September 25, 2020
Dear BB&N Families,
I write to provide an update on a few topics as we near the end of our second full week of school. I know we have all had to learn a lot of new behaviors and processes, and I am incredibly grateful for the support everyone has shown as we settle into how school looks and feels under these new conditions.
COVID Pledge Clarifications
I especially want to thank all of you for your commitment to keep our community safe and healthy through our uKnighted Community COVID-19 Pledge. We have received a few questions from parents about specific areas of the Pledge that I’m happy to clarify here. While it’s impossible for us to prescribe a recommended course of action for every potential social situation our students and families have away from school grounds, it is important for families to consider not only our shared responsibility to each other but also the level of risk you are willing to accept. As a reminder, if anyone in our community were to be contact-traced by the Commonwealth, they will be required to remain off campus for 14 days, regardless of whether they are able to produce a negative test. (See here for more information, including the Department of Public Health’s definition of what constitutes a close contact.)
The good news right now is that our collective adherence to the Pledge is paying dividends. It has been terrific to see teaching and learning kick into gear on our three campuses. In the past couple of days, I’ve noticed that everyone seems to be getting more familiar and comfortable. To see students on campus, reconnecting with each other and with their teachers and coaches, has been a daily reminder of why we have all worked so hard to follow the various protocols to ensure that this is possible. The things that make a BB&N education so special are happening, even with face coverings, physical distancing, and a mix of in-person and Zooming-in configurations.
Adaptations Moving Forward
That said, during each school day that takes place, we are paying close attention to what is working well and what needs improvement. In fact, we have already put in place a number of adaptations across all the campuses. With regard to technology, we have added Anker conference speakers to expand the microphone range in classrooms. This has gone a long way to improve the audio experience both for students in the classroom as well as for those who are Zooming in. Our teachers and tech team are also exploring how the use of individual headphones by students—both inside the classroom as well as when Zooming in—can be beneficial in supporting full engagement in our larger spaces, especially when integrated with the technology toolkit at teachers’ disposal, including mobile audiovisual units, iPads, and foundational applications to support digital whiteboards. If your child needs any support either securing or using headphones, please contact our Technology team at OnlineLearningHelp@bbns.org.
We are also looking at various facility improvements on some of the campuses, including the addition of charging stations for student devices, noise dampening solutions in the Lower School gymnasium, and exploring the best solutions for identifying alternative classroom spaces as we move deeper into the fall and temperatures start to drop. Lunch is another area where we are making some tweaks, both in the challenging logistics related to delivery on all three campuses, as well as in the balance we strike between offering choices that students will eat while still ensuring nutritional value. We will continue to prioritize this review of every aspect of school operations over the next couple of weeks and we’ll plan to ask for feedback later in October once we have had a month or so to settle in.
We Stand Together
Lastly, in these times which I have described as a double pandemic, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the pain that our community continues to feel about the racial injustice plaguing our country. Specifically this week, I want to reiterate that we as a school community stand with those who are amplifying and prioritizing the message that Black lives matter. Breonna Taylor’s life matters. We cannot let these injustices go unrecognized.
Thank you as always for your continuing support and I hope everyone enjoys a healthy and peaceful long weekend. I also send a heartfelt “G’mar chatima tovah” to our community members who will be observing Yom Kippur starting at sundown on Sunday.
Dr. Jennifer Price
Head of School