IMPORTANT COVID UPDATE & INSTRUCTION CHANGE
January 5, 2021
Dear St M Families,
I am writing to you today with an urgent and important update.
As you know, we asked all members of our community to self-report any exposure to COVID-19 over the two week holiday period and beyond. Since Saturday, January 2, we have been alerted daily to a growing number of COVID exposures, along with 5 COVID+ cases confirmed and others awaiting testing results. Every grade level has students (and in some cases, faculty members) impacted by exposures and these five days of increased exposure notification is not something St. Michael has experienced before. We will send out an updated COVID dashboard for your review within the next hour.
We made a commitment to our faculty and our families that we would put the safety of our students, faculty, and families first should the School's COVID numbers trend up, therefore we have made the difficult decision to pivot to two weeks of all-school Remote Learning beginning on Thursday, January 7 through Friday, January 22. As such, NO in-person or virtual classes will be held on Wednesday, January 6, so that our faculty has a day to prepare for the transition to remote learning.
Two special notes for Wednesday, January 6: For those interested in tuning in, Virtual Chapel will still take place at 8:05 a.m. tomorrow, AND the eighth grade high school virtual information student sessions with Trinity Episcopal School will also take place as scheduled. 8E’s session is at 9 a.m. and 8F’s session is at 11 a.m. Mr. Hansen will send our eighth graders the login links.
We are instructing teachers this afternoon to have students bring home all school materials, supplies, and technology with them today. As well, we will continue to monitor COVID notifications over the next two weeks to see if any additional remote learning time is warranted based on case-load. Please continue to monitor your email for updates from the School.
By midday tomorrow, January 6, families will receive a separate email containing our “Guide to Remote Learning” which will contain updated information and instructions on how students log in to receive remote instruction. (For Middle Schoolers, their daily class schedule will remain the same as it is now. Virtual quarantine students should attend their usual in-person learning section, not their quarantine section.) Our Extended Programs team is also prepared to offer “remote meet-ups” by grade level beginning next week to meet the social-emotional needs of students. More details to come.
While we reminded families in previous communications to be prepared in case the School needed to pivot to this scenario, we do greatly understand that remote learning comes with stress and strain on families and faculty alike. That said, we do not want St. Michael’s to become a source of COVID transmission -- the health and safety of our families and faculty is too important.
As a community, we can't let our guard down. Please continue to be vigilant about hand-washing, mask usage, and limiting social gatherings. The St M faculty and staff join me in expressing appreciation for your partnership in these unprecedented times. Teachers, students, staff, parents, caregivers - - we are all in this together and each of us needs to do our part to keep ourselves and one another safe and to ensure our swift return to on-campus instruction.
Bob Gregg, Head of School