10/14 Pivot Realities Given COVID Trends

Dear Bosque Students, Parents, and Guardians,
 
Yesterday, the Governor announced the implementation of a series of further restrictions to the public health order, effective this Friday, in an effort to curb the significant rise in COVID cases across our state. We will continue to be held to the current 25% occupancy limits stated for private and independent schools. We will therefore NOT be able to make our planned pivot to Model 1: Full-Time, In-Person, Teaching, Learning & Community on November 2nd and will remain in our current Model 2: Hybrid Teaching, Learning & Community throughout November.
 
Data is showing that family gatherings and travel are directly resulting in increased COVID spread. With anticipated travel and holiday gatherings over Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks, medical experts are predicting worsening trends to come. Also recognizing the Governor’s repeated and urgent warnings about the current precipice in our state, we have made the decision to shift our community back into Model 3: Remote Teaching & Learning after Thanksgiving Break. We will remain in the remote model for two weeks into the second semester to buffer our community from potential spikes in cases and enhanced risk connected to the holidays. This is a heartbreaking decision that has not come easily or quickly. We deeply mourn the loss of any in-person time as a community and recognize the significant logistical and mental health implications of a shift back to remote, but this ultimately feels like the responsible, proactive, and best thing to do given current public health realities and concern for our community in the coming months. 
 
We will therefore plan for the following schedule: 
In light of the Governor’s recent messaging, we should also all be prepared for the possibility of state mandates that could shift us earlier, or keep us longer in Model 3: Remote Teaching & Learning. We will continue to closely follow COVID trends as we start the second semester and should public health data support a shift into Model 1: Full-Time, In-Person, Teaching, Learning & Community, we will make that pivot as efficiently as we can while respecting teacher planning needs and the significant logistics connected to the change. 
 
We expect that this decision will bring a combination of both disappointment and relief. We share these contradictory emotions and will be working to support our students as comprehensively as possible through the challenges of returning to remote teaching and learning. Based on feedback received from our recent survey we have made some updates to the daily schedule of Model 3: Remote Teaching & Learning to create longer breaks (30 mins) between classes. We will also be looking for opportunities to connect students to their peers, teachers, and advisers in meaningful ways to support our students’ mental health during this shift. 
 
LUNCH LOCATION CHANGE EFFECTIVE 10/19/20:
Also in response to recent survey data, as of Monday, October 19, we will be shifting from the current advisory lunches to grade-based lunches to allow our students more flexibility and time with their friends. Each grade will be assigned a set outdoor location, supervised by the grade’s advisers with social distancing expectations maintained. Students, please be on the lookout for email communication regarding your new lunch location to take effect next Monday. 
 
TRAVEL AND HOLIDAY PLANNING:
The Governor has announced significant changes to travel restrictions that families should be aware of as they plan for potential holiday travel. We also encourage all families to review the CDC guidance on holiday safety.
 
IN CLOSING:
This note is written with very heavy hearts, but also with significant pride for the sustained commitment of our students, staffulty, and families to abide by the COVID safe practices that have allowed us to successfully initiate and maintain the hybrid model and for all of our students’ accomplishments during our first quarter. As a school, we will continue to do everything in our power to deliver the most mission and value-aligned experiences of Challenging Education regardless of the instructional model. There will be many details to come in the weeks ahead as we prepare for the pivot to remote teaching and learning after Thanksgiving Break. In the meantime, please see a few urgent FAQs below.
 
We stand in solidarity with each of you as we collectively continue to navigate the current realities and challenges, as a community.
 
With gratitude,
 
Jessie Barrie, PhD                               Santana Fontana, MD
Head of School                                   Board of Trustees Chair 
 
 
 
FAQs
 
Who was involved with making this decision?
The medical task force and the COVID task force were both involved in this decision. These committees are comprised of the following individuals: 
  • COVID Task Force: Jessie Barrie (Head of School), Leslie O’Hanlon (Middle School Division Head), Spree MacDonald (Upper School Division Head), Bruce Stell (Facilities Director), Justine Gutierrez (Interim School Nurse), Amy Lucero (School Registrar) 
  • Medical/Risk Management Task Force: Jessie Barrie (Head of School), Santana Fontana, MD (Board Chair), Ali Dyer (Human Resources Manager), Justine Gutierrez (Interim School Nurse),  Sharon Boselli (School Nurse Consultant), Dan Shaw (Medical Reserves Corps Director) 
 
 
What will happen with athletics once we shift to remote after Thanksgiving Break?
Fall athletics practices were already scheduled to conclude by Thanksgiving Break. Currently, winter sports are scheduled to commence on January 4, 2021, and we will be closely monitoring the Governor’s guidelines and communicating any changes or details directly with families and athletes when available.
 
 
Will any student groups be allowed on campus once we shift to remote after Thanksgiving Break?
We will be working to determine if certain groups may be able to continue to meet in person under special circumstances and guidelines. We will provide more information about this in the coming weeks. 
 
 
Will tutoring be allowed to continue in-person once we shift to remote after Thanksgiving Break?
As tutoring occurs in very small and controlled groups, and as long as state directives do not reduce these numbers, we will allow in-person tutoring to continue to occur on campus, at the tutor’s and student/families’ discretion/comfort level. 
 
 
What about Upper School end of semester exams?
Upper School teachers will be working to create final projects and assessments that can be accomplished in the remote format, and which demonstrate learning in line with the school's values and our Principles of Remote Teaching and Learning 3.0: For Bosque Students & Families. While Bosque does not typically emphasize high-stakes "finals," these assessments in remote learning may still look quite a bit different than in a normal school year and vary from class to class. As is traditional at Bosque, some teachers may also elect to not have ‘finals’ or a class meeting during finals week. In the coming weeks, the school will confirm the schedule for finals week, and teachers will communicate in advance the expectations for these assessments, or class meeting schedules during finals week in their respective classes.
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