Preschool through IB Middle School
Parents

BCD's Coronavirus Update

Boulder Country Day School is conducting ongoing tracking and assessment of state, local, national, and our own school health and safety protocol to ensure the safety of our community and the Boulder community at large. Updates will be provided by email to the BCD community by our Head of School, John Suitor. This page will maintain a record of those communications.

John Suitor email to parents on march 18th

This evening Governor Polis issued an executive order suspending in-person learning from March 23rd through April 17th.

As I have written in previous emails, this is not a surprise and we’ve been developing our school continuation plans with this timeline in mind. Today, you received a note from your respective division heads indicating that we’ve asked your children’s teachers to push pause in emailing you optional learning suggestions for the time being so that they can concentrate on building out their distance learning plans. We will continue to do so knowing that returning to school on April 20th may also change to a later date.
 
If you are looking for ways to prepare for our first day of “virtual” school on March 30th, please familiarize yourselves with Zoom, a video conferencing software available at no charge. We are likely to use this platform for “live” instruction. It allows us to host entire classes, and it has a recording feature that will allow us to save and post classes online in the event a student is absent. As Kath, Jill, and Dan mentioned in their notes to you this afternoon, we are likely to go through several iterations of our distance learning program. We will be gathering feedback from you as we progress with the hope of devising the best possible learning environment for our families.
 
Take care, enjoy your Spring Break, and we’ll be in touch closer to March 30th.
 
Sincerely,
 
John
 
John H. Suitor III
Head of School

JOhn's Prior emails to parents

List of 7 items.

  • March 16th

    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.
     
    School Continuation
    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!
     
    Sincerely,
     
    John H. Suitor III
    Head of School
  • March 13th

    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.
     
    School Continuation
    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!
     
    Sincerely,
     
    John
     
  • March 12th

    Dear BCD Families:
     
    Earlier this evening Boulder Valley School District and St. Vrain Valley School District announced that classes would be cancelled starting tomorrow with Spring Break will beginning immediately. Given the level of crossover between BVSD, SVVSD families, and BCD families, it’s prudent that Boulder Country Day follow a similar path. We are closed as of tonight, we will extend Spring Break to two weeks, and we plan to resume school on March 30th. While it is too early to tell, we may move into our school continuation plan on March 30th using a distance learning format. I will share more with you tomorrow, but wanted to inform you now so that you can begin to make plans.
     
    BCD will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. tomorrow for families who need to pick up any medical supplies, school supplies, or other personal items. If you do not have a computer at home for your child to use, please come to the Middle School so that we can arrange a loaner.  
     
    Thank you, and here’s hoping the natural renewal of spring works with us to keep our community healthy and safe.
     
     
    Sincerely,
     
    John
  • March 11th

    Dear BCD Families:
     
    Thank you again for patience as our school and its community continues to respond to the fluid and rapidly changing public health threat of coronavirus. I write tonight with several updates, a request, and plans for potential school continuation in the event school is interrupted for an extended period of time.
     
    Upcoming Events
    • Tomorrow’s Art Show will continue, but please help us reduce congestion by visiting the Show in the Middle School Activity Room at any time during the day. The show opens at 8:00 a.m. and will end at 6:00 p.m.
    • Friday’s Assembly will begin, as scheduled, at 10:15 am.
    • Next week’s Parent Education Series, Lessons in Executive Functioning Through Movement, is postponed. Once rescheduled, we will share the new date and time with you.
     
    School Continuation
    This afternoon faculty from Preschool, Elementary School, and Middle School met to plan for school continuation in the event school is interrupted for an extended period of time. I participated in each division meeting, and I was both inspired and proud of the depth of planning and conversation I heard. I am fully confident that we will be able to offer our families an appropriate distance learning program should the need arise. We will consider implementing these plans if BCD is closed for more than one week.
     
    Part of our discussion focused on access to digital resources, the ability of our families to support their children with online resources, and the ability of our families to make time during the day for completing school-work. In order to determine our community capabilities, please complete this survey. It’s short, 5 questions, and I greatly appreciate your participation.
     
    Optional Withdrawal from School
    Several families have asked me if they can keep their children home from school for the foreseeable future or until the threat of coronavirus is diminished. My answer is an unqualified YES. If your family feels it’s best to keep your children at home, please do so. We are suspending any consequences for absences in these cases and will do our best to provide your children with school work during this time.
     
    Future Forecast
    BCD will continue to consider guidance from local, state, and national authorities as we make our future plans. While we can’t possibly project every scenario, we are prepared to act quickly if required. Please note, it is increasingly likely that we will be impacted by school closure at some point in the coming weeks. Please take some time to discuss with your family how you will manage if this is the case.
     
