Thanksgiving Break Decision

This message was sent as an email from Mrs. Le Grand on October 22, 2020.

Dear MSM Community,

Thank you to everyone for your continued diligence in helping to keep our entire community healthy and safe! The health and safety of our students, families, faculty and staff is paramount. Our overarching goal this school year is to “open and stay open, as safely as possible.” There are three main tenets that support this goal:

  1. School Operations
  2. Health Metrics
  3. MSM Community Agreement

Each component is of equal importance, yet we only have full control over school operations, and partial control over our Community Agreement. We have no control over our area health metrics. By signing our Community Agreement, families, faculty, and staff are attesting that they will, in good faith, make decisions that are for the good of the entire school community – even if they are hard decisions. Thanksgiving Break presents a unique set of challenges this year as we continue to work hard to educate children during a pandemic. Obviously this is a holiday that celebrates family and togetherness, and typically encourages travel. Every one of our medical advisors has major concerns about a dramatic increase in risk during Thanksgiving as families travel and gather, most often indoors, without physical distancing or masks. Dr. Anthony Fauci has even recently advised that the United States “bite the bullet and cancel Thanksgiving,” advice that is receiving mixed reviews. This advice comes at a time when the weather is getting colder, people are spending more time inside, flu season is beginning, and health metrics show that, while still good in our area, COVID-19 cases are on the rise – and one of the main culprits seems to be family gatherings.

Thanksgiving Break 2020 Policy Update

Our family and personnel survey is indicating that most of our families will not be traveling or hosting. With 84% of our in-person families attesting compliance to the Community Agreement, our intention is to return to campus on Monday November 30, as traditionally planned. Without a dramatic change in area health metrics, we simply cannot penalize the majority of our community members that are adhering to the Community Agreement. However, in an effort to maintain the paramount safety of our community, we will be instituting the following Thanksgiving Break Policy for this year (2020): 

  • Travel -The family community members that plan to travel and spend the night somewhere outside of their home will be asked to do one of the following: 
    • Quarantine for 14 days from the date of their return, OR
    • Quarantine for 7 days from their return from travel date and seek a COVID-19 diagnostic PCR test on the 7th day. If the test result is negative, the student may return to school.
  • Hosting - The family community members that plan to either host overnight or day guests indoors who do not live full time with them at the same immediate household address will be asked to do one of the following: 
    • Quarantine for 14 days from the final date of the gathering/hosting event, OR
    • Quarantine for 7 days from the final date of the gathering/hosting and seek a COVID-19 diagnostic PCR test on the 7th day. If the test result is negative, the student may return school.

For the past few weeks our medical advisors, Dr. Adrianna Bravo, Dr. David Rubin, and Dr. Tanya Altmann, have been maintaining that since COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise in the majority of our 50 states, all areas are now considered “hotspots”, so travel out of the area and hosting family and friends indoors from outside of the area are of equal risk profiles. 

We realize that everyone is feeling the weight of pandemic fatigue, because we are too. It is during these times that we need to remind ourselves of what is best for our entire MSM community – and what is best for our entire MSM community is for our students to learn in-building.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions. We are so grateful for your continued support.

Kind regards,

Meredith and Thomas Le Grand, Co-Heads of School