OCS 20/21 School Year Planning Updates

We wanted to clarify details surrounding our upcoming in-person outdoor activities that will take place at our new location, starting this week.

On February 10, 2021, a survey was sent out via the OCS All School distribution list. We asked that you complete the survey by February 16th. The survey was to gauge the needs and interest of an in-person outdoor only social opportunity for the children of OCS. In the survey we asked if this was offered, would you be interested and if so, we wanted to know if your family or child were struggling with remote learning. The OCS Board and Admin team wanted to come up with a way to support our families that were struggling, without taking away from teacher-led zoom times, enrichment, and other teacher support times that Maddie and Willow assist with.
The Jan 2021 survey results  stated that 18% of families are finding remote learning very difficult. Recognizing this critical need, the OCS administration has made it a priority to find a way to assist these families.

Based on the survey results, the Board and Admin team concluded that offering in-person outdoor activities for three afternoons a week, three hours each day, would best meet the needs of those that completed the survey.

We will continue to do our best to accommodate everyone who is interested. If you missed the survey and are interested in participating, please let us know right away.

The current plan and detailed information of the in-person outdoor activities was shared only with those that indicated an interest in it through completing the survey. In addition, an informational meeting via Zoom was conducted by Willow and Maddie, which all interested families were invited to, to go over expectations, safety and health protocol, etc.

Our two dedicated staff members, Maddie and Willow, have been working really hard to meet the diverse needs of OCS families. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this process.

We will keep assessing things as we go, as this is a pilot project!

If you have already signed up and have attended the informational meeting with Maddie and Willow, you are welcome to email them with follow up questions. Be mindful that Maddie and Willow do not have cell phones provided by OCS, only their personal cell phones, so emailing them via their OCS dedicated email is appreciated: willow@olyedu.org and maddie@olyedu.org.

If you have concerns about the schedule, the hours, the decisions made for this pilot please send an email to staffcoordinator@olyedu.org.

We appreciate all of your patience as we continue to navigate through this.

Will OCS be providing in-person school in February 2021?

No. The administration has decided to delay opening immediately but is developing a phased-in approach to in-person school. There are various reasons for this decision, some are COVID related but some are non-COVID related. Some of the reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • The new facility is still about a month away from receiving its certificate of occupancy. Students cannot yet be in the building until the facility is certified.

  • Based on the survey results, more than 80% of families were doing OK or better with remote learning. Additionally, 48% said they would not, or are unsure if they would, come back in-person right now. Of those families, almost all of them (92%) wanted teachers and staff to be vaccinated before returning to in-person learning.

The Jan 2021 survey results also stated that 18% of families are finding remote learning very difficult. Recognizing this critical need, the OCS administration has made it a priority to find a way to assist these families. This could potentially include a limited, in-person option that conforms with our current facility limitations (e.g. occupancy certificate).

Why is OCS not opening up for in-person like other private schools?

OCS recognizes the value and importance of in-person learning, both from an academic perspective as well as social-emotional. Unfortunately, OCS has some unique challenges and constraints that limit its ability to provide in-person learning. Some of the reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • With only three full-time teachers, there is not enough capacity to provide simultaneous remote and in-person options without sacrificing the quality of both. Each teacher can only provide one model at a time, whether that is in-person, fully remote, or hybrid.

  • OCS is dependent on tuition to pay for operational costs. Hiring additional teachers to provide in-person learning is a significant cost that must be considered. That is not to say that the OCS administration is not continuing to assess options that may require an additional investment, but the financial impact to the school and parents is also a factor.

  • OCS has heard from its community that there is a significant number of families who are not ready or willing to return to in-person learning at this time. Without a clear consensus on an in-person, hybrid or remote model, the OCS administration has focused its immediate attention on addressing the needs and challenges of the families who are finding remote learning to be very difficult, while continuing to plan for additional in-person activities through the spring and summer.

Will OCS be in person in the fall?

Yes! Well before September 2021 it is anticipated that all teachers and staff will have been offered a COVID vaccine. The OCS facility will be complete and one hundred percent ready to go!

Will OCS provide tuition relief this year since other schools are now providing in-person learning?

No. Unfortunately, the private school business model relies on tuition revenue to maintain its operations. Moreover, the primary cost to a school is teacher and staff salaries. As we have seen from this pandemic, teachers and staff are as dedicated and hard working as ever. They are the backbone of the amazing remote curriculum we have received this year. While it hasn’t been perfect, in most cases it has been significantly superior to the public remote learning experiences.