At Dawson, we always put our Mission and our people first, especially in the face of the uncertainties currently facing our community. Dawson’s administration, technology, and maintenance teams worked tirelessly all summer to develop plans and protocols designed to protect employees and students to the best extent possible. Our school has the resources and space to provide students with the education they need during a pandemic. The purpose of this page is to share Dawson's layered approach for reopening our campus for the 2020-2021 school year, including the action items to minimize, yet not eliminate, the risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus. 

List of 1 items.

  • What is the plan for operating a school during a pandemic?

    Across our nation, no matter where you live, this school year is going to be challenging. However, we also know the vital importance – now more than ever – of doing what is best for students, both academically and emotionally. For the majority of our families, this means continuing with in-person, on-campus instruction that utilizes CDC-recommended guidelines to keep students and faculty as safe as possible. For some of our families, giving students the best distance education experience possible is the priority. No matter which option you’ve selected for your student, our goal is to make this school year one of community building, intensive social-emotional care, and innovative learning. In partnership with Dawson’s high-functioning leadership team and outstanding faculty, we will provide our students with the stability and care they need, and we will help them harness our collective community energy to emerge stronger. In addition, in conjunction with our dedicated families, we will take courageous action to equip our students with the skills and mindsets needed to lead as future advocates and problem solvers. As a whole school community, we will learn from others to adapt and respond to a global climate forever changed by the events of 2020.

On-Campus Academic & Programmatic Adaptations

List of 5 items.

  • Teaching and Learning

    • Academic slide created by closure addressed through summer learning labs, ERB milestone assessments, and increased learning support employees
    • Students who are out of school due to illness will be able to move into distance learning after three days
    • Evaluating best practices for providing safe participation in classes like health & fitness, choir, orchestra, music and art
    • Class sizes limited to 18
  • Daily Academic Schedule

    • Before- and after-care will be provided
    • Morning carpool starts at 7:50 a.m. and students will go to their classrooms instead of the playground
    • Middle school will transition to a silent dismissal and be released from their advisory classrooms
    • Discontinue K-8 carpool walk down to Early Childhood
  • Student Experience

    • All field trips postponed until spring semester
    • Back-to-school orientation offered as a hybrid model: some components online with staggered campus component
    • Red Rock Athletics League canceled fall sports. Looking to postpone all sports until spring semester and adopting an abbreviated schedule to fit in all sports
    • School assemblies will take place virtually from the students' homeroom
  • Dining Hall Experience

    • 50 students (25%) capacity permitted at a time. Grade levels will follow an every-other-week schedule for eating in-class and in the Dining Hall
    • No self-serving or sharing of food or drink will be permitted
    • EC and Kindergarten students will eat in the ECEC MPR.
  • Faculty Model & Development

    • Canvas (LMS) summer training program
    • Partnering with Oesis for the training on best practices for instructional design and online learning
    • Increasing learning support team personnel numbers
    • Created two additional distance education teacher roles

Distance Education Option

List of 3 items.

  • Teaching and Learning Formats

    • Families have the option to select a distance learning format for the 2020-2021 school year
    • Use of Canvas as a learning management system
    • Quarter-long commitment: At the end of each quarter, families have the option to return to on-campus learning
    • Thursday evening option for DEO students to come on campus for electives
  • Daily Academic Schedule (DEO)

    • Live Instruction: core synchronous instruction - math, critical literacies, humanities, science, and World Langage (coordinated with on-campus instruction for grades 5-8)
    • Live Instruction: science and World Langage (coordinated with on-campus instruction for grades K-4)
    • Independent work sessions: core asynchronous assignments & homework
    • PBL Pathways: independent inquiry project with support from faculty
    • On-Campus Instrinsics: Menu of performing and visual art choices on Thursday evenings
  • Faculty Model & Development

    • Canvas summer training program
    • Increasing learning support team
    • Created additional distance education teacher positions

Operational Updates

List of 5 items.

  • Screening Protocols

    • Point-of-entry: Daily thermal camera temperature taking with infrared thermometers as a secondary check for all employees, students and vendors
    • Strong, repetitive messaging around not coming to campus if sick or exposed to COVID-19
    • Daily employee health survey using a phone app
  • Increased Hygiene Measures

    • Hand sanitizing stations at every bio-doorway and high-touch areas
    • All employees required to wear a face covering at all times when indoors. When outdoors, employees need to wear a face covering if within six feet of a student or adult
    • Face covering policies:
      • Students in grades 4-8 required to wear a face covering indoors
      • Students in grades 1-3 required to wear a face covering indoors when not seated at their desk and when they are in specials
      • Students in EC and K recommended to wear a face covering when not seated at their desk
    • Designated quarantine space in EC, LS & MS buildings
    • Personal protection gear - assorted face covering choices for employees, plexiglass barrier option for all teachers for small group work
    • Installation of plexiglass screen barriers at receptionist stations
    • Limited sharing of student supplies
    • Hourly schedule for handwashing
    • Multi-layered cleaning protocols
      • Nightly janitorial service - products & checklists designed for COVID-19 mitigation; quarterly application of antimicrobial layer
      • Daytime porters clean high-touch areas within the school day including during class breaks
      • Teachers equipped with cleaning supplies to use in classrooms
      • Deep cleaning service if COVID case was present on campus
    • Mouth features disabled on water fountains. Bottle/cup refill will be available
    • Students will have personal supplies rather than shared, where possible
    • Hygiene and spread prevention signage in classrooms and common areas
    • Upgraded HVAC filters changed quarterly; air circulation increased with intentional use of fan function
  • Human Resources & Staffing

