March 6, 2020
Dear Moses Brown Community,
At the risk of over communicating with you this week, I’m writing to provide an update about the coronavirus outbreak and steps we are taking at MB to keep our community healthy and safe.
Extent of outbreak
To date, three people in RI are known to have contracted COVID-19 as the result of a trip to Italy last month, and around 200 residents have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Yesterday, experts from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) arrived in RI to assist in statewide containment efforts. To stay abreast of this changing situation, MB’s administrative, wellness, and safety staff are meeting regularly, I am participating in a daily conference call with the Heads of other Providence independent schools, and we are monitoring information disseminated by the RI Department of Health (RIDOH).
As I shared previously, Moses Brown is following the guidance of RIDOH, the CDC, and other health professionals in establishing an attendance policy during the outbreak.
Anyone who has had direct contact with a COVID-19 patient, who has traveled to a CDC Level 3 country (currently China, South Korea, Iran and Italy), or been in contact with someone who has, may not come to work, attend school, or otherwise visit MB’s campus until they have been symptom-free for 14 days since the date of last possible exposure.
The contacts of those contacts may come to campus as long as all concerned remain symptom-free.
This week, our housekeeping services have undertaken deep nightly cleaning of the campus, using electrostatic applications of virucide to disinfect high-touch surfaces. All classrooms also have been equipped with disinfectant and teachers have been asked to wipe down surfaces such as desks and doorknobs several times during the day. We are continuing to remind all community members to wash their hands regularly.
Yesterday, Governor Raimondo formally encouraged all schools in the state to cancel or postpone international student travel. MB had one trip planned for spring break, to the Dominican Republic, and although there is just a single identified case of COVID-19 in that country, we decided to follow the governor’s guidance by cancelling the trip. We are deeply sorry for the disappointment this has caused for those who had been planning to participate. We have two athletic teams (Baseball and Boys’ Tennis) that will be traveling to Florida and South Carolina during break, and as of today those trips are proceeding as planned. We’ll continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks and keep the community apprised about trips planned for this summer.
Spring Break Travel & Request for Information
Families who are planning to travel during spring break should consult resources such as the CDC’s
Information for Travel
page, which includes country-specific guidance. We strongly discourage anyone from traveling to a country categorized by the CDC as Level 3 or 2.
In preparing to manage a potential escalation of the outbreak in Rhode Island, we’d like to have a clearer understanding of where MB community members have traveled during this time period.
If you or a member of your family have traveled abroad in February or March, or have plans to do so in the coming month, we ask that you fill out a simple and confidential online
This information will be used by MB administrators only if necessary, to assess potential level of exposure should the outbreak worsen.
With the spring sports season getting underway during March break, we are working internally and seeking guidance from our consulting physician to establish heightened hygiene protocols specific to athletics. We will be communicating with coaches, student-athletes, and parents next week.
If school is disrupted
If the COVID-19 outbreak worsens dramatically or impacts the MB community more directly, we will consult with health experts in assessing whether to close the school temporarily. Should this become necessary, we will deliver our academic program through online and digital resources. We will share further information about our plan next week. For the moment, all families should make sure they have a computer or tablet with reliable internet access, which MB can provide as needed. Please reach out to Grant Henderson, MB’s Director of Technology, with questions
. As an added precaution, we suggest that all MB students bring home with them during spring break whatever materials (textbooks, computers, chargers etc.) they might need to engage in schoolwork from home. This is a precaution only, as such a decision is not imminent at this time.
Lastly, we want to emphasize that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other communicable illness is to follow basic hygienic precautions:
· Stay home if you are ill.
· Wash your hands frequently with soap and water; if those are not available, use hand sanitizer.
· Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Do not share household items such as water bottles, utensils, towels, lip balm etc.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
· If a child shows signs of illness and you have questions or concerns, please contact your primary care provider immediately.
· Get a flu shot.
I appreciate everyone’s support and cooperation as we continue to monitor the outbreak and take steps necessary to keep our community healthy. I’ll be in touch again next week with further updates and am certainly available to answer questions you may have.
Head of School