Gateway will be extending our Distance Learning program through the end of the 2019-2020 school year 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.

Finally, know that we will keep updating you and adapting to changes in the Covid-19 situation. Our students and families are what make this school so special. We will continue to communicate with you and support your child’s learning though this unprecedented event.

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

Questions & Answers

Why did we decide to implement distance learning? 

Head of School, Dr. Zachary Roberts, and the Senior Administrative team were guided by public health agencies, the expert opinions of the physicians and scientists in our local community and beyond, and by our extensive network of education, non-profit, and industry contacts in determining that a transition to distance learning was the best way for the community to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The team carefully considered the potential impact on students and families when discussing how to ensure the continuity of student learning through this program model. The Board of Trustees was kept informed of the school’s planning and decision-making throughout this evolving situation.

Please see the following articles for more information about why “flattening the curve” is an essential public health strategy at this time:
Social Distancing: This is not a snow day
A COVID-19 coronavirus update from a concerned physician

When will classes and programs resume on campus? 

We do not know for sure. At this juncture, we will not resume on-campus learning before the end of Spring Break on Monday, April 13. Should conditions warrant an extension of our distance learning program, we will make a determination at that time. We simply don’t know what conditions will be like a month from now. Of course, it is our intention to provide as much advance notice as possible in the event we would need to extend  our distance learning program.

Why don’t we just close until summer, reopen then to teach on campus?

There are a number of reasons for this. First, interrupting instruction for an extended period of time undermines the arc of student learning (which is why you often hear of “summer slide” where students might grow rusty with some skills or forget some information). Second, our faculties’ contracts are specifically for the duration of the scheduled academic year, and many are unavailable to teach during the summer. Third, not all students are able to attend school during the summer. And finally, given that we do not know how long we will need to follow social distancing protocols, delaying instruction into the summer months in the hope of returning to campus is not something we can guarantee or plan on at this time. 

Isn’t distance learning just homeschooling? 

We don’t think so! Homeschooling can mean many different things to different people, and there is a vast community of theory and practice about how to do effective homeschooling. In our Distance Learning program, the curriculum is designed by Gateway teachers, and presented in a mix of on-line learning and independent, home-based learning activities. Teachers have been preparing materials and detailed plans to continue learning and engage with students individually and as a class. Though parents and caregivers may need to give some support, most assignments are designed for children to do independently. After all, we understand that many of you will be trying to get your own work done as well.

What is the schedule for distance learning?

Different grades have different schedules. You will receive relevant information directly from your children’s teachers, as well as from Hannah Wikse, Assistant Head of School. 

How do teachers support children with 504 plans, STST Action Plans and IEPs?

Though the virus will make it a challenge, our goal is to provide our students with the same high quality attention they receive in the classroom. We will continue to support your child’s learning just as we would on campus. Our teachers will continue to uphold all 504 plans and IEP recommendations that are applicable to online learning. Students who receive learning support under the guidance of Kris Broek, Resource Support Coordinator, will continue to be offered this during the distance learning program. Kris will be reaching out to families directly with information on continued support and will be working closely with teachers to ensure your child’s ongoing success. 

What’s the plan for children who work with outside service providers?

Kris Broek has contacted tutors and support providers who currently work with Gateway students and families, and asked them to contact the individual families they work with to determine how best to support the children during distance learning. 

Can I ask teachers to tutor my child?

Gateway teachers are not allowed to tutor students in their grade, or the grade one level above or below the grade they teach. In the context of the current distance learning program, teachers may only take on new tutoring clients when they are:

  • needing support identified in an IEP, 504 Plan, STST Action plan, or identified by their classroom teacher as below grade-level benchmarks, 
  • outside of regular school hours (8:30-3:30),
  • compensated directly by the family for their time and effort.

Please do not ask a teacher to tutor your child for purposes of individual acceleration or enrichment during our COVID-19 distance learning program.