Earlier this morning, Head of School Phil Gutierrez met with the Board of Trustees to discuss developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19). This meeting follows a series of conversations with the administrative team and faculty. Beginning tomorrow, Friday, March 13, the Mid-Pen campus will be closed, and all student-related activities will cease until Friday, April 3, 2020. Between now and April 3, all Mid-Pen classes will happen online via Google Meetings. Campus will not be accessible to students during this time. We hope to reopen campus on Monday, April 6, though distance learning may have to extend beyond April 3 due to circumstances beyond our control.
While Mid-Pen does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our community, we believe that evidence of widespread community transmission, together with yesterday’s declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization and new restrictions being put in place by local authorities on public events and large gatherings, warrants our closure. Based on the changes in our community and developments around the world, our Risk Level has increased. Our county health officer and others have noted that the best approach would be to cancel everything, in addition to the non-essential, or bring everything to a halt. Along with many independent schools on the Peninsula and throughout the Bay Area, we are intentionally being proactive even though the county has not yet recommended school closures.
We recognize that this extended school closure will undoubtedly present a significant burden for many Mid-Pen families. We take very seriously our responsibility to all our students and teachers, as well as their families, for many of whom it is becoming an increasingly difficult decision whether or not to attend school. Many of you are also responsible for older family members, and we are mindful of the caution required to keep them safe and healthy.
While we have implemented new health and safety protocols on campus, the most effective method to slow community transmission is social distancing, which is simply not a phrase in the lexicon of the average teen. As everyone who either teaches or is a parent of teenagers knows, teenagers have different understandings and practices of social distancing. Effective social distancing is best implemented in smaller settings than we can provide in school. Even though we will not be together on campus, we do hope our students and the Mid-Pen community continue to follow WHO recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19.
We thank you for your continued understanding and support.
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