2020-2021 School Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 32 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: How will Scenario 2: Hybrid Learning Model work at Fayerweather?

    • This model creates three groupings: PK-K, Grades 1-4, and Grades 5-8. Within each grade level, students will be divided into smaller cohorts of roughly 8-13 students. 
    • Grades 1-4 cohorts and Grades 5-8 cohorts will alternate a week of in-person learning at school with a week of remote learning.
    • Given that early elementary learners developmentally struggle the most with remote learning, the Pre Kindergarten, TK, and Kindergarten cohorts will attend school in-person Monday-Friday every week.
    • We expect to share the schedule so parents will know when Grades 1-4 will be in the building (“A” weeks) vs when Grades 5-8 will be (“B” weeks), and what a sample in-person and remote week schedule will look like.
    • Families who require remote only instruction will be assigned to a cohort and will learn remotely during their cohort’s weeks in the building via Zoom and the Owl Cameras technology, paired with follow-up from cohort teachers, learning specialists, and when possible staff buddies assigned to families.
  • Q: Will school still open on Wednesday, September 2?

    • We will be staggering the opening in the building to coordinate with the hybrid learning schedule:
    • September 2 through 4th: Grades 5 through 8 will start in-person learning first, with Friday being a half day. The focus will be team building activities throughout and preparing students to engage in the remote experience.
    • September 9th through 11: PreK through 4 will meet in-person, while grades 5 through 8 will be remote. The focus for PreK through 4 will be team building, relationship building and preparing 1 through 4 for the remote experience.
    • Morning Drop off and Dismissal procedures will be shared later for both groups.
  • Q: Will school hours remain the same?

    • Yes, school will begin at 8:30am for PK-6, and 8:15am for the Unit. Classrooms will be open at 8:15am for PK-6, and 8:05am for the Unit. We are looking at a staggered dismissal schedule, and considering times between 3:00pm to 3:15pm for PK-4, and 5-8. Additionally, every Friday, regardless of in-person or remote, will be a half-day to allow for teacher planning and meeting time.
  • Q: Is this a fall plan or a whole year plan?

    • We are planning to start school using Scenario 2: Hybrid Learning Model. We will remain in Scenario 2 until we are further informed by the state, DESE, and the CDC. The aforementioned information will help us to determine our transition to Scenario 3: Remote Learning. We are closely monitoring infection rates, cases, and guidance from medical experts, Boards of Health, the state, DESE, and the CDC and may pivot to remote before instructed to as we did in March.
  • Q: How will cohorts be formed?

    • Teachers form cohorts based on grade level, as well as the same factors used in creating full classes, such as supportive and inclusive friendships, learning needs, and group dynamics. Parent input is valued, though final placement decisions are made in collaboration with teachers and administrators.
  • Q: Will cohorts be by single or mixed grades and will they change during the year?

    • In response to the unusual circumstances of this pandemic, cohorts will be almost always single grade. Each cohort of 8-13 students will have one in-person teacher with them, along with a specialist or other assigned staff member to support teachers and students. Teaching teams are looking at ways to support mixed grade groupings with their non-cohort teacher during remote weeks via Zoom or other technology.
    • Cohorts will remain the same throughout the year.
  • Q: Can cohorts get together during remote weeks for learning or socializing opportunities?

    • We hope that cohorts will create a bond and help support each other with learning, socializing, and families’ needs (such as carpool and childcare). We are working with the Parent Association to adapt the Class Reps program, and hope that they will be inclusive groups for all students and families. If you’re interested in being a rep for your cohort, please contact PA Co-Chairs Erin McLaughlin and Farley Urmston.
  • Q: Will there be intentional opportunities for students to continue to have peer groups of neighboring grade levels?

    • We are looking at ways to provide whole group, mixed grade experiences; for example, leveraging outdoor spaces as we consider group socialization activities and via technology in remote weeks. We will not mix groups inside the building.
  • Q: Will remote weeks look like the learning from last Spring?

    • While our teachers quickly pivoted to remote learning, there was not the time they usually have to create a new curriculum. Grade level teams are pursuing professional development and engaging in planning this summer. We are working to create a stronger learning experience for students based in a consistent structure, engaging projects, more opportunities for collaboration between students, and the need for strong social emotional support and connection.
  • Q: Will students be required to self-quarantine before returning to school?

    • Should you choose to travel to congested areas and/or places with widespread, ongoing, community transmission of COVID-19 prior to the start of school, you could be subjected to a 14-day quarantine before entering the building. Please also refer to the Massachusetts state travel guidelines. If you have questions about your travel plans, please contact Nick Shostak, School Nurse.
  • Q: What will be required of the community to make sure that everyone entering the building is healthy? 

    • FSS has partnered with Magnus Health and will be asking parents to download an App that will assist families in a daily assessment of their children’s health. This information will be shared with our health professional. This will assess your health and provide guidance on staying home or seeking medical advice or testing before returning to school. We all must take responsibility  to be honest, accurate, and careful about reporting and staying home if we suspect or have any illness, including Covid-19.
    • Additionally, before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, you are required to provide the following documentation for your child(ren) by Friday, August 15, 2020.  These policies will be strictly implemented this year. 
    • A current copy of your child’s or children's vaccination record from their last "well child" visit. Massachusetts state immunization requirements can be found here.
    • If your child has a medical exemption for vaccinations, this must be provided from your physician prior to the start of school.
    • If your child has a religious exemption for vaccinations documentation from your religious organization must be provided before the start of school.
    • Fayerweather Street School does not accept personal vaccination exemptions.
    • You can contact Nick for more information and update your medical information form on MyFSS.
    • We strongly encourage all families to get a seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it’s available.
  • Q: What is the plan for a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 at the school?

