March 26, 2020
Dear Members of the Lab Community,
I wish to begin with an expression of my gratitude for everyone’s understanding, adaptability and positive attitude during this time of a world pandemic that has been life changing, full of new challenges, and many uncertainties. I thank the faculty and staff who have taken giant steps to make distance learning yet another platform in their arsenal of methods for teaching differently and effectively. Typically, we spend months and sometimes years developing new programs and schedules. Led by their division heads and well supported by the members of our tech team, the teachers designed a new “school” in a matter of weeks. I thank our families who have turned their homes into classrooms and partnered with us to make it possible to continue well-imagined educational programming and learning. I'm extremely impressed with our students' attendance and engagement.
Moreover, I offer in advance additional thanks as I know that in the coming weeks we will be asking more of each other in terms of patience, stamina, kindness, forgiveness, time and energy. Distance learning communities are using a runner’s metaphor; we have completed the sprint; now we begin the marathon.
Although we are on spring break this week, Lab’s leadership is continuing to monitor the information from the medical experts and the authorities in the DMV region in order to determine the best course of action for Lab this spring.
At this moment in time, we are extending distance learning through April 24, 2020; however, we are well aware that this may need to be further extended into May and possibly June.
Given this possibility, I have asked the teachers to prepare for the continuation of distance learning to the end of the school year, with the caveat that if circumstances appreciably improve and it is advised, we will consider returning to onsite learning sooner. All distance learning plans from the divisions and departments will continue to be updated on the Resource page on MyLab.
I want to speak directly to the students who are wondering about the spring events that are significant milestones in their lives. We recognize, in particular, the disappointment that our seniors are feeling with the disruption of events. We want to do everything we can to bring their senior year to a meaningful culmination with all the kudos the class of 2020 deserves. We will continue to keep you updated as we make plans for recognizing all of our students' achievements. Our first order of business is to turn our attention to the events scheduled in April.
While we have focused largely on the implementation of distance learning, we are also watching the economic impact on our school and community. For families that are experiencing unanticipated and growing financial challenges, I invite you to reach out to our CFO Laurelle McCready (
) to discuss ways to manage tuition and fees.
I want to acknowledge the emotional stress that is impacting all of us. It comes from different sources for each one of us. For a parent, it can be walking the tightrope of being teacher, parent, and employee all in one day. For students, it may be the loss of daily contact with peers and teachers and the option to come and go whenever and wherever. For teachers, it may be the experience of feeling like a first-year teacher all over again, caring for their own children who are also home, and missing their students. It is natural for us to be grieving for the spring we had thought would be.
Our clinicians, support staff, and administrators will be back on-board next Monday to offer virtual group chats, tutorials on executive functioning, presentations on distance learning, and outreach to individuals wishing for support. In the meantime,
has a new section
"Recommended by our staff"
with links to articles from experts on how to support each other during a crisis.
We are on an unexpected path, but our students will continue to add to their successes in spite of this change. And, in fact, because of new demands this pandemic places on our life styles, I know our students will grow in surprising ways that will serve them well. As a community we have embraced an enormous shift in our daily schedules and communication. Our shared mission, trusted relationships, and resourcefulness, powered by Lab’s treasured creativity, play crucial roles in our abilities to meet this challenge. We can look forward to remaining a strong, well-connected community during our time apart.
We offer our compassion for those who are ill from Covid-19 and our deepest gratitude for the health care providers who are working to save lives in this country. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
May you remain safe and healthy; I send best wishes to all and look forward to being back together.