Dear CES Community,

Whew, what a week it’s been! Aside from an election that has seen historic levels of engagement (and, as a result, an inevitable historic level of celebration and disappointment as one side would, after all, need to win) we’ve also continued to see a progressively more and more concerning intensification of the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide and locally. In Montgomery county, the new case rate per 100,000 residents has moved from 6.5 to almost 18 (almost tripling in a month). While the positivity rate remains low, the new case rate is significant and indicates that our area is not immune from the significant rise we’re all seeing nationwide.

As we move into this new phase of the pandemic (with the news about the success in vaccine development a very welcome ray of hope), I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone about a few key aspects of our COVID strategy:
  1. Our strategy was created to minimize the risk of COVID transmission at school, not to eliminate the risk of members of our community contracting COVID. We have, so far, been very blessed that no one in contact with the students (or students themselves) has been diagnosed with COVID. Should that happen,, I know we will all be supportive of whomever that is and of the school as we follow our plans for cohort isolation, etc. The last thing we want is for someone with a positive result to feel singled out; that would be both antithetical to the values of our community and a strong disincentive for people to report either a positive test or an exposure.
  2. With the primary priority being to minimize the risk of COVID transmission at school, our approach is also based on ensuring the continuity of learning and student development with as few disruptions as possible, which is why our progress to full in person instruction has been measured (and slower than some would like). My hope is that we will have a much clearer picture of the situation and trends come December so that we can make some definitive plans regarding this come January.

In the meantime, this has been hard on everyone, but especially on our middle school students who, while capable of pretty effective learning in a virtual setting, need community and contact with others as much as anyone. To that end, I am grateful to Mrs. Stone and the Middle School team for working with me and each other to develop some meaningful opportunities for community building in the Middle School without disrupting the academic schedule and minimizing the risk of any COVID transmission. Mrs. Stone outlines what our Middle School students can look forward to in the next section of the Cardinal, and I am looking forward to seeing the Middle School students out of costume (even if masked) on campus!