School year to be the same, but creatively different

Gracie Agnew, Head of Carlisle School, said school operations will be “the same but creatively different.”

By Brandon Martin

Carlisle School will be offering in-person instruction five days a week when students return to classes Aug. 24.

Head of School Gracie Agnew and other school representatives gave further details in the school’s weekly online series, “Heads Up.”

As Agnew describes it, the school will be operating “the same but creatively different.”

If the weather permits, the school will begin using more outdoor learning spaces such as the gazebo, amphitheater and quad area, according to Agnew. She said that there has been space opened up in the Middle School where the dining hall and media center will be used as learning spaces.

Lower School Director Neal Meyer said they are in the process of rearranging classrooms to allow for more social distancing. She said that spaces will be available for both small and full group instruction.

Some other changes that she listed were new playground equipment, new big wheelers for pre-school aged youngster, iPads for each child K-5, and face shields and gloves for science labs. Meyer added that all school supplies will be offered by Carlisle and more changes will be announced in the future.

Agnew also said that Lower School students would not be required to have daily homework assignments.

Beth Gammons, the director of the Middle and Upper schools, said that each classroom will be outfitted with a 65” television which will allow for students to interact from their desks.

Agnew said that School Nurse Michelle George has also been taking a class on contact tracing through Johns Hopkins University.

“She will make sure that all health protocols are followed,” Agnew said.

Lunches will be delivered to the classrooms instead of being served in the dining hall. If weather permits, Agnew said that teachers will also have the ability to allow students to eat in designated areas outside. Lunches will be prepackaged from vendors used in the past, according to Agnew. Some examples provided in the video are Checkered Pig and Subway. Students may also opt to pack their own lunches. Monthly menus will be available so that orders can be placed in advance.

The school will not be having their opening ceremony this year. In addition, the weekly Flag Ceremony and back-to-school family picnic will also not be happening this year but Agnew said that they will continue to provide mission-critical aspects of the school.

Representative Dress is not required for Lower School students during the first term, as Carlisle will not be having the flag ceremonies and field trips will be limited to virtual visits. Middle and Upper School students may need representative dress wear for competitions and athletics, Agnew said.

She added that buses will run this year but only at a limited capacity. She said specifics on bus changes will be released once the school has a final figure on enrollment for the upcoming year. This will indicate how many students require the bus service, she added.

Carlisle will also provide a virtual option for families as well. Platforms such as Google Classroom, Zoom and Swivl will be used in such cases. Those interested in distance learning should contact their division director for more information.

Melinda Brightwell, director of Athletic Programs, said that open-gym workouts for female students grades 6-12 are both currently being held for the volleyball and basketball teams. Brightwell said that volleyball meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, while basketball meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“We are committed to doing what we can to bring order to a very chaotic and upsetting situation–keeping safety as our top priority,” Agnew said. “We are looking forward to having our students back on campus.”




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