REOPENING MOSES BROWN A Plan for Fall 2020 is available here.
For more information on the Rhode Island Department of Health protocols for COVID response in schools, click here.
An important 2020-2021 School Year Update
August 19, 2020
Dear Moses Brown Community,
As I indicated in several communications last week, the Governor’s recent announcement of a delayed start to the public-school year raised some questions about MB’s reopening plans. MB administrators and trustees met yesterday for further deliberation, and I’m writing to share an update with the community.
As you know, the general shape of our plan was established on July 31 when we published Reopening Moses Brown: A Plan for Fall 2020. Overall, our plan is intentionally built around a framework of interconnected variables such as section sizes, daily schedules, technologies, and safety measures that will allow us to adapt to whatever teaching modality is required this year—in-person, hybrid, or distance. I’d like to thank the many community members who shared input and feedback on the plan. A Zoom ‘town hall’ meeting for parents in early August, for example, accompanied by robust survey responses, revealed high levels of confidence in the plans and safety measures we have devised.
Yesterday, the Board helped us reach further clarity on several elements of the plan:
1. MB will not resume full on-campus learning until the state’s standard for testing—i.e., results readily attainable within 48-72 hours—has been met. The RIDE Commissioner and the Governor have given strong assurance that they expect to meet this threshold by the first week of September.
2. With that in mind, school will begin on September 2 as scheduled but with limited numbers of students on campus. The first four days—September 2, 3, 4 and 8—will be partial days involving a blend of virtual and on-campus experiences for small, carefully monitored groups. While these experiences will look slightly different in each division, the common focus will be on orientation, relationship-building, and gaining familiarity with new elements such as schedules, technology, and safety protocols.
3. Assuming the testing standard has been met, the first full day of school, involving regular classes and hours, will be September 9.
4. Once we are fully under way, all Lower and Middle School students will attend school in-person five days per week. The Upper School will adopt an alternating (A/B) schedule in which half of students learn on campus while the other half learn concurrently from home or another remote location.
5.In order to help ‘de-densify’ the Upper School and facilitate what we hope will be a full return of students at some point this year, we will install eight mobile classrooms on campus.
We believe that this phased reopening is the soundest approach for testing and refining our new protocols and for welcoming the community back to campus after nearly six months away. Division Heads will have more to share shortly about the exact schedule for September 2-8, including details of the alternating schedule in the Upper School.
I’d also like to call your attention to several important logistical matters. This week, families will receive an email from CFO Vickie Monta and Director of Auxiliary Programs Jen Rawson with information about the dining program provided by SAGE. SAGE has designed a high-quality service for this unique school year, and we strongly encourage all MB families to take advantage of it.
Next week, you will receive an email invitation to download SchoolPass, MB’s COVID App. This will be a critical safety tool through which we will manage the daily screening (self-attestation) process. Parents will be required to use this specific platform and to complete the screen daily on behalf of their child(ren). Please take time to become familiar with this tool.
Also related to health and safety, it is critically important for all families to complete annual medical/immunization and MyMB forms prior to the start of the school year. If you have not done so already, please click on this link and follow instructions for completing the forms. For students lacking a current physical with immunization history dated within the past 13 months, parents will need to provide written clearance from a doctor in order for their child to attend class and participate in athletics until an appointment can be scheduled.
The challenges of these past several months have offered us an unprecedented opportunity to focus on our values as a Friends school. Our stewardship of individual and community health is especially important now. As we near the start of the school year, I want to call on the entire MB community to join in a spirit of mutual help, trust, and collaboration in opening the school safely and keeping it open. As members of the MB community, we each need to commit to doing what we can to mitigate the risk of viral transmission, both on campus and at home, in our professional as well as our personal lives. Consistent adherence to protocols such as staying home when sick, mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand washing is clearly good public health practice—but it’s also a way for us to live the Quaker testimonies of integrity, community and stewardship. By observing these measures as diligently and carefully as we can, we become partners in a lived commitment to our community and our values.
Please continue to send your overall questions and concerns to me, our CFO Vickie Monta, our Divisions Heads (OJ Marti/Jared Schott), or Assistant Head for Academic Affairs/Interim Head of Upper School Debbie Phipps. Your feedback so far has helped to strengthen our approach to reopening.
I look forward to seeing and welcoming you to Moses Brown in just a few short weeks.
Head of School