November 23, 2020
Dear BB&N Community:
Here we are at the end of November and it still gets harder and harder each day. COVID-19 rates continue to escalate throughout our country. Massachusetts is not exempt. BB&N cannot count on being exempt. As you can imagine, I sit at the nexus of it all seeming so precarious and wanting so badly to keep our school open. We are doing everything we can to preserve the academic and social-emotional benefits of coming to school for our kids.
To that end, I want to share with you a conversation that I just had with Dr. Richard Goldstein, our consulting physician, about the risks of Thanksgiving weekend. He is very worried about the impact of decisions that will be made by families over the next few days and the consequences those decisions will have on our ability to remain open until Winter Break. We talked about how well our community has come together. We talked about the pandemic that rages all around us. We talked about how our families will do what they think is right, but that not all of them will be as unwavering in following the recommendations.
He recommends what most of you have heard:
- Avoid travel and gatherings, as recommended by the CDC. As I said to my own father last night, the goal of this Thanksgiving is to make sure we are able to be together next Thanksgiving.
- Understand what our testing on Sunday and Monday actually means. As you may know, it normally takes 5 days from exposure for symptoms to emerge, and testing is not going to eliminate this risk, especially if you test in the first few days after exposure. Our testing will provide reassurance, but that reassurance has limitations. It will not detect all exposures over the holiday weekend.
- If you do decide to gather, travel, or do anything that increases your ‘normal’ risk, please think about our shared goal of keeping BB&N open as long as possible. Please keep in mind those who choose to follow recommendations explicitly, for their family, for the community, for our teachers. Make sure you wait at least 5 days after a potential exposure before you return to campus, in order to keep our community safe. In an abundance of caution, we would encourage you to test again at that point.
If you have any symptoms outlined in our COVID-19 Community Pledge—please stay home.
Dr. Goldstein’s parting words to me were, “You all have done such a remarkable job but this holiday is going to shut down a lot of schools. I know people are tired, but don’t let your guard down now.” I know we can do this, BB&N. Please think critically about the decisions you make over the next week. If you are increasing your risk in any way over this next week, please think about the impact those decisions could have on our community. Stay remote if you need to for a few extra days, get an ‘extra’ test a few days later if that makes sense, and most importantly, make smart and safe decisions.
Thank you for all you have done to keep our school safe. This past weekend, we just finished another round of testing. Our results: 181 faculty and staff with no positive cases, which continues our trend with testing for this entire Fall. Remarkable, but we need to keep it going. Please help us stay open. I know this is hard. I am living it myself, as a mother, as a daughter, and as a leader.
Happy Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for this amazing, uKnighted community.
Head of School