Dear Miss Hall’s School Families,
 
I write on a beautiful autumn weekend in the Berkshires with an update as we move into the final weeks of Term 2. It has been wonderful to have students back on campus, and we have found many ways to encourage connection and community with students who are learning from other locations. MHS adults have done a great job checking in with students — on and off campus, in and beyond classrooms — to make sure all have what they need. I hear every day from faculty that students have been engaged and enthusiastic, and those who are here have been eager to adjust to the many changes we implemented in order to reopen. I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to making Term 2 a successful first experience with hybrid learning.
 
At the same time, it is also important to recognize that this is a moment of great uncertainty and division in the United States. We recently concluded an exceptionally rancorous national campaign that laid bare much of what divides us as a nation, and, unfortunately, we expect the polarity to continue in the weeks and months ahead, as election tabulations continue, results are certified, and court challenges are resolved. 

Despite the unrest that has taken place in some areas of the country, we are fortunate to live and work in an area that while certainly politically active, has not experienced similar events. The School’s Incident Response Team (IRT) continues monitoring these activities, and we will remain vigilant about the health and safety of all in our community.

Regardless of the election’s ultimate outcome, many of the campaign’s central issues — an ongoing pandemic, racial justice and equity, economic inequality, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights, climate change, and other matters of national and international importance — remain to be addressed, and that makes the work we do at Miss Hall’s that much more important.
Civic engagement is closely aligned with our mission to “inspire students to contribute boldly and creatively to the common good,” and we will continue encouraging our students to advocate for positive change and to use their voices in support of issues that matter to them. The problems of the world may seem huge, but there are many reasons for hope, not the least of which are our students, some of whom were able to vote for the very first time in 2020. They are part of a generation committed to addressing the issues left at their doorstep by the generations before them, and it is our responsibility to educate them to be active, global citizens.

Health and Safety Update
Our amazing nurses have so far administered 301 COVID tests on campus with zero positive test results. You can check our weekly Dashboard here: https://www.misshalls.org/covid.
In response to recent increases in the local COVID positivity rate, however, as well as national and global outbreaks, we are taking additional precautions. We remain at MHS campus reopening level YELLOW, based on our guidelines, but we are not permitting non-essential visitors to campus or boarding student visits off-campus on weekends. We are awaiting information from the Governor about updated state guidelines regarding group gatherings, travel, and more, and we expect to adjust our guidance accordingly, though we believe we already meet or exceed most guidelines. Overall, despite the increase in the local positivity rate, COVID cases remain low in Berkshire County as a whole, compared with the rest of the state and country. 
 
Lastly, I want to emphasize the importance of students and adults following the MHS Common Good Guidelines, both on and off campus. We understand that for many, the next few months bring important celebrations and the desire to be with friends and family. However, we remind you that we are at a consequential moment in a global pandemic, and each of us has to make choices that protect the health of our families and of our various communities. We are counting on everyone to be vigilant, with the health and safety of all community members in mind. 

We intend to continue in-person/hybrid classes through the end of Term 2, and to adhere to the calendar laid out earlier this year, with students returning to campus by January 4 and resuming a hybrid schedule soon after. We will let you know before the start of fall break about details for our January return. Should external conditions require us to change our plans, we will communicate this right away.
 
As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
 
All the best,
Julia Heaton
Head of School

Contacts and Resources


For health questions and concerns:  Christie Puz, R.N., Director of Health Services, 413-395-7074, cpuz@misshalls.org  
 
For travel arrangements: Mary Bazanchuk, Asst. Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life, 413-395-7045, mbazanchuk@misshalls.org

For questions about counseling resources: Teresa Gentile, School Counselor, 413-395-7073, tgentile@misshalls.org
 
For academics questions: Lisa Alberti, Dean of Academics and Faculty, 413-395-7108, lalberti@misshalls.org