We feel so grateful that the whole community has pulled together to reopen school and has done so in a way that has allowed us to maximize in-person learning during this pandemic. Due to the continued rise in COVID-19 cases in the Philadelphia area, Friends Select School will transition to iSelectLearning on Monday, November 16, for upper school, with middle school and lower school using that day as a transition day (more details to follow). Middle and lower school will begin iSelectLearning on Tuesday, November 17. Given the unique nature of teaching and learning in pre-K, teachers have requested that our youngest learners in pre-K remain in person for the time being. Please know that this was an extremely difficult decision to make and we realize the challenges that this arrangement might create for some families. However, my administration and I want to continue to be proactive in maintaining the health and safety of our entire community. We thank you for your understanding, patience, and support during this transitional period.

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 trends of our surrounding community, which are rising at alarming rates. Currently, the test positivity rate for Philadelphia is 9.1% (an increase of 16.7% from the previous week), and there have been 164.7 new cases per 100,000 persons over the past seven days. According to expert guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Nurse Kelly, we should transition to our distance learning format. Please know that we will continue to closely follow the situation. At a minimum, we would want the rising numbers to plateau and become a downward trend before considering transitioning back into the building. We will communicate with you as this situation evolves and we will certainly communicate with you when we have decided to resume in-person instruction. 

From the start of this school year, we have aimed to be as nimble as possible with the implementation of our health and safety protocols. Our careful preparations included the likelihood that we would need to transition to iSelectLearning. Soon you will be hearing from your student's division director and teachers, who will follow up with more specific information about using iSelectLearning. 

I want to thank you in advance for your continued partnership during a school year like no other. It is largely due to this partnership and our focus on community stewardship that we have been able to maintain the overall health and safety of our community. I also want to thank our dedicated employees, whose extraordinary efforts have resulted in an extremely successful start to the school year and should give us confidence as we transition to iSelectLearning. Let's continue to support and care for each other during this time, and let's hold in the Light those people whose lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Michael Gary
Head of School