Dear Brookfield Academy Parents,

I hope you are enjoying the Christmas Break. We continue to monitor information related to the pandemic as we plan for the return to school next week. You've been tremendously supportive in helping us achieve our goals to keep students and teachers healthy, keep students in classrooms, and school open. At Brookfield Academy we recognize that parents are the primary decision makers for the health and wellbeing of their children. With that in mind, we'd like to share what we're hearing from our medical advisors and how we're working to keep options available so you can do what you feel is best. 

The timing of the latest variant comes just when we are ready to return to school. There will likely be cases and as parents you will need to be prepared. According to our medical professionals (please note, we do not provide the names of medical professionals for confidentiality purposes), the Omicron variant is highly contagious but appears to be less severe and there are fewer symptoms especially for those that are vaccinated and boosted.

Below is additional information to keep in mind as we begin the second half of the school year battling the ongoing pandemic.

For now, the school will stay the course with “mask optional” guidelines for students not isolated or in quarantine, while adjusting some of our protocols. We do, however, strongly recommend that students wear masks in group settings indoors for extended periods of time, especially when they can’t distance themselves.   

What advice are our medical advisors offering at this point?  We are in a much better position than we were a year ago. Vaccinations are now available to any person five and over. Booster shots are highly recommended when those 16 and older are ready to receive one. Recent data of the latest variant indicates that hospitalizations and severe symptoms tend to be with those that are not vaccinated and the risk of this variant is very low for those who are vaccinated. This variant is expected to peak within the next six weeks so there may be a number of student and teacher absences. 

What do our experts say about masking? While there are studies that support both the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of masks, our experts believe that routine masking in indoor settings will lessen the likelihood of a spread. Although Brookfield Academy will not mandate masks at this time, this responsibility should be something for you to discuss with your student over the next months and is something you should seriously consider with your child, especially if transmission rates are high.   

What is the best thing you can do as a parent? If your child is experiencing COVID-like symptoms or any signs of illness, please keep them home. You may want to consider your student taking a rapid test at home to check on his or her COVID status. If teachers notice students sick or with symptoms at school, they will inform the school nurse and the nurse may inform you of possible testing options.   

I don’t want my child missing school when sick. What should I do? PLEASE DON”T SEND THEM! All teachers will work with students through Google Classroom to provide support in maintaining academic progress through an extended absence. Please contact the respective teacher, Division Head, or Dean with questions related to academic progress and how to best manage in these uncertain times.

Are there any changes with the school protocols? Any student testing positive for COVID will be out for the number of days determined by the Brookfield Academy Health Office based on each specific case and situation. Most students testing positive will be able to return to school after day five of isolation if symptom free and with a mask for five additional days. All positive student cases will be handled by the Health Office and communicated to the respective Division Head and Dean. 

This is a tough time for students, parents, and teachers. I respectfully ask for your continued assistance, patience, understanding, and resilience in working through this together. Partnership between school and home has enabled us to be successful in keeping students in school so far this year and that will be required going forward as well. With reports and data changing frequently, we'll continue to review campus absences and other data, new information and guidance from experts in order to make the best decisions for our entire school community. Additional updates will be provided through email, the newsletter, and on the MyBA portal. Please enjoy the remaining days of break.

Happy New Year,  
Doug Ricci
Head of School