The 2021-2022 school introduced flex-time at the end of each day from 3 pm to 3:30 pm. 6-9th graders will be required to stay in their flex locations all year round, and 10th graders are required to attend for the first trimester. Cecilia Tung, the Upper School Assistant Director, was involved in the planning and creating of Flextime. Flextime was created to allow students who don’t have a free period to have a time where they could have interest groups, affinity spaces, meet with teachers and/ or check their canvas and get their work in order. In years past, instead of flex time, students were provided a large block of “office hours” where they could work on homework, meet with their teachers, or depending on their grade, just leave for the day. This office hours block was unsupervised for high schoolers, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, this is no longer a possibility.
In order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, the school has put in changes such as extending class lengths, prohibiting students from leaving campus unless supervised by a faculty member, introducing “middle lunch”, and confining students to a certain room during their free periods. All of these changes have been made to make it easier for the school to be able to contact trace and be able to isolate any breakthrough viruses.
The Northwest School has many sources guiding its decisions. Northwest is taking information from their own COVID-19 tests, the states, cities, and county’s Covid trends, and the guidance that the state gives. Another big factor in Northwest’s decision is vaccination. Currently, not all students in the school are vaccinated because many middle schoolers are not of age to be qualified to get vaccinated. Once the entire school is vaccinated, the rules surrounding Covid-19 could loosen up. In the meantime, allowing students to go off-campus is an interesting possibility that Cecilia was open to looking into. For now, it does not seem like anything is changing, but the students and faculty stay hopeful looking forward.