April 16, 2020
Thinking About the Fall
I know you are already wondering what school is going to look like in the fall. Just this week, chatter from experts appearing in the media are sending some preliminary signals that it is not likely things will be back to normal as we know it. They made it pretty clear that large gatherings for sporting events, concerts, festivals, etc are not likely until 2021. Social distancing practices will likely still be needed in some capacity. Bottom line... we don't know what 'back to school' is going to look like..yet.
In the meantime, one of the responsibilities of the Board is to make sure the school is prepared for various scenarios. Let's consider the one scenario where schools will be open. COVID-19 is not completely going away and risk of infection and spread will still exist in the fall and likely until a vaccine is available. So schools need to be prepared with their plans should there be an outbreak of a single case or multiple cases of COVID-19. Make those preliminary plans from now.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has provided some very good guidance to schools and universities on their website. Use this resource in your planning. If you are a boarding school, also look at the guidance for universities because it addresses residential life and the recommendation that you identify alternate housing for individuals who will need to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19. As a board, risk management is going to be one of your primary responsibilities and making sure that your school is following CDC guidelines and those of your local government officials will be paramount.