School Update re. COVID: Friday, March 13th

Dear MSD Families,

As a result of reviewing more data about the spread of COVID-19 that was discussed at length late yesterday afternoon at our local Heads of Schools meeting, and after a great deal of thought and consideration, MSD will temporarily suspend on-campus instruction beginning Monday, March 16th, which means that No School Camp for Wednesday through Friday of next week is cancelled.

Following is what you can expect over the next 3 weeks:

Parent/Teacher Conferences

  • Parent/Teacher conferences will be held at your scheduled time by phone for Toddler, Early Childhood, and Lower Elementary (see below for Upper Elementary.)  Please check your Community Directory to ensure your phone number is correct.  If not, please contact Ashley as soon as possible to update your phone number so that we ensure the teachers have the correct one.  Please understand that the teachers will only be able to call one phone number.  Also, please be mindful of the length of the conference time as other families will be expecting a call from the teacher at their scheduled time so it will be important that the teachers stay on schedule.
  • The teachers most likely will be calling from their personal cell phone numbers. We ask that you use their MSD emails for any further communications.
  • Upper Elementary student led conferences - UEL students will be bringing home their portfolios today in preparation for leading their conference.  Due to the fact these are student led, and that 4 families are scheduled in a 1-hour block of time, Natalie will be contacting you about the specific time their teacher will call.

Remote Learning

  • On Monday, the teachers will finish preparing packet materials for the children (at the Early Childhood and Elementary level) to supplement the online daily learning content that will be sent via email. These packets (for Early Childhood and Elementary students only) will be available for pick up in the front office on Tuesday from 9am-4pm.
  • Remote learning content delivery will begin for all levels (including toddler) on Monday, March 23rd.
  • Instructions for remote learning content delivery will be sent to parents on Monday, March 16th.
  • Elementary teachers will be available by email for questions from parents about this content from 8am to 3pm, Monday through Friday.  
  • Early Childhood teachers will be available by email for questions from parents about this content from 8am to 1pm, Monday through Friday.
  • 5-day Toddler Teachers will be available from 9am to 1pm, Monday through Friday.  
  • 3-day Toddler Teacher will be available from 9am-1pm, Tuesday through Thursday.

Anticipated Length of Remote Learning

As you know, universities have suspended their on-campus classes for an undetermined amount of time.  Other area independent schools are either extending their spring breaks and/or moving to remote learning with an end date in mind.  With the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 being reported, we just don't know how long it will take to slow the spread of the virus.  Since we were scheduled to be out most of next week with Parent/Teacher Conferences, it is my hope that the only additional week that will be necessary for us to provide remote learning will be the week of March 23rd.  We will continue to stay on top of the data surrounding the number of COVID-19 cases, and make a call about the week of March 30th as that date approaches.  If it becomes necessary, remote learning will continue that week as well.

We realize this is a difficult time, which may cause significant hardships, but we are working diligently to protect our community and to do our part in attempting to decrease the number of cases of this virus.  For this reason, the decisions we make are very carefully considered.  We know that this community is strong, and that we can all band together to navigate this pandemic.

Lastly, while this worldwide pandemic is tragic, it is through these difficult times that communities come together.  I was recently asked by a prospective parent what I was most proud of about our school, and what sets it apart from other schools.  I was shocked that I teared up as I responded.  I immediately shared how proud I am of our teaching staff and their commitment to the development of each individual child.  Never has this been more evident than after I shared with them that there was a strong possibility we would need to move to remote learning, and that preparation needed to begin  They have worked tirelessly to prepare for the coming weeks, and most likely will continue to do so throughout the weekend as they also prepare conference reports.  Our Admin. team members have also turned around their daily workload to support the teachers in this effort. They've all done this with the grace, courtesy, and good nature that is taught to our children.  I am so proud of them and honored to work with each one.  Our community is truly blessed by an amazing staff!.

It is my prayer that we're back to normal soon and that each member of our community remains safe and healthy.  Thank you again for your understanding and support.