Return to Learning 2020-21

Five months is too long to be separated from our Falcon Family. Fort Worth Country Day has taken judicious, studied and significant steps to make our campus as safe as possible for the health and well-being of our community. We will make full use of our incredible space, indoors and out, our generous teacher-student ratios, and our wonderful community spirit to establish a unique, yet very familiar, FWCD experience of our school for the 2020-21 school year. Review our reopening start dates

Fort Worth Country Day’s core values have only grown stronger during our time apart. As a caring and connected community, we are eager to remind each other that, while families perhaps have developed different approaches to COVID-19 in their five months away, as we come back together, we must show respect and kindness and, above all, responsibility to our community as we continue to each do our part to moderate the impact of this virus.

In order to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of exposure to everyone within the FWCD community, we expect all members -- students, parents, faculty and staff -- to commit to fostering a community of care. We have a shared responsibility for one another’s health and safety throughout this unprecedented time. Meeting this responsibility will require making a commitment to practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks, practicing good personal hygiene, and taking safety precautions very seriously in our daily lives, in and outside of school. This shared responsibility is imperative to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for in-person programming for all of our students and teachers. We must all do our part to prevent the spread of the virus and maintain safety.

Even with FWCD’s significant preparations and precautions, some in our community do not feel comfortable returning to in-person instruction. We support you; while it will not be the same as being in class, our blended learning plans will keep your child on-track academically and engaged virtually. We will be ready for your return when you feel most comfortable.

Our daily practices will emphasize protection and prevention:

  • Daily Self-monitoring: Check symptoms for every student and adult. 
  • Healthy Hygiene: Wash and sanitize hands frequently.
  • Physical Distancing: Maintain at least 6 feet of distance.
  • Required Masks: Wear a face mask indoors and when social distancing isn’t feasible outdoors. 

In our June 19 publication, we established clear expectations for the 2020-21 school year. Our Guiding Principles and Essential Commitments from that document have driven our preparation to arrive at this Return to Learning website.

Guiding Principles

To fulfill the School’s mission and retain the unique qualities that make Fort Worth Country Day a school of significance, we have established protocols and programming to safely allow maximum full-time attendance on campus for all students, faculty and staff for the 2020-21 academic year. We also know that government mandates can compel us to close our campus to students, forcing us to utilize our distance learning program. Our guiding principles are:

Reopening Information

List of 4 items.

  • School-Wide Health and Safety Measures

    FWCD’s 280,000 square-feet of campus buildings and 104 acres of land allows students to be spaced safely at distance in classrooms and also allows regular opportunities for important time outside, at distance, without masks. This is the perfect opportunity to leverage our amazing trees and our lush lawns as bonus class space. By pitching four classroom-size tents and strategically placing bleachers around campus for class use, we are able to provide distance seating for some classes (where practical), with mask break times and fresh air. In addition, the following health and safety measures are required in each division:

    • Temperature checks on arrival each morning at school via cumulus scanners placed at seven required building entrances
    • Clean masks required (no gaiters or bandanas will be allowed)
    • Designated entry and exit points for all buildings
    • Assigned seating for all students to enhance contact tracing
    • Hand sanitizer upon school entry; frequent hand-washing throughout the day
    • Physical distancing (6 feet) and group size limitations
    - Cohorts by homeroom in Lower School; grade-level groupings in Middle School; and, with some exceptions, cohorts by two grades (9-10 and 11-12) in Upper School
    - Classroom desks and tables distanced in compliance with guidelines
    - One-way pedestrian traffic flow

    • Frequent cleaning and disinfection utilizing the Total 360 System (e.g., between FDP seatings) 
    - Each classroom has its own disinfecting kit

    • School Nurse and additional health support team
  • Classrooms

    • Teachers are encouraged to keep doors windows open for extra ventilation whenever possible.
    • Teachers are able to hold classes outdoors whenever possible.
    • Cleaning supplies will be provided for all faculty and staff so that classrooms and offices can be cleaned and disinfected during the day as needed, before Housekeeping staff deep cleans and sanitizes in the evening with the Total 360 System.  
    • Faculty will be responsible for wiping down high-touch surfaces (door knobs/handles, desks/tables, chairs, countertops, handrails, light switches, shared toys, shared technology equipment, etc.) within their classrooms during the day. Students also may be asked to wipe down their own desks between classes.
  • Facilities Strengths, Enhancements and Adjustments

