Parents, Staff and Students:
We write today with the sad news that Duchesne will move to remote learning starting Monday, November 16 for two weeks. We plan to resume classes in person Monday, November 30th.
We have been blessed to have so many weeks in person with our students this fall with no cases of the COVID-19 virus. That situation has changed quickly since our first case on October 30. In the past two weeks, we have gone from zero cumulative positive cases to 7 confirmed positive. As of today, 2 faculty are positive and 4 more quarantined with symptoms and awaiting test results. Five others are quarantined due to close exposure. Our ability to monitor and our ability to teach are severely hampered. We have exceeded the point where we can safely monitor our students. While many of these cases are traceable to family members and thus exposure happened outside of school, our latest cases are due to unknown exposures and indicate an increasing likelihood that exposure has occurred at school. These exposures are no one’s fault, they are the result of a very high rate of community spread all around us to which we simply cannot remain immune. We remain extremely proud of all the work everyone in this community has done throughout this pandemic to keep each other safe. We are living Goal Three every day as we mask and socially distance to care for our neighbors. This is what love looks like in a pandemic.
We are also painfully aware of the special difficulties of being a teenager in the pandemic. Isolation and loss of daily structure can be larger threats to our teens than the effects of getting COVID. For this reason, we want to be in school in person as much as possible. This concern, however, must also be balanced against our ability to ensure the safety of the students, their family members, and our staff. It is therefore our decision that we must take a two-week break from in-person schooling. We ask that as much as possible our students practice strict social distancing and masking during this time period to ensure that when we do return, we can do so with confidence that we have stopped the dramatic increase in our school community. Student athletic and activity leaders will be in touch with directions for teams and other groups.
As always, any family may choose remote learning if you prefer not to be in the school. Contact principal Dr. Laura Hickman to do so.
Please also know that our staff is committed to your daughter and your family. Our counselors remain available to help any student; our technology staff will help troubleshoot any technical difficulties; and the staff and teachers are an email or phone call away at all times. We are living in difficult times, but we are blessed to have each other for support.
We pray daily for the safety and health of all of our families. Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat and Rose Philippine Duchesne, protect us.
The Duchesne Administrative Team,
Meg Brudney, Head of School
Laura Hickman, Principal
Martha Heck, Dean of Students
Eric Krakowski, Assistant Principal