Coronavirus Resources

There is nothing normal about our “new normal,” but The Walker School is here to help our families and community navigate this journey. Check here often for new information, such as Virtual Activities, Counselors' Corner, and more.

If you have questions or suggestions, please submit them by clicking on the Questions/Feedback button in the upper right of this page. 

Walker Community Updates

April 2, 2020

To view the update video, click here.

These are uncertain times for everyone. Some in our community are dealing with family health issues, some are on the front lines fighting COVID-19, while others are working to balance the well-being of their family with their child's learning and their own work.
 
During times like these, we must come together and reach deeply into our reserves of courage. A dear friend of mine shared this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Our mascot, the Wolverine, is known for being fierce in the face of a threat.  Like our beloved Wolverine, let’s commit to being strong in the face of uncertainty, and led by our mission and core values, let’s also be wise, empathetic and understanding.
 
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — we are here for you and your family.  This three-week sprint we’ve been on is now turning into a marathon.  I know you heard that Governor Kemp has closed public schools for the remainder of this school year. While this is very hard to hear, we believe this action is wise.  Walker will, therefore, extend distance learning for the rest of the school year. Of course, this has a major impact on so many families, teachers, students. We will walk through this together.  
 
This news also impacts many school-related events, celebrations, and traditions, and we are working to communicate with you about each of these spring events — from the Kindergarten Celebration to Graduation.
 
To the Class of 2020, please know that we are working diligently to ensure that you are honored and celebrated. Our community loves you and supports you, and we know it hurts not to have the senior events you’ve always looked forward to. While we can't guarantee when graduation will happen, we are committed to honoring you in person when it is safe for us to come together as a community. 
 
Our faculty has done an incredible job of pulling together positive learning experiences for our students across all divisions. Like you, I am so proud of their efforts.  In light of the governor’s call to stay sheltered and continue learning online, and given the valuable feedback we received from our Walker parents about the online learning experience, we will be using Monday, April 13, the Monday after Spring Break, as a Professional Development Day to help us map out the final six weeks of school.
 
With Spring Break upon us tomorrow, we recognize there are two opposing needs in our community: On one hand, our faculty, staff, students and parents need a break from the intensity of the past three weeks; and on the other hand, many parents see the break as a real challenge as they try to forge ahead with their professional work while simultaneously attending to their children.  Please know that in addition to the virtual resources that already exist on our website, a team of people at Walker, including students, are working to add more fun activities for students to engage in during Spring Break, if needed. It is our hope that these activities provide opportunities for students to stay engaged during Spring Break and the Professional Development Day.  
 
And, if I may add, don’t be afraid to let your children be bored sometimes. I love this quote from Dorothy Parker: “The cure for boredom is curiosity; there is no cure for curiosity.” Boredom will lead to curiosity if we let it.
 
This is a lot to take in, and I know we were all dealing with a great deal already.  We are planning to have a town-hall webinar on Zoom following Spring Break so that we can come together as a community, share updates, acknowledge our heroes and our challenges, and have a time of question and answer. 
 
I want to close by sharing an idea about parenting in challenging times.  One of the best pieces of advice I have heard about leadership in the face of fear, danger, and uncertainty is this: A leader should absorb chaos, project calm, share hope.  This is excellent advice for parents, too.  As we face uncertainty and fear, we need to model this type of leadership to our children.  That is what they will remember the most from this moment in history - how we related to them, how we loved them, how we projected calm and shared hope.
 
We are Wolverine Strong. Take care.


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Update March 27, 2020
Happy Friday afternoon Wolverine nation!
 
Thank you for your adaptability in transitioning to the online platform, and thank you for your feedback. I have received numerous emails expressing gratitude for the way our teachers have risen to this challenge, kept teaching and learning alive, and continued to stay connected to our students.
 
I also need to thank each and every parent for working with us to keep students engaged in learning. I know you are wearing too many hats rights now, and I just want to thank you for persevering in your efforts to balance home, work, and school all at the same time.
 
As you know, Gov. Kemp extended the deadline for public schools being closed to Friday, April 24. We agree with that approach. At this point, we will plan on being closed at least through April 24
 
Being closed is doubly effective if we stick to the policy of social distancing. It is so important that we try to flatten the Coronavirus curve, and the best way we can do that is to practice social/physical distancing from each other. And as Spring Break approaches at the end of next week, please make sure you continue to follow the guidelines of the community in which you live.
 
Go enjoy the weekend.  Take a break from all things electronic, go for a walk, play some board games, enjoy the weekend. Take care.


Update March 18, 2020

Thank you so much for the feedback on the first day of online learning. We really appreciate it. I am so thankful for all of the time our teachers have put in to prepare for this new approach and also very grateful for the flexibility of our students and parents. Day One certainly seems to have gone well.
 