    • Re-purpose plan in preparation for another closure and position shifts due to enrollment numbers
    • Hired a part-time nurse's assistant to assist with additional COVID-related protocols
    • Deepening substitute pool to accommodate faculty to cover illness and quarantine due to exposure
    • Hiring distance education learning support to assist with online learning and support the substitute pool
    • Employee COVID disciplinary procedures (consequences for not following protocols)
    • FFCRA paid sick leave/FMLA on top of normal leave policies
    • Employees referred to their healthcare providers and community COVID testing resources
  • Space Adjustments, Group Density Model & Limited Exposure Plan

    • Utilizing outdoor spaces for transitions versus hallways
      • Lower School exterior door usage
      • Middle School one-way hallway routes & increased passing periods
    • Reduction of exposure to campus space, students and faculty through maximum group size of 50 (typically within same grade and socially distanced)
    • Pod system utilized to limit exposure and isolate impact if virus is detected
    • Classroom seating will be adjusted to accommodate the Governor's 3-foot social distancing directive
    • To stay within group size limitation, EC-K will eat lunch in EC dining room or classrooms. Grades 1-8 will alternate eating lunch in the dining room and in classrooms/outdoors. Buffet-style service will be discontinued
    • Outdoor spaces will be leveraged for transitions and activities where possible. Additional outdoor seating added to create five
    • Lockers will be disabled to avoid congregating
    • Visitors and volunteers will be limited
    • Plexiglass barriers installed at mail reception desks in each building
  • Detection, Closures & Communication

    • Isolation of symptomatic students or faculty
    • Following CDC guidelines for quarantine requirements
    • Notification of local health officials and families
    • Affected areas closed and sanitized
    • Families referred to their healthcare providers and community COVID testing resources
    • Enhanced distance education program will be available for students who are in quarantine or placed in partial/full closures
    • Protocols for families to report confirmed/probable COVID cases or exposures included in the COVID addendum section of the family guide book and communicated in a shared commitment document
    • Internal COVID Response Team convenes to determine action required for incidents (on-campus contact tracing for 15 minutes or longer and  closer than 6-feet, quarantine/home isolation decisions, deep cleaning, community & SNHD communication). Maintain appropriate confidentiality of employees and students/families
    • Following CDC/SNHD home isolation, quarantine and return-to-work/school recommendations
    • Employees and families at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID have a path to self-identity and seek accommodation

Community Experience

List of 3 items.

  • Events

    • Events/gatherings will be limited with virtual platforms leveraged where possible
    • Spaghetti Dinner postponed
    • Food and Wine remodeled as 20th anniversary event in the spring
    • Grandparents Day rescheduled for spring semester
    • Gingerbread House repacked as an online sales event
    • Reindeer Lane moved to an online shopping experience
  • Parent Experience

    • Parent/Teacher Meet & Greets - scheduled in September and conducted via Zoom
    • Parent/Teacher Conferences: format to be determined based on the CDC recommendations
    • Parent Association meeting virtually
    • Following CDC recommendations about reducing building access for all non-employees: temporary hold on lunch visitors, volunteers, etc.
    • Plexiglass barriers have been installed at main reception desks in each building
  • Exhibitions of Learning

    • Musical presentations rescheduled for the spring semester
    • Open House currently scheduled for January
    • Winter concert remodeled
    • Farmer's Market events remodeled
    • 8th-Grade Capstone Project remodeled for virtual interviews and community outreach

Measures Not Included in the Reopening Plan

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  • Not in the Reopening Plan

    • Required broad COVID testing of all employees/students on a regular basis or before returning to work/school
    • Onsite COVID testing
    • Travel restrictions or post-travel quarantine requirements for families or employees
    • Putting restrictions on or policing off-campus activities
    • Requiring students EC-K students to wear a face covering
    • Strict enforcement of 6-feet social distancing at all times within class groups and grades
    • Plexiglass barriers between students
    • Windows generally do not open for outside air
    • Closing communal spaces entirely (dining hall, gym, library, playgrounds)
    • Suspending BASE and athletic programs
    • Staggered drop-off and pick-up times
    • Off-campus contact tracing
    • Requiring siblings to go home with a suspected minor illness or possible exposure

Financial Updates

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  • Tuition

    • 2019-2020 Tuition credit
    • 2020-2021 Tuition refund policy
    • July tuition deferment option
    • Increased Financial Aid to support families
    • Distance Education Option tuition differential to include refund for lunches (about $300.00 per quarter)

Medical Advisory Team

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  • Monthly Meetings with COVID Board Taskforce

    • Rob Freymuller, CEO Summerlin Hospital
    • Dr. Saju Joseph, General Surgeon and Surgical Oncologist
    • Dr. Martin Lee, Pediatrics
    • Dr. Brian Ault, Emergency Physician
    • Dr. Tricia Sellers, Pediatrics
    • Dr. Gary McLaughlin, Emergency Medicine Physician, Risk Management Specialist
    • Dr. Sandhya Wahi-Gururaj, M.D., Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
    • Lisa Eyler, Board Trustee
    • Oz Gutsche, Chairman of the Board
    • Carolyn Wood, Parent Trustee
    • Tom Kaplan, Parent Trustee
    • Nicole Rogers, Parent Trustee
    • Dawson COVID Taskforce: Head of School, CFO, Assistant Head of School, Chief Communications Officer, Chief of Safety and Security, School Nurse

Research Resources

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  • Research Resources

    • Family survey - May 2020
    • NAIS - National Association of Independent Schools
    • NWAIS - Northwest Association of Independent Schools
    • NBOA - National Business Officer Association
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • John Hopkins School of Public Health
    • American Association of Independent School
    • Southern Nevada Health District

The Alexander Dawson School

The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student wellbeing and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners. 
Students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.