The quality and integrity of community life at Stevenson always depends on a reciprocal social compact: shared understandings and agreements among students, their families, and School employees that promote safety, trust, respect, belonging, and inclusion for all.
In normal times, we appreciatively observe a high degree of community adherence to our values-driven norms, which bodes well for the challenges we face—because these are obviously not normal times. Until there is a multilayered national strategy and broadly distributed vaccine, this familiar social compact must be temporarily expanded—for all our community members, and regardless of our mode of instruction—to include behaviors that will contribute to impeding the dynamic process of the pandemic in our School community and beyond. These behaviors include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting daily symptom checks, using a personal digital oral thermometer, reporting the results as directed, and employing a low threshold for isolation.
- For families of PK-12 day students, keeping their ill children at home, erring always on the side of caution, and retrieving them from campus swiftly should they suddenly fall ill during the school day.
- Receiving a seasonal flu vaccination, now required for all students and employees.
- Wearing a mask, as directed.
- Frequent and effective handwashing.
- Physical distancing.
Some colleges discovered to their dismay this fall that their students were not able to responsibly practice these reasonable behaviors. This is disappointing, but not surprising: colleges, by design, generally provide minimal or no adult supervision of students, preclude direct parental involvement, don’t regularly monitor class attendance, and effectively permit the consumption of alcohol.
Though we are realistic about our students’ capacities, given developmental realities, we are also guardedly optimistic about their ability and willingness to adhere to reasonable standards. Across all three divisions, Stevenson supervises students attentively, relies heavily on partnership with parents, tracks daily attendance, and upholds a range of behavioral norms that contribute to safety.
Though the threat posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unprecedented, all Pirates are accustomed to honoring responsibilities and expectations associated with our roles as members of this community. With this tradition in mind, all students, their families, and our employees will receive and be asked to confirm their commitment to The Pirate Pledge, which frames and lists the behaviors to which we all must consistently adhere in order to help protect community health and wellbeing. [A modified version will be shared with our youngest students.]