Thank you for your kind and thoughtful support the past few days. It’s an honor to live and work in a school that places so much value on community, especially in times like these, and I am grateful for all you’ve done to care for us and for each other.
I write today with a more extensive update of our plans for the next few weeks. I am sorry for its length; there are a lot of moving parts and I want to be sure I address them. Please know that the guidance on the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve rapidly; I’ll let you know if our plans need to change.
Boulder County Public Health
This morning I was on a conference call with officials from Boulder County Public Health to learn more about how the County is monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak. At this moment, it is hard to imagine that there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19
in Boulder County. Nonetheless, Boulder County Public Health officials tell us we are likely to see an increase in cases these next two weeks, so we are preparing our plans with this in mind.
Spring Break Travel
As I mentioned previously, it’s highly unlikely you would purposefully travel to a country or hot spot where coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the community; however, we remain committed to following BCD’s Return to School Protocol
in the event an area to which you travel is retroactively designated high risk. Our current protocol is highlighted on our BCD Coronavirus Update
webpage under my email to you on March 6th
. To keep our community safe, we will be following CDC
and Boulder County Public Health
guidance and will update our protocols as necessary.
Spring Break Engagement
By now, many of you will have received your first communication from your child(ren)’s teacher(s) and/or division heads regarding ways in which you can keep them engaged over Spring Break. Please note: these suggestions are optional and are designed to help you in the event you’d like support during this extra long vacation. If you need more suggestions or activities, please do not hesitate to reach out. We understand that next week’s time off was unplanned and that you might need more than what we have already given.
Return to School
The earliest we will return to “normal” school is March 30th. Officials from the County were quite clear in telling us that our re-opening will be dependent on the containment of the outbreak, the pattern of its spread within the County, and the resources available to fight it. While they have not yet issued County-wide orders (most guidance comes in the form of “consider” or “suggest”), they reserve the right to issue firm directives that might prevent us from opening. My goal is to inform you by next Wednesday, March 18th regarding whether we will move to a distance learning model on March 30th. We will be consulting with other school officials, both public and independent, to make our decision. At this moment it feels increasingly likely that school continuation in the form of distance learning will be the norm.
If we need to rely on a distance learning solution starting March 30th, our faculty and staff are committed to providing the highest level of education possible. Our recent survey indicated:
- 100% of the 174 families who responded have internet access
- 97% have a computer in their homes for their children to utilize (and we loaned out Chromebooks today for those without)
- 96.5% feel confident in supporting their children in accessing online resources.
As a result, we will be placing a high priority in delivering our resources online or through a digital environment. Still, teacher-student interactions are critical, and we will do our best to emphasize those as well. The advice we’ve been given suggests that we are unlikely to replicate a normal school schedule, so we will be looking at both synchronous and asynchronous learning
options. There are benefits and drawbacks of each. And, if you weren’t able to pick up a loaner computer today, please let us know.
If we initiate our school continuation plan starting March 30th, you can expect to receive instruction, instructional resources, and/or assignments starting that day. Please take some time between now and then to ensure your home computers are updated to the latest versions of their operating software, familiarize yourselves with the resources our teachers have already sent to you, and become comfortable with the online environment. Preparing now will reduce headaches later. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Thinking About Our Children
I’ll end this note to let you know that my brain has been full of all kinds of thoughts lately, but mostly those thoughts center on our children. They have an incredible ability to adapt and overcome, and their resilience at such young ages is truly remarkable. As we walk with you in partnership through what is likely to be a new normal for the next several weeks, our children are expecting us to rise to the occasion, and I am confident we have both the will and the way to do so.
If you need some help talking to your children about coronavirus, please consider the resources I sent previously and have posted below.
Thank you again, and I look forward to seeing you after Spring Break!
John H. Suitor III
Head of School