    • A specific document will be sent out to the school community about the protocol regarding this as soon as we have the details. It will take into account guidance from the state and city health departments and established testing and contact tracing protocols.
  • Q: Will students have a chance to see their classroom before the first day of school?

    • Yes, we will be using technology and possible small socially distanced visits to allow students to become familiar with their classrooms.
  • Q: DESE requires students in Grades 2 and older to wear masks; will students in PK-1 be required to wear a mask?

    • We are requiring all students and staff to wear masks. We know this will be developmentally more difficult for some students, particularly those in PK-1. Students will be given mask breaks and mask wearing will be supported as appropriate by teachers. We will make accommodations for students with medical conditions who have difficulty wearing masks.
  • Q: If kids are podding with their teachers, how might specials work? 

    • Specials are a crucial mission- driven aspect of the Fayerweather educational experience. Currently, we are thinking that specialists will join a small cohort for an extended period of time (4-6 weeks) giving them a really immersive experience with that special. Specialists would take a week break between cohorts to ensure a safe transition. While this model would not allow each grade to take the same variety of specials over the course of the year, they should get a deeper experience with the ones offered. Specialists are also looking into ways they can supplement the learning experiences of grades they are not podding with using technology.
  • Q: How can we keep students safely distanced from each other in classrooms?

    We will be using state and federal guidelines to set up the classroom environment as safely as possible and using the student cohort model so that students may safely engage with others in their cohort. We are also working to create short, fun PSA videos on social distancing, personal hygiene, and other safety measures for families to watch and practice before classes begin in September.
  • Q: Which versions of staggered scheduling are we considering?

    We are in the planning stages of this process and will be communicating with families as soon as we identify and test out some models.
  • Q: How will drop-off and dismissal work?

    Until further notice, we cannot accommodate parents and visitors in the building, so all morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal will need to be via car lines at the front driveway and Spinelli side of the building. Those procedures will be covered in full in the Parent Handbook emailed in August. You can find last year’s on MyFSS under resources.
  • Q: Will staff and students be required to wear and provide face coverings?

    Currently the guidance directs that all adults and students in second grade and older will need to wear face coverings. We are looking to purchase see through masks and face shields to help students more easily see the mouths and facial expressions of teachers. Students are encouraged to show their personality with their choice of face masks, but disposable masks will be available should a student forget theirs at home.
  • Q: Will morning Extended Day care be available?

    There will be no morning extended day care until further notice.
  • Q: How many students will be in a classroom?

    We are currently working on space planning to determine how many students can safely be in each classroom space based on current state, federal, and association guidelines and Fayerweather’s values. This may change as we receive additional information.
  • Q: Will there be a choice of attendance in the hybrid model?

    We understand that some families may have health-related family issues or safety concerns related to attending in person and as part of our planning we are looking at how to make this possible through technology and other available resources. 
  • Q: What new technology (if any) are we investing in for our classrooms?

    We are in the process of identifying the technology we can use that will provide students the greatest access to our classrooms and education. We are investing in iPads for younger students, and looking at how we can strengthen our Chromebook capacity so students can better engage in synchronous learning. We have purchased several OWLS, which is a smart video conferencing system that will allow students to actively participate in learning from home. We are also looking at online learning tools that can assist us in more effectively communicating with parents, as well as supporting families at-home learning engagement.
  • Q: Are current students required to have up-to-date childhood immunizations?

    Yes, we are in the process of adding this policy to our Student/Parent Handbook. You can help out by scanning in your updated record from your pediatrician and emailing it to Nick.
  • Q: What will Music, Art, Shop, PE, lunch, and recess look like?

    This will be determined through summer planning. We are committed to maintaining our program while following safety protocols from state and federal guidance. We are planning to move students as little as possible, and when we do, we will move cohorts together and clean the area after they return to their classroom.
  • Q: If I choose remote learning and change my mind during the year, will there be a spot in the building during Hybrid or In-person scenarios?

    We are working on ways to accommodate all students who want to be at school during our Hybrid and In-person models.
  • Q: Will there be after school sports teams (soccer, basketball, ultimate frisbee)?

    We are waiting for guidance from the state and will make that decision in collaboration with the other schools in our sports league.
  • Q: What guidance is in place for students' use of restrooms?

    Staff will ensure students follow the appropriate guidelines and capacity limits while visiting the restroom. Hand washing will be stressed. Bathrooms will be cleaned throughout the day and disinfected each night.
  • Q: If we return to remote learning or I choose to keep my student at home, will it look like it did last spring?

    While our teachers quickly pivoted to remote learning, there was not the time they usually have to create new curriculum. Grade level teams are pursuing professional development and engaged in planning this summer to evolve the remote learning scenario should we be required to return to that model.
  • Q: Can students chat with teachers over the summer to get to know them?

    Yes, and we are working on putting a schedule in place for this opportunity.
  • Q: Will after school Extended Day care or classes be available on the days my student is at school?

    We are still working on the schedule and we need further guidance from DESE to determine if Extended Day will be a viable option. Please answer the survey if this is something you’re interested in for your student.
  • Q: Will FSS provide social gatherings over the summer?

    Admin staff and classroom teachers are working to organize small gatherings and touch points for new students moving up to a new grade band. Once new cohorts of students are created, we will be meeting with PA reps to figure out how to support a student-family gathering.


Fayerweather Street School | 765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-876-4746
Fayerweather is a private PreK, kindergarten, elementary and middle school. We engage each child’s intellect.