The last time I wrote to you all was at the end of a quite unique spring semester. Today I am reaching out in preparation for what I suspect will be an equally unique fall semester. You will have seen from
that we have spent a great deal of time preparing for the 2020-21 academic year. That planning will continue and evolve in the coming weeks. Under existing Commonwealth of Virginia guidelines, it is our intention to welcome all our students back on campus on August 31. We can’t wait to see them; it’s been too long. Clearly, normal school life is going to look and feel different for a while, as we seek to create a campus that provides heightened levels of safety and hygiene for all our children and adults, yet still allows for rich and varied teaching and learning to take place. In pursuit of that, I would like to highlight some changes that are specific to the Upper School.
The above are some examples of the measures we are putting in place to mitigate the risks associated with the current pandemic. As ever, we closely follow guidance released by local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as the growing body of research and evidence that is being produced across the globe, and our plans could change accordingly. Needless to say, we are also working on further developing our plans for remote continuous learning as well as various hybrid learning models, should those become necessary.
The below details some back-to-school information that should be useful to you as you prepare for the upcoming year.
MySchoolApp is now open for you to access your child’s 2020-21 class schedule for the first marking period. The system is new, so we have created a handy reference guide
to assist you. If you are having issues logging on to MySchoolApp, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
You will note that most classrooms are not listed on the schedules yet. This will be completed in late August when we have a clearer idea of how many students are in each section. It is highly likely that in the coming weeks students will need to be moved between sections in multi-sectioned classes for balancing purposes. However, the course numbers for textbook ordering will remain the same.
If you have any questions about your child’s schedule, those with a last name starting A-K should email Upper School Curriculum Dean Melissa Freed
and those with last name starting L-Z should email Upper School Academic Dean Elizabeth Simpson
. Please note that both Ms. Freed and Ms. Simpson will be returning to work on Monday, August 10, so schedule-related queries will not be answered until then. Please note that if a class is full then changing schedules would be reliant on another student withdrawing from that class. On the schedules for juniors and seniors, the blank blocks denote open periods when students are expected to study on their own. Freshman and sophomores with blank periods will be allocated to a study hall.
Information for ordering textbooks can be found under the 2020-21 School Year Information page
on our website, or by visiting MBS Direct online
. We will continue to use MBS Direct Bookstore for textbook ordering; MBS will be offering free shipping on orders of $99 or above from July 27 through August 2. We will also continue to use both NetClassroom and Google Classroom to house course syllabi. For reference when ordering, please use this list of Upper School course codes
I am thrilled to welcome two new faculty members to the Upper School this coming year: Lisa Hand (Spanish) and Scottie O’Neill (math). Information about Sra. Hand and Ms. O’Neill was included in our communication earlier this week.
Student Orientation and Reorientation Sessions
Given that the campus has not been fully open since early March, as well as the number of changes to how the Upper School will operate starting in August, we are putting on a reorientation session for returning Upper School students. This is in addition to the normal orientation sessions for students who are new to the Upper School. Students are strongly encouraged to attend, as it will provide them with an opportunity to see and feel how the Upper School will run before they return to school on August 31. These sessions are for students only. Families will be asked to drop-off and pick up without leaving their car, providing us all with an opportunity to practice carpool procedures. Each session will start in the Robins Theatre, and all students will be required to submit a health screen (details to come) and wear a face mask.
- Freshman and new-to-Steward students: Wednesday August 19, 9-11 a.m.
- Returning sophomores: Thursday August 27, 9-11 a.m.
- Returning juniors: Thursday August 27, 12-2 p.m.
- Returning seniors: Friday August 28, 9-11 a.m.
Family Orientation and Reorientation Sessions
I am conscious that families will be entering this academic year with anxiety and concern. The Upper School leadership team will be hosting two orientation/reorientation sessions for Upper School families on Zoom.
- Families of freshmen and new-to-steward: Wednesday August 19 at 1 p.m.
- Returning Upper School families: During the week of August 24th - more details to come.
Student Parking, Earlier Dismissal, and Late Arrival
Parking on campus remains the same for 2020-21; Juniors and seniors should park in the Upper School parking lot, and sophomores should park in the Lower School parking lot. Students who plan to park on campus will need a parking permit; Mr. Mundy, Upper School Dean of Students, will be reaching out to students in late August with more details.
Until further notice, juniors and seniors will have the option to arrive at school by 9:30 a.m. or leave school after 2 p.m. if they do not have class at those times. Mr. Mundy will be reaching out to parents in mid-August with a consent form for the families who will allow their students to take up that option.
Student and Family Handbook
The 2020-21 Family and Student Handbook will be available on our new website shortly. Please take the time to review the handbook and to discuss as a family. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions. We will be requiring families to sign an acknowledgement of receipt before school starts.
Details of summer work can be found on the 2020-21 School Year Information
page. All English and math classes, and some AP classes, have work assigned. Most summer work is due for completion by the first day of school, but please review individual assignments for specifics.
Math Power Hour
As your child makes his or her way through math summer work, don't forget that we're offering Math Power Hours every Wednesday at 10 a.m. These are open sessions when one of our math teachers is available to help with questions on summer work. Your student will need to register each week to receive the proper Zoom link - the sessions are open to students entering all levels of Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Statistics, except for AP. Register here
I am looking forward to a great year for all of the Upper School students. Enjoy the rest of your summer! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.