March 11, 2020

Dear Parents,

While there is no one we are aware of at this time in the TSS community with COVID-19, two important announcements were made today: one from the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic and the second from Westport Public Schools announcing their decision to close based on a number of people in the community believed to have contact with someone presumed positive with COVID-19. This information led us to make the decision to close school for the next two days. This short-term closure will afford us the opportunity to clean and sanitize the building according to the most recent CDC guidelines, which suggest that optimal conditions for cleaning exist after the building has been vacant for 24 hours. Second, because the information from Westport is limited at this time, we will be in a better position to evaluate the circumstances and decide next steps that are in the best interest of the health, safety, and security of our community.

As of this afternoon, our plan is to only close Thursday and Friday (March 12-13). We asked students to take all their locker belongings home so that we can administer a “deep clean” of the entire building. Because of the timing and circumstances in making this decision, and to minimize student anxiety and any other unexpected consequence, we did not announce this information about the closure until after dismissal.

In addition, we are canceling all scheduled group activities and gatherings, including our annual Benefit event, which was scheduled for Friday, March 27th at The Inn at Longshore. The CoLAB Executive Function presentation scheduled for parents on March 31st and April 7th is postponed as well. Again, as circumstance presents itself, we will know more in time, and will update you with information about any schedule changes or postponements of TSS- and CoLAB-related activities.

We understand that closing school is not ideal, especially in these circumstances. Our number one objective is the health and safety of our students. In anticipation of a prolonged closure, our faculty, staff, and administration have been developing options to provide academic work and resources for our students. While we endeavor to reopen on Monday morning, our faculty will use time over the next two days to continue developing those plans in case returning to school this coming Monday is not possible.  In that case, we will provide clear and specific directions on how students can access those materials.

Because the situation is evolving rapidly, we will send updates to keep you all abreast of new information as it becomes available. Over the next several days, we expect to learn more about regional and national circumstances, and how they will inform our decision-making. It seems likely that there will be many questions in the coming days. We ask for your patience and appreciate your support while we work to identify the best ways to approach supporting all of our children in their learning and academic growth while keeping all of our families, friends, and colleagues safe. Although we anticipate more communication before Sunday, a decision on whether to reopen will be announced before this Sunday evening.

In the meantime, we encourage all of our families to heed the advice and guidelines suggested by the CDC and other relevant and credible agencies. There are several simple things all of us can do to support healthy and safe interactions, and our students have been outstanding partners in adopting the approaches we know work to minimize the spread of germs.

We thank you in advance for your help.

Ben Powers