Dear Gould Families,

Our thanks to those of you who joined us for the weekly Coffee Chat this morning, and we encourage those of you who weren’t able to join us to watch the recording. (You can access the recording here.)
We wanted to let you know that we are carefully considering Gould’s next steps. We feel enormously grateful—and relieved—that our reopening has gone smoothly. It has been no small task, and the community can take pride in that accomplishment. Now, nearly two months from the arrival of our first returning students, we are cautiously optimistic about the rest of the fall term. Students and employees took 529 covid tests as part of the reopening process and another 175 random surveillance tests since then—all negative. 
It is tempting to want to reward our students for their diligence and continued efforts. At the same time, to loosen protocols too quickly risks all that we have accomplished to be in person and on campus this fall. We are at a critical intersection as we consider some big decisions about the coming weeks and months.

Head of School Tao Smith, Athletic Director Bob Harkins, Health Services Director Joanna Brown, and many others are collaborating with our peer school, and the COVID Response Team is giving extensive consideration to a variety of topics, including the following:

  • Interscholastic competition in athletics
  • Relaxing guidelines in the dorms 
  • Family visits to campus 
  • Planning for Thanksgiving break 
  • Ongoing Covid surveillance testing
  • January intake plans
We know we can’t loosen our Covid guidelines on all fronts at once; each option presents additional elements of risk to our community. So our deliberations center on how can we find ways to improve the Gould experience in a responsible way and what potential risks might provide the highest rewards?
We devoted a good portion of today’s coffee chat to a draft of the January intake plan. Director of Experiential Learning Chris Hayward walked us through the flow chart of possible departure and return dates—a reminder that these dates are still tentative. Your child’s advisor should reach out to you in the coming weeks to get a sense of your family’s plans. Once we know how many students will return in each window (competitive on snow athletes, students returning by flight, and those able to drive to campus—and how many plan to stay on campus over the holiday), we can determine whether our proposed schedule can accommodate those numbers.
We encourage you to join us each week at the weekly Coffee Chat as we discuss the latest thinking on these and other important matters. We want you to have the opportunity to weigh in. If you cannot attend the Coffee Chat, please know that you can access the recordings here (in the Parent/Student Download Folder)
Next week, on October 14, we plan to focus the Coffee Chat on the realities of competition and travel during Covid for our competitive On Snow program, and what implications these constraints will have for the season ahead. 
Thanks as always for your patience, your understanding, and the trust you have in us. With your help we’ll stay healthy together.
Julie Reiff
Director of Marketing & Communications