When can students return to campus?
From Mr. Handmaker:
As we approach the first day of school, many of you have asked a key question: What metrics will we use to decide on opening the campus to in-person learning and do we have an estimate on when students can return?
We will follow closely the just-released metrics for schools from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. They are:
- The amount of time it takes for the number of COVID-19 cases to double, an indicator of how quickly cases are increasing. The recommended rate is 18 days; San Antonio is currently doubling the number of cases every 24 days, so relatively speaking, we’re heading in the right direction.
- Positivity rate (the proportion of positive test results out of the total number of tests) at less than 5%. Currently we are at 12.7%, so we have a ways to go.
- A decline in coronavirus cases for two consecutive weeks. We have not yet reached this milestone.
While we monitor these metrics, we will continue to consult with our Medical Advisory Committee and our Safety Committee on whether we can safely bring students back to campus after Labor Day. This is our hope, but as you well know, this is a fluid situation and much depends on what is happening in San Antonio in general.
We will also continue to analyze whether we can bring younger students back daily while their older schoolmates pursue hybrid learning. Some research has shown that the rate of transmission may be lower among children younger than 10 years old, while students older than 10 may have a rate similar to adults.
As we have done up to now, we will also watch what happens in other school districts and other states and countries as they reopen their schools.
There are many variables and possibilities that the coming weeks could bring. Our goal has not changed: we want to bring students back to campus as soon as possible, but in a way that is safe for them, for families, and for the faculty/staff. In addition, our approach to decision-making has not altered; we will base our decision on the most up to date scientific and medical information.
For now, we continue to prepare for distance learning and ensuring the campus is ready for an eventual return in person. We look forward to meeting you face-to-face when that day arrives.
William B. Handmaker
Head of School