Dear Stevenson Families:
I write with welcome and promising news regarding our plans for returning to campus instruction. Following the recent release of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and Monterey County Health Department (MCHD), we are now preparing for students in Grades PK-6 to return to campus instruction on March 15. By that date, both Stevenson’s Dolores Campus (PK-Grade 5) and new Mission Campus (Grade 6) will be ready to accommodate the full complement of students and teachers who are ready and able to return to daily campus instruction and follow appropriate measures to protect health and safety.
Today, PK-6 employees received a description of the steps that have been undertaken to protect community health and safety on the Dolores and Mission Campuses, and they are now completing a survey to provide data on several matters, including how many of them will be ready and able to return to campus instruction as of March 15. Within the next week, PK-6 families will receive more information regarding the School’s mitigation strategies, schedule modifications, and behavioral standards, along with a survey to determine their readiness for their children to return to campus instruction. With this information in hand, we will swiftly finalize and distribute our plans, so that all participants’ expectations are in alignment.
We currently expect that the return to campus instruction for students in Grades PK-6 will be the first stage in a process that will ultimately result in the staggered return of students in Grades 7-12 later this semester, once we have permission from the state and county to move forward and provided relevant conditions remain safe in the determination of the CDC, CDPH, and MCHD. Our goal is to welcome students in Grades 7-12 as soon as possible, and shortly after spring break at the latest. Families of students in Grades 7-12 will receive similar materials and surveys in due course, as will relevant School employees.
As has been noted in our planning materials since July, families not ready or able for their children to return to campus instruction will continue to enjoy access to remote instruction through the end of this semester. Given the recent decline in Monterey County’s case rate, expected improvements to the county’s vaccination rate, and the probable easing of visa restrictions for students from other nations, we have no reason at present to assume that remote instruction will still be necessary in September.
Across all three divisions, our plans for returning to campus instruction align with the CDC’s most recent guidance, Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation (February 12) and the California Department of Public Health’s K-12 Schools Reopening Framework and Guidance Q&A (February 16). Additionally, here is a link to a “crosswalk” between the CDC’s February 12 guidance and the CDPH’s COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California (January 14), which remains the legally controlling guide for all PK-12 schools in California. All PK-6 families are encouraged to review these resources carefully in the coming week. The School has completed its state-mandated COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist, which we anticipate will be approved soon, at which time it will be posted on the School’s website for your review. We also anticipate that the board of trustees will vote to approve the School’s return to campus instruction at its quarterly meeting on February 26.
In advance of receiving further details, rest assured that our approach will be organized to:
Protect the health and safety of the Stevenson community using protocols aligned with federal, state, and county guidance.
Provide deep, engaging, and joyful learning campus instruction employing familiar school routines to the greatest extent possible, given necessary modifications to protect health and safety.
Integrate flexibility in instructional models in order to adapt to changing conditions, as needed.
Our School community, like the rest of the world, continues to meet the unique challenges associated with a still-emerging and not fully understood virus. We are not accustomed to facing so many uncertainties stacked upon such complexity, and we have all been frayed by the protracted nature of this experience. In this light, I’ve never been prouder to be a Pirate. Since March, our community’s grit, grace, and generosity of spirit have been sustained by our commitment to one another, and to values that call us to do our very best to remain strong, unified, optimistic, and kind. As a result, we have provided our children with the gift of a good example in meeting these hard times that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
If you have further questions about our return to campus instruction, please begin by revisiting the materials we posted on December 1, 2020. If you still have questions after doing so, please contact either Mrs. Molly Bozzo, head of the lower and middle divisions, or Dr. Dan Griffiths, head of the upper division.
We all look forward to being together once again. We have much to celebrate, and much to be proud of.
Dr. Kevin M. Hicks ‘85 P ‘29