    Thank you, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    John
     
    John H. Suitor III
    Head of School
  • March 9th

    Dear BCD Community-
     
    Thank you again for your patience as we navigate an increasingly fluid situation regarding COVID-19, its spread, and our response. Over the weekend we received updated guidance from localstatenational, and independent school professionals that caused us to evaluate, once again, our programmatic initiatives for the coming weeks.
     
    The guidance specifically identifies vulnerabilities among older adults and recommends we avoid events and crowds that might put them at risk. As a result, we are cancelling GrandFriends Day as well as the 4th and 5th grade field trips to the Brookdale senior community in Boulder. While we love our GrandFriends, best practice tells us that we should be lowering their risk of exposure, and, though difficult, this seems like the best decision. Due to the rapidly changing nature of this situation, we have no plans to reschedule at this time.
     
    If your GrandFriends are in town or still plan to come to town (though not to school), I hope they and you will take the opportunity to participate in the intergenerational learning we often see during GrandFriends Day. We know from educational researchers that GrandFriends play an integral role in the education of our children. In particular, they help answer questions like, “Who are we?” and “Where did we come from?” GrandFriend conversations lead to the development of a strong “intergenerational self,” which is associated with increased resilience in children, better adjustment, and improved educational outcomes. So, if you have the chance, help our GrandFriends tell your family stories. To encourage them to do so, you might ask:
    • How did they meet?
    • Where did they grow up?
    • What was happening in the world when they were your children’s age?
    • What did they have to overcome when they were young?
    • What are some of the most important lessons they learned when they were growing up?
    Two other events associated with Fine Arts Week, Thursday evening’s Art Show and Friday’s Assembly, will continue as scheduled. Please consider your attendance carefully, especially if your GrandFriends are in town. There is no need to expose them to additional risk. We are currently looking into filming Friday’s Assembly after which we would make the video available to our entire community.
     
    Thank you, and I’ll be in touch with further updates as necessary.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    John
     
    John H. Suitor III
    Head of School
  • March 6th

    Dear BCD Families,
     
    As the news and energy of the Corona Virus spreads, I thought I would send Update #2 with a particular focus on talking with your children and Spring Break travel considerations.
     
    Talking with Your Children
    Below please find several resources that you might use when talking with your children about Corona Virus. Thanks to Sterling Kranjcec (School Counselor), Kath Courter (Head of Preschool, After School and Summer Programs), and BCD parent Liz Blackwell for their research and support.
     
     
    Travel
    Please make or revise your travel plans to ensure as best as possible your safe and timely return to school. BCD expects all community members to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. State Department travel guidelines. Currently, this means avoiding all non-essential travel to China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran — countries the CDC has assessed a Level 3 Travel Warning. We also strongly recommend that community members avoid travel to countries with a Level 2 CDC travel warning. Currently, Japan is the only country with a Level 2 warning. Please note that if you choose to travel to a country with a Level 3 or 2 designation, you will be subject to return-to-school restrictions. More information about those restrictions are outlined below.

    If you are traveling to other countries during the break, please closely monitor CDC travel notices. In addition to the Level 2 and 3 countries listed above, the CDC has advised travelers to Hong Kong to practice usual precautions (Level 1). Situations in these and other countries are rapidly evolving and may result in increased travel restrictions and health screenings implemented over the course of the March break, which could affect your ability to return to campus at the end of the vacation. The CDC also recommends that all travelers reconsider cruise ship voyages into or within Asia. For more detailed information about CDC travel advisories, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
    Return-to-School Protocol - Students, parents, faculty, and staff should not return to school without a doctor’s approval if they have had any symptoms of illness, especially fever, respiratory symptoms, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms in the five days prior to their planned return to campus.
    • Students, parents, faculty, and staff who are either diagnosed with COVID-19 or are a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 may not return to campus or join a BCD-sponsored event/trip until they are fully recovered, receive clearance from their physician, AND receive approval from the BCD’s Nurse Consultant.
    • Students, parents, faculty, and staff who traveled to or through countries with a Level 3 or Level 2 CDC travel warning may not return to campus or join a BCD-sponsored event/trip until they have been in the United States and symptom-free for at least 14 days prior to their planned return to campus.
    • Students, parents, faculty, and staff who have come in contact with a COVID-19 patient or a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 may not return to campus or join a BCD-sponsored event/trip unless they have been symptom-free for at least 14 days from exposure.
    We will continue monitor news about COVID-19. The CDC as well as your local and state departments of health are good sources of information. As a reminder, no one should return to campus if they have had any symptoms of illness, especially fever, respiratory symptoms, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms in the five days prior to their planned return to campus. Work and school can wait — for students, faculty, and staff! Your health and the well-being of the community are of primary importance.
     
