June 26, 2020

Hello Friends!

One more week down in 2020!

Let’s start with the most important thing first. Please stay safe out there. Our numbers across our primary region are surging. Here in Charleston, hospitals are raising the alarm about availability of ICU and other hospital beds. Other states are now urging their people not to go to Myrtle Beach as outbreaks in some states have been linked to visits there. NY, NJ, and CT are mandating quarantines for visitors from states with rising numbers.

Obviously, the state of the virus will have a profound effect on our re-opening plans. What else might have a profound effect? The budgets of our public school colleagues. This is a sobering overview of what may happen in public school budgets. The short version? They might be looking at a nearly 9% reduction in teaching staff going into one of the most challenging educational years ever.  

We continue to watch what is happening in athletics as we prepare for the fall ahead. As colleges prep for regular return to campus, the numbers have been rising among their athletic programs. This piece from Forbes wonders when enough outbreaks is enough to end the return of college sports. Finally, there are some questions around the athletic waivers that higher ed has in play and raises important points we should bear in mind as we look at return to campus forms. What does good look like? This piece focusing on UGA might help. At this point, at least in SC, the virus numbers are starting to make it look like high schools sports might be off the table.

There is positive news, or at least encouraging insights. CHOP’s recent set of recommendations and the data and lessons learned from childcare centers that have stayed open throughout surges in areas like NYC imply that contagion among younger children is not as high as among adults, and they are less likely to spread the virus to adults. I highly recommend reading that CHOP report as it also has insights into the effectiveness of temperature checks and other steps.

A few pandemic related resources that might be useful to you:

  • All schools should be prepping communications around community members who are diagnosed with COVID-19. We took a shot at getting you started with this overview and some samples.
  • The American International School of Chennai shared their Learning Models Framework that lays out their reopening plans with us.
  • Most of what schools are doing around campus is managing risk. Higher ed produced this handy spreadsheet to give you a feeling for risk exposure. Although built for higher ed, it is not a bad “back of the napkin” tool for independent schools as well.
  • Schwartz Hannum, a law firm based in MA, released several advisories that might be useful to you. This one is on the ADA, COVID-19, and reasonable accommodations, this one is on OSHA enforcement during the pandemic (including guidance around face coverings), and this one is about challenges for schools and the PPPFA that was signed into law earlier this month.

Independent schools and others are continuing to work with alumni, staff, and families around racial issues. Charlotte Latin recently released these videos addressing talking about race and Latin’s history. Schools are continuing to be confronted with Instagram and other social media feeds around racial incidents in the school community. There are uplifting stories, too. And, as I mentioned at the heads’ roundtable this week where we heard from the University School of Nashville and Saint Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis about their work around diversity, Sewanee’s new vice chancellor wrote this article for Time, really calling out the difference in these times. I also wanted to share this article, which is actually from 2019, about how working conditions in two schools impacted the working conditions for Black male teachers. Finally, I am not afraid to share something that seems random, but really is very on point. You should read everything in this paragraph, but definitely read: What does a TikTok uprising at your company look like?

Finally, on this topic, I wanted to share this webinar that ISM is providing for free. It is next Wednesday at 3:00 on how schools can respond to BLM and Black@ Instagrams.

There are some exciting ed things out there, too (dare to dream).

  • True story… I was in an a cappella group with one of the leading US neuroscientists who studies learning. Mary Helen Immordino Yang has a new publication out about how building meaning builds teens’ brains. It is really, really cool, bordering on a little bit spooky. It will definitely influence how you think about the skills we are encouraging in our students.
  • Jeff Selingo has a new book coming out in September on college admissions: Who Gets In and Why. He spent some quality time at Davidson and Emory in particular, so particularly relevant in our area.
  • Want some resources to scatter around?
    • For boards

The Fundraising Cheat Sheet for Board Members

Trustee Table Podcast (check out the one from Dr. Jeffrey Gold)

  • For parents:

Summer Checklist on College for the Class of 2021

Teens and Re-Opening

Five Tips for Developing a Great Parent-Child Relationship

  • For teachers:

In COVID Teaching Limbo?  Check Out Hyperdocs

For Teachers:  Summer Learning During Turbulent Times

Seven Takeaways From our Experiences with Distance Learning

A Teacher’s Take on Surviving Distance Learning

All Teachers Must Improve “Racial Literacy” in Order to Teach Children to be Anti-Racist

Teachers are People, Too.  Examining the Bias of Teachers Compared with Other American Adults

And that’s all I have for you at the moment… I hope you are enjoying a bit of a break in the action and I look forward to seeing online soon!


Debra