September 8, 2020
Dear Madeira Community,
I write to share with you additional information regarding our plans for returning to school in the coming weeks. As we work together to bring students back to campus, we have several actions we need parents and guardians to complete. Included with this letter are links to the parent portal for three forms that need to be signed prior to your daughter returning to campus.
As you know, our goal for the fall is to provide on-campus learning for our students beginning on October 5, 2020, assuming our plans are permitted by federal, state, and local authorities and we continue to believe it is safe to do so. We will also offer an option for remote learning for families who are not comfortable with their daughters returning to school and for students who are unable to return to school and/or the classroom. In the event that we are, at some point, no longer allowed to operate on campus, or if we determine it is no longer safe to do so, we are prepared to transition quickly to a remote learning experience for all of our students.
As you are certainly aware, COVID-19 is an extremely contagious communicable illness that is spread primarily through person-to-person interactions. COVID-19 can cause symptoms in any infected individual, though data strongly indicate that older individuals and those with existing medical conditions are at a significantly higher risk of developing severe symptoms and complications. Not all individuals infected with COVID-19 display any symptoms, but such individuals may nonetheless be contagious and spread the infection. COVID-19 is also associated with a serious and potentially deadly condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). State and local authorities are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and continue to introduce executive orders, public health guidance, and other safety measures to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Reopening Plans Website
We have been reviewing the evolving guidance released by Governor Northam and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) regarding reopening Virginia schools in the fall, as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and leading health and education experts. Our leadership team has been working throughout the summer to develop reopening policies and practices, and to implement appropriate modifications to our buildings and facilities. The safety of our students and employees is our primary concern, and thus our policies and protocols are designed to meet or exceed the safety requirements outlined in the evolving guidance. All community members are expected to review and adhere to the policies and protocols in the Reopening Plan, as well as to any updates that we may issue in the coming weeks and months.
Protect Madeira Pledge – Parent/Guardian signature required
Our community will be best protected when we all work together in a shared commitment to prevention practices and risk mitigation measures. We have developed a “Protect Madeira Pledge” that outlines how we will be working together for community health. All community members (including parents) are required to sign the Protect Madeira Pledge. Please sign the Protect Madeira Pledge which can be found in the forms section on the parent portal.
Daily Health Assessments
Ongoing community testing - Parent/guardian signature required
In addition to the initial COVID-19 testing required to return to campus, we will be conducting COVID-19 testing on a random sample of students and employees to further protect community health. To that end, we require every parent/guardian to sign the COVID-19 Testing Consent and Acknowledgement form so that if your student is in the randomly generated testing pool we can complete the test. Please sign the COVID-19 Testing Consent and Acknowledgement form which can be found in the forms section on the parent portal.
Assumption of Risk Acknowledgement – Parent/guardian signature required
While we will strive to return to “normal” on our campus, families and students should expect that the Madeira experience will be (and will look) somewhat different than in past years. In addition to required social distancing measures, mask-wearing requirements, and physical modifications to our campus and in classrooms, changes will also be required to many facets of our program, including use of classroom materials, meal protocols, drop-off and pick-up procedures, and more. But as with seemingly everything during this pandemic, circumstances are changing rapidly, and we expect that guidance from the federal, state, and local authorities will continue to evolve and may lead to further changes on campus.
Although we will strive to meet all applicable safety requirements, so long as COVID-19 continues to spread by community transmission and until there is an effective vaccine, there will be a risk that students could become infected with COVID-19 despite these efforts. That risk extends to the families of students, as well as others with whom the student may have contact.
By coming onto our physical campus, you agree to the following:
You acknowledge and agree that despite the School’s compliance with applicable reopening requirements, there is nonetheless a risk that your daughter could contract COVID-19 and/or become a symptomatic and/or asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19.
You knowingly and voluntarily assume that risk on behalf of yourself and your child, as well as the risk that such infection could spread to other members of your child’s household or family, as well as others with whom the student may have contact.
In acknowledgement of the information above, please sign the Parent Acknowledgement form which can be found in the forms section on the parent portal.
We recognize that these are uncertain times, and we are committed to our mission of providing students with an exceptional educational environment. Complying with the expectations set forth in the Reopening Plan, as well as other evolving health and safety guidance, will require collective continued vigilance of all members of the Madeira community – our staff, students, and families. We are eager to reopen and see everyone in person again, even if that means wearing masks and physically distancing. If you have any questions about this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Head of School