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Head of School Update: 9/20/20 

Dear McGillis Community,


We have reached our fifth week of the 2020/2021 school year. Our planning and commitment in making the health and wellbeing of our community our top priority are working in our favor. While we see many schools across the nation and within our state report cases of COVID-19, we’re grateful to share we have not seen any cases within our School -- yet. 


As the infection rates across Utah are rapidly spiking with 1,077 new cases reported on Saturday, State officials estimate there are 10,846 active cases and the positive test rate per day is now 12.7%. And while Salt Lake City does not account for the majority of these cases, it is vital that we continue to adhere to the School’s health and safety protocols, as well as our Community Commitment.


McGillis COVID Update

Members of The McGillis School’s COVID-19 Task Force meet daily to keep a pulse on what is happening nationally, locally and within our School community including the School’s mitigation tactics and protocols. The Task Force reviews data including the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, daily participation in the health screening app, the number of students and employees who report illnesses, the number of people with recorded symptoms, attendance, and a host of other data points that factor into our community’s daily health status.

A few key data points for the week of 9/14-9/18/20:

  • Employee Reported COVID-19 Illness: 0
  • Student Reported COVID-19 Illness: 0
  • Employee Health App Participation: 100%  
  • Student Health App Participation: 83% 


Our Teaching & Learning Model

And while the McGillis community is healthy and the health app participation rate is improving, the School will continue in our Hybrid Teaching & Learning model until further notice. 


As outlined in the 2020/2021 Roadmap, there are a variety of drivers that are taken into consideration as we determine which teaching and learning model we will operate in including: 

  • Government guidance 
  • Guidance from Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake County Health Department, and the CDC  
  • Level of medical certainty  
  • Local infection rates 
  • McGillis risk mitigations 
  • School benchmarks  


The Task Force will continue to monitor and analyze these key drivers in order for the School to determine which of the three (3) Teaching and Learning models we will operate in. 


This Week’s Schedule

Tomorrow you can expect live instruction and connection to return at various points throughout the school day. 

Last Monday’s asynchronous learning offered our teachers time and space to assess the first three weeks of teaching and learning. As I’ve shared, teaching both remote and in-person students simultaneously is challenging. Taking this day afforded our teachers to spend time to determine some of what has been working well and where there is opportunity to improve in the weeks ahead. 


Please review Division updates in Canvas from Melinda Kaufman and Tim Campbell for this week’s schedules for Lower School and Middle School. 


Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and staying informed on how the School continues to make decisions on what we believe is best for our collective community. This is certainly not how we want to be in school. However, given we continue to live with COVID-19 and the ongoing risks and challenges it presents, the School will continue to adapt as necessary in order to keep the health and well-being of our community our top priority.


Your ongoing patience and commitment in maintaining a healthy community -- both physically and emotionally is appreciated and valued.  


I wish you all a relaxing Sunday, and to our Jewish community members, a very Happy New Year. L’shana tovah u’metukah!


Together we can. 

Jim Brewer

Head of School