To the Brookwood Family:
I am pleased to share that we remain on track to open Brookwood School for the 2020-21 academic year on time and in person on August 10.
This summer, our Campus Reopening Taskforce has worked diligently to develop and refine plans to reopen safely. Our overriding goal has been to make life on Brookwood’s campus as normal as possible while staying as safe as possible for our students within the context of our current environment.
We are still in the midst of a global pandemic and need to take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While we are hopeful for the best, it is realistic to expect that it will continue to be disruptive in all of our lives for the foreseeable future.
We also know how important it is for our students to be on campus, learning from our teachers. As I have shared previously, children need to be in school in order to meet key developmental milestones for growth: academically, physically, spiritually, and socially.
Here is what we are planning for this fall:
Dedicated Teachers, Coaches, and Administrators. Perhaps this goes without saying. However, I believe that it is important to emphasize the strength, dedication, and passion that our team brings to the table on a daily basis.
Campus Life. We plan to have all of our students on campus during the school day. We do not foresee any of our students taking classes through continuous learning except if 1) there is a government mandate to shut down, or 2) if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in our Brookwood community.
Wellness Checks. We will emphasize the prevention of the spread of the virus through morning wellness checks. This will involve a brief health screening, including a temperature check, during morning drop off before students enter the buildings.
We are in the process of adding a School Nurse to our staff to support our efforts to keep our community healthy, address health concerns as they arise, and communicate updates with our community. The school nurse will serve on our health taskforce, which will include medical and public health professionals to provide guidance as we make decisions about this evolving situation.
Handwashing and Hygiene. We are all washing our hands a lot more these days! We will continue to emphasize this, as well as other aspects of taking personal responsibility for one’s health, with our students. We have added additional daily cleaning staff to help keep our campus clean and sanitized.
Air Space. We will make adjustments to our classrooms to have greater distance between desks and have temporarily repurposed spaces on campus to create additional classroom space to achieve this goal. We will make reasonable adjustments to our daily schedule and routines to avoid large groups of students being in the same place at the same time. Further, we have made changes throughout campus in our air handling systems with hospital-grade antiviral technology that cleans and improves air quality.
Face Coverings. We are not planning to ask our students to wear face coverings during class. We do expect that we will ask our students to wear face coverings on school transportation and our Middle and Upper School students to do so during the change of classes.
In general, we expect that the use of face coverings will be minimal, but foresee that there will be occasions when face coverings will be necessary. Finally, we support our students and faculty in their individual decisions regarding the use of face coverings and other personal protective equipment during the day.
When Someone Gets Sick. We will follow appropriate quarantine procedures for those students or faculty who are diagnosed with or exposed to the COVID-19. When students are out sick and/or in quarantine, we provide academic support during their absence. However, we will not run a concurrent online program along with our in-person classes.
Here is what we will need from our student and parents:
The best way to keep our community safe is for students who have symptoms of illness to err on the side of caution and stay home until they are healthy. Simply put, if students who are sick stay home, then we will have a much better shot at fulfilling our goal of having a normal and healthy school experience. Similarly, we will ask faculty and other adults to stay home and not enter the campus if they are not feeling well.
We ask for your flexibility, understanding, and support as we make adjustments to our routines depending on the level of threat that the pandemic poses to our immediate community at any given time.
We are fortunate to have wise and level-headed medical and public health counsel guiding us in our approach this upcoming year. We are also fortunate to have a school in which we can be nimble in use of space and schedule to fulfill our mission.
As we continue to move through the summer, we will provide additional updates about the logistics with increased detail about returning to school. However, in the meantime, rest assured that we are on it and we will be ready for all of our Brookwood Warriors in August.
We do not have a crystal ball, nor do we have all of the answers. However, we have the vision, passion, and leadership to achieve our goals, work together, and move forward.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Dr. Randy Watts