Frequently Asked Questions and Distance Learning Plan 
for Families in Response to COVID-19


Obviously, this is a time when news is changing by the day. This is our attempt to answer some of the common questions we are getting from our families, based on what we know by the above date.


Updated 5/27/20

When will campus re-open?

On March 30, the Governor’s directive mandated that all schools in Arizona be closed through the end of the school year. We are working diligently to determine our course of action for starting the 2020-21 school year and will update families throughout the summer. Families may not access campus during this closure.

Who do I contact if I have a question during Distance Learning?

We recommend that you reach out to your child’s teacher directly via email. You are always welcome to contact Ms. Patton or Dr. Sherrill either via cell phone or email for any issues or concerns pertaining to your child’s distance learning experience or any other school-related issues. 

Lori Patton – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (520) 247-6336
Julie Sherrill – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (520) 237-9364
What is the status for TGS events and field trips?
Effective immediately, all events hosted by TGS or scheduled to be held at the TGS campus through May 15 will be postponed or cancelled. Rescheduling of events will be reviewed case by case and will depend on CDC and government guidelines. Field trips scheduled through May 15 will also be postponed or cancelled. All Interim Week activities have been cancelled. We are holding off on any decisions regarding commencement. No matter how the coming weeks unfold, we are committed to honoring the class of 2020 when the time is appropriate.
How will distance learning work for students?
Experience from schools in the northwestern part of our country (who’ve been at this a bit longer) points to the importance of routine, advisory connections, and beginning slowly. To encourage students to follow a routine, teachers are framing any Google classroom assignments and Zoom class meetings around our regular weekly schedule. Advisors are reaching out on a regular basis to their advisees, both as a group and individually. Each classroom will vary in use of Google Classroom, taped lessons, Zoom class meetings, etc. Keep in mind that all faculty are at different levels of learning how to use and apply the technology needed to deliver instruction and facilitate learning. We also recognize that each of our families is facing different circumstances at home. Therefore, we’ll attempt to assign minimal work in the first 7-10 days and monitor and adjust accordingly. We very much appreciate the feedback we’ve already received from our families.
Will my child be on a screen all day long?
Absolutely not. The amount of screen time will vary by the child’s age and grade. Our expert teaching faculty are designing Distance Learning Plans that are developmentally appropriate. Breaks, off-screen time, wellness, physical activity, and regular advisory meetings are all part of the Distance Learning Plan for our students.
Will my child receive learning support and/or counseling support?
Both Mrs. Ashley Hazan (5-12 School Counselor) and Mrs. Michelle Borleske (Director of College Counseling) will be available electronically to meet remotely with students as needed. Mrs. Borleske will continue to meet with her college seminar classes. Learning support will vary depending on each child’s specific needs. Questions regarding specific learning issues should be directed to your child’s advisor or to Ms. Patton or Dr. Sherrill. Our counselors can be contacted via these email addresses:

Michelle Borleske This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ashley Hazan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
What is the type and frequency of communication that I can expect to receive from TGS?
  • Teachers will meet with their classes twice a week using a variety of formats: Google Classroom, Zoom, email, etc.
  • Advisors will meet twice weekly with students using Zoom or through individual phone calls/emails.
  • The Head of School will communicate with the TGS community weekly (or more depending on situation). 
  • Gregorian Chant student journalists and their advisors are working to develop a weekly electronic communication to the school community.
  • A weekly school newsletter will be distributed via the Director of Communications office unless otherwise noted, as well as regular social media postings.
  • Teachers and administrators will communicate with families as needed.
What is the plan for Friday Explorations?

We are going to take Friday Exploration plans one week at a time. At present, everyone has so much to adjust to that we’ll be using Fridays as “catch up” days for students, additional opportunities for advisors to connect with advisees, and AP course review sessions (as needed). As the weeks unfold, and depending on the health and well-being of faculty, we would like to offer a modest array of health and wellness options with continued academic review/support. We commit to continued updates and communication in this regard.

Is the school’s main phone number open to the community?
No. Please direct any general inquiries to either Lynn Margelofsky (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Kathy Anders (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). They will connect you to the appropriate individual.
As always, you can reach out directly to your child’s teacher, advisor, Ms. Patton or Dr. Sherrill at any time.
Will families receive a tuition refund while students are not on campus?
Teaching and learning will continue, and therefore TGS will continue to collect the annual tuition. Our faculty and staff are more committed than ever to providing the best platform in southern Arizona for teaching and learning. Distance learning requires an “all hands-on deck” approach with our technology team, faculty, and administrative staff putting in countless hours to ensure our students have the optimal learning environment at home. Families who are experiencing an extreme hardship due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic should contact the Financial Aid Coordinator, Lisa Kondrat (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to receive information about Financial Aid. For information about restructuring your current payment plan, contact Mary Babbitt, Director of Finance (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
What if my child (or parent/guardian) needs technology help during distance learning?

Tech Help is available 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.
Families needing tech assistance should fill out the tech help ticket form

In response to COVID-19 developments, some internet providers are offering free and low cost internet assistance to low-income households with students.

My child left an item at school. How can I retrieve it?

