November 18, 2020

Dear Gould Families,

We are writing to report that a day student had a member of their household test positive for Covid-19. That student is now experiencing some symptoms and is presumed positive until their Covid test is returned. Their close contacts have been identified and are being notified and quarantined.

We want to assure you that we planned carefully for this eventuality and that the well-being of the entire community is our primary concern. While contact tracing continues, we have asked students to go home or to their dormitories until we work through quarantine protocols. We will send information about tomorrow’s schedule as we learn more.

In order to respect the student’s right to confidentiality of their health information, there is a limit to what the school can share. To date, Gould has performed more than a thousand Covid tests on employees and students—and all have been negative, even this Monday’s batch.

In the coming days, it is more important than ever that all members of our community wear masks, keep their distance, maintain good hand hygiene, and restrict their interactions with others as much as possible. The timing of this case was in our favor in that classes and sports were not in session over the long weekend, which minimizes the number of potential contacts.

Given the state of the pandemic in this country and around the world, we knew it was a question of when, not if, we would see a case on campus. We have a thorough plan in place, and know that we can prevent further spread of the virus if every member of our community commits to following it in the coming weeks and months.

We know this is hard. We know you want your children to be safe, and for those of you who live at a distance, you want to be with them. What we can tell you now is that these students, your children, have been amazing. As we read of college students flouting regulations and prioritizing parties over the health of their peers, Gould’s students have risen above this and worked together as a community to make the most of being back on campus, of enjoying their time in Bethel, and helping each other find joy in hard work. 

Thank you for entrusting us with their care, and partnering with us in making sure they receive the most amazing education possible. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we encourage you to reach out to their advisor or to Katie Stack, our director of advising and wellness.

Hoping you are well,
Tao Smith ’90, P’23
Head of School