What Gow did During COVID
Over the past 14 months, everyone has had to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic. There is light at the end of the tunnel, recently it was announced that 70% of adults had been vaccinated, lifting almost all restrictions for the state.
Despite the restrictions placed on schools in the past year, Gow evolved, and we are proud to say that we had 135 students on campus for in person instruction all year. This was not an easy thing to do, and we had to make plans, backup plans and backup to the backup plans to keep moving. In the Admissions Office, one of the top questions we are hearing from parents is, “what did you do during Covid, how did you keep everyone safe? Following the mantra of “Safe, Reasonable, and Independent” here are eight things the Gow community implemented to stay open.
1. The Gow Bubble
When students arrived on campus in August for move in day, we created a Gow bubble. Students were not allowed to leave campus and no visitors were allowed besides prescreened individuals such as delivery drivers. This meant no Admissions visits, alumni’s coming back, ACT readers, and no weekend trips. As time went on, we opened the bubble a little bit at a time. Students did not love the bubble concept but Student Council President Jaheim J. ‘21 said it perfectly, “A lot of kids can’t be in school this year, if we have to be stuck at Gow at least we get to go to school and be with our friends.”
2. Masks, Mask, Masks
This is a no brainer. Masks were always required on campus unless students were eating or in their dorm room. This was not easy for students who love being social and hate wearing masks. Faculty led by example, properly wearing masks and reminding students masks must cover their noses
3. Sanitization Stations
At the doorway of every building on campus, sanitizing stations were set up, equipped with hand sanitizer and masks.
4. Sanitizing Common Spaces
Our buildings and grounds team stepped up to the challenge of keeping everything clean, going around multiple times a day to sanitize doorknobs, couches, desks and offices.
5. Small Class Sizes
This wasn’t a huge change for our population as our average classes is no more than six. Keeping classes small allowed for students to be physically distant in class.
6. Two Assemblies
Assembly is Mr. Rogers time to teach. It is the only time of the day when we come together as an entire school to go over announcements, presentations, game recaps and our theme of the week. Due to gathering numbers being small we had to split assembly up into two shifts 6-9 and 10-12.
7. Canceling Breaks
This was a hard one for our Gow community. Typically, students are on campus for 5-weeks then get a week break and come back to campus recharged for another five weeks. With the uncertainty of the virus, we made the hard decision to cancel October and February breaks. Thankfully we were able to send students home for Thanksgiving and they got a well-deserved month off.
8. High Frequency Testing Mitigation Plan
Just as students were returning to Gow, New York State, specifically Western New York, saw a huge uptick in cases. Thankfully at the same time, testing became available for schools. Upon arrival to campus, everyone was tested. We then continued to test 25% of our population a week. In total Gow completed close to 1,000 rapid COVID tests with only one positive result.
To learn more about The Gow School please visit https://www.gow.org/