Families may not come to campus. If the item(s) needed are crucial to your child’s ability to successfully approach their distance learning assignments, please contact Ms. Patton or Dr. Sherrill so we can arrange curbside pickup.

What is the plan for AP testing?

The College Board has adapted this year's AP exams to accommodate all the changes taking place in schools this spring. Instead of taking AP exams at school, students will take 45-minute online free-response exams at home. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates (for those who wish to take the exam early and for those who wish to take the exam later). In addition, any student already registered for an exam may choose to cancel at no charge. 

The testing dates are as follows:

  • May 11 – May 22 (Three exams per day spaced 2 hours apart.)

  • June 1 – 5 (This is the last opportunity to take an AP exam)

 

 



The following information pertains to how families can support students at home during this learning transition.


How Can I Support My Child(ren) During Distance Learning?

TGS understands that a shift to a distance learning approach will require students and families to adjust to a “new normal.” A continued partnership with parents and guardians can play a vital part in ensuring the success of the distance learning. Our teachers, counselors, and administrators are all available to support and guide students (and parents/guardians/caregivers) should they need help. Below are some guidelines for parents/guardians/caregivers to help students achieve success with distance learning. Overall, we encourage you to embrace this time at home as a new adventure with great possibilities. Enjoy your family!

Establish a Regular Schedule for Your Child & Stay Engaged with their Learning

Once distance learning is initiated by the school, it will be important for parents/guardians/caregivers to help students establish and maintain a routine and structure for their day, beginning with a regular bedtime and wake-up time each day. While some of our students may want to stay up late and sleep in, establishing a regular school day routine will help your child retain a sense of normalcy and stay engaged in learning. Be sure to help your child build in “breaks” during the school day, encouraging them to stand up and move around so they are not remaining sedentary throughout the day. Begin and close each “school day” with a brief check-in as well as checking in throughout the day at regular intervals to ensure that your child is successfully engaging in distance learning. Reach out to your child’s teacher if you observe your child struggling to stay focused. Setting clear expectations with your child about regular school day hours will help your child maintain a schedule and stay on top of his/her schoolwork.

Create a Study Space for Your Child

Productive learning relies on a conducive environment. We recommend that you create a separate, quiet space in your home for your child to study. The family room sofa with close proximity to a television or your child’s bedroom may not be the optimal place for your child to learn. We recommend that you choose an open area in the family living space (kitchen table, dining room, etc.) to avoid isolating your child and to allow parents/guardians to monitor your child’s learning and screen activity. A room with strong wireless connection will also be important. 

Stay in Communication with your Child’s Teachers

Your child’s teachers will maintain regular communication with parents/guardians/caregivers. The frequency of the communications will depend on your child’s age and level of independence. While teachers are available as resources for you and your child, please keep in mind that they will need to be in regular email communication with all of their families, so we ask that you be mindful when communicating with teachers, strive to be succinct, and focus on the essential. Please use email (not texting) as your primary method of contact with teachers.

Encourage Independence and Allow for Productive Struggle

Stay engaged in your child’s learning by asking them questions and having them share their thoughts while encouraging their independence so they can take ownership of their own learning. Some productive struggle is essential to learning, so we ask that parents allow their children to grapple with problems and come up with ideas for tackling them. Stepping in too quickly to help solve problems will deprive your child of the opportunity to learn, try new approaches, and gain greater independence and confidence. If your child becomes discouraged and/or overwhelmed by schoolwork, please reach out to your child’s teachers, advisors, or counselors.

Help your Child Maintain Social Contact with Peers

It will be very important for your child to stay in social contact (through virtual means) with their friends and peers during distance learning periods. Encourage your child to interact with friends through Facetime/Google Meet or through phone conversations. They can form study groups created by their teachers or informal groups that they develop on their own. Social interactions, such as virtual lunch buddies, will help your child stay connected and feel a part of the school community.

Wellness: Encourage Physical Activity and Movement and Monitor Student Stress

Physical movement and exercise are vital to maintaining physical and mental health, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving concentration and focus for more effective learning and retention. Parents should monitor student stress levels and reach out to the school counselor for advice as needed. The health and wellness of our students is of the utmost importance to us, and so we will work with our PE department to set aside time (possibly Friday Explorations if they don’t already have PE) for students to maintain a level of activity even if homebound. 

Time Management

During certain times in the distance learning schedule, especially more unstructured time on Fridays, some students may need help with time management. Teachers are available to assist, but it is also important for parents to ensure that students are spending this time on school work. Even if a student says that he or she is done with assignments, this is a valuable time to meet with teachers, study with peers, and master the learning outcomes for the course. Students should be actively working during the designated times.

Bandwidth

With the potential of multiple devices being used simultaneously in a home, bandwidth could be taxed. It will be helpful if parents monitor so that one user isn’t streaming or playing video games   (Netflix, Fortnite, etc.) while another is having class via Zoom.

Adapted from Sidwell Friends and The Greensboro Day School COVID-19 FAQ.


3231 N. Craycroft Road, Tucson, AZ 85712
Phone: (520) 327-6395
Fax: (520) 327-8276
The Gregory School is an independent, private,
non-profit 501(C)(3), coed day school for grades 5-12.