When the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of Heathwood’s campus on March 16, faculty and students at all grade levels transitioned into remote learning protocols that featured both synchronous (live and interactive) and asynchronous experiences. While the exact nature of those experiences varies considerably from one grade level to another, students are continuing to cover much of the same material they would have learned in their traditional classrooms, largely thanks to exceptional work on the part of Heathwood’s tech team and a can-do spirit on the part of faculty and students.
Preparations for remote learning began weeks before the coronavirus hit South Carolina, as it became evident that schools in other nations were having to close in response to the virus and Heathwood might have to do the same. Division heads met with faculty to map out exactly what remote learning might look like, the tech team held training sessions on Google Meet and other options that facilitate virtual classrooms, and each division surveyed families to learn more about their expectations, challenges, and capabilities in a remote learning situation.
By the time Heathwood’s Leadership Team determined, on March 15, that it was no longer feasible to keep the campus open for the foreseeable future, detailed plans were thus in place for remote learning experiences in each division. Students in younger grades, for example, were given assignments to complete at home that were very similar to what they’d be doing at school, while older students continued to attend classes virtually, on a set schedule.
Initially scheduled for March 16-April 3, remote learning has now been extended to May 1 in response to SC Governor Henry McMaster's order that all public schools in teh state remain closed until April 30.
While the campus closure was done with a heavy heart, Head of School Chris Hinchey notes that the way students, teachers, and families have risen to the challenge says great things about the Heathwood community:
“Developing our Remote Learning program was a herculean effort, and our faculty and division administrators deserve our gratitude and appreciation. Transitioning from our traditional face-to-face learning program into a remote learning program is challenging, but to do it in one week - under the pressure of a growing pandemic while delivering a full day of classes and extra-curriculars – is monumental. Additionally, our families have been so supportive and flexible and once again the Heathwood community has risen to the challenge.
“Based on the strong and trusting relationships with our students and parents and the professionalism of our educators,” Mr. Hinchey added, “we are getting great feedback and making substantive and positive changes.”
To learn more about Heathwood’s remote learning experience, visit the Covid-19 page on our website, where there are links to letters from each division head that provide extensive details on the process for that division.