September 8, 2020
Dear Columbus Academy Families,
This letter is to update you on our plans for in-person learning, particularly as it relates to the Middle and Upper Schools since our Lower School started today with all grades on campus.
This past weekend you were alerted to three positive COVID tests of senior students in our community. Franklin County Public Health was immediately involved, and the contact tracing and quarantining began with those who were considered to be in “close contact” with those students. While these cases are concerning, particularly as we shepherd the health and well-being of our students and faculty during campus reopening, it is also commendable how rapidly the school was notified and how much care for the community was expressed by all those involved.
It is possible, maybe even likely, that we will have more cases in our midst, and our system of notification and contact is as important as all the other systems we have put into place to open our campus. Please also know that our COVID Response Team is in very close contact with Franklin County Public Health and will be determining with that department how our positive tests could and should affect our plans for school.
So, while we are vigilant in our observation of positive COVID-19 tests in our school and larger community, the four conditions listed in our Campus Reopening Plan have been satisfied and we can move to 50% daily capacity in the Middle and Upper Schools starting Monday, September 14. The Lower School will continue to operate at full capacity on campus in cohorted classrooms. This change to 50% in MS and US will last at minimum (as long as our four conditions continue to be satisfied) until October 2nd. You will hear on September 28th about our plans for on-campus capacity starting the week of October 5th.
Once more, I thank you for your patience and understanding as our faculty, staff and students move through these uncharted circumstances with intentionality. I know the care we are taking to add students to campus has the unintended consequence of being profoundly inconvenient for families just when they hope to have predictability in their lives. We hope that slow and steady will gain us stability in the endgame of having all students on our campus in a sustained way, and we believe we are traveling the best path to get us there.
Despite the difficulties around school opening, we are proud of the spaces we have designed for learning all around our campus, and we have created a time when you can take the opportunity to walk through our spaces during the upcoming Open House for MS/US parents and guardians on September 15th from 4:30-7:00 p.m. Please sign up in advance for a reserved window of time and remain masked and socially distanced while on campus. More details on how to register will be shared by the division heads.
Also, new (virtual) Back-to-School Nights will be held on October 1st for Upper School and on October 7th for Middle School. During these online gatherings, parents/guardians will have the opportunity to “meet” their children’s teachers and learn about classes. More details about the Zoom connections and links to come.
Thank you, as always, for your partnership.
Head of School