Dear Parents, Alumni, and Friends of The Haverford School,

I am continually inspired and encouraged by our community’s preparedness and investment in adapting to the new normal in which we find ourselves as a school, as a nation, and as a world. While we have not physically been together since March 13, we have continued to nurture one another’s spirits -- and importantly so.

Virtual Haverford
While we are living through one of the more difficult periods in our national history, there is increasing evidence that we are collectively flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections in the United States, and hence losing far fewer Americans to this scourge than had been initially feared would be the case. The good news is that social distancing works, reducing the strain on the health professionals who are on the front lines.

The unfortunate news is that social distancing will likely continue for some time, until either effective COVID-19 treatment or a vaccine is created. While we are hopeful that our campus will be abuzz later this spring with our boys learning, collaborating, and competing on the fields, river, and courts, there is an increasing possibility that campus will not re-open this school year.

While this decision has not yet been made and is dependent upon government guidelines, I realize the impact that the very thought of this has on our community -- on the boys who are marking life milestones; on the academic prize winners, club leaders, student-athletes, and stage performers who have waited for their moment; on the families who care so deeply about their sons, each other, and our School; on the faculty and staff who have guided the growth of each and every Haverford School boy; and on the alumni and friends who cherish their connection to -- and impact on -- this institution.

I also believe that together, we can make this a special time for one another despite these challenges.

Getty Museum Challenge
In 10 days of Virtual Haverford, we have learned, we have innovated, and we have seen some incredible work – from the first grade art class’s “scavenger hunt sculpture” to Middle School’s Getty Museum Challenge to Index staff writers conducting video chats to chronicle this time in the School’s history. We are well aware that learning occurs differently at a distance and are being intentional about how we will evaluate student performance, paying special attention to rewarding engagement in this challenging environment; Division Heads will communicate more specific guidance in future newsletters. We will be launching opportunities for families to engage with Division Heads at a safe social distance, just as the boys engage with their classmates and teachers over various platforms. And we will collectively build the best learning opportunity we can give to our boys while acknowledging that many of our teachers are also parenting distance learners.

We are keeping our community connected through virtual events; this year’s Scholarship Celebration will acknowledge 72 named scholarship recipients and donors across county and state lines, and our Best for Boys Speaker Series event on The Science of Reading, held in partnership with Tredyffrin Public Library, will put our Lower School literacy program on center stage. These are critical opportunities to advance the mission of The Haverford School and we look forward to sharing the results with you.

I am proud to see our community pursue opportunity in the face of adversity. Cole Berman ’14 launched Fuel the Fight to support local restaurants and healthcare workers by delivering food, Middle School Latin teacher Lauren Faralli is hosting a master class on how to sew masks for first responders, and Lower Schoolers donated decorated pillow cases to the Visiting Nurses Association. Haverford is contributing in this time of national emergency; we will be launching the hashtag #HaverfordHelps to share these stories.

Middle School under construction
In other good news, Governor Wolf is allowing school construction to proceed with the support of local authorities; other educational institutions have already restarted work on their projects. Having received the necessary permissions from Lower Merion Township, we are now working to develop appropriate measures to safeguard the health of the construction workers and Haverford’s facilities staff on-site so that construction of the Middle School can resume in the days to come. We can’t wait to show you the progress of this state-of-the-art building, recently profiled by WRT architect Maarten Pesch in your winter issue of Haverford School Today.

Finally, we had planned a March launch of a $1 million Board Challenge that would bring the Character at Our Core campaign to a successful close this fiscal year. While this is no longer the time for such an initiative, it is important to note that our Board remains committed to their pledged amount, putting us within $1 million of our $50 million goal. The School remains deeply grateful to those alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends who have brought the campaign to this successful point, and those who are able to consider additional annual operating support this spring. Some in our community have asked how they can both help our families and help sustain this institution that we all love. Gifts like these enable us, even in times like these, to fulfill our mission of preparing boys for life. Haverford will continue to deliver the very best educational experience as a direct result of our collective efforts.

We will prevail. Support each other, be kind to each other and to yourself, and continue to exhibit the qualities for which Fords past and present are known and respected.
Go Fords!
Headmaster Dr. John Nagl
John A. Nagl, D.Phil.
Ninth Headmaster
Visit haverford.org/preparedness for learning resources, coping resources, school communications, and more.

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