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COVID-19 Response

Important Dates | Updated: April 21, 2021

April 21
: we expanded the four-day, in-person program (Tuesday-Friday) to 8th-12th grades and offered an additional opportunity to opt-in, so that all students who wish to attend fully in-person can now do so; Mondays will remain remote so that we can continue to offer assemblies and other large events, as well as in-person social opportunities

February 27
: students and families were offered another chance to "opt-in" for the in-person program; many elected to do so, including 100% of the 6th grade and 93% of the Middle School overall

January 27:
staggered return began for all students, with 6th-7th graders attending class in-person on Tuesday-Friday and 8th-12th graders attending on alternating days; all students have the option to remain in a fully remote program and will be able to join all their same classes via a livestream

January 4-22:
following the holidays, students wrapped up the Fall Semester in the remote program with in-person Monday programs on January 11

November 30-December 18:
6th and 9th grade (our main "entry years") returned for in-person instruction, with the latter group alternating days; in-person Monday events continued for additional grade levels, along with Middle School sports programming

November 9-16:
in-person grade programming began on Mondays

How the Year Began:
In September, Burke began the school year in our high-touch, fully-remote program, which features four days of synchronous instruction from 9 AM - 2:50 PM and one day of community events, co-curricular programs, and office hours. Optional, in-person athletics programming was added in mid-September (all outdoors).
As a small school, with 300 students in Grades 6-12, we are able to make decisions that are highly specific to our community.

Our Head of School hosted seven virtual Town Halls for different grade configurations, as well as family grade meetings and one-on-ones with new families, from August to November. Families weighed in via two summer surveys and two fall surveys, which greatly informed the return dates in our phased reopening plan. For example, 11th-12th graders preferred to wait until January to limit disruptions to their courses, while 9th and 6th graders requested an earlier return.
Whether in-person or remote, all students have daily morning check-ins ("Bengal Breakfast"), weekly office hours, advisory group meetings, and recurring one-on-ones with their advisory – so no one is lost in the shuffle!

List of 7 items.

  • Metrics for Reopening

    Any of the following could result in postponement of the next in-person phase or a return to remote learning for 14 days:

    • New regulations from DC Health, OSSE, or the Mayor’s Office (e.g.: a stay-at home order, change in reopening Phase)
    • Cluster and/or evidence of in-school transmission, which will lead to notifying and taking direction from DC Health
    • Significant absences due to illness and quarantine among in-person students and faculty (which likely would correlate with sustained high positivity rates)
    • Widespread non-compliance with Burke's Social Compact, health and safety protocols, and/or testing requirements
  • Professional Development

    We are providing faculty with access to additional technologies in the classroom and with training to help facilitate teaching in the hyflex format. Training is provided by the Global Online Academy, a leader in the field of remote learning and hybrid learning in independent schools, with whom we have engaged in a yearlong professional learning partnership.
  • Student Resources

    Our Community working group developed a virtual Resource Board for students, including a wellness toolbox, mental health resources, activities calendars, and grade-specific information "hubs."
  • More About Monday

    In both the remote and hybrid model, the Monday schedule provides dedicated time for community and student activities, as well as less-structured time with teachers – which might typically occur in the halls and commons spaces. By keeping Monday relatively open, we can deep clean the building when in-person instruction begins and still start the week as a community, plus have flexible time for in-person social and co-curricular programming.

    "Why No One Minds Mondays" (Forest Hills Connection)
  • Team Roth & Team Mooskin

    All students will be assigned to Team Mooskin or Team Roth (named for Burke's founders). 

    In the remote program, the teams will not affect the student experience; but we are assigning them in advance so that we can transition to a hybrid model without changing any class schedules.

    In the hybrid program, Grades 8-12 would attend courses in-person on Tuesday/Thursday (Mooskin) or on Wednesday/Friday (Roth). Grades 6-7 still would be assigned to a team, but would have in-person classes scheduled on Tuesday-Friday. 

    Siblings will be assigned to the same team.
  • Letter Grades and Pass/Fail

    As before, 6th graders will not receive letter grades. This year, the rising 7th graders will continue not to receive letter grades.

    Students in Grades 8-12 will receive letter grades, and Department Chairs are reviewing other grading policies to ensure equity and to mitigate pandemic-induced harms to students.
  • As-Needed Remote Option

    In the hybrid program, students may elect to spend one term (or more) at home due to health needs and concerns. In this case, the student would keep their hybrid schedule and "attend" in-person classes via video conference as possible.

Semester System

List of 4 items.

  • What It Is

    Given the potential changes on the horizon, we have fully developed two distinct learning programs and prioritized smooth transitions between them. To that end, we are switching from our traditional 7-day schedule to a 5-day schedule, and from our trimester system to a semester system. We do not plan to maintain these changes beyond 2020-21.
  • How It Works

    Each semester (Fall and Spring) will be divided into three 6-week terms. Most courses will run for one semester, while some electives and 1/3-credit courses will run for one term (e.g.: Fall 2).

    In other words, a full semester-long course in 2020-21 will be equivalent in content and depth to a year-long course in previous years – very similar to a college schedule.

    For courses that are cumulative and tend to require repetition, skills practice will be available during the semester in which the student is not enrolled in a full course. For example, students who take Algebra 1 in the Fall will maintain those skills through "Sine Me Up" sessions during the Spring.
  • Why It Works

    With (generally) four courses in the Fall semester and four different courses in the Spring, students can continue to take advantage of the rich variety of offerings at Burke – while also benefiting from a daily schedule that is predictable, does not require too many transitions, and can switch to hybrid or in-person without reshuffling. Students really can go in-depth on just a few subjects at a time, which also can be beneficial during an otherwise turbulent period.

    Note: many students will alternate between two different courses in the final "block" of the day, such as Health, Values & Ethics and the 9th Grade Seminar course.
  • Strategic Execeptions

    6th grade, due to the nature of their curriculum, will take mainly full-year courses, including math, science, PE, and "Core" (humanities sequence). Some high school math classes will meet fewer times each week, but run for the full year as well. Seniors will have Spring Semester courses noted on their transcripts for college application purposes as well.
Co-ed, progressive, college prep school in Washington, DC featuring a challenging curriculum in an inclusive environment for grades 6-12.