BALTIMORE — Waldorf School of Baltimore celebrates having a full campus after being closed for nearly a year. Friday, March 12 of 2021 marks exactly one year since they shut down.
"We had an Extra week of spring break anticipating that we would be back in two weeks and here we are a year later and we’re just getting back," said Nancy Blackwell, a Waldorf parent.
March 12, 2020 was the last day students were inside the Waldorf building because of the coronavirus pandemic. In August, their pre-school student came back full time. There was some small group in-person learning for older grades, but they didn't return full time until this week.
Waldorf is an arts-based education and a screen free campus. Going from a place that doesn't promote technology to virtual learning for months was a big adjustment for students and staff but they got through it!
"Our faculty are as creative as our children, so we found ways of bringing that hands on piece. For example, the seventh grade doing organic chemistry unit of study and they turn their kitchens into chemistry labs with guidance of course from the teachers," said Pat Whitehead, Waldorf Executive Director.
Waldorf also does a lot of outdoor learning. They've done this pre-covid. The only change was creating new spaces so classes would not share any outdoor spaces.
Students and staff members were excited to be back together, in a safe manner. The school made sure to ease everyone into the new way of doing things.
Blackwell talked about her seventh-grade daughter's integration. She said, "her grade and other grades have been able to come on campus one day a week in the afternoon from 12-3. They practiced slowly how to come together as a class, how to socially distance in the class and how to do different activities. So the school was really prepared."
Every morning, students are dropped off in waves. First the middles schoolers and then the younger ones. Before a child can leave their car, they have to finish a pre-screening process online that goes through all the standard covid related questions and their temperature is taken. Once they're given the green light, they stand on an 'X' outside and wait their turn to enter the building.
They haven't had any covid cases on campus.
"We have worked together as a community and it’s that that’s made it possible to bring everybody back in and for everybody to be happy to be back in," said Whitehead.