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Head of School Letter: Family Guidance & Working Together to Keep our School Community On Campus

October 21, 2020
A Middle School class gathers on the quad while socially distancing.
Greetings CSS Families,
As we look toward the upcoming months, we want to prioritize in-person learning and interacting together as a community of learners. Students need to be in school. Families want to be together. How can we prioritize both?
Navigating through COVID-19 will take all of us. We need your help to continue in-person learning. We want to avoid any potential outbreak or transmission of the virus on our campus.
We know that your community and extended family are important to you. We as educators are also making tough decisions about how to best connect with extended family and loved ones all while COVID changes form and expands across the country. No decision right now is an easy one. We are all aware of mitigating risk to reduce transmission, and we hope that you will pledge your support to do the same this holiday season.
Guidance for in-person gatherings:
  • Outdoors with small groups
  • Masked
  • At least 6 feet apart
Not adhering to any of the four criteria above increases the risk of transmission and can put family members, teachers, students, and our community at risk. We all have different risk calculations for our families, but we have a shared goal to remain healthy, mitigate risk, and prioritize in-person learning. This historic pandemic is one of the greatest opportunities for schools to call upon their families to do something massive in partnership to take care of others so that we can continue to come together for in-person learning.
Things to consider avoiding with in-person gatherings:
  • Indoors with large groups
  • Carpools
  • Anything unmasked, including eating/drinking
However, there are creative ways for “extended” families to gather. You can still socialize while being responsible.
1. Playdates
  • Plan at an outside venue such as a park, playground, or someone’s backyard.
  • Have the fewest children/adults possible.
  • Do not carpool - if unavoidable, ensure mask-wearing and open windows.
  • Skip the communal snacks or pack them to go when individuals can unmask with their own families.
2. Celebrations (ie. Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years)
  • Plan your event at an outside venue where all can maintain distancing while wearing masks.
  • Keep the group small.
  • Skip dining in; eat outdoors. If indoors, ventilate all inside rooms with outside air and physically distance.
  • Provide an option to send meals and or party bags home.
3. Off-Campus Teams & Clubs
  • Students participating in off-campus sports should abide by the Colorado Department of Public Health guidelines.
  • Guidelines vary across sports, and there is an assumed risk with participation.
  • Have a candid conversation with the coach to ensure that they will be following similar guidelines to those in school, such as mask-wearing and maintaining distance should be done to ensure that mitigation is a priority.
  • If your team is intentionally avoiding Colorado rules, we recommend not participating.
The outside community is important to all of us, and we need community engagement now more than ever. We are entering a season that values and places emphasis on gathering and coming together, and we want all of our families to do so responsibly. The Colorado Springs School is not requiring family quarantines following any travel that may occur during the Thanksgiving and/or Winter break. We are not moving into an e-Learning session for the interim between Thanksgiving and Winter break. However, a pivot to e-Learning is a decision that is not made lightly and would be based on campus exposure, positive cases, quarantine percentages, and overall absenteeism among students or faculty/staff. The reality is we must all assume a level of responsibility to prioritize the best student-centered approach.
Realizing that there are many ideas on what is a healthy and safe way to gather outside of school, please accept this counsel in the spirit of finding a way to work together to keep our school community on campus. We are amid a global pandemic, and we know that decisions are hard. We also know that our community can rise to the occasion. Our ability to thrive depends on each of us joining together and doing our part.
A Middle School class gathers on the quad while socially distancing.