Dear Blair community,
As the global situation around the novel coronavirus continues to evolve, our administrative team has closely monitored developments worldwide, as well as in our nation and the state of New Jersey. We are in close contact with the New Jersey Department of Public Health, and we know of no confirmed cases of coronavirus among Blair students, faculty and staff members on our campus. Nonetheless, as authorities have cautioned, we should expect continued increases in the number of confirmed cases in New Jersey and across the United States.
It has become clear that public health officials are recommending against close contact among groups of people. After consulting with experts and peer institutions and reviewing the plans of many colleges and universities, out of an abundance of caution amid a situation that remains fluid and challenging, we have decided to delay the return of students to campus from spring break and implement a distance-learning plan. We believe this is the responsible next step to support not only the Blair community, but the many communities around us during this public health emergency.
Rest assured that we have prepared for this eventuality and, as always, our highest priority remains protecting the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and the larger community. Blair Academy remains open, but effective immediately, normal operations will be adjusted to include social distancing, as well as remote learning. This plan will be in effect until at least April 17. We will continue to assess the situation throughout this time and provide guidance on plans for the remainder of the school year well in advance of April 17.
While we are finalizing the details of our plan, we wanted to make you aware of it now so that you can adjust any travel plans. We realize there are challenges to this and encourage anyone who needs support or assistance with making arrangements to contact Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While more detailed information will be forthcoming, at this time, I share the following important information:
- Faculty members will return to campus on March 23 to finalize our preparations to launch our remote-learning plan.
- Remote learning will commence on March 26 for all students. Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni will be in touch with families early next week to detail the specifics of what such distance learning will entail. At that time, Ryan Pagotto will also share information on other supports that will be in place to serve our students and keep them connected during this time. The student life office will coordinate pick up or shipment of textbooks or other items students need to complete school work.
- All Blair Academy events on and off campus are cancelled through April 20, including all athletic contests, Grandparents’ Day and Blair’s participation in the concert at Carnegie Hall.
- Beginning immediately, all faculty and staff who live off campus and do not need to be on campus will work from home.
This is a time of concern for us all, and we will continue to work in close partnership with the New Jersey Department of Public Health and local health officials to keep every member of our community healthy and well.
We are eager to have everyone back on campus just as soon as it is safe to do so, and I will share updates regularly over the coming days and weeks. Should you have questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me at the phone number or email address listed in my signature below.
I realize this is not a situation any of us envisioned as we opened the school year, but I know what this community is capable of even in the face of uncertainty and adversity. And I know that together we will meet this challenge with courage, creativity and mutual care that will allow our community to learn and stay connected even when we are, at least temporarily, not all on the same hilltop.