Update January 26

In light of the large storm that is forecast to descend on the area this evening, we will be holding all classes in Virtual Campus mode on Wednesday, January 27, and Thursday, January 28. Hopefully, conditions will allow us to return to On-Campus instruction on Friday, January 29; we will be communicating our decision about this by 2pm Thursday.

Heavy rain drives us indoors and impacts our ability to follow our health and safety protocols, which have thus far precluded any on-campus COVID-19 transmission.

Our first and foremost guiding principle this year has always been and will remain the health and safety of our students and staff. Flexibility and adaptability, and preserving program excellence, are two more of our guiding principles.

Update November 9

After looking at the expected travel and gathering behaviors represented in the family and staff surveys sent last week and after extensive discussion with our Health Advisory Council Gateway School will be in Virtual Campus mode for the two weeks following Thanksgiving break, from November 30 through December 11. All students will participate in this program. We will then resume our On-Campus program for the final week of the calendar year, from December 14-18, with an Opt-In Distance Learning component available for those who choose it. We will also be in Virtual Campus mode for the first two weeks of the new year, from January 4-15, 2021, and begin our On-Campus program again on January 19.

Our guiding principles begin with the goal of preserving our community’s health and safety. The 14-day isolation window is based on the best available medical understanding of the incubation period for COVID-19 symptom expression.

Update November 6, 2020

Our Middle School will start its On Campus program next week. For now we’ll operate a Hybrid model that has Sixth Graders on campus Mondays and Wednesdays, and Seventh and Eighth Graders on campus Tuesdays and Fridays. It’s been fun our Middle School faculty on campus preparing classrooms this week!

As expected, the county has now released revised guidelines for schools, and we’ve begun digesting these. Through our analysis, we’ll be sure we are in compliance with the guidelines and make any changes necessary to do so. We’ll begin implementing these over the next few weeks.

Update October 23, 2020

We’re looking forward to welcoming 4th and 5th grade students to campus next week, and information about our plans for the Middle School will be released in the coming weeks.

We are planning for a new After School program to launch in November. Thank you to all who completed the survey in the past two weeks! We anticipate that we will be able to offer care for up to 36 students in three groups of 12, using the “distance cohort” model. The first session will be three weeks in length, and more details and sign-up information will be released next week.

Update October 16, 2020

This week our Second Grade began on campus, and we now have our entire K-3 program running here. We continue to make changes to improve the way we’re doing some things, such as managing student water bottles and paths of travel on the playground. We are increasing the amount of time students spend outside, as we get comfortable with how teaching and learning function in that space, and as the students learn the routines and rhythms of the day. We anticipate that eventually, students will be spending at least 75% of the day outdoors. The children are so delighted to be able to see their friends and classmates and to participate in learning activities, and there’s a palpable sense of joy and relief. The kids are doing a tremendous job washing hand, wearing their masks, and bringing their best selves to this moment.

We’re looking forward to having 4th and 5th grades start on October 27th and 28th, respectively, and our planning for our middle school students to join us on campus soon.

As always, the health and safety of our Gateway community of students, families, and staff is our primary concern. This decision has been made after consultation with Dr. Newell at the County’s health department, who has explicitly encouraged schools to open if they can meet the county’s health and safety standards; Joffe Emergency Services, our health and safety consultants; the Advisory Council comprised of some of the medical professionals among Gateway families; and discussion with other CAIS schools that have opened for in-person instruction in other parts of the state.

Update October 2, 2020

Our on-campus program has been underway for two weeks now. It’s been wonderful to have the children learning on campus. This coming Tuesday we’ll welcome the Third Grade students, and then the following week the Second Grade will begin on October 14. We’ll continue to phase in additional grades one the next several weeks. As we continue to ready classrooms and outdoor areas, you can anticipate a few asynchronous learning days prior to each grade’s transition onto campus.

Bringing children back on campus will bring a new set of stressors to your family. Now is a time to simplify and to take it easy on yourself. Your children may also have new emotions and questions in anticipation of their return to campus. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or advisor if your child struggles with the transition emotionally or academically.

Update September 25, 2020

Our plan to phase in all the grades to on campus is moving forward. We have announced to 2nd and 3rd grade families the timeline for their return to campus; 3rd grade will begin on October 6, and 2nd grade on October 14.

