First Presbyterian Day School began 55 years ago with the mission to provide a Bible-based education that would help young people develop a God-centered worldview. We do not serve a God who is surprised or shaken by the events of the past few months (or at any time in history). If we had stood at Calvary on the day our Lord gave His life on the cross, we would have seen it as a horrible day, as the most horrible day in history. Yet, three days later, we see it through the empty tomb and we rejoice in the beauty of God’s plan to save sinners. I believe in my heart that God will use these days to strengthen us, as families, as teachers, as followers of Jesus Christ, that we would come out on the other side of this moment stronger and better.
During the past few weeks, I have been meeting regularly with a reentry team comprised of teachers, parents, and board members to discuss our return to campus in August. Using information from our local independent schools, along with comparable independent schools across the Southeast, this team has contemplated an appropriate course of action for our return to learning on campus.
This page was created by our reentry team in adherence to the guidelines established by the CDC, the MSDH, and many others with the primary purpose of providing a healthy and safe environment for our students, faculty and staff, and families.
We will continue to work diligently to create plans to provide safe and effective learning environments under all conditions that are also responsive to the care of our FPDS family.
This page is intended to give our families a glimpse into the planning and factors we are considering for each of our learning scenarios. Please note that this information and our needs as a school may change at any time due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19. See you soon!
Brian T. Smith
Head of School
Having Our Young People on Campus
with our gifted faculty is the most beneficial plan for all of us. Our students need the structure, instruction, support, and love that our teachers and staff provide at FPDS. For the intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of our students, we want to do everything possible to stay on campus.
Continuous improvement is essential to advancement and education. Prior to the pandemic, there were some elements of our typical day that were in consideration of change. Streamlining drop-off and pick-up procedures, improving water quality, and relocating P.E. due to the possibility of our gym being reconstructed, are a few of the examples being considered. In light of the pandemic, we recognize that any changes as well as our normal routines must operate with heightened attention to the prevention of communicable illness and safety.
NEW LEARNING SCENARIOS
The current pandemic calls for the 2020-2021 school year not only to adjust to a new environment for implementing our mission statement but also to flex between several learning scenarios. All of our plans are based on the academic experience being 5-days/week during traditional hours, but with the understanding that we may need to adjust our learning times to best accommodate our students and our families.
EASE OF TRANSITIONING
We understand our teachers and students must be prepared for all learning scenarios. In addition to our teachers receiving additional training on how to deliver best deliver virtual learning, all students who might experience off-campus learning will be trained how to work with the technology platforms and educational methods our teachers will consistently provide to students remotely.
Our reentry team has created four possible learning scenarios for the 2020-2021 academic year. Currently, our plan of returning to campus on August 10th calls for our Green Plan of operation, but we suspect that the learning scenarios may change throughout the semester due to the level of transmission or impact of COVID-19 (or the flu for that matter) in our community or, specifically, within our student population
Following the recommendations of our reentry team and trends from past pandemics, FPDS is preparing for waves of interruption to on-campus learning. In the event our local community experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases and interruption of physical operations occurs, a shift in our virtual learning plan will happen immediately.
Categories (within each learning Scenario)
FPDS’s highest priority is protecting the health, safety and well-being of every member of our community. A few subjects specifically being considered include:
- FPDS is continuing to investigate all possible campus improvements, from improved water distribution
capabilities to cleaning protocols, to insure the safest learning environment.
- Policies will be enforced that address if/when a positive COVID case is present within our student population.
- Each classroom will have hand sanitizer and hand washing protocols that will be encouraged throughout
- Guidelines will be in place to limit the number of visitors on campus during the school day.
MODES OF TEACHING
Who. What. Where. When. Why. All of these questions are woven into the plan for each and every grade.
- Using information from parent surveys and parent interviews, along with faculty and parent feedback, FPDS is implementing new technology, class structures, and scheduling improvements in order to provide the best learning environment for our students, both on and off-campus.
- Integration of Seesaw (grades K5-3) and Google Classroom (grades 4-6) will help provide consistent delivery of academic material (videos, lessons, feedback, etc.) across grades in one source.
- Teachers will continue to provide the personalized, relational learning that is expected from FPDS.
The FPDS experience calls on the expertise of several partners and products. Contractors are adjusting best-in-class offerings to incorporate industry-specific advancements.
- Lexington Independents, our food service provider, is working with our administration to implement measures that will provide quality food products for our students in the safest manner possible. Individually wrapped/boxed items, wrapped cutlery, and touchless purchasing are a few of the items under consideration at this time.
- SEJ Services, our cleaning service provider, is working on protocols for daily cleaning, along with deeper cleaning procedures on the weekend. Additional staffing will be in place when students are on campus in order to provide more consistent cleaning throughout the day.
The FPDS experience extends beyond the classroom. Engaging the extended family, offering extracurriculars, furthering discipleship of the church, and funding the resources needed to create an exceptional offering traditionally have incorporated large gatherings that might need to be adjusted.
- Guidelines for Meet the Teacher, Back to School Night, and other events are being considered in light of maintaining appropriate distancing and protocols for all guests.
- Plans are being developed to consider class plays, field trips, athletics and special events on and off campus.
- The Holiday Potpourri committees are considering how to best conduct an annual fundraiser while adhering to established city and state guidelines for group gatherings.
These words begin the Day School declaration and make the statement of who we are. As we make plans to return to campus this fall, we hold to the fundamental truths that we are still a kingdom school and we still exalt the name of Jesus.
Our chapel theme for this year is Awakening: Preparing for Revival. I ask you to join our administration, our teachers, and our staff, in praying for revival; for a renewed sense of purpose and for a refreshed heart of love, that God will pour us out every day to show the love of Jesus Christ to our young people.
This is going to be a great year at FPDS. Yes, it is going to be different in many ways, but we will not waver in fulfilling the mission of FDPS each and every day. Thanks for partnering with us in providing Christian education, an education built on God’s Word, to our students.