March 31, 2021
Dear Duke School Community,
Thank you to all who joined the COVID-19 Informational Update Session last week. On behalf of all of us at Duke School, I extend my thanks to the Clinical Analyst Group, whose guidance has been instrumental in our ability to sustain a low-risk environment at school and continue uninterrupted learning on campus this year. I am grateful, for the exceptional efforts of our faculty/staff and for the willingness of every family to plan carefully and make sacrifices this year for our collective health and safety.
As we prepare for Spring Break, closely examine the decisions you will make, as they will impact the safety of those in our community, as well as our ability to continue in-person learning. In signing the Duke School Community Commitment, you agreed that, as a family, your entire household would comply with the recommended best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, both at school and at home. Please remember that you have made this commitment not only to the entire school, but also specifically to the families in your child’s pod.
Even with risk mitigation strategies in place on campus, I can assure you that your decisions over Spring Break will indeed impact the safety of those in our community as well as our ability to continue in-person learning. While adults can receive vaccinations, our students cannot, and they remain vulnerable. To protect our children, we cannot relax our protocols even in a hopeful climate this spring. We all recognize the fatigue caused by the persistence of this crisis. At the same time, this calls for us to exercise considerable discipline and resolve.
To that end, prior to having your child return to school, can you answer in the affirmative to all of the following?
We followed the guidance offered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
We reduced the number of households represented at any gathering. (Each household is part of its own bubble, and therefore introduces several new layers of risk.)
We adhered to CDC travel guidelines.
We recognize that the more and longer people interact, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with and spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Consistent with this, we avoided high risk environments, consistent with CDC, state, and local guidance as well as the Return to School Policies.
If you cannot answer in the affirmative, I ask that you do not return to campus or interact with other students/families until April 19.
Through Spring Break from April 5-11, please complete the BaseCamp Ascend App for your child(ren). You will be sent a daily reminder from Duke School to do this.
In my letter of March 15, I shared that Duke School cannot support self-quarantining as a result of extended vacations and lack of adherence to the Community Commitment, due to the undue burden it places on faculty and disruption of both learning models, with students moving in and out for the week. For these reasons, if your child(ren) must remain home this week, please contact your division director, who will organize asynchronous work for this time period.
Our situation remains fluid. If at any point we receive policy or medical recommendations from the public health department, our Board, or Clinical Advisory Group, we may change our course for on-campus learning to protect the health and safety of our students, employees, and families.
Thank you, again, for your cooperation, support, and understanding.