We are beginning with the lower grades because older children are more independent and have more success navigating remote instruction than younger children. We will give families as much notice as possible as to when we will phase in additional grades; these updates and announcements will roll out over the next several weeks.

Update September 11, 2020

On Tuesday, Santa Cruz County moved down from the highest tier, called “Widespread” on the state’s four-tiered Blueprint system, to the second-highest tier, called “Substantial”. If Santa Cruz County remains in this tier, or lower, for 14 days — which we expect will be the case — then schools can begin opening their on-campus programs on September 22.

We are now planning to officially open campus on September 22, with a phased launch of on-campus instruction, starting with Kindergarten and First Grade, on September 23.

As always, the health and safety of our Gateway community of students, families, and staff is our primary concern. This decision has been made after consultation with Dr. Newell at the County’s health department, who has explicitly encouraged schools to open if they can meet the county’s health and safety standards; Joffe Emergency Services, our health and safety consultants; the Advisory Council comprised of some of the medical professionals among Gateway families; and discussion with other CAIS schools that have opened for in-person instruction in other parts of the state.

We are beginning with Kindergarten and First Grade because older children are more independent and have more success navigating remote instruction than younger children. We will give families as much notice as possible as to when we will phase in additional grades; these updates and announcements will roll out over the next several weeks.

A phased approach will allow us to:

  • Give our teachers time to prepare their classrooms and shift to in-person instruction,
  • Meet the developmental and learning needs of those who collectively benefit the greatest (our younger students) first,
  • Ensure that our health and safety protocols can be implemented as envisioned,
  • Adjust our campus infrastructure as needed based on student, teacher, and family experience,
  • Stay flexible and adaptive to a situation that is guaranteed to change again.

We will also launch a limited afterschool program in the next few weeks, specifically for elementary students who are not yet receiving on-campus instruction.

  • This program will be entirely outdoors, and focused on social connection and play, with a structure similar to the Ultimate Recess Summer Camp program,
  • It will run on weekdays from 3:00-5:00,
  • Sign-ups will be in two-week increments,
  • As with our regular After School Care program, there will be a direct added cost to participate,
  • More information will be shared in the weeks to come.

A number of logistical and safety protocols will be detailed to you in the coming weeks, such as procedures for arrival and departure, snack and lunch, individual materials, etc.

We know that some families may want to keep their children home, rather than participate in the On-Campus program. In the coming weeks, we will be providing information about the Opt-In Distance Learning program that we will offer alongside the On-Campus program, and give families the opportunity to choose the option in which they will have their child participate.

Update September 4, 2020

On Friday, August 28, the state government adjusted the guidelines for schools and counties regarding on-campus and off-campus instruction, and replaced the former State Monitoring List with the new Blueprint For a Safer Economy. In the new model, schools located in counties in the “Widespread” risk level must operate in distance mode, unless granted a waiver. Please note:

  • Santa Cruz is currently in the Widespread category.
  • The Santa Cruz County health department has reiterated that it is not prepared to grant waivers to any schools in the county yet, due to insufficient testing and lab capacity. 
  • There are indications that the county’s risk level could be downgraded to “Substantial” in the next several weeks, if health trends continue, which may allow for schools to open on-campus instruction.
  • There is public confusion because preschools are allowed to operate on campus, and some preschools are expanding their offerings to include kindergarten programs.

The county has approved two current options for schools to bring children to campus — neither of which is a full re-opening of the school. One is operating child care programs under the school umbrella, and in accordance with overlapping state and local guidelines for day camps, child care programs, and retail/business spaces. The other is for schools to provide targeted instruction for small groups of students under guidelines from the state’s Department of Public Health.

We are in the process of assessing both of these options, and exploring the possibilities they present. We would like to gather feedback from our community on their interest and readiness in having children participate in either an afternoon, social & play-based child care program and/or daytime small-group instruction. You can provide your input through this short survey.

Update August 21, 2020

First Day of School Postponed until Monday, August 31 at the earliest.
Due to the dynamic situation of the fire and in response to what we feel our community needs, we won’t start academic instruction until August 31st at the earliest.

Update: August 19, 2020

First Day of School Postponed to Monday, August 24
In light of the fires affecting many staff and families in the Gateway community, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the first day of school to Monday, August 24. 

As we watch our larger community affected by the fires, we want to share our support and sadness for those who are impacted.

