ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - At the Free Union Country School, in person learning was still an option for this school year due to the amount of time students spend outside.
“Our classes are smaller," Head of School Eric Anderson said. "We have groups of 10 learning pods of 10 [students]. They’re spending 75% of their time outside.”
Anderson says although not an easy process, the steps were in place to allow students to return in person.
“As a school that is accustomed to, and is comfortable with outdoor learning, we were fortunate to be able to kind of have a ready made transition for us,” He said.
But there’s added protocols to make sure everyone stays safe.
“We are masked whenever we’re inside and the doors and windows are generally open when we’re inside,” Anderson said. “Then we have equipped all our students with learning packs to carry around with them so that learning is much more mobile.”
In this model, students are able to explore more and come to their own conclusions.
“There’s a lot more discovery based learning where kids are having opportunities to be out there, explore, wonder about something then dig into it, investigate and learn in the process and kind of constructing their own understanding versus having it kind of fed to them," he said.
Anderson says there hasn’t been any issues and this school year is off to a great start.
“It’s just been really amazing and uplifting to see how readily the kids have taken to it and how everyone seems to really be thriving,” said Anderson.