Session 2 Considerations (updated 9/17/21)

Thank you to everyone who completed our fall planning survey. As mentioned in the write up below (from 8/25/21), there are several reasons for us to consider a hybrid program for the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. Since that write up, we have learned that the construction at the Teen Center will now include the replacement of floors. All of them… except the gym and the computer lab. The work order has been requested to be between November 30 and January 10. There is no confirmation yet as to the start date, but the replacement of floors does means a temporary exit from the building. We just don’t know when. Exciting! (Lol)

Fall Planning Survey Results

23 families took the survey, representing 27 students. A few didn’t respond.

  • Family concern, level of risk re. Covid:
    • 52% said they have a low level of risk/concern
    • 37% said they have a moderate level of risk/concern
    • 11% said they have a high/extreme level of risk/concern
  • Travel in Fall/Winter (higher numbers raise our risk assessment)
    • 7% will have a high level of travel
    • 30% will have a moderate level of travel
    • 63% said travel will be light or none
  • Support for online/outdoors/hybrid for three weeks
    • 15% said they like this option
    • 15% said they don’t like this option
    • 70% said they can go either way, “whatever is best”
  • Notable comments
    • concern “over transport/logistics”
    • “always prefer in person”
    • “anything outdoors”, “love learning outdoors”
    • “like the options to flex”, “sounds exciting and interesting”
    • “worried about winter surge”, “Covid is changing”, “we’re taking many precaution” due to high risk factors
    • my child had a “hard time online”
What should you do when planning for Session 2?

Session 2 is 8 weeks: October 18 – December 17, with one week off at Thanksgiving.

  • Select the courses you want. Don’t reduce classes simply out of concern. We have no way of knowing for sure, at this time, what will happen between Thanksgiving and Winter Break with regard to Teen Center construction, so there is absolutely no sense in worrying or trying to strategize too early.
  • If we decide to do a hybrid program between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, which is just three weeks, we will prioritize enrichment courses being in-person (T/TH/F) and core courses (M/W, math and English) being online. If we do use Art Trek again for in-person classes, we can more easily use the space for T/TH/F anyway. M/W teachers may opt to meet students on alternate days at our office in Thousand Oaks so they can have in-person check ins. Finally, we may delay plans if construction is delayed, which is always a possibility with construction.
  • We can’t put the cart before the horse: We will make decisions based on who is in the classes that may be impacted, and current Covid numbers in our community.
  • There’s a slight possibility that nothing will change. The project at the Teen Center has been delayed since March 2020. If it is delayed again, we will not be surprised.
  • Keep in mind that we are experienced in pivoting! Don’t mean to toot our own horn, but…OSA did a great job last year keeping kids engaged and in person quite a bit, when other programs were fully online. When the time comes that we make some decisions about how “hybrid” we will be over the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, we will make the best decisions we can to reduce impact on families, kids, and teachers; to keep classes accessible; and to ensure safety based on the most updated recommendations from public health officials.
  • We will deal with issues if needed: Hybrid classes for three weeks not working for you? Can’t get transportation settled? Don’t like our plan? We can adjust/credit classes/or reconfigure schedules a bit based on an individual needs.

(8/25/21)

As we start the year, planning for Session 2 (10/18-12/17) will begin soon, in early September.

Despite the ongoing uncertainties related to the pandemic, one of the many things OSA proved we could do these past 17 months is be flexible. This flexibility was made easier through transparent communication with, and support from, our OSA families. Our flexibility kept the focus on students’ access to learning, limited the chances of the spread of illness, and lowered stress levels for many families. This new year will continue to bring challenges, but we can roll with them.

There are some things to consider in Session 2.

  • Firstly, we have a one-week break during the week of Thanksgiving, then we return for three weeks of classes before having three weeks off for winter break (12/20- 1/7). You can view our Calendar here. It is likely that many families will travel during this time, and/or gather in large groups. Considering that this pandemic will still be in full swing this Fall, our chances for viral exposure increases substantially.
  • Holiday time increases stress levels. Parents may also be overly cautious and keep students home more often during these three weeks. Typically, during this time, we have the most absences anyway, due to holiday “bugs”. This year, some students may miss 25% or more of class time, diluting the instruction for all.
  • Sometime during Session 2, it is expected that the Teen Center will begin its long-awaited construction project. Although this will not impact classrooms or our ability to use most of the building, it WILL impact the kitchen, the restrooms, and the back yard (however, we have no idea if at once or in what order). We will know of dates about 30 days prior to starting. However, should it finally happen, it may likely commence in the weeks of November/December.

Last year, we had originally planned to move all classes online between Thanksgiving break and Winter Break before we knew we would all be starting the year online. Many colleges and private schools also had planned this. Flexing online/outdoors for three weeks is an option worth considering again this year. If we plan for this, we don’t foresee those three weeks just online. We’d have Seeds & Sprouts, Hiking Club, can hold small groups at our TO office or a park, have our cooking classes outdoors at the park, or perhaps have a lab at the Four Seasons. Teachers would be able to arrange what is best for their individual classes, so that learning is optimized and interruptions due to absences are minimized. We just wouldn’t be exclusively indoors at the Teen Center for three weeks. As an added bonus, should we not use the Teen Center during the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, we would also not pay rent during that month, and finances are always an important consideration at OSA (we have never been fully funded by registration fees).

No decisions will be made right away. We want to wait and watch until mid-September. But, your help in responding to this survey will help us make the best decision for our community when the times comes to do so.