Update: August 3, 2020

First Day of School: Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Gateway will begin the 2020-2021 school year with our Virtual Campus Program and will remain in this mode until at least September 30.

Fortunately, our planning this summer considered a number of scenarios, including this possibility. Now that we know the new school year will begin with students learning at home, we are moving full-speed ahead to implement the excellence of the Gateway program in our Virtual Campus Program.

We will continue planning to provide on campus instruction as soon as we are allowed to do so by state and local health agencies. This includes ongoing consultation from our Advisory Council of Gateway parents who are medical professionals, as well as Joffe Emergency Services, our health and safety consultants.

For more information, please refer to our Virtual Campus Program Introduction document.

Update: May 23, 2020

Our Commitment, Our Community
Gateway’s mission is to inspire children to lead lives of purpose and compassion through scholarship and citizenship. This mission and our values underlie our commitment to provide a robust educational experience whether on campus, in distance learning, or through a combination of the two. Gateway is more than a building; we are a community of scholars, families, and educators who love learning, work hard, and act courageously. With this in mind, we have developed the following scenarios for our 2020-2021 school year:

  • A full return to an On Campus Learning model with enhanced health and safety precautions,
  • A Hybrid Learning program that combines On Campus Learning and Distance Learning,
  • An enhanced and revised Distance Learning program implemented solely at home.

Click here to see our 2020-21 School Year Plan.
Click here to see the May 23, 2020 Letter to Families from Head of School Dr. Zachary Roberts.

Update: April 10, 2020

Yesterday we made the difficult but necessary decision to remain in distance learning through the end of the 2019-20 school year.  We are all disappointed that this is necessary for our community’s health and safety. At the same time, it is a unique opportunity to model the ideas of flexibility, resilience, and growth mindset for our children that are essential to their future success and happiness — as well as show them how and why we make sacrifices for the greater good. 

Please see Dr. Roberts’ video message for more information.

Update: March 27, 2020

Gateway will be extending our Distance Learning program through at least May 1, 2020, to help contain the spread of COVID-19. You may have heard that many Bay Area counties have made this decision, and Santa Cruz is following suit. While we are disappointed that we can’t return to on-campus learning yet, we will continue to deliver the best Distance Learning experience we can until the public health situation permits us to gather in person.

At this time, there are no cases and no known exposures within the Gateway community. It is our belief that making this preventative and proactive decision will help protect our entire community and affords our families and teachers time to prepare for the coming weeks.  

On the guidance of medical and public health professionals, we want to remind you that the purpose of moving to distance learning is to practice social distancing and to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19. We ask that families give serious consideration to children’s activities during our period of distance learning and to any potential Spring Break travel. Please follow any and all instructions provided to you by your health care professional.

Update: March 12, 2020

Gateway is committed to making the health and safety of our community its number one priority. In light of the continuing escalation of the number of cases of COVID-19 locally and regionally, Gateway is moving ahead quickly to prepare for a transition to distance learning. To facilitate this, we will be postponing the parent/teacher conferences scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) and Monday, so that our faculty have this time to prepare for a shift to distance learning. We will still be providing childcare for families who have signed up for that program, though we encourage you to keep your children home if you are able to do so. 

Gateway School will initiate distance learning as early as next Tuesday, March 17. At this point, we have begun cancelling and/or postponing a number of school events for next week, including the dessert contest, the Middle School dance, and the Ethics Bowl competition. After consultation with 8th grade families, we have also cancelled the 8th Grade trip to Washington DC and will be making decisions about the trips to Coloma, Marin, and Yosemite in the next week. 

In the coming days, you will get more information about our distance learning model, and how it will operate. For now, please be prepared and check your email at 3:00pm on Monday, March 16 for an announcement about picking up classroom materials to support home-based learning.

Gateway School Contacts

Let’s Stay in touch! Please share any photos of activities related to Distance Learning with Petra Bryan at petra.bryan@gatewaysc.org. #gatewayschoolsantacruz, #distancelearning, #remotelearning

Tech Questions: Jeremy King at jeremy.king@gatewaysc.org

SMART Billing Questions: Yvonne Reynolds at yvonne.reynolds@gatewaysc.org

Re-enrollment Questions: Cindy Jones at cindy.jones@gatewaysc.org

Curriculum Questions: Contact you child’s teacher or advisor or Hannah Wikse at hannah.wikse@gatewaysc.org