The Diener School COVID-19 Response
The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019 and its global spread through early 2020 forced Diener, like other schools around the world, to re-evaluate nearly every aspect of its educational practices. While we will strive to return to “normal,” faculty, staff, families and students should expect that The Diener School experience will continue to be (and will look) different than our pre-pandemic set-up. In addition to continued social distancing measures, mask-wearing requirements, and physical modifications to our campus and in classrooms, changes will continue to be required to many facets of our program, including use of classroom materials, drop-off and pick-up procedures, and more. We will also be requiring faculty, staff, and families to participate in a daily wellness screening that will be completed at home prior to campus arrival.
Across our school community, teachers, staff, parents and students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in adapting to new and often challenging conditions. Please be reassured that our decision-making will always be driven by the safety and health of all school community members including students, staff and families.
Diener will begin the 2021-22 school year with on campus/in person instruction, 5 days a week. A virtual program will NOT be available to students as a replacement for on campus/in person instruction, with the exception of a student being required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19.
As with seemingly everything during this pandemic, circumstances are changing rapidly, and we expect that guidance from the federal, state, and local authorities will continue to evolve and may lead to further changes at Diener.
COVID-19 Task Force
In May, 2020, we established a COVID Task Force to address the unique challenges that COVID-19 presented to Diener. Our Task Force is comprised of Board members, Diener administration, and our delegated registered nurse. We have been diligently working together to assess, evaluate and plan for a successful re-opening.
- Kathy Chumas, Head of School
- Laurie Aaronson, Director of Operations and Development (COVID-19 Designated Contact)
- Lois McCabe, Director of Admissions
- Beth Freedman, Board Chair
- James Shevlin, Board Member and Alumni Parent
- Rodney Schmidt, Board Member and Alumni Parent
- Neleen Rubin, Board Member and Current Parent
- JP Ahluwalia, MD, Board Member and Current Parent
- Mark Ubbens, CRNP, Delegating Nurse
Our Task Force reviewed and considered dozens of resources, including but not limited to Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Maryland Department of Health, and the Montgomery County Department of Health. Our independent school associations (AIMS, NAIS, AISGW) have provided us with a wealth of resources, as well as opportunities to discuss our planning with a large group of local independent schools and government and health officials. We have also closely collaborated with our school delegating nurse, as well as the Green Acers School, which inhabits the same campus as The Diener School.
In late July, Maryland released COVID-19 Guidance for Maryland Schools, developed by the state Department of Health and Department of Education. A careful review of our plan alongside this guidance confirms that our plan is thorough and meets or exceeds recommended guidelines by the state of Maryland.