March 16, 2020

Dear BB&N Families,

I hope everyone is staying safe and well during these early days of Spring Break. 

I’m sure that most families are aware that Governor Charlie Baker has announced a mandatory three-week closure of all public and private schools in Massachusetts, starting tomorrow. I agree completely with this mandate: there is no question at this stage that social distancing/isolation is the most responsible mitigation strategy for all of us. This responsibility resonates especially strongly for us here at BB&N, where our mission hinges on principled citizenship.
This morning, I joined a call with Heads of many of our peer schools. We agreed that our shared top priority was to base our reopen plans on whatever maximizes safety for our respective communities. As a result, BB&N will suspend on-site learning (and extracurricular programming, including sports) until AT LEAST Monday, April 13 . Based on the information we have received from public health professionals, this extended closure will best preserve the health of our BB&N community while also doing our part to slow the spread of the virus in this region. Please note: because the COVID-19 situation remains so fluid, this schedule should be considered as tentative rather than certain. The only certainty is that BB&N will not commence on-campus instruction before April 13th.

For the two school weeks of March 30-April 3 and April 6-10, we will transition to an Online Learning environment for our students. I contacted our teachers earlier today and they are embracing the challenge of preparing for online instruction, though we all recognize that it will be a learning opportunity for every one of us. As part of this important preparation, please plan for the following schedule coming out of Break: 
  • Monday, March 30 will be a day of no online classes, as we will dedicate that day to our teachers collaborating with each other on how best to conduct and coordinate meaningful Online Learning for our students. 
  • Tuesday, March 31 will be a day for faculty to both continue their preparation work and reach out to students to test everyone’s ability to successfully access the online instruction
  • Wednesday, April 1 will be the official launch of online instruction for students

We will follow up with more details about the Online Learning plan for each campus over the next two weeks, but I wanted to be sure you knew the big picture today so that you can start to plan accordingly.

I’m sure that we are all finding the experience of these past few days to be almost surreal. I saw a statement yesterday, however, that offers excellent perspective: “What we do, or don’t do, over the next week will have a massive impact on the local and perhaps national trajectory of coronavirus.” ( Dr. Asaf Bitton, Ariadne Labs ) Our consulting physician, Dr. Richard Goldstein of Boston Children’s Hospital, concurs and he advises us as follows for the days ahead: 
  • Be sure to stay up to date with this changing situation.
  • Observe social distancing recommendations: the ideal target is 6-10 feet distance. Social distancing involves awareness of situations with uncertain risk: any group congregations, travel, shopping, etc. People need to be sensible and prioritize community safety until more is understood.
  • Encourage your children to connect with each other virtually, not in person.
  • There is strong evidence that early prevention is the best strategy and people should not be complacent.

We have assembled a list of information resources on our COVID-19 web page that you might find helpful. These include prevention tips, advice on how to talk with your kids about the virus, and recommendations about social distancing . I want to emphasize a couple of articles about social distancing ( The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’ and Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day ) as particularly helpful. (And for the record, I think moving forward that I’ll refer to this phenomenon as "physical distancing", since this is a time when social connections truly need to be supported and nourished.)

In order to truly be a uKnighted community, we are trying to understand the needs of our community members who might be struggling at this time. To that end, if you are concerned about food insecurity, having appropriate access to technology, or being able to leave your home due to an underlying medical condition (or anything else), please take a moment to fill out this confidential form . We are all in this together, and if you need help of any kind, let us know. These are the times when we all need each other. Our plan is to put out a more extensive communication about how we can support each other during this challenging time once we better understand the needs of our community. We anticipate having a better handle on the needs of the community later this week, and will reach out with thoughts at that time.  
I truly hope that all of you, and your extended families wherever they may be, are staying safe and healthy.  


Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School