RCS/OMS COVID-19 Update
Rainbow Community School and Omega Middle School will be operating fully in person for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Welcome to the 2021-22 School Year
Our theme for the year, Collective Enrichment and Continual Evolution, encourages us to learn from our best practices in pandemic education and evolve with the current landscape and guidance for Covid-19 mitigation. The health and safety of our community is paramount, as is centering our mission and vision in the student and family experience to create a pandemic-resilient learning environment. Our commitment as a community to remain flexible, responsive, and empathetic will allow for the strongest possible programming and educational experience.
Following the recommendations of public health officials, as well as local, state, and federal requirements, and with the absolute priority of safeguarding the health and well-being of our students and staff, Rainbow Community School and Omega Middle School have updated our guidance to reflect the most recent recommendations.
In the event that more prohibitive mitigation measures, such as remote or hybrid learning, are mandated or become necessary, we will implement Covid protocols used in the 2020-21 school year.
Last year we transformed and adapted to this illness. This year we are stronger, more knowledgeable, and have all the tools necessary to succeed. Together, we can create a 2021-22 school year filled with joy, heart, health, and scholarship.
General Principles & Assumptions
The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.
- We will deliver quality educational services that are consistent with our mission to our students and families.
- We will align with the Buncombe County Health Department, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), and CDC guidelines as feasible.
- We will provide clear expectations for staff, students, and families.
All staff, students, parents, and visitors must wear a face covering while on campus, regardless of vaccination status. Any considerations for an indoor experience without a face covering will require medical documentation and review by Administration for feasibility and impact.
Some Common Questions:
Following the recommendations of public health officials, as well as local, state, and federal requirements, and with the absolute priority of safeguarding the health and well-being of our students and staff, Rainbow Community School and Omega Middle School have created a phased operating plan. Beginning April 19, 2021 RCS + OMS will be operating fully in-person.
What is the policy for unenrolling from Rainbow?
The following outlines the formal policy that outlines the process for release from contract. Please know that the school is dependent on accurate enrollment information in order to build a budget that will serve the community. This policy is designed to help families understand the impact of a change in their commitment to the school while also providing an equitable system to attend to a change in a family’s needs.
RELEASE FROM CONTRACT K-8:
The Enrollment or Re-enrollment Contract confirms a family’s commitment to paying tuition at Rainbow Community School or Omega Middle School. The Tuition Agreement confirms the format preferred for tuition payments.
Families desiring to unenroll from Rainbow Community School or Omega Middle School after completing an enrollment or re-enrollment contract will be expected to pay 30% of their tuition if the decision is made prior to July 15th. Families receiving approval for release of contract after that point will be responsible for payment of services rendered and 30% of tuition. All exceptions shall be at the discretion of the director and business manager, with advisement as needed, from the finance committee.
Families who would like to be considered for tuition forgiveness must submit a letter and appropriate documentation to the finance committee with request based on one of the following considerations:
1. moving from the area too far away to commute
2. a serious medical complication that has arisen
3. if there has arisen, since the time of signing the contract, an extreme financial setback the parent/parents can document
4. If special support needs are beyond the capacity of RCS to serve.
If the finance committee approves a release from a contract before July 15, the family is only held to paying 30% of their contract. Families receiving approval for release of contract after that point will be responsible for payment of services rendered and 30% of tuition. All exceptions shall be at the discretion of the director and business manager, with advisement as needed, from the finance committee.
Is there be a COVID-specific tuition refund policy?
In her role as Executive Director, of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution, Susie Fahrer is in service to our children, families, staff and the school mission. This means she must weigh out every decision through the lens of what is feasible and supportive to these various stakeholders. She prioritizes ways to support the families that plan to stay with Rainbow in the current year, and beyond. In addition, funds are being marked for redesigning physical spaces to attend to the latest recommendations for a return to in-person learning including outdoor classrooms, cleaning materials, and any furniture to help with distancing in classroom spaces as developmentally appropriate. The budget will also prioritise keeping our staff employed and sustaining the impacts of Covid-19 and a potential recession that could unfold over the next several months. Over 85% of our budget is paid to teachers and staff, and with so many unknowns she must be cautious. She will continue to offer transparency for families and build understanding and resonance.
Will Rainbow emails and the Google Classrooms remain accessible long-term?
We do not anticipate disabling these resources over the long term, not at least without letting our community know. We understand that some students and families have come to rely on the google classroom for social interaction during isolation, and we are aware that this may serve as a resource for some to continue to make contact. We simply ask that interactions remain “school appropriate” and that parents generally monitor these interactions to ensure that is the case.
How does Rainbow's Seven Domains holistic model influence the approach to school the new school year?
“We develop accomplished, confident, and creative learners who are prepared to be compassionate leaders in building a socially just, spiritually connected and environmentally sustainable world.”
Looking ahead, we need to live into our mission with strength and integrity so that our words continue to become reality. Many people are wondering what it looks like to develop accomplished, confident and creative learners in the face of so many unknowns. Fortunately, even with mitigation strategies in place, we center meaningful learning grounded in essential skills and embedded in relevant experiences. Small group instruction is already a common best-practice employed at Rainbow, and this will help ensure distancing is in place when students are engaged in learning. Returning to an in-person approach is an opportunity to model for our students resilience, flexibility, and prioritising our shared community values. We plan to use the outdoor campus extensively for instruction that previously took place inside the classroom walls. Of course, we are planning for a wide variety of circumstances, so along with our focus on various models of in-person learning we are exploring samples of elevated remote learning that use the lessons from initial iteration and apply them to a refined approach. This includes things like stronger integration of specials, strategies to attend to diverse learners and family experiences, and incorporating some options to address the vast array of needs present when we are in isolation.
The second part of our mission in its commitment to foster compassionate leadership in building social justice, spiritual connection, and environmental sustainability feels profoundly necessary in the current climate of our nation. Over the past several years, Rainbow has committed to educating our whole community, not just our children, on the historical inequity that people of color and other marginalized groups have been fighting for years. These past months of isolation and pandemic have brought a new level of suffering to these realities and a continued level of violence that I wish I could protect all people from, and yet the reality is some remain more vulnerable than others. This truth stands as an affirmation to continue our educational obligations and institutional commitments in bringing about social justice and racial equity through teaching, learning, listening, and action. Not just for our children and families, but for the community beyond our doors. I understand my role in embracing spiritual connection as a tool for addressing potential polarity and providing the healing we crave as humans facing hardship. I believe in furthering our commitment to the earth and environmental sustainability, so visible in the movements around the world being championed by our youth. In this instance, and many more, the children are inherently wise and all we need to do is engage them.