A Letter to Parents
August 24, 2020
As St. Columba’s prepares to reopen in September, I wanted to write to you to describe how we view the roles and responsibilities of the school and our parents as we confront together these uniquely challenging times.
As set forth in the 2020-2021 Parent and Staff Guide: COVID-19 Policies and Procedures (the “COVID Guide”), we have established a screening protocol which we will follow in admitting students and staff each morning, as part of a special health policy designed to lower the risk of spread at the school. We have also halved the size of our classes as required by the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education, to better help our students maintain appropriate social distance and further minimize the risk of spread. These protocols may well evolve and we may adopt other measures as the semester unfolds. It is critical to the success of our efforts that all of our parents (by which I refer to all of our grandparents and other caregivers) are aware of, observe and assist us in deploying these measures for the wellbeing of our parents, students, faculty and staff.
We recognize that as parents you are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of your child, and we take our responsibility to safeguard your child very seriously. We hold as paramount the health, safety and welfare of every member of our community. Nevertheless, none of us can guarantee an environment free of COVID-19, a virus which continues to challenge our society, and our institutions, at every level. It would be disingenuous for us to pretend that we, or anyone, can provide unqualified assurances of safety. The young age of our students and their early developmental progression will make it especially difficult for us to accomplish our mission and prevent any potentially dangerous contact between the children. Also, experts tell us that the pandemic has had a profound impact on youngsters, and has caused them to suffer anxiety and other adverse psychological effects that may be more significant than they appear. We will do our best to address and manage these physical and psychological challenges, but in a spirit of transparency, we want each of you to understand that by bringing your child to school, you will necessarily be assuming certain risks with regard to their potential for exposure to infection. We cannot guarantee that your child will not be exposed to the virus at our school. We believe that by bringing your child you understand and assume this risk.
We do not intend in any way to minimize the seriousness or rigorousness with which we plan to deploy the steps outlined in the COVID Guide to limit exposure to the virus at St. Columba’s. We look forward to your continued support as we move forward for the benefit of our community, including you and your child.
We welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions.
With kind regards,
Head of School