    • 104-acre, 14-building campus allows ample space for social distancing and limiting group sizes
    • Bipolar ionic units and photohydroionization enhancements for HVAC systems installed
    • Seven cumulus scanners featuring an intelligent, thermographic monitoring system with built-in AI face detection for an efficient and streamlined solution for the detection of elevated or abnormal body temperature
    • Multiple large commercial tents for classrooms and flex spaces
    • Significant furniture removal to storage
    • Physically distanced desks and tables in classrooms
    • Repurposed common areas for learning spaces as necessary
    • Frequent cleaning of campus spaces and high-touch areas
    • Floor decals and signage for spacing and traffic flow throughout buildings
    • Reduced-capacity in restrooms to allow for physical distancing 
    • Designated isolation rooms for COVID-19 symptomatic students
  • Technology Enhancements

    • Technology (cameras and audio) in every classroom and in ancillary learning spaces to accommodate synchronous, live instruction to students participating at home
    • Additional computer loaners available as needed
    • Additional peripheral devices (graphic tablets and document cameras) purchased
    • Zoom software licensed for all faculty and administration for secure video-conferencing and instruction
    • Additional software (SeeSaw, EdPuzzle, Screen-Cast-O-Matic, and others) purchased to facilitate many pedagogic activities
    • Faculty participation in professional development and training sessions through the summer to assist in preparation for in-person, blended and remote learning models.

School at FWCD

FWCD has prepared for three modes of learning in the 2020-21 academic year. Decisions to transition between the modes will be informed by local state and national public health guidance, including the Centers for Disease Control and Tarrant County Public Health, as well as FWCD’s Medical Advisory Team and local conditions.

List of 3 items.

  • On-campus learning icon

    On-Campus Learning

    All students/faculty engaged in learning/teaching on campus following safety protocols.
  • Blended Learning

    Most students/faculty engaged in learning/teaching on campus, the rest engaged in distance learning/teaching from home. The students at home are not engaged in FWCD Online; rather, they are connected to their classroom with a live audio and visual feed and follow the in-person student schedule
  • FWCD Online

    All students/faculty engaged in distance learning from home (when mandated). Lower and Middle Schools follow unique online schedules. Upper School maintains it’s in-person school schedule virtually.

Schedules for On-Campus (In-Person) and Blended Learning

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Arts and Athletics

FWCD’s mission is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college-preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics. That mission remains true in these unusual circumstances, and yet the delivery of our arts and athletics experiences will be significantly altered.


List of 2 items.

  • JK-6 Physical Education

    • JK-4 will participate in formal PE every other day. Lower School students will use one gym, the wrestling room and various outdoor spaces to facilitate healthy distancing. On non-PE days, Lower School students will have the opportunity to be outside with their teachers for outdoor breaks. 
    • Grades 5-6 will participate in formal PE three out of four days and will use one gym and various outdoor spaces. Daily recesses will be outdoors when weather permits.  
    • Cleaning agents will be readily available in both gyms. Equipment will be cleaned after each class.
    • Students will participate in PE activities, indoors and outdoors with social distancing always carefully monitored.
    • Students will not have locker room access and will not dress out for PE or ballet.
  • Grades 7-12 Athletics

    • Competitive athletics will be optional for the 2020-21 academic year.
    • Athletics decisions will be based on Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) and local health guidelines.
    • Coaches will take attendance daily on new FinalForms software, which includes a symptom check requirement before practices and can also be used for contact tracing and medical updates.
    • Each sport will have written detailed protocols and procedures, with social-distancing guidelines in place, as students enter and exit the locker rooms before and after practice/games.  
    • Students will be given staggered dress-out times that are supervised by individual coaches and follow social distancing guidelines.
    • A maximum of 5-6 athletes will be permitted in the Athletic Training Room at one time.
    • Grades 7-8 student-athletes will practice during I and J periods (2:20-4 p.m); practices will start at 4:15 p.m. and end at 6 p.m. for Upper School student athletes.
    • Belongings will be collected from locker rooms at staggered times after practices.


List of 9 items.

