860.677.0035 ContactTMA@tmsc.org

SAFEGUARDING STUDENTS During COVID-19

A Safe, Welcoming Community for All

Reopening for Full-time, On-Campus Learning

Student safety in light of the Coronavirus pandemic is at the forefront for parents across the nation. At Talcott, we’re welcoming students back for full-time, on-campus learning this fall–and safety is our first priority, too.

With 8 weeks of hands-on experience safely teaching students on-campus during Talcott’s summer programs, we’ve developed an informed and comprehensive reopening plan to safeguard the health of students and staff this fall.

Scroll down to learn more about on-campus learning, distance learning options, and the policies that guide both. We also encourage you to read Talcott’s Reopening Plan and don’t hesitate to contact our COVID-19 Health & Safety Compliance Liaison with any questions or concerns.

I know many parents are concerned about their children falling behind with online learning. I’m not. Talcott has done a great job keeping my child academically challenged and socially connected. I know he’s getting the same quality education that he was prior to COVID-19.

--Lee Hoffman, Parent of Two TMA Alumni

Welcoming Students: Full-time & On-Campus

Cohorts & Social Distancing

Even with small classes, we recognize the importance of cohorts on campus. As such, students will be grouped into three cohorts–each in their own building with assigned bathrooms.

Physical guides on walls, in hallways and stairwells will ensure staff and students remain 6-feet-apart and follow directional flow while in lines and at other times.

When physical distancing is not possible (when providing direct specialized care or health assessments, for example), staff and students will utilize appropriate PPE.

All students, employees and visitors will be required to wear a face mask while on school property and on school busses, unless medically exempt. Mask breaks will be incorporated throughout the day, and outdoor learning spaces will be used as much as possible, allowing students to remove their masks as long as they maintain physical distance.

Safety in the Classroom

To accommodate new cohorts and the physical distancing now required in the classroom, some of our teachers have moved to new, larger classrooms — and we’ve done some redecorating!

Classrooms have been arranged to maximize physical distancing between student workstations, achieving 6 feet when feasible. Desks and tables will be arranged so that students all face the same direction when possible. Students will remain in their assigned building for most classes.

Math classes will also be considered cohorts. Students who need to move for a math class will have an assigned seat which will be cleaned by the teacher upon completion of the class.

Specials such as Tech, Music and Art will have their rooms’ high-touch surfaces sanitized by the teacher or the cleaners after each cohort leaves. These rooms will be used only if the specials teacher is unable to move to the cohort classroom for lessons.

Outdoor Learning

Learning has never been confined to the classroom at Talcott, and this year, students will find new spaces to enjoy. Each cohort will have access to an outdoor learning space that teachers will utilize for lessons, discussions and study periods. These new spaces are designed to maximize outdoor time for all students–weather permitting.

Social-Emotional Learning & Mental Health

Talcott Mountain Academy will engage in ongoing communication with families to identify students/families who are struggling and to provide support through referrals to outside mental health providers.

Academics & Remote Learning

Families can choose to have their children attend TMA remotely.

The remote learning plan for individual students will be developed between parents and teachers and will include synchronous and asynchronous learning. The number of synchronous classes will be determined by the students’ age and ability — with input from both parents and teachers. Students will follow the schedule, as closely as possible, as if they were in school on campus.

If Talcott is required to shift to remote learning at any point, we are committed to providing a rigorous curriculum that will include synchronous and asynchronous learning. The remote learning schedule will closely follow the in-person schedule.

Family & Student Engagement

Communication is the thread that connects everyone in the Talcott community, and we’re committed to providing families with clear and ongoing communications about what to expect, during and prior to reopening. This includes, but is not limited to, guidance on the school protocols related to health and safety guidelines.

There will be orientations for each cohort prior to the start of school, during which training regarding new policies and procedures will be conducted. We will continue to engage with families and students as the reopening moves forward to ensure they are informed and have the ability to provide feedback.

Technology & Materials

Computers and equipment in the technology and science labs will be cleaned and disinfected between cohorts by the teacher. Computers in the lab will be assigned to specific students in each cohort so their use is consistent.

Chromebooks and iPads will be assigned to specific students for their use only. Students will be able to bring their own devices as long as they follow those guidelines, which have been updated to incorporate new COVID-19 guidelines.

The advantage of a small school is that teachers are deeply invested in my child’s learning. I can be hands-off because they’re so hands-on.

--Carolyn Van Newkirk, Parent, TMA Alumni, Class of 2020 & 2016

Student & Family Support

Successful distance learning isn’t just about how classes are structured and making schoolwork meaningful. It’s much more than that, which is why we are committed to providing multiple levels of support for students AND their parents along the way. In the past, they’ve included:

  • Virtual meetings with teachers and parents
  • Continued weekly advisor meetings with students
  • All school morning meetings (students and parents)
  • One-on-one Zoom meetings with students and families as check-ins, to help with academics and organization, and/or referral assistance
  • Driveway visits to families

In this virtual world, it’s important to invest in my child’s education. Talcott is worth every penny.

--Ted Wu, Parent, Suite IV and two TMA Alumni