March 5, 2020
Dear Parents,As we shared last week, we have been following the coronavirus situation closely and preparing for how it could impact our school operations and student experiences. We have also implemented some additional prevention-focused initiatives across campus to help slow the spread of all viruses.
As we head into the weekend, I wanted to pass along some more details about the precautions we are taking and the preparedness planning that is underway across campus. We have set up a new Coronavirus Information page where all of this information and future real-time updates will be posted. I encourage you to bookmark this page and visit it anytime you have a question.
EA's Prevention Efforts:
Cleaning. Our team completes a thorough, daily cleaning of our entire campus. A few weeks ago, we intensified our cleaning efforts in response to flu season by adding in daily disinfecting of high-touch surfaces across campus. Recently, we invested in additional electrostatic disinfectant equipment to allow us to disinfect more areas more frequently across campus.
Access to hand sanitizer and disinfectant supplies. We have ample supplies of sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. In addition to the hand sanitizer stations in our dining halls, we have added stations in other high-traffic areas in each building. We are also providing teachers with disinfectant wipes to be used in the classrooms to wipe down door handles, desks, etc. throughout the school day.
Reminders for students. Our faculty and staff continually remind our students about the importance of washing hands regularly, covering their nose and mouth with a tissue or their elbow when coughing/sneezing, avoiding sharing food, drinks, etc. We have also placed flyers in all bathrooms and common spaces to help remind students of these helpful tips.
Monitoring illnesses. Our nurses are carefully monitoring our students and advising families that anyone who does not feel well should remain at home. Any student who displays any signs of illness will be sent home in an effort to help prevent the spread of all illnesses across campus. We are also strongly advising our faculty and staff to remain home when they are sick.
EA's Planning Efforts:
Potential Trip Cancellations. Decisions about student trips will be heavily influenced by CDC travel guidance. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of this situation, we will be monitoring and evaluating each trip on a frequent basis and notifying parents and students of any changes or cancellations as soon as decisions are made. We will also do everything in our power to negotiate refunds for any payments already made toward upcoming trips.
Potential Campus Closure. We hope that we will not need to close campus, but we are doing a lot of work in order to prepare for this possibility. We would like to provide some level of continuity of learning for our students. What this will look like for each grade and classroom may be a little different. Our academic leaders and faculty members are working closely to devise a plan that will be easy to execute and as seamless as possible for our students. We will share more about these plans if the likelihood of a potential closure increases in the near future.
How We Will Communicate With You:
As I mentioned, we have set up a Coronavirus Information page that will serve as a central place for parents and students to visit for ongoing updates. You can find a shortcut link to the page in the parent and student portals and under the "In the Spotlight" section of the EA homepage.
We will include updates in the EA Weekly newsletter that goes out every Friday afternoon. I will also continue to send important schoolwide updates, as they become available, and your child's advisors/deans/teachers will continue regular communications. If your child is scheduled for an upcoming trip, we will email updates as decisions are made regarding each trip.
Finally, in the event we do need to close our campus in the future, we will treat that announcement similar to a weather-related closing. You will receive an email and a phone call and text message to your cell phone (if we have your number in our system). If we do not have a cell phone number for you, your house phone will receive a call. We will also post updates on our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.
How You Can Help and Prepare:
Make sure we have your updated contact information. Most families were asked to update their contact information during the re-enrollment process a few weeks ago, but it never hurts to double check that we have your most up-to-date information. Please log into the parent portal and click on "Update Family Profile" (found on the right-hand side under the "My Household" section) to review and update your contact information.
Follow CDC and U.S. Department of State guidance related to travel. We encourage all families who have upcoming professional or personal travel scheduled to follow CDC travel guidance. This guidance may include avoiding non-essential travel or self-quarantine recommendations. The U.S. Department of State also maintains an updated list of travel advisories by country.
Talk to your children. This can be a scary time for children. Luckily, there are many helpful resources available on how to talk with children about coronavirus. This is also a great time to teach and remind children about healthy hygiene and ways to prevent spreading illnesses.
Remind students to bring home laptops and textbooks. As I said, we hope that we do not need to close campus, but we encourage your family to prepare for this possibility. Remind students to bring home everything they would need (i.e. laptops, books, etc.) to continue schoolwork at home, if necessary.
Ensure reliable WiFi connectivity at home. In the event we would need to close campus, we hope to continue offering some coursework via virtual platforms. This would require a reliable WiFi connection. If you anticipate any WiFi challenges, we encourage you to reach out to your students' dean or advisor/teacher ahead of time so we can work with you to develop a plan.
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We hope this update is helpful. We remain committed to partnering with all of our families to maintain a safe and healthy school community. We thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we all navigate this challenging time together.
Dr. T.J. Locke
The Greville Haslam Head of School