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Head of School Update: 3/09/2021

 

March 9, 2021

 

Dear McGillis Families,

 

Upon careful consideration and planning, I am pleased to inform you that beginning on Monday, April 5, McGillis will welcome students from all three (3) divisions (Lower School, Middle School, and The Learning Center) for in-person learning on Mondays, for full days, through the remainder of the school year.

 

Remote Mondays have been crucial in navigating the many uncertainties of this school year. These days have prepared faculty and staff, as well as our students, for remote teaching and learning for a variety of scenarios, including the possibility should the School need to pivot to full remote learning. Remote Mondays have also provided time for much-needed planning and organizational sustainability. And while teachers still have very little time to prepare and collaborate due to the demands and structure of this year, we recognize the academic and emotional benefits of adding Mondays at this time. Recent research also indicates that transmission of COVID-19 is low in school environments when mitigation protocols are followed. Therefore, we are moving forward in these final months of the school year with five (5) days of in-person learning, ending this year with momentum and anticipation of a more normal year next school year. 

 

UPDATED SCHEDULE: APRIL - JUNE 

  • In-Person Mondays: 4/05, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/03, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24
  • Friday, 4/30 - No School / Professional Development Day (as scheduled) 
  • Friday, 5/21 - No School / Teacher Work Day (added to calendar)
  • Monday, 5/31 - No School / Memorial Day 
  • Thursday, 6/03 - Last Day of School (half-day for students)
  • Thursday, 6/03 - 8th Grade Commencement, 6:00 PM

 

The AfterSchool program will be available on Mondays beginning, April 5. Please contact Matt Schrier to schedule your student(s).

 

UPDATED PROTOCOLS

Given the low prevalence of COVID-19 in our McGillis community and evidence that transmission is infrequent with proper mask use, and with the guidance of our COVID Task Force, which includes our health experts, we are adjusting our school protocols. We will allow spacing less than six (6) feet with more frequency. Whereas in the fall, we focused on maximizing adherence to six (6) feet of spacing as much as possible, and this will continue as feasible. 

 

We have started to introduce mixing cohorts to maximize teaching and learning opportunities in our classrooms. We will continue to hold three sections of students in each grade, however, occasionally we may mix those groups for various activities. 

 

Other health protocols remain in effect, including mandatory mask-wearing, staying home when sick, outdoor lunches as much as possible, preventative hygiene, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. Masks are the most effective and valuable protection for preventing COVID, and our students do an amazing job wearing masks. 

 

REMOTE LEARNING

While we will continue to support our families with health reasons by continuing to offer remote learning for the remainder of this school year, we ask for all other students to regularly attend in-person learning unless they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. If students are out for other reasons (i.e. travel), please take the vacation you need and separate from School for that time. This will help everyone reacclimate to a regular schedule which we’re anticipating in the new school year. 

 

COMMUNITY HEALTH UPDATE: MARCH 24

As we continue to learn more about COVID-19 every day, I invite you to join me along with Dr. Adam Hersh, and Dr. Emily Spivak on Wednesday, March 24 at 7:00 PM for a virtual Community Health update (Zoom details are available in the Community Calendar). 

 

ONE YEAR LATER

Over the course of this pandemic, we’ve experienced and seen heartache, appreciated the heroic efforts made by many, and remain hopeful and optimistic as we work together to overcome the many challenges. The strength, connection, and commitment of the McGillis community have enabled us to persevere through these unprecedented times. While we must remain diligent in our efforts to further mitigate the spread of the virus, the weeks ahead mark an important time for us to remember and reflect upon our fortunes, our communities, and our family and friends. In the coming days, we will share details for us to take a moment as a community to thank those around us who have lifted our spirits this year, our friends and family who have supported us, and our school community members who have inspired us.  

 

Thank you for all you’ve done to support the McGillis community. We are anticipating a strong finish to this year as we continue to work in partnership with one another. We are hopeful that the year ahead will continue to bring us closer together.  

 

Sincerely,

Jim Brewer