Summer: Our plan is to deliver both an on-campus and remote summer session option (called a “hiflex” approach) and are well into our program and safety planning. Safety plans include onsite testing to be conducted by the National Guard (already arranged by our superstar school nurse, Michelle Austin), single rooms, new dining protocols, and a host of other safeguards. Anything can happen between now and June 28, but we are planning and hoping to welcome students back at that time.
Survey: We will be polling current and prospective families regarding what they most need from us now, what’s working well and what could work better, and individual preferences for summer (in person vs remote) to help us plan according t0 their wishes and insights. Parents, please look for this in the next 24 hours and please respond as soon as possible.
Seniors: The result of how much blood, sweat, love, joy, angst, and tears goes into graduating an Oliverian, our commencement ceremonies are the most moving and transcendent you’ll ever see. This year’s commencement was cancelled–which crushes all of us. But we are committed to honoring our seniors as they deserve and are holding a Zoom conference this Wednesday afternoon with parents of seniors to help process and brainstorm a “brave new” graduation ceremony worthy of our amazing seniors. Contact Abby Hood to sign up [email protected]
DEAR OLI FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
This morning, in the middle of May, I woke up to a blizzard. A foot of snow. I had to blink a few times to make sure I was actually awake. Then I thought, “has spring come every year, or just most years?” Sure enough. Every year.
A fishing pole is rigged in the back of my pickup truck, ready for the river trip I planned for Colton today. There is a “Go, Beth!” sign in the living room for Colton to hold up during his mommy’s solo half marathon planned for Mother’s Day, next to a dozen roses to present to her at the finish. Between coronavirus and insane weather, is it just dumb to make plans these days?
Yesterday I read an article written by a friend in Marie Claire magazine that gives some perspective. It’s about her time in a St. Louis ICU where her father was suddenly and quickly dying just days before her wedding. Laura’s heartbreaking love story makes a wise distinction between plans and promises. Laura’s plan was that her father walk her down the aisle. It was to have an elegant ceremony, followed by a blowout celebration on the roof of a chocolate factory in St. Louis with loud music and hundreds of guests. But when that wedding plan was smashed by angiosarcoma, she still kept her wedding promise–to marry the man she loved in the presence of the man who taught her how to love. So she and Joe skipped the chocolate factory and had an impromptu ceremony right there in the hospital room next to Tom, just hours before he passed away. Ultimately, it was the promise, not the plan, that mattered.
So today I am reminded, yes, to plan. Plan for the best and hope for the best, but be ready for anything. And being ready for anything might involve making a few careful promises you can keep no matter what happens to your plan. My plan with Colton was to fish in the river today, but my promise was to spend time with him. To connect. So we had a snowball fight. Plan broken. Promise kept.
Our plan at Oli included a graduation on June 7 in New Hampshire with our usual pomp, circumstance, tears, laughter, hugs, and food all in the loving loving presence of friends and family. That plan got wrecked by COVID-19. But our promise is to celebrate our seniors with love and honor in a way that is worthy of their achievement and that will create an indelible and wonderful memory. We will keep that promise. Somehow.
Our plan, as of today, is to welcome students back to campus for summer session. We are working hard on that plan–curriculum, staffing, fun and covid-safe activities, health and safety protocols, screening tests, menus, parent groups, and student support plans. But in “covid time,” there are aeons between today and June 28. States, including New Hampshire, are planning to reopen soon and we have yet to see how those plans impact our plans. Meanwhile, though, we know that promises are more important than plans, especially during uncertain times. Here are a few of ours:
We promise to listen to parents and students as we seek the best ways to meet their needs in this strange time.
We promise to make decisions that place the wellbeing of our students first.
We promise to make decisions based on the most current information available to us from authoritative sources.
We promise to deliver the best, most relevant services we can as circumstances dictate.
This blizzard will pass and once again–for a while, anyway–spring will win. You’ll see.
Warmly and hopefully,
Will Laughlin, Head of School/CEO
Cell: (303) 898-5792
Email: [email protected]