Uncertain about the next school year? Banner is currently planning for the fall, including a plan to re-open the campus
Along with all of the other parents, my head was reeling in early March when schools in Maryland shut down “temporarily” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Quickly, a temporary closure went to 100% distance learning as all of us were glued to the daily updates from Governor Hogan and others in his leadership team. Banner found itself at a pivotal decision point – does the school align with public schools with respect to distance learning or could the school campus remain open? Banner made the right decision and rolled out a distance learning program.Their program quickly adapted as needs arose, using feedback from parents, faculty, and students to build a framework of online class interaction and independent coursework that met the educational needs for each grade level.
The bottom line was that Banner wanted to ensure the tenets of their Learning Triangle were not lost – “School, Family, and Student working together to provide the best educational experience”.
Did The Banner School get it right? I think Banner did the best they could with the rapidly changing environment that provided students a way to continue with their studies in all critical areas and with an approach that allowed for flexibility as new challenges arose and as new information was learned. This is a testament to the faculty and staff that worked tirelessly over the last few months to prepare, communicate and adapt to our new normal.
Now, with COVID-19 uncertainty looming for the fall, will Banner be ready to open their campus for students, even if public and other private schools are not able to open their campuses. A contingency team is already in place to prepare for the fall. As an independent school, while safety will always remain a top priority, Banner is not beholden to follow public-school policies regarding students on campus in the fall, so as plans are being developed the school is considering many key points for the 2020-2021 school year. These include:
- Ensuring safety is a top priority when we bring students and faculty onto campus
- Reallocating classroom spaces to accommodate social distancing
- Developing contingency plans for students or faculty that become ill to allow for interim distance learning options
- Continuing the commitment to all students to provide the best educational experience
- Prioritizing support for students that require different learning approaches
Can the Banner campus open in the fall? I am confident that the contingency planning currently taking place will create a safe learning environment for the students and staff and will provide educational excellence for our entire student body. It will also strive to meet the needs of critical in-person socialization that has been lost in our current “ZOOM or HANGOUT world”
Stay tuned about the status of The Banner School over the next few weeks. While I may have watched my 8th grade daughter complete her last year at Banner, in a very non-traditional way, I remain very hopeful to see my rising 4th grader enter the historic buildings on The Banner School campus this Fall.
Current Banner Parent & Member of The Banner School Board of Trustees