    Lastly, I will be sending a note to 8th grade families regarding our preparations for the DC trip later today or tomorrow. Please look for it in your inboxes.
     
    I will be in touch with you prior to Spring Break with any updates to the school's plans. Thank you for your support as we work to keep our community safe and healthy.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    John
     
    John H. Suitor III
    Head of School
  • March 2nd

    Thank you for your warm welcome this morning. I am glad to be back in Colorado and look forward to sharing with you what I learned from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference.
     
    As you might imagine, one of the most pressing topics of conversation among heads of school around the country and around the world is the current status of coronavirus (COVID-19). Though there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Colorado, the likelihood is high that we will see some in the days, weeks, or months to come. If/when we learn that COVID-19 has made its way to Colorado, Boulder Country Day will follow the guidance of public health authorities, specifically the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Colorado’s Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE). We are also already in touch with our colleagues at NAIS and will be reaching out to the Colorado Department of Education and local school districts as appropriate.
     
    BCD is monitoring the situation closely, and we are keenly aware of how quickly it is evolving. Our priority is keep our community safe and you play an important role in this process. Below please find three ways the CDC recommends you can help us prevent the spread of illness in our community:
     
    • Stay home if you are sick.
    • Practice good hygiene, wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid sharing food, cups or utensils, and avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, or mouth.
    • Get a flu shot, which is having a positive effect this year; while the flu shot does not protect from this particular virus, public health organizations recommend the community be vaccinated.
     
    If your child is ill and you are considering whether or not to send them to school, please refer to Children’s Hospital Colorado’s How Sick Is Too Sick guide. Our teachers, in particular, fully support keeping sick children at home and will gladly work with you to ensure they get caught up.
     
    We will be proactive in monitoring the spread of COVID-19 knowing we may need to plan for further action if necessary. For example, we are:
     
    • Monitoring daily updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), CDC, and CDPHE
    • Considering the impact of the spread of COVID-19 on events such as Grandfriends Day, Spring Break, and the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.
    • Ensuring our cleaning protocols meet or exceed requirements for school disinfection
     
    We are especially aware that Spring Break is only a few weeks away. We recognize that it is unlikely that you will travel to a location already identified by the CDC with widespread or ongoing transmission; however, if you end up visiting a location that is retroactively identified as such, we will follow CDC and CDPHE protocol. This could include quarantine and medical screening prior to you and your child(ren) returning to school. If you have any questions with regard to your travel plans, we ask you to consult the CDC published Travel: Frequently Asked Questions for further details.
     
    Conversations about COVID-19 among adults can often affect children in ways we do not anticipate. Please see these two articles from Psychology Today on What to Talk About with Your Child and How to Talk to Your Anxious Child About the Coronavirus.
     
    Finally, the spread of COVID-19 is a fluid situation and we ask for your patience as we navigate these next few weeks and months. As of this moment, all of our upcoming events and programming remain as scheduled, but that could change if public health officials advise us to do so.
     
    Thank you, and please stay tuned for further updates on this matter.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    John
     
    John H. Suitor III
    Head of School

additional resources

 
Boulder County Public Health

Colorado Department of Health


COHELP@RMPDC.org - The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has also estatblished call line (1-877-462-2911) to address questions from the public about COVID19. Answers are available in multiple languages. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Colorado Public Health & Environment

Resource links provided by the CDC

Talking to your kids

Here are some additional resources focused on how to talk to our kids about the virus.

Coronavirus: Keep it simple, stick to facts - how parents should tell kids

https://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/talking-with-children-about-the-corona-virus

Kids Worry More when They Are Kept in the Dark
 is particularly good for parents as they think carefully about how to talk with their children.

What to Say to Your Child about the Corona Virus focuses on younger children and good for our youngest Bulldogs.

BrainPop produce this video for an elementary audience. Parents, please preview or watch with your children.

Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Corona Virus, produced by NPR, is a three-minute listen.


Boulder Country Day School    4820 Nautilus Court North • Boulder, Colorado 80301 • Phone - 303.527.4931 • After-hours x229 • info@bouldercountryday.org
Boulder Country Day School, where academic distinction meets education with character. BCD is a top rated, accredited private school in Boulder, Colorado where every child has the opportunity to discover his or her own unique excellence. Distinguished by small class sizes, outstanding faculty, engaging academics and a focus on community, our preschool, elementary and IB middle school teachers strive to create a well-rounded educational environment that balances traditional subjects with the arts, world languages, athletics and project-based learning.

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