  • Ballet

    • Students will continue ballet instruction with social-distancing measures in place.
    • Students in grades 7-12 will be assigned dress-out times.
    • Students in grades 4-6 will not dress out.
    • Ballet classes will also be available via Zoom for those students studying remotely.
  • Visual Art

    • Students will have individualized supplies whenever possible.
    • In Upper School, instruction continues in photography, ceramics, and painting and drawing with social distancing measures within each classroom.
  • Lower School Music

    • At this time, there will be no singing in large groups until further studies are available to ensure safe practices.
    • Students will participate in movement activities to include beat movement, expressive movement and body percussion while maintaining social distance.
    • Teachers will utilize recorded music in various genres and children’s literature to explore sounds, musical form and focused listening. Classes will also continue developing music literacy skills.
  • Band

    • At this time, there will be no playing of wind instruments indoors until further studies are available to ensure safe practices. Students will work on solo instrumental work at home and outdoors at safe distance when weather permits.
    • Students will continue the study of music appreciation, music history, theory and move to rhythmic instrumentation.
    • Honor band audition opportunities will be provided.
  • Choir

    • At this time, no singing in large groups until further studies are available to ensure safe practices.
    • Students will work on music appreciation, music history, music literacy, motion, songwriting, and solo work.
    • Show choir students will receive movement instruction.
  • Orchestra

    • Classes will resume with social-distancing measures in place, with students wearing masks while playing.
    • Course content also will include the study of music theory and music history.
  • Theatre

    • The Upper School theatre production will provide an opportunity to audition in an online format. We will continue to move forward with the production of the play and pair auditions and casting to honor the cohorts system established in the Upper School.
    • Classes will focus on individual work for both online/in-person projects, as well as recorded shared submissions
  • Technical Theatre

    • Students will explore several tools to discuss topics in technical theatre.
    • Students will support the Upper School and Middle School in the platform chosen.
    • For inside-the-shop activities, students will observe physical distancing while they work and learn onstage.
  • Student Media

    • Students will be provided personal logins for access to Adobe Creative Suite (software used to produce the newspaper, yearbook and video), such as InDesign, Photoshop and Premiere). This software can be downloaded onto student devices and also accessed from classroom computers. 
    • Print editions of the paper are on hold at least through the first quarter; students are encouraged to contribute to a more robust Falcon Quill Online.

List of 10 items.

  • FWCD Online

    FWCD Online is the teaching and learning model we will provide when an entire division is compelled, by local health order or other government mandate, to close the campus to students. Linked below are the overhauled versions of our online program for Lower and Middle Schools. Note that the Upper School follows the same schedule whether they are at home or online.

  • Blended Model: Supporting Students at Home

    Sensitive to the different needs in our community, Fort Worth Country Day is committed to providing synchronous access to its classrooms for students who elect to stay home for a quarter at a time or are forced to stay home as a result of illness or quarantine/isolation expectations. 

    To be clear, the blended learning experience is separate and distinct from FWCD Online. 

    The student who selects to learn from home while classes are in session on campus must access the class as it is occurring (i.e., synchronous learning). Students will be able to be seen by the teacher and classmates; they will be able to ask and answer questions. FWCD Online, on the other hand, occurs when the entire division or the entire school is learning remotely and involves the unique divisional schedules linked in the FWCD Online section.
  • Food Service

    We have great confidence in SAGE Dining Services to provide nutritious, quality food to our students during this time. SAGE has safely served more than 30 communities throughout the pandemic and specifically has tailored its approach to meet FWCD’s needs. Together, we will implement a formal process to provide students in grades 5 -12 with a choice for their lunch items to include a hot lunch, sandwich, or salad. Meals will be pre-packaged. FWCD will not serve breakfast until further notice. View the SAGE plan here

    Students in grades K-4 will have SAGE meals delivered to their classrooms. For the 2020-21 school year only, Lower School parents will have the option of sending their child to school with a prepared lunch conforming with our allergy protocols. Contact Tom Mitchell, Chief Financial and Operations Officer, if you are choosing to provide lunch for your student this year. 

    Middle School students will eat in two shifts: Grades 5-6 will eat first, while grades 7-8 are in class. They will then switch. Students will pick up their food to-go in the Fischer Dining Pavilion and eat outside, when weather permits, or in the classroom if not. Students will also have recess during this time.

    Upper School students will eat in the Fischer Dining Pavilion in two shifts: Grades 9-10 will eat first, with a break in-between for cleaning, followed by grades 11-12. Significant plexiglass shielding will provide safety enhancements.
    For more information about SAGE at FWCD, visit the SAGE Dining Services at FWCD microsite at
  • SOAR Extended Care

    In previous years, FWCD’s model for SOAR Extended Care featured a large gathering of students across multiple grades in a common space. In our current environment, this extended care format would result in significant cross-pollination of our student cohorts, increasing our risk of having to quarantine multiple classes and grades in the event of a single positive case. To minimize chain-reaction closures within the School, FWCD has made the very difficult decision to pause SOAR Extended Care for the 2020 fall semester.

