Return to Campus Plans and Protocols

Last updated: July 9, 2020

Heathwood Hall looks forward to welcoming students and faculty back to campus for the 2020-2021 school year. Our leadership team has partnered with faculty and staff in all divisions to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for a learning experience that is optimized for both safety and productivity.

Our plans for a return to campus are informed by best practices for health and safety as per the CDC, SC DHEC, and local health care professionals, and by best practices for educating students at each grade level. The safety and wellbeing of Heathwood students and employees will remain our top priority whatever the next year may bring.

Division-specific updates will come from division heads on July 23/24, and Head of School Chris Hinchey will send an additional all-school update the week of July 27-31.

Below is an overview of our guidelines and protocols, along with links to communications with more detailed information. 


Health and Safety Protocols 

--Health and safety education and training will be provided for all faculty, staff, students, and parents before the first day of school and continue as needed.

--Heathwood has added an additional registered nurse for the academic year. The Health Office has been moved to a more central location near the Lower School Office and the outside classroom, which will provide ample space to triage students.

--Physical distancing will be encouraged at all times, whether inside or outside. Desks are being spaced out in the LS, MS, and US by at least 3 feet, and in most cases by 6 feet.

--Masks will be required for all adults and kindergarten through 12th grade students while indoors, as well as outdoors when physical distancing cannot be observed. 

--Schedules will include frequent hand washing breaks, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the campus.

--Temperatures of all Early Childhood students will be taken by one of the school nurses daily. All other students and employees should take their own temperature at home each day and follow the protocol below if they have a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

--Policies will be enforced to keep students and employees at home who are symptomatic with any illness or who have possibly been exposed to COVID-19. Click here to view this flowchart.


On-Campus Protocols and Adjustments 

--Prominent signage will be placed throughout the campus to encourage physical distancing and improve traffic patterns and flow.

--School will begin at 8:10 a.m.. Dismissal is at 3:05 p.m.. 

--Carpool for the EC, LS, and MS will operate under controlled and staggered ingress and egress. 

--Large group gatherings such as MS Town Hall, US School Morning Meeting, and Chapel will be significantly altered to reduce attendance, include remote participants, and change traditional locations. 

--The School will continue to explore ways to host events in person when possible and remotely when prudent (i.e. Back-to-School night, orientations, etc.).

--The Middle and Upper Schools have aligned schedules to maximize teaching time, allow for multiple sections that honor smaller class sizes, and best utilize teachers. This new schedule is a seven-day rotation with a rotating schedule. 


Cleaning and Sanitization

--The custodial staff, and the amount of time they spend cleaning, will be increased, and there will be more coverage than we usually provide during the school day. 

--During the day, the custodial staff will rotate through the buildings to address high-touch areas – sink, door, and water fountain handles, handrails, light switches, countertops and other surfaces, etc. 

--Each evening a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of every classroom, restroom, and gathering space on campus will occur, following CDC guidelines and using EPA- registered products for disinfection. 

--There will be disinfecting wipes or solutions in each classroom for teacher and student use during the school day.  

--The Dining Commons, gyms, locker rooms, weight room, and all restrooms will receive heightened attention during the day as well as evening cleanings if the spaces are deemed safe for student use.  


Connected Learning 

--If a student is required to stay home due to illness or potential exposure to COVID-19, but is well enough to learn, teachers will work with students individually to provide a more tailored connected learning experience through a combination of recorded lessons, posted course content, strategic us of our learning management systems, and student-school communication.

--Connected Learning will allow students to access instruction, course content, and homework until they are able to return to campus. Division Handbooks will outline the specifics for Connected Learning to meet the developmental learning needs of students. 

--If a teacher is absent due to potential exposure to COVID-19, but is well enough to teach, that teacher may teach the class remotely to students on campus who will be supervised by a substitute.


Campus Closure and Remote Learning 

--In the case of a government-mandated stay-at-home order or in the event of an outbreak on campus, Heathwood Hall may close its campus temporarily and move to Remote Learning.

--We have revised many aspects of our Remote Learning program at the division level, based on teacher reflections and parent and student feedback. Many of these adjustments are specific to each division - where the challenges are different - and details surrounding these adjustments will be shared by Division Heads in the near future.

--You can learn more about Remote Learning at Heathwood from the perspective of students or parents by following those links. Additionally, you can read about our recent professional development and updates to Remote Learning in this blog post.

Emotional Wellness and Support 

--To honor Heathwood’s founding tenet of weekly chapel, we will live stream our chapel service to all divisions since we are not able to gather by division in The Chapel of the Epiphany.

--The Counseling team and the Division Heads will conduct brief, developmentally appropriate individual check-ins with every student using targeted questions to create connections and a needs assessment for each family.

--The Counseling Team will work in tandem with Division Heads and teachers to educate students on our new policies, protocols, and adjustments (i.e., physical distancing, wearing face masks, new recess routines, and lunch plans). 

--The counselors will provide a consistent counselor presence in classrooms for the first few weeks of school.

--Counselors will review for faculty the signs and symptoms of students experiencing grief, loss, trauma, and anxiety.

--Counselors will provide ongoing instruction for students on how to cope with stress and anxiety through programs like Advisory and our mindfulness programs, and by working with our chaplain. 

--As the pandemic continues to evolve, the counselors will adjust the topics and focal points as the needs of our community progress and change. 

--Our Chaplain Jill Williams is available for support for families.