March 2, 2020


Dear Members of the Cushing Community,

We continue to carefully observe events surrounding the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and assess and plan for a number of challenges that may result from the ongoing situation. The nature of this matter is continuing to evolve on a daily basis, and we continue to be in contact with Cushing Academy leadership, counsel, and medical professionals to be sure that we are acting in a manner that helps ensure the safety of our entire community. In that light, we would like to share the following updates and information as the community prepares to depart for Spring Break on March 12th and 13th. 

At this time, the United States government is suspending entry of foreign nationals who have been in China or Iran within the past 14 days. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel guidance related to COVID-19 for travel to the following destinations:

  • China — Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel — updated February 22;
  • Hong Kong — Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions — issued February 19;
  • Iran — Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel — updated February 28;
  • Italy — Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel — updated February 28;
  • Japan — Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions — updated February 22;
  • South Korea — Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel — updated February 24.

The CDC also recommends that all travelers reconsider cruise ship voyages into or within Asia at this time. 

With Spring Break on the horizon, the Academy requires students to enter their Spring Break REACH Request by Tuesday, March 3rd (tomorrow). If your child plans to travel outside of the United States during Spring Break, please indicate these plans in your child's REACH Request and contact Josh Doyon, Director of Students Affairs ( jodoyon@cushing.org ). If your family plans ANY international travel in the coming weeks, we would like to partner with families to appropriately implement the guidance that is provided to us by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the CDC, and the State Department. Additionally, no one has reported that they are participating in a cruise ship voyage into or within Asia during Spring Break. 

Regardless of your destination, you should not be traveling if you are exhibiting cold/flu symptoms. Many airports have health screenings. Travelers could run the risk of additional health assessments, health monitoring, restricted movements, or limited contact with others. We encourage everyone to monitor the latest news from trusted health sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Students who travel internationally during Spring Break and who return to the U.S. may be prohibited from campus for a minimum of 14 days, depending on the latest recommendations from the CDC at the conclusion of our break. Please keep this in mind while your children are away from campus during this time. Also, keep in mind that the response of foreign governments to coronavirus varies, and individuals should first consult the  travel warnings and advisory resources of the U.S. State Department  and the  CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel  (please note that the article states 2019 in reference to the name of the virus, COVID-19) before deciding to travel internationally.

Last week the  U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)  noted that it is "closely monitoring the supply chain with the expectation that the COVID-19 outbreak would likely impact the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the United States" as part of its strategic approach to the COVID-19 outbreak. Something to consider is if your child takes prescription medication, we ask that you begin discussions with their prescriber to plan for cases in which the medical supply chain could be affected by COVID-19. The Health Center can also assist you with these questions/plans. Please contact Sue Casey, Director of Health Services ( scasey@cushing.org ). As a reminder, all prescription medications must be stored and distributed in the Health Center. 

We will continue to update as needed and have created a new page on the Cushing website:  www.cushing.org/coronavirus . The page has an archive of previous communications as well as links to trusted resources. Please continue to monitor this page along with the CDC and WHO websites.

In the meantime, I would advise all members of our community to protect themselves by taking the same  precautionary measures  as they would during flu season such as washing hands, staying home when sick, and not sharing personal items, etc. We will continue to reinforce this message with our students this week and will continue to have hand sanitizing stations throughout campus until further notice. I hope that everyone has a relaxing Spring Break, and please look for more updates in the coming weeks. 

Sincerely,
Randy R. Bertin, Ed.D.
Head of School
Cushing Academy
39 School Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430