Our CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE PAGE continues to grow and is updated daily. I want to share two additional resources I think you may find very valuable and are housed on the page:
  • Virtual Activities page: CLICK HERE to access a variety of links in cool categories like Animals, Arts, Athletics/Exercise, Geography & Landmarks, STEM, and History. Click on the button in the righthand corner of the page to share activities your family is doing.
  • Counselors' Corner: CLICK HERE to access Strategies, Resources and Contact Information that will be useful as each family works to find social/emotional balance in this online landscape.
You can also follow us and share on social media: Walker is very active, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. Follow us, share and mention @thewalkerschool.org in your posts, as relevant.
 
Finally, given the Governor’s call for all schools to be closed through the end of March, we are not going to return to school the week before Spring Break. It will be important to honor Spring Break so families have some downtime and a break from the pace of distance learning.
 
We will keep you informed regarding a return to campus date, but at this point, we will not be back on campus until at least Monday, April 13.

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Update March 14, 2020
We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you about the importance of social distancing. Social distancing, staying away from others as much as possible, is critical to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is why Walker and other schools closed and businesses are encouraging employees to work from home. 
 
Social distancing “will help tremendously as we all work together to slow the transmission of this disease,” said Janet Memark, District Director of Cobb & Douglas Public Health. “It is very important that our residents respect these efforts, and we ask families to adhere to social distancing recommendations.” 
 
Social distancing, according to the CDC and other health organizations, includes discouraging students and staff from gathering or socializing anywhere, including friends' houses, a favorite restaurant or local shopping areas. You can go out to pick up items, but reduce your exposure by keeping trips as short as possible.
 
We realize how challenging this may be for our families and students, especially since they are not able to see their friends in school, but this is a great opportunity to spend time as families. We also will be offering fun activities for all ages. 
 
If you begin having symptoms or have risk factors associated with COVID-19, call your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 1-866-782-4584 for assistance. If you or someone in your family needs urgent help, call 911. 
 
For more information about Walker's response to COVID-19:
 
Thank you for your help as we try to "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread.
 
We look forward to resuming school virtually next week. 

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Update March 12, 2020


The Walker School’s Coronavirus Taskforce has been closely monitoring the quickly evolving news and information about the spread of COVID-19 in our region. 

While the Walker community does not have any known or suspected cases of COVID-19, our taskforce has decided proactively to close The Walker School beginning this Friday, March 13. This includes all school-sponsored on- and off-campus activities until further notice.

The CDC affirms that schools with identified cases of COVID-19 in their broader community (Cobb County or metro Atlanta), may temporarily dismiss school as a strategy to slow the further spread of COVID-19.  We have made this decision based on our top priority to protect the health and safety of our students, families and employees and by our communal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Details of the closure:
  • Walker will be closed beginning Friday, March 13. 

  • Friday and Monday will be professional development days for faculty/staff. 

  • The Instructional Continuity Plan will begin Tuesday, March 17.

  • Walker will be operating under the Instructional Continuity Plan that families will receive from their respective Division Heads. We are confident in our ability to deliver a quality educational experience remotely. 

  • All buildings and facilities will be closed to students and parents beginning Friday, March 13. We are meeting with all students this afternoon so they can best prepare for the closure.

  • All athletics (practices and games), arts (rehearsals and performances), and club activities will be canceled as of Friday, March 13. We recognize these cancellations will be deeply disappointing to students who have been working hard to prepare for their seasons and performances, but we need to prioritize their long-term health and safety. We will update our community about resuming the athletics and arts programs as soon as we can, and more information will be shared in the coming weeks. 
I want to emphasize that during this closure, all of us have a responsibility. School closures will not be effective unless they are accompanied by social distancing strategies. We ask that you restrict your social interactions during this period. If our student body is out and about, spending time with various friend groups, the virus is more likely to continue its spread. 
 
Thank you for your patience and support as we work together for the health and well-being of every person in our community.  We will continue to evaluate the situation over the next two weeks and will reassess on Friday, March 27th. Throughout this closure, you will receive regular email communications from us and updates will continue to be posted to Walker’s CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE PAGE.
 
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Update March 11, 2020

Like you, we have been closely following the increase in COVID-19 cases and want to provide you with an update regarding our plans for remote learning, events, food service, athletics and travel. 
 
We continue to work closely with the Cobb Douglas Health Department and monitor the CDC, Georgia Department of Health and the Department of State websites for guidance. This is a fluid situation, and our Coronavirus Response page is your one-stop-shop for all updates.
 
Remote learning
This week our administration and faculty have been busy discussing and finalizing plans for remote learning should we have to close for an extended period of time. We will be sending surveys via email for students and parents to complete asking what types of technology are available at home. For students in grades PK(3)-8th grade, the survey will be sent to parents. Upper School students will complete their surveys during advisory tomorrow. We will use this information to determine who will need additional support. Please complete those surveys by the deadline given.
 
Events
  • Off-campus student events: We are canceling all off-campus outings through Spring Break and will re-assess post-Break events. The exception is Prom, which is currently scheduled to go as planned.
  • On-campus events: Events such as fine arts, athletics, the Book Fair, etc. are continuing as planned. The exception is the Red Cross Blood Drive, which has been canceled.
Food
All self-service items in each division have been removed and are now being served by Sage employees. Out of an abundance of caution, we also switched to plastic utensils. We appreciate Sage's partnership in keeping our community safe.
 
