Giving to Walnut Hill is an act of trust in what we are doing now, and also in what is to come from our faculty, staff and students. Being prepared is a foundational element of our long-standing institution; though we also recognize that there are times that arise that are beyond our control. Led by a handful of loyal supporters during the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, the School created a new “Response Fund”. Gifts designated to this fund, a component of our Annual Fund, will provide resources for Head of School Antonio Viva to allocate immediately as need arises at the School. Your generosity will provide us the flexibility to navigate challenging circumstances and are demonstrative of our motto: Non Nobis Solum – Not for Ourselves Alone.
Our Current Challenge
The sudden changes brought about by the coronavirus have created significant and unforeseen financial burdens for our school. Here is an example of some of the things we anticipate will require funding:
Faculty Professional Development
In order to pivot our rigorous academic and rich arts curriculum online with the quality expected of Walnut Hill, extensive faculty training on remote teaching systems is required. The faculty are prepared to participate in a two-week remote course this summer with Global Academy Online, and also are anticipating working on individual segments of professional development as related to their specific needs. It is imperative that all faculty are learning from the same platform in order to provide our students a cohesive feel among their different classes.
Increased Technology Requirements
We need to ensure that every student has access to appropriate remote learning devices, that faculty who need to teach remotely have the appropriate devices, and that we have enough loaner devices to assist with faculty or staff who need to work remote during peak virus season or when not feeling well. We need to outfit classrooms to handle hybrid in-person / remote teaching and we need to upgrade our infrastructure to handle the increased bandwidth.
A number of alterations will be needed in the capital improvement area including air filtration systems, furniture changes to encourage social distancing, plexiglass shields as needed, and classroom changes (such as replacing tables with desks). In particular, the Health Center needs to have plexiglass stations installed. We will need to change bubblers to refill stations and add sanitation stations at the entrance of each building and other highly trafficked areas.
We also need to ensure that we have adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (art supplies, equipment etc. assigned to students) or limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of students at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
Health Center Supplies
The Health Center, as well as dorm parents, will need to be equipped with additional infrared thermometers, N95 masks, gloves, testing kits, disposable downs, and face shields. We need to ensure that we are well enough stocked with these supplies to be prepared for another spike in the virus when we have seen these supplies be limited in the past. We also need to have a space prepared in case any students need to be quarantined..
We will need increased housekeeping services in order to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the school and on school vehicles at least daily (for example: door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) and shared objects (for example, copy machines, art supplies, music stands, iPad kiosk and pianos) between uses. We will also need to make changes to our meal program, such as providing individually wrapped or boxed meals, changing out serving utensils more often and more frequent cleaning. Finally, given the remote nature of learning and teaching, we have needed to increase the hours of our IT consultants.