August 15, 2020
Dear Madeira Families,
As you are aware, we have been assiduously monitoring key metrics and conferring with health experts over the last several weeks. While we are eager for the full community to convene in person, we have determined, with full support from the Board of Trustees, that Madeira’s in-person learning will be delayed until the start of Module Two on October 5, 2020.
Madeira faculty, staff, and administrators have worked tirelessly throughout the summer so we could re-open campus with health practices at the fore, but the state of the global pandemic is preventing us from doing that. There is a spike in COVID-19 cases in Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas; community spread is increasing, the percent positivity rate of testing is above 5%, and the person-to-person transmission rate is above recommended medical guidance. To date, we have also had challenges in securing COVID-19 testing that would allow us to fully execute our reopening plan.
We recognize this decision is being made close to the start of school. However, the health and wellness of our community is always our first priority, and the virus does not abide by the school calendar, nor does it recognize state and county lines. Madeira is not alone in critically assessing the complex array of factors surrounding COVID-19 and the opening of school. Most of our peer independent schools as well as area colleges and universities have altered their original reopening plan or delayed in-person instruction.
Though we will be convening remotely, Convocation will take place as scheduled on Tuesday, September 1, and classes will begin, as scheduled, on Wednesday, September 2. More details will be forthcoming about both. We will be ready to welcome our boarding students to campus in late September.
We would always prefer to teach our students in person. In the remote model, all students will now have a common learning experience during the first module. Additionally, while in the remote learning environment, our daily schedule will change. Classes will be extended because we will not need time for cleaning, disinfecting, or completing on-campus health screenings, nor do we need an extended lunch period.
We know that timely communication is critical. In addition to updating our reopening portal, we will be sending detailed answers to many of the questions we know will emerge in the coming days. We will host our next Parent Webinar and FAQ on Tuesday, August 25 at 6:30 p.m. Additionally, members of the administrative team will be calling each family after the first week of the module to hear about your daughter’s experience and to answer any questions. As always, your daughter’s advisor will also be checking in with her (and you) throughout Mod 1 and the year.
As we begin to curate the new FAQs, please send us your questions via this link: www.madeira.org/questions
We thank you for your continued partnership and trust as we look to serve Madeira’s mission and our students in the era of a global pandemic.
Gretchen R. Warner, Head of School
Information that will be included in our next communication:
Revised daily schedule
New arrival dates for Boarding and Day Students