Athletics
Today we shared with our coaches and players some guidelines to keep them as safe as possible. These include players bringing their own water bottles to practice and games, washing their water bottles every day and limiting unnecessary contact with other players, including handshakes, high-fives, fist-bumps, etc. We also emphasized the importance of handwashing and face-touching.
 
Travel
We realize that Spring Break is quickly approaching and that many in our community have plans to travel.
  • International travel: Per CDC and Department of State guidelines, we ask that you consider not traveling to the following countries – China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea. If you do travel to these countries, you will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. 
  • Cruises: The U.S. Department of State recommends against cruise ship travel. “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.” 
  • Domestic Travel: There are currently no restrictions for domestic travel; however, this could change at any moment. Based on recommendations from the CDC, it is best to avoid large gatherings.
On a very positive note, a star was born this morning when our Emily Adams, Science Department Chair, made her cameo appearance on The Weather Channel’s AMHQ show. She was fantastic, and we are proud to have her represent Walker. Check out her appearance here. 
 
These are uncertain times that call for thoughtful and often times last-minute action. We appreciate your support and flexibility.

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Update March 8, 2020

As many of you have probably heard, it was announced yesterday that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Cobb County. This case involved a person who had traveled from Italy and is quarantined.
 
Based on yesterday's developments, we want to provide a few updates and reminders:

Do not be alarmed by the Cobb County case: We had a follow-up conversation with Lisa Crossman, Deputy Director of Cobb & Douglas Public Health, after the new case was announced yesterday. She said we should not be alarmed by the most recent case because the person had traveled to Italy and is quarantined.

Walker should continue doing what we are doing to address COVID-19: We shared our actions with Crossman. She also reviewed our COVID-19 webpage and said we should continue our efforts around prevention, including education, cleaning and planning for possible closure. She said we should continue following the sources we have been consulting for our information (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Georgia Department of Health, State Department).

We need your continued help to keep our community as safe as possible:
  • Follow our hygiene guidelines: You can view them here.
  • Follow our illness policy: This applies to all faculty, staff, students and parents. THE POLICY CAN BE FOUND HERE. 
  • Travel: While the situation remains dynamic, as of today, the CDC has placed five countries on Level 2 or Level 3 travel alerts: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan. CDC guidelines for travelers returning to the United States from those countries currently states, "travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States and practice social distancing." Please know that self-quarantine would apply to students, faculty and staff in our community and includes staying home from school and work. We are eager to help any student in quarantine circumstances with keeping up with school work. Please contact your appropriate division head if your family is affected by any such travel quarantine so we can help. 

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Update March 3, 2020

Covid-19 Taskforce:
 We have formed a group that includes School Nurse Dana Ferguson, Science Department Chair Emily Adams, Division Heads and leaders from departments including Communications, Technology, Facilities and Operations, and Human Resources to ensure we are addressing all of the areas that may impact our community. This group met for the first time this morning to discuss areas such as preventive hygiene measures we can take, travel guidelines, preparedness for online learning in the event of a prolonged closing, communications and more. This group will meet at least once a week, and subgroups for major areas will meet more often.

Prevention/Education: 
We are leaning heavily into education about how to prevent Covid-19. Just this morning, Emily Adams shared a very informative lesson during our Upper School Assembly. Please watch THIS VIDEO OF HER PRESENTATION.

Additionally, epidemiology students are working with Lower School students about how to wash their hands, informational fliers are being posted in each division reminding everyone about how to prevent the virus, and teachers are giving students ample time to wash their hands thoroughly.

Travel: We are following the CDC and Department of State's recommendations for travel. At this time, there are no restrictions on domestic travel. Of course, this is an extremely fluid situation, so, like you, we are monitoring this very closely. As always, a parent decision regarding your child's safety takes precedence and will be honored by our school

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Update Feb. 27, 2020

The advice for the coronavirus is similar to the precautions we recently provided to combat the flu and other viruses. For the health and safety of our entire school community, please adhere to these guidelines. 
 
Potential school closings: We are formulating a plan and communication regarding ongoing teaching and learning should it be necessary to have an elongated school closing. Such a plan would take advantage of Walker Web as well as live online tools such as Zoom and Google Hangouts.
 
Student travel: With regards to student travel, such as the scheduled Model U.N. trip to U.C. Berkeley next week, we are monitoring State Department guidelines for travel and will remain in communication with those families involved in school travel.
 
As always, you have final authority on safety decisions regarding your children. Please know our highest priority is looking out for the safety and welfare of our entire community.
  • Main Campus

    700 Cobb Parkway North
    Marietta, GA 30062
    770.427.2689
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    830 Damar Road
    Marietta, GA 30062
    770.427.2689
The Walker School is a private, co-ed day school offering opportunities in academics, arts, and athletics for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students in Metro Atlanta.