July 3, 2020

Hello Friends!

Our office is closed today in recognition of the Fourth of July holiday, so I am going to keep this really brief. 

First, our apologies to those who cannot see the links embedded in this email. Some of you see a nice and neat version of this email that has all of the links tucked away in key words. Others see a sprawling mass of a link spewed across the screen. We are not sure what is causing this, although it might be that the email itself is changing to a text email from the html version when it hits your inbox. We are seeing what we can figure out for you. If you have the answer to this problem, please share it with me!

Onto the substance…

As schools send out communications about their plans, there are a lot of questions around how you will identify phases and what will trigger school closing, etc. This overview from Harvard might help you create your own if you need it. Fulton County put this one out, which might be what is causing some of the questions from families out there. I shared this last week, but this publication – particularly around page 19ish – is a really great one for helping you get a handle on risk and think about the triggers for various steps. You might also adopt something like this map that uses common metrics based on cases per 100,000 and shows the results by county. Schools are also starting to think about when and how to make decisions based on outbreak within the school community itself. My feeling is that this kind of approach (and early communication) will help parents understand how important keeping the school community outbreak in check will be and they can anticipate what might trigger the school to close for a period of time. 

Please watch your state deadlines and requests when it comes to participating in anything they are coordinating right now. TN recently moved their submission deadline for PPE acquisition and we have seen this in a couple of other states as well over the past few weeks. As with everyone, they are trying to make sure they get what is needed in time for opening, but it would be very easy to miss these updates. 

Higher ed plans for re-opening were largely promised around the magical date of July 1st. Two very similar liberal arts colleges, Bowdoin and Middlebury, somehow ended up in very different places on their re-opening plans. This overview is worth the read to see how these differences stack up, and how they may potentially be perceived. This article puts a finer point on the uglier side of what some people are perceiving when they hear about these opening plans. Current testing results related to pretty standard student activities while school is out is not helping (and don’t get me started on the AL COVID parties). 

We will talk about this balancing of risks at our heads’ roundtable on Wednesday, but you might have seen it a bit if you checked out the statement and insights from the American Association of Pediatrics. The statement specifically calls out the risks of students not being in school relative to the physical harms that might occur if they come to school. On the plus side, it advocates for less than the 6 feet between younger students. 

You might want to share this insight from our friends at The Atlanta Girls School about designing a middle school humanities course for your hybrid learning model. As a die-hard liberal arts English major, I’m on board. 

In the meantime, while up here in the mountains outside of Asheville, we are spending quality time with the kids and talking a bit about colleges as our oldest is applying this coming year. I did share this article with him about the self-care recommendations and statement from over 300 college admissions dean and Making Caring Common regarding how college admissions will take into account the disruption of COVID and recognize the importance of self-care during this time. If you could hear an eye roll, you would have heard this one. 

SAIS has had a busy week holding our first Virtual Summer Conference that I think was more fun than any of us anticipated. We had raffles and a happy hour, lots of great cohort conversations and a lot of substance. We have a number of webinars coming up soon, including opportunities for teachers, so keep your eyes open! 

Have a great weekend!

Debra