BWS School Closure Letter

March 13, 2020
Dear BWS Families,
As I moved through our campus today, I was reminded in a dozen small ways that school is a healthy place for our students in these trying times. They trust and respect their teachers, like being busy, enjoy and draw strength from each other, and appreciate the routine of the school day. That is why we have strived to be there for them even as anxiety has risen about the spread of the coronavirus.
We have, however, come to the point where we need to adjust. To date, no school child – at an independent or public school – has a confirmed case of COVID-19.  That said, as a precautionary principle, social distancing, including school closings, is a necessary step to protect our community members – including faculty and parents – who fall into one of the particular risk groups for this virus. We are clear on this and have chosen not to wait for other schools in the county. We must act aggressively and collectively to slow the spread of this virus and prevent our local healthcare facilities from becoming overwhelmed. 
Therefore, out of abundance of caution and in consultation with the BWS Board, the school leadership has decided that we will end classes after a half-day today, March 13, 2020. This decision has been made in close consultation with our Medical Advisory Panel, who are in continuous contact with local and state health officials. After school closes today, effective immediately, access to BWS buildings will be limited to BWS faculty, staff and administrators only.   

I will reach out over the course of next week with our latest projections for how and when in-person classes will resume. However, we anticipate that this closure could be for an extended period of time.

Preparations for remote learning are well underway at BWS. Our dedicated teachers have been developing and refining plans that will continue our educational mission in the midst of this school closure. Beginning Monday, class teachers, as well as subject teachers, will be in touch about distance learning plans for your child(ren)’s class. Parents can access class work in BigSis in the Parent Portal. More information on Distance Learning that is age-appropriate for your child will be forth-coming.

I urge you all to remember that we are not "cancelling school," but rather shifting to a different model.  All members of the BWS community will still be there for each other, and we will get through this together. Classes (albeit remotely) will continue, homework will be due and plays and projects will continue. It will feel different but we will stay connected, and when we are finally able to reconvene in person, we will have a huge assembly to celebrate.

I will continue to keep you updated.  As always, wash your hands, stay calm for your children and let me know if you have any questions.
In partnership,
Lynn Arches
Interim School Director
Berkshire Waldorf School
35 West Plain Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 528-4015