April 9, 2020
Dear Columbus Academy Families:
I wish things could get back to normal as quickly as possible, but it seems like we will be continuing to run school remotely for the near future. It is hard to fathom how different this spring is going to be than how we had planned, and please know that while no parent, student or teacher could have imagined school would be this way right now, we are committed to making it the best experience we can.
As you know, the question about whether we will be able to return to campus this school year is a difficult one to answer. Columbus Academy shifted to online learning to comply with Governor DeWine's order to suspend public and private K-12 schools' use of facilities and in-person instruction -- first until April 6 and now until May 1 -- and there is every indication from the Governor's office that it is likely to be longer, even into the summer. Please know that when legal restrictions for schools are lifted in Ohio, we will uncover every possibility and thoughtfully consider a return to campus that would not jeopardize the health of our staff and students.
In the meantime, our teachers are devoting their entire attention on keeping Columbus Academy students engaged, cared for and prepared for next year both academically and personally. This is a mighty effort on both their part and those of families as we seek to create the best possible moments for learning through a medium that offers both the creativity of technology and the complexity of social distancing.
All of this newness inspires many questions about how the school will manage a myriad of issues such as missed celebrations, the ending of the school year, whether summer programs will run on their intended schedule and the ways we will feel safe when we finally return to campus. Rest assured that my colleagues and I are pouring over all these questions in addition to doing everything we can to ensure that we are able retain and pay our exceptional faculty and staff while also planning for increased affordability measures through financial aid during such a complicated and unpredictable financial landscape.
Given the complexity of decision-making and the fierce headwinds so many of us are facing, I am incredibly grateful for your patience, flexibility and support as we continue to deliberate each and every issue. We will be communicating with you about all aspects of school life -- from end-of-year activities to Commencement to Summer Experience -- as soon as we can while sorting out what the future holds for our being back together again.
One of the most pressing community issues is how we are going to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our seniors, many of whom have been at Academy for all their childhood. Each of them deserves the love, support, gratitude and endearment that an entire community can provide as we launch them off to college and their next steps of adulthood. To begin that process of celebrating them individually and publicly, the school will launch Senior Spotlights next week that will feature two members from our Class of 2020 each day through the end of May. These spotlights will first be shared on social media and then collected on a special webpage that will be shared in upcoming Viking Voice newsletters. If you are unfamiliar with social media, our communications office has created a helpful video that demonstrates how you can easily check out our main sites without having to sign up for accounts.
Also, we are preparing efforts to raise school spirit and keep families connected virtually during these times of sheltering in place. One such initiative is a themed "dress code" week culminating in a Pajama Day for our online classes. More details to come on that soon.
Another fun event in which all can partake is our Friday Flourishing or Forest Friday (whichever term is more meaningful to your family) walk. We encourage you to safely get outside and post your photos or video every Friday using the hashtag #FFWalk. If you do so, please make sure your post is marked as "public" (especially on Facebook and Instagram) so that it can be shared with others in the Academy community. You can also send submissions to email@example.com, and our communications staff will be happy to post it for you on the school's accounts. Enjoy this video featuring examples from our initial event last week set to music by Math Department Chair Chris Bolognese.
Another hashtag that's become popular in our community is #AllInThisTogetherVikes, so we encourage you to not only use it but also to take it to heart. Let's be here for each other, even when we can't be physically near one another. If you are feeling isolated and out of touch with our community, please let us know. We want to hear from you and help, if needed.
Be safe, be good to yourself, and we'll get through this.