Dear MPH Community,

“Today was a good week.” This quote, from one of our teachers, was in response to a simple “How are you doing?”

In a message to my colleagues just last night, I opened with some observations about the month of May being a time that brings extra excitement and special significance, in any year, given the number of culminating events and programs it tends to include. Of course, there are additional stressors associated with such a full and rich period of time. Now layer on a global pandemic, the consequent shift to distance learning, the attendant concerns around the health and well-being of one’s own family, as well as that of one’s students and their families…and suddenly that seemingly innocent “How are you doing?” feels full of irony.

That said, MPH faculty and staff received a huge boost to morale when we received (in the mail!) personal cards, expressions of appreciation, and thoughtful gifts. With all that is going on, this sort of kindness means more than our Parents’ Association could possibly know. On behalf of all my colleagues, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you, MPH parents! If you missed it in today’s edition of Snapshot, here is our thank-you note to you.

Spring and summer planning continues apace, and here are a few updates:

Commencement – We had a productive meeting with members of the Class of 2020 this week, which provided the chance to refine our thinking with their thoughtful suggestions in mind. Specific details about the updated plan will be communicated to students and families in the days ahead. I’ll use this space to simply express my appreciation for the respectful and reasonable spirit in which all parties concerned participated in this conversation. Our efforts are inspired by a shared commitment to do everything we can to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our seniors. And we all understand the need to manage expectations, given the evolving nature of our community response to COVID-19. We’ll remain attentive and nimble to whatever unfolds in the days and weeks ahead.

Kick-Off to Summer – With hopes that we would be able to stay the course and start this three-week program for some of our younger students as originally planned, we have moved this offering back to August 3 through August 21. More information will be forthcoming from our Community Programs department.

Summer Day Camp – We’re still scheduled to begin on June 29, and we will be in touch as soon as possible if alternative plans become necessary.

Red Cross Blood Drive – On June 9, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 pm., MPH will host a blood drive on campus, as previously scheduled. I want to acknowledge the extra steps and precautions necessary to host this community effort in a manner that ensures appropriate health and safety protocols. With thanks to our partners at Red Cross and our student Maya Heimes, who will coordinate sign-ups and volunteer participation, I am also grateful for the support of MPH colleagues who appreciate the social compact we have with our CNY neighbors.

Speaking of which, I’ve been made aware of certain recent instances in which individuals, schools, and/or organizations have perhaps disregarded the safety protocols of our county health professionals and leaders. This is, of course, disappointing to hear. We take very seriously our place in this community, and we will contribute to and support the health guidelines that are in place for our collective well-being. MPH, in this regard, will be a team player.

In recent days, I’ve been asked with some frequency to provide answers to questions about the 2020-2021 academic year. I appreciate everyone’s desire for specific answers to specific questions. Now more than ever a crystal ball would be a welcome gift!  Scenario planning for the start to the 2020-2021 academic year is underway and will be ongoing. I ask for your continued patience and assure you that we are fully committed to work through all contingencies and attendant details as thoroughly and thoughtfully as possible.

I hope, as we head into next week, that the weather warms, that you find bountiful reasons to be thankful, that your family’s good health remains a priority . . . and that not every day feels like an entire week!  Hang in there, MPH family!

Take good care,
Dave McCusker
Head of School