3 Tips for Searching for a New School During a Pandemic

Disclosure :: This sponsored post is brought to you by our friends at St. Martin’s Episcopal School.

3 Tips for Searching for a New School During a Pandemic

school, preschool, covid, nolaIn a year like none we’ve ever experienced, many families are searching for a new school for their children.

COVID-19 precautions have changed the visitor protocols for schools. Many do not allow visitors on campus during the normal school day. As a result, families may find it difficult to get a “feel” for the school community, classroom/teaching styles, and connections between teachers and students. It is important to learn as much as you can about a prospective school; how a school cares for its current community is an indication of how it will care for your child and family.

So how do you make such an important decision during these trying times? Here are some helpful tips as you search for a new school during a pandemic:

Tip One :: Inquire about the prospective school’s COVID-19 policies and procedures.

    • How does it communicate case/quarantine updates with its community?
    • What distance learning options are available for students who are unable to attend in person? Does the school have 180° classroom cameras? Do the distance learning students have daily face time with their teachers?
    • What are the stats on students/faculty impacted by the virus?
    • Does the school have a full-time nurse? Are students screened every day prior to entering campus?
    • Does the school offer financial support for families impacted by COVID-19?  
    • Is the school being creative to allow some favorite events and traditions, but with certain details adjusted to ensure safety? 
    • How is the school preparing for a possible resurgence of the virus this fall/winter? Example: Does it provide students with learning devices should the campus be required to close.

Tip Two :: Ask how the prospective school is striving to balance wellness with a quality education. (Children need social and emotional support now more than ever.)

      • Does the school have full-time counselors and learning specialists?
      • What is the school’s process to identify a student who needs extra support (e.g. social/emotional, or learning), and how does the school partner with the family to help provide that support?
      • Does the school have a specific curriculum to teach skills such as communication, conflict resolution, decision-making, stress relief, self-control, etc.?
      • Does the school have a program which addresses tough topics such as suicide prevention, alcohol/drug abuse prevention, identifying early signs of depression, setting healthy limits for screen time/social media use, etc.?
      • What is the school’s discipline policy? Does it practice positive discipline strategies?
      • Does the culture of the school prioritize meeting students’ social and emotional needs as much as transferring knowledge? 

Tip Three :: Determine whether you are satisfied with the school’s admission outreach.

    • Do you get the feeling that the admission office cares about you and your family? Are your calls returned, and emails answered, in a timely manner? 
    • Is the school hosting a traditional in-person open house? If so, are you comfortable with its format? If not, is the school providing other options?
    • Videos and Zoom meetings can be helpful ways to see a campus and hear about specific programs, but does the prospective school provide an opportunity for you to hear from and interact with students, faculty, or staff beyond the admission personnel? Is the virtual event format user-friendly? 
    • Are options available for you to have an in-person visit, even if only outside of school times? 
    • Is the school giving you multiple formats and ample opportunities to learn about its programs?
    • Do you feel the school is taking the time to make sure its program is the right fit for your child? Is the school eager to provide you with information about the curriculum, enrichment opportunities, and student life, even if it means taking extra steps? 

St. Martin’s Episcopal School is here to help

Whether you’re considering a private, public, or religious school – making this choice is a big decision. St. Martin’s is here to help.

In view of the many uncertainties posed by COVID-19, St. Martin’s has created several in-person and virtual possibilities for you to learn about our school. Our campus is currently closed to visitors during school hours, but we invite you to learn about the many ways you can still visit St. Martin’s. We encourage you to read through our viewbook, learn more about our approach to curriculum on our website, schedule an evening or weekend tour of our beautiful 18-acre campus with a member of our Admission team, or join us for any of our virtual admission events, including our Live Virtual Open House on Saturday, October 24.

We hope you will get to know St. Martin’s this fall. We look forward to getting to know your family!

St. Martin’s Episcopal School is hosting a Live Virtual Open House on Saturday, October 24th.

Learn more about St. Martin’s HERE.


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