popular yoga books for kids, so you can create a storytime for everyone to enjoy from the comfort of your home…”

Keeping Physically Active at Home