Remote Learning and Coronavirus

A Different Way, A Different Day

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we closed our physical buildings on Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 with uncertainty about when and how we will reopen. That closure provided a unique opportunity to reimagine teaching and learning for our faculty, students, and their families. And our commitment to purposeful innovation over the years — paperless classrooms, remote classes through MSON, our learning management system (mySevern), and more — gave us a running head start. Together, we navigated the initial challenges of remote learning and are prepared for the immediate future and beyond.

Remote Learning in Action

Remote learning (referred to by many schools and universities as distance learning, online learning, or virtual learning) is not about students sitting in front of a screen, isolated for hours. It’s about creating authentic learning experiences in the digital realm while helping students maintain meaningful connections with their teachers and peers. It's about supporting students with care for their physical and mental well-being during times of struggle. And it's about perseverance, dedication, compassion, and understanding — upholding our community values whether on campus or at home.
As a parent of a senior....thank you, Severn teachers, for your expertise and dedication over the years. Thank you for your adaptability to seamlessly transition to online classes when the need arose. Thank you for engaging our kids and helping ensure they are well-prepared for college and the next phase of their lives.
In 2018, Severn adopted Blackbaud's custom learning management system, mySevern. It's the online hub of our school, designed to make teaching, learning, and communicating easier by connecting all of our digital tools and resources into one interactive platform. When campus closed in the spring of 2020, our teachers, coaches, counselors, and club advisors modified their mySevern pages to support a fully remote model, incorporating an array of technology tools from Zoom to Kahoot and everything in between. Using these same tools, we stayed connected through community-building events, keeping our Admirals together and spirits high. Click here for more about mySevern.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 6 items.

  • What Does Remote Learning Look Like Day-to-Day?

    Remote learning looks a bit different for our Lower, Middle and Upper School students, but for all three, it includes activities done together (synchronous) and independently (asynchronous). Using digital tools like Zoom, Seesaw and our learning management system, mySevern, in combination with packets of hands-on resources for younger students, we have created a balance for each grade that supports every student at just the right developmental level. This blend mimics how our students learn every day — both independently and collaboratively. 
  • What are some examples of synchronous work (online together) during remote learning?

    • Real-time class discussion sessions, demonstrations, lessons, and advisory meetings on Zoom
    • Zoom meetings and demonstrations with outside experts, guest visitors, and museum educators
    • Working online at the same scheduled time using mySevern discussion boards, Seesaw or other apps to learn and practice skills
  • What are some examples of asynchronous (independent) work during remote learning?

    • Logging into mySevern for assignments, reading, and research posted by teachers on class bulletin boards
    • Working independently on longer-term projects with set due dates
    • Extension activities for Lower and Early School students to reinforce their learning from synchronous class meetings and lessons
  • How do you help students maintain mental health and physical fitness during remote learning?

    Our counseling team created mySevern resource boards for students and their families full of helpful links and strategies to support mental health and well-being along with important contacts in the event of an emergency or crisis. Additional support includes:
    Lower School
    • As part of our regular roster of special subject students have Zoom class time with their special subject teachers including Spanish, science art, music, library and physical education with activities to do outside of class.
    • Our learning specialists work with classroom teachers to provide support and resources and work directly with students through Zoom.
    • Students have Zoom Heartstrings and Open Doors classes, supporting their emotional growth and character education. 
    Upper and Middle Schools
    • While we’d much rather be giving high fives, hugs and a listening ear in person, students can meet with our counseling staff through email, Zoom and phone calls from 8:20-3:00 each day.
    • Students meet with their advisory groups through Zoom on a regular schedule to address any logistical issues, work on advisory activities and spend time just hanging out.
    • Our Teel Campus athletic department hosts weekly programs to keep our students and student-athletes active and building their skills during remote learning time, including positive messages, workouts, and more.
  • What About Community Events During Remote Learning?

    For all of our students, community and camaraderie are a big part of the Severn experience. Our faculty and staff created new programs and reimagined school traditions for the digital realm. Examples include:
    • Digital versions of our Middle School Coffeehouse and Talent Show using a combination of prerecorded videos and live Zoom meetings
    • A weekly photo contest from the Upper School Head
    • Remote Upper School club meetings and initiatives including the first-ever clubs assembly video created by our students
    • Weekly spirit day contests Lower School students 
    • Lower School faculty and staff met different classes each week on Zoom for "Fun with Friends" sessions to play games and spend time together
    • Weekly contests for Middle School students including nature scavenger hunts, a mask fashion week, learning with our pets, spirit week, and more
    • Weekly School Meeting and Admiral Hour for Middle and Upper School students on Zoom
    • Remote music performances by our Upper School choral and instrumental groups, edited and produced by Mr. Rob Redei and Mr. Frank Donn
    • Remote community service for our Lower School student council
    • Zoom Renaissance Showcase for Lower School students with real-time student demonstrations and reflections including a prerecorded remote drama performance produced by Ms. Holly Florian
    • Weekly jumpstart fitness challenges from our athletic department
    • A combination in-person and remote Zoom ceremony for the graduating class of 2020 including real-time speeches and student interaction
    • Remote Zoom ceremonies with prerecorded video, and real-time speeches and student participation for promoting kindergarten, fifth grade, and eighth grade students
  • Where can I find more detailed information about remote learning during COVID-19?

    Check our coronavirus updates for a remote learning guide that pulls together a range of expertise from the larger educational community, tailored to best meet the needs of Severn students. This page also has recordings of past Zoom community events and an archive of all correspondence from the school regarding coronavirus and campus closure. For information on returning to school in the fall of 2020, click here.

Remote Learning Moments

Passing the Quaran-time

Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146