Dear Oliverian Family,
As I mentioned in my last email, I so appreciate you entrusting us with the care of your child. That is an incredible honor and responsibility every day, but especially given the situation we are facing nationally and globally. Most of you have made the choice to have your child at Oliverian based largely on your experience of the people who work here. That trust is well placed. I am lucky to work with a faculty I would, to a person, trust with my own child.
In the spirit of taking care of our Oliverian family, we have spent much of the day evaluating and updating our response to COVID-19. This has involved consultations with medical professionals, the CDC, the USDH and USDE, other schools, our COVID-19 Response Committee, trustees, and other staff. Our two top decision making priorities continue to be: 1) the protection of our students and staff, and 2) the protection of the broader community. Also important is our ability to provide continuity of services to your child, whether in person or from a distance.
With many schools and universities closing along with the prospect of increased travel restrictions, today’s discussions focused on the relative merits of honoring our spring break schedule versus adjourning school early. We also gave close consideration to just hunkering down and either delaying or skipping spring break in favor of staying put with our students in this relatively insulated setting.
Of course, none of these options are ideal. After much consideration, though, the best option at this moment is to honor our current schedule, with students departing campus Friday, March 20. Given the unknown of future domestic travel restrictions and viral spread, however, we encourage you to consider early departure based on your own risk assessment, which may vary by geography. We will do what we can to accommodate and support early departures. Please just be sure to communicate with Janice Hatch as soon as possible to facilitate smooth logistics.
As you know, the COVID-19 situation is changing constantly and with increasing rapidity. It is reasonable, therefore, to anticipate that we may require a delayed return to school after spring break for some or all of our students (either because of quarantine protocols or travel restrictions). To prepare for this eventuality, we have engineered distance learning capabilities in collaboration with Google that will include electronic and video instruction; telephonic support from teachers, counselors, and team leaders; and parent support services. You will receive additional details regarding distance learning options during spring break.
Our meantime precautions include all of the protocols included in my last note as well as:
- a moratorium on all school-sponsored travel by staff;
- a travel restriction for school outings to specific locations in our immediate vicinity that carry a low risk of transmission and high ability to socially distance;
- continued education and cuing around hygienic protocols;
- a request for faculty to limit travel over break to local, uninfected areas;
- routine cleaning/disinfecting of high-traffic surfaces;
- monitoring of staff and student travel, symptoms, and possible exposures;
- quarantine protocols as necessary (per CDC guidelines);
- monitoring food and supply stores;
- medication planning for possible extended home stays.
This is a challenging and uncertain time for all of us and we are committed to remaining vigilant, informed, and agile to provide safety and continuity of care to you and your child. Thanks again, and please feel free to reach out to any of us for advice, collaboration, and updates. We are in this with you.