Coronavirus (COVID-19) Communication from the Superintendent
March 1, 2020
Dear Graded Community,
I will be writing to you with increased frequency for the foreseeable future to ensure that communication is clear as we navigate the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.
On Saturday, February 29, the Brazilian Ministry of Health reported a second confirmed case of COVID-19 coronavirus in Brazil.
I want to remind all families, as I shared in my previous communication, of the following: If you have traveled to any of the countries listed by the CDC as level 2 or 3, or if you have visited one of the countries being monitored by the Brazilian Ministry of Health and you either have respiratory or flu-like symptoms, we request that you remain home for 14 days from your last date in the country. In addition, if you came in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect you might have been exposed to the coronavirus, we again request that you remain home for 14 days from exposure. Please contact the school (Lower, Middle, or High School Office) to report this information. We will inform the Nurse’s Office on your behalf.
Graded’s Crisis Response Team is meeting regularly and will keep you informed of any changes to our practices.
Additionally, and importantly, as we prepare to resume classes tomorrow, Monday, March 2, I want to take a moment to request your assistance. I ask that you please have a conversation with your child(ren) prior to their return to the classroom regarding the possible use of face masks by some students.
What makes Graded such a beautiful community is its diversity. Our rich blend of cultures is a hallmark of our school. We teach acceptance, understanding, and perspective taking. In doing so, we demonstrate that we value one another.
It is in moments such as these, with the second case of COVID-19 coronavirus in Brazil, that I am confident in our community’s approach and response. We educate ourselves with facts, take steady and thoughtful measures, and foster a calm, reassuring environment in which learning remains our central focus.
On Monday, some students may choose to wear face masks to school. They will be doing this not because they have any symptoms but rather because they choose to use masks as an additional preventative measure. The CDC notes that face masks are not an effective way of reducing contraction of the virus. However, we will respect a student’s or staff member’s choice to wear a mask, should they choose to do so.
Further, and most importantly, we ask that you have a discussion with your child(ren), so that they are prepared in the event students are wearing masks on Monday. We want to ensure students have a full sense of belonging on campus. At Graded, we will not allow behavior, such as singling out, making fun of, or directing negative comments towards a student who chooses to wear a mask.
We will have conversations with all students on Monday to educate them about the virus. We acknowledge that a level of concern exists among some students, just as it does among the general population. Our efforts are directed at minimizing these concerns, educating our students, and helping them understand and learn.
Following are a few talking points to share with your children:
- In some cultures, wearing a mask during a virus outbreak is a sign of respect for those who may be ill and not an indication that the person wearing the mask is sick.
- Graded will send students and staff home who are exhibiting symptoms, so those wearing masks will not be sick.
- We respect the choice of every individual to make the decision to wear a mask and seek understanding.
- You may find this link from National Public Radio (NPR), which provides a pictorial means to talk about the coronavirus with your child, helpful: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus