March 11, 2020
I write to share the latest updates regarding the health of our BB&N community and the plans we are making to be prepared for any contingencies that might emerge in the weeks ahead.
First and most important, it is good to be able to report that, as of right now, we continue to be aware of no cases of COVID-19 infection in our community—students, parents, faculty, staff, and household members. That said, I fully understand that we are all feeling varying degrees of anxiety and uncertainty as news about the virus’s spread continues to evolve at a rapid pace.
I am so appreciative of the numerous different examples I have been made aware of this week in which families or faculty/staff members have been making responsible, thoughtful personal decisions that prioritize the health of our whole community. Thank you all so much; this is principled engagement at its finest!
No doubt many of you are aware of Governor Baker’s press conference yesterday in which he declared a State of Emergency for Massachusetts. As you will recall from my email of Monday, we had already adopted two of his major recommendations: canceling all school-sponsored trips for our students, faculty, and staff over Spring Break, and curtailing larger group meetings.
In line with these recommendations, our Grade 12 team informed the seniors today that we will not be holding the Senior-Faculty Dinner tomorrow night. The Community Room will still be available for them on Friday during their free blocks to celebrate the end of formal classes. Due to the extremely fluid nature of the virus, we are not yet making any decisions on most events that are scheduled after Spring Break. We will be monitoring the situation on a continual basis over the next two and a half weeks.
One exception to that is our decision today, acting in partnership with many of our peer schools, to cancel all Revisit Days and Admission receptions during the first two weeks back from break. We needed to make this decision well in advance of early April and we all agreed that cancellation of these events was the most responsible way to proceed based on information as we know it now. Our Admission team now will get hard at work as they prepare instead to “virtually” welcome our newly accepted students and families!
I expect many of you have heard about a number of colleges and universities which are either extending their March breaks and/or transitioning to an online learning model for the short term. Today a few independent boarding schools have decided to adopt an online learning platform after their break, due to the unique responsibilities involved in housing students from all over the country and world. We at BB&N are fortunate that: 1) we are a day school, and 2) as of this Friday afternoon, we will begin a
Spring Break. These two facts allow us a longer timeline than these other institutions in which we can continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and plan accordingly for what school will look like after break. I will try to make a decision about the resumption of school as early as possible, but as you know things continue to develop at a swift pace. Whatever the situation, I will email an update to the entire community by next Friday, March 20th.
As you can imagine, my leadership team has been putting in a lot of work to develop a plan for Online Learning in the event that an extended school closure becomes necessary for us moving forward. Should this scenario become a reality, we would share more detailed, granular information with you at that time. For right now, however—two days away from going on Break—here are the important things we need you and your children to do before break:
- Be sure that your children bring home any materials—books, binders, other curricular materials—that they would need to have if a shift to online learning is required to be put in place immediately after Spring Break. Teachers will reinforce these take-home expectations with students as well over the next two days. If you want to supply your child with a bag to take stuff home, please do so.
- Be sure as well that your children bring home their laptops and chargers (grades 5-12).
- Please review this broad overview of expectations and technological capabilities that would be necessary in an Online Learning environment (as applies by grade level). If you do not have a computer or internet access in your household, please email Andrew Marcinek, Chief Digital Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-800-2750.
Thank you, as always, for your understanding and partnership during these challenging times. I truly do think it’s times like these that bring out the best in our community.
Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School