O'Neal Stays On Course for On Campus Learning August 11th
John Elmore, Head of School
Thank you to the many parents who contacted me so positively and constructively about O’Neal’s reopening plan. Your thoughts and ideas have been invaluable. Announcements regarding North Carolina public schools do not alter our plans for on-campus programming. O’Neal is ready to meet all requirements, including safety protocols and distancing requirements, and our first day of school remains August 11th.
I also want to thank all of our O’Neal families. You have either remained with the School or enrolled during a most difficult time. As you can imagine, with O’Neal’s ability to teach in-person, there has been enormous interest from the Sandhills community, and we have enrolled some mission-appropriate students. However, the School is committed to delivering our full educational experience, and this includes maintaining small class sizes for our students. Each division has determined the maximum number of students we can fully and safely serve at each grade level, and we will not exceed that number.
Planning continues so that students and teachers return to campus as safely as possible. This will include 6 feet of distancing, masks for the vast majority of students, no visitors/parents in buildings, daily health and temperature checks, a space to isolate symptomatic students, keeping groups of students separated as much as possible, and enhanced cleaning and handwashing. We will practice proper safety measures and do what we must to care for the wellbeing of everyone. As a school community, all of us need to work together to not only open our campus for teaching and learning but also to remain open. Division specific details will be announced soon, and we thank everyone in advance for their cooperation.
Many have worked tirelessly to acquire the items and supplies we believe are needed for reopening. O’Neal has hand sanitizer stations; paper towel dispensers are being replaced with touchless devices; and we have ample supplies of cleaning products, gloves and masks. In addition, the School has purchased a professional electrostatic sprayer to quickly and evenly apply cleaner even in hidden areas, as well as four portable UV disinfection lamps to be used in rooms throughout campus. Many of these items have been difficult to locate and costly to purchase, but we believe that our teachers, staff, new day porter and nurse have everything they need for consistent cleaning throughout the school day.
The health and safety of our students, teachers and staff has been and will continue to be the overriding priority. I am grateful to our administrative team and safety personnel for the countless things they have done to help O’Neal through this part of the pandemic and to prepare to welcome back our campus community. The Board of Trustees has formed a Safety and Wellness Committee. This is a joint staff – trustee committee in which everyone shares expertise and support to continue planning not only the reopening of O’Neal’s campus but also to address other areas where the School can improve the experience for our students.
We look forward to seeing everyone again. Watch your inbox for back-to-school information in the coming weeks. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact me or your division head at any time.
The O'Neal School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.