Breaking News: Graded Moves into Phase 3


On Thursday, October 29th, Superintendent Richard Boerner met with the Graded community through Zoom to communicate the school’s transition into Phase 3 of reopening in compliance with the Ministry of Education’s decree. The government’s guidelines prioritizes the High School, allowing all academic learning to resume, but with mandatory physical distancing and restrictions. For the Middle and Lower School, however, Flight Testing will look similar to that of the month of October.


Grades 11 and 12 will have priority for arrival due to their IB courses, and as such, will be the first to return for 14 days. Their dates for in-person learning are November 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 26, and 30 while for December it’s 1, 3, 4, 15, 16, and 17. For grades 9 and 10, their dates for return will be November 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, and December 7, 8, 10, 11, and 14


It is of utmost importance that students wear their Lanyards and ID badges to school. Mr. Boerner made this clear as he outlined how lanyards are used to ensure that students remain in their convos, and ID badges are the only way students can access campus. While the food service will remain the same as in Phase 2 of Flight Testing, one change will include pick up and drop off. Because there will be more students on campus at a time the students will now be allowed to enter the campus as early as 8:15 am. Furthermore, cars can enter the school at 3:00 pm while they wait for students to be let out at 3:15 pm. In all cases, families are encouraged to continue using the Filho Sem Fila app.


Moreover, Mr. Boerner made it clear that because grade 11 and 12 students are in one convo each and will be the grades present on campus for the majority of the time, they have been given a large responsibility. Whereas if a 9th or 10th grader is found to have COVID during Phase 3, only the 20 students in their convo alone will be required to quarantine for 14 days, if an 11th or 12th-grade student reports positive contact tracing is more complicated. If these students are found to have only been in contact with a minority of their grade, then whoever they had classes with will be asked to quarantine. However, if a student’s schedule while on campus has them in contact with more than 60 students, then the entire grade will be told to stay home. With this in mind, Mr. Boerner emphasized how it is a privilege for students to be on campus, and thus he stressed that the community considers the totality of everyone’s efforts to remain open when allowing their children to socialize without masks.


Phase 3 of “Eagles Flight Testing” is scheduled from November 4th to 30th. While the government has announced that they will publish another decree outlining the regulations for December on November 19th, Graded has already started planning for December with the mentality that it will be similar to the upcoming month. Mr. Boerner emphasized that Graded has an extremely talented team that has been working endless hours to craft over 15 models to ensure that Graded is ready for whatever hurdles are placed in its way.


While Phase 3 of “Flight Testing” is less strict than previous phases, there are still restrictions that will be put in place. Primarily, it will look different for High School students than for Middle and Lower schoolers. Parents will continue to not be allowed onto campus, and busing and carpooling will remain unavailable. Furthermore, while Varsity Athletics will begin in person by convos, clubs and enrichment activities will stay online.


The current municipal government’s decree permits the capacity of high school students to increase to 50 percent, while middle and lower school students remain at 20 percent. Mr. Boerner explained how Graded’s tremendously large outdoor campuses are an advantage compared with other schools. This is because it will allow for more students to return to campus while continuing to physical distance, and permit for 240 students to be able to enjoy a safe lunch distanced and without masks outside– in addition to the 80 students who can fit, under the guidelines, inside the cafeteria. 


Mr. Boerner emphasized how high school academics will take top priority. Graded, unlike other schools that have chosen to abandon distance learning as students return to campus, will pursue a dual synchronous learning experience. This means that while Grade highly encourages families currently in São Paulo to allow their children to attend classes in person, students who choose to remain home will have the same learning opportunities and will not be placed at a disadvantage. On the other hand, while the dual synchronized learning plan ensures equity in learning, it is more demanding for our teachers. For those who choose not to return to campus, they will not have to remain online for the full 80 minutes of class. Graded will send out another survey on Friday for parents to decide whether their students will return to campus or stay home for the entire month. 


“Flight Testing” looks different for each grade level. This, in turn, creates many scheduling restrictions. The new schedule reflects the creative solutions Graded has proposed to overcome the complexities brought by various constraints. However, one concern that Mr. Boerner brought up was the challenges of dual synchronous learning for faculty with school-aged children. This is because many teachers do not have anyone to watch their children while they are at school when their days on campus do not coincide. Consequently, because over 30 faculty children need support from Graded, these students will be prioritized above all others.


Apart from this select group of students, Mr. Boerner outlined how Graded will stick to its original plan of prioritizing two distinct groups: the younger learners, who are at a critical time in their cognitive learning development, and the Juniors and Seniors, who are preparing to take exams crucial for their college admissions.

To conclude, Mr. Boerner shared the statistics collected during Eagles Flight Testing. The school had 22 cases reported during the month of October. In all cases, Mr. Boerner ensured contact traced and followed through. The data the school received with this showed that while we have had covid positive students and staff, there is “no evidence of transmission while on campus from one student or staff to each other.” With this in mind, Mr. Boerner ensured that Graded is remaining cautiously optimistic as it enters this new phase of learning.