March 2, 2020 

Dear BB&N Families,

I know that COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, has been much on all of our minds these past few weeks. As head of school and as a parent, I fully understand how a virus such as this one can create significant anxiety and concern. As such, I write to give you an update on how we at BB&N are monitoring the situation, both as it currently stands and also planning for contingencies that might emerge.

First and most important, our community is currently healthy. While we have certainly seen a fair number of flu cases—as we do nearly every winter—we are currently aware of no known exposure to the coronavirus among members of our school community. 

We have an appointed team who is staying in frequent touch with experts in the field, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and our consulting physician, Dr. Richard Goldstein of Boston Children’s Hospital. They remind us that, thus far across the world, children who are the age of our students and otherwise healthy have not been severely affected by COVID-19. They also remind us that new information is emerging daily about the virus, and to stay vigilant about minimizing risk by adopting healthy behaviors. 

These specific recommendations should be familiar to all of us, and we are reinforcing them with our students: 

1) If you are sick, stay home. Students who have a fever of 100.4 degrees or more should stay home and may return to BB&N only after being fever-free for 24 hours. Please adhere to this policy; it is vitally important both for your health and for that of our whole community!  
2) Wash hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds per wash.
3) Cover your mouth fully when you cough or sneeze, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
4) Our custodial staff will continue to perform disinfectant-level cleanings of classrooms and common areas on all three campuses.

In this realm of risk prevention, I’d also ask members of our community to consider carefully if you have plans to travel to affected areas or potentially affected areas. As many of you probably know, the CDC maintains an excellent site on Traveler’s Health , including destinations where they recommend avoiding for non-essential travel, as well as tips to stay healthy on any trip you may take. 

We are keeping a close eye on travel recommendations relating to the several school trips, both residential and international, that are planned for Spring Break. We will stay in touch with these families and students as Break approaches.  

Our team is also preparing for any contingencies that might develop further down the line. In particular, our digital learning office and campus directors are planning for how BB&N will deliver curriculum if, for example, a single student needs to remain quarantined at home, or for scenarios broader than that. To be clear, as things stand now, these broader scenarios such as school closure are seen as extremely unlikely occurrences. But we do want to assure you that BB&N is preparing to address whatever might ensue, no matter how unlikely.  

Lastly, I’d like to address an issue that tracks to the 3rd word in our motto: Kindness. News stories have emerged across our country in which individuals, particularly those of Chinese descent, are being stigmatized due to the suspected origins of the coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, China. I know that those of you reading this email will agree with me that our BB&N mission of "principled engagement" compels each of us to shine light upon misinformation, to assuage fear, to counter hatred, and to offer support, concern, and compassion to any human being or family, whether far or near, who has been affected by COVID-19.

The health and well-being of our students will always be our highest priority at BB&N and I thank all of you for the role you play in keeping our community safe and healthy. As we all know, information about the virus is constantly being updated, so I will be sure to keep you informed about any important updates over the next two weeks as we head toward Spring Break.

Best,

Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School