Dear Priory Community,
I am writing as a follow-up to the emails sent by Mrs. Putnam, our School Nurse, and by Mr. Morris, our Assistant Head of the Upper School, concerning the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Those emails provided a variety of information concerning the virus and how best to protect you and your family in this time of uncertainty.
We at Priory understand and take seriously our responsibility to care for our students – both day and boarding. Our obligation is to make sure we are prepared as a school, and have planned for any situation that might have a large impact on our school day, our programs, our on-campus staff, and those who live in our dorms.
After a meeting yesterday of Administrators and some key Faculty including our Campus Minister and Service Coordinator we have opted, out of precaution, to cancel all Service Week activities. This includes the cancelation of the Junior Retreat (to be rescheduled at a later date), the Snow Science trip, and both international service trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica.
School will be in session that week – what would have been Service Week (March 16-20) will now be a normal school week. Those families who have students enrolled in trips or other opportunities that involve a cost to the family will be contacted separately regarding options for a refund of the associated trip fees.
Additionally, because we are a boarding community, and because air travel to various destinations around the world involves uncertainty at this time, the School is opting to keep both dorms open for the upcoming Easter Break (April 6-13). Boarding students will not be required to vacate the dorms during that time; instead, they will have the option to remain in the dorms as usual should they choose not to travel.
We have been in contact with other school administrators in the area and have been monitoring information from the local health departments and the CDC as we determine what decisions we need to make concerning any possible school closure.
In addition, below you will find measures the School is either taking now, or preparing for should the need for implementation arise.
These measures include:
meeting regularly with Senior Administrators and communicating with all supervisors about maintaining a safe environment for the students and staff in their care.
discussing options for all future large gatherings on the campus.
making plans with our teaching faculty for alternative instructional delivery methods in case there is a long-term school closure.
following the best health care practices outlined in the emails sent to you earlier to limit the spread of the virus within the school community and beyond.
making sure our custodial company – both day and evening staff – is implementing additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures to ensure that all surfaces are as clean as possible.
strongly encouraging students and staff who are not feeling well to stay at home and to get the proper medical attention needed.
monitoring the situation daily regarding the upcoming travel to France in an effort to determine in a timely way whether the Priory Global Ed French trip will take place during Easter Break. Currently, the upcoming trip for the Robotics team is not effected and will let you know if that changes.
We encourage families to talk with their children about the virus and to educate themselves about staying healthy by following best practices and contacting your health care provider when needed. We also encourage families to stay up to date with the latest information provided by the CDC and WHO.
As you know, it is active participation, trust, and support from all that makes this such a special community and a wonderful place to be every day. As we partner with you during this unsettling time, we remain grateful for the essential role you each play and, as was said in an earlier email, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of the Priory community.
Tim Molak – Head of School
Brian Schlaak – Head of Upper School
Caitha Ambler – Head of Middle School
Micah Morris – Assistant Head of Upper School