    Recognizing that families will need childcare solutions this semester that may extend beyond our traditional 3-6 p.m. extended care hours, FWCD has shifted focus to providing FWCD families with resources that can address each family’s individualized childcare needs. Please refer to the Feathered Friends Fall 2020 Directory, emailed to families on August 17, for childcare resources.
  • Responding to Symptoms, Illness and Exposure

    Students who feel sick during the day or need medical assistance for an injury will be directed to see School Nurse  Lori McCormack, RN (COVID-19 symptoms), or to nurse’s assistant Katie Jordan ’09, a certified athletic trainer, performing RN-delegated tasks.

    View the FWCD COVID-19 Employee Decision Tree.

    Responding to symptoms and positive cases, the School will follow a multi-step process recommended by the CDC and local health officials:
  • Preparing for Cases that Affect our Campus

    The School will isolate and quarantine affected students, faculty and staff. Contact tracing is the next step to determine what other students, faculty and staff members may be impacted. Nurse McCormack and her health care team have participated in contact tracing training through Johns Hopkins University. Those who were near the positive individual in “close proximity” (within 6 feet) for a prolonged period of time (15 minutes or more) during the 48-hour period before the onset of symptoms, will be notified. Those individuals deemed to have had significant exposure by the contract tracers will then be required to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days without a test from
    the time you had close contact with the positive individual, or 7 days if you receive a negative test in the final 2 days of that period. (Quarantine information updated December 2, 2020.) The classrooms or work environments of the positive individual will be cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines.

    All students, faculty and staff are subject to the same process. Our community must be aware that multiple and long absences are expected. Our hiring of 27 substitutes to be at school each day is, among other roles, to provide the pool support to address these absences.
  • Student Support

    FWCD’s strong student support system remains available to all students and families to address a variety of social-emotional and physical health needs, and to provide learning support. Our Health and Wellness Counselors and our Learning Specialists will be even more vital in the 2020-21 school year. They will be out and about, at distance, getting to know our students, providing in-person time with students, as possible, and remain accessible to parents. 

  • Campus Visitors

    As a tight-knit community, FWCD, under normal circumstances, welcomes many visitors onto campus to participate in events and support our students. However, it is in the best interest of our students, faculty and staff to suspend this practice during the pandemic. Parents and other visitors will not be allowed to leave their vehicles unless otherwise approved in advance by the Head of School or a Division Head. Vendors will need to have prior approval and their deliveries must be made known to Security to initiate clearance.

  • More Information

    Families can access more detailed information on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    The School will communicate frequently about updates to protocols and operational adjustments. Please reach out to the School (see "Important Contacts") should you have specific questions or concerns.
  • Important Contacts

    Head of School – Eric Lombardi
    Chief Financial and Operations Officer – Tom Mitchell
    Lower School – Trey Blair
    Middle School – John Stephens
    Upper School – Alexis Stern 
    Athletic Directors – James Rains/Shelley Rains
    Director of Fine Arts - Chelsy Beninate
    Technology – Steve Uhr
    Nurse – Lori McCormack, RN 
    Counselors – Theresa Fuss (Lower School), Kathryn Sohne (Middle School), Kathy Roemer (Upper School)
    Learning Specialists – Teresa Hoppe (Lower School), Laura Ferguson (Middle School), Laura Michaelides (Upper School) 

Emergency Remote Instruction Disclaimer

Fort Worth Country Day is currently using a variety of tools to deliver emergency remote instruction to all students as a result of COVID-19 and social distancing. A wide variety of applications for instruction, assessment and communication are in use. Some of these tools may involve video conferencing during which students may be recorded. Permission to use such tools is gathered during the enrollment/re-enrollment process. If you have concerns about any of the tools being used, please contact your Division Head to discuss other options.
4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a JK-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.

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  • Website Accessibility Statement

    Fort Worth Country Day is committed to understanding and respecting differences. To further support that initiative, FWCD is focused on making the information on our website accessible to all students, parents, and other members of the community. Achieving our goal of making the FWCD website fully accessible requires auditing numerous sections and correcting elements with minimal disruption for daily users.

    We appreciate your patience as we transition our content to a format that more closely adheres to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Additionally, some pages of the FWCD website may contain links to third-party sites that do not comply with accessibility standards and not within the range of the School’s control.

    For questions about the FWCD website, please contact Web Content Manager, Tiffini Crum at

    Learn more about Fort Worth Country Day’s Mission, Philosophy, Core Values and Commitment to Inclusivity at