Solebury School Reunites:
Bring The Spartans Home

July 15, 2020
 

Take a look at some of the spaces we are preparing to safely welcome your students back to campus this fall here.

Dear Families, 

September 2020 will mark the beginning of Solebury School’s 95th year of instruction, which is a noteworthy and important accomplishment in the life of a school. It will also mark the first opening of school during the COVID-19 pandemic, which will also be a noteworthy and important accomplishment for Solebury School. I am so proud of all that we accomplished this spring, and I am confident in our ability to fulfill our mission, even though how we do it may look differently than in the past. 

Solebury School’s mission is to create an environment of educational excellence that prepares students for success in college and beyond. In the Solebury community, we strongly value intellectual challenge and academic achievement, creative and independent thinking, mutual respect between students and teachers, deep respect for each individual, and diversity.

The 2020-21 school year will be a rich and robust educational experience, inclusive of strong academics and active community engagement. Being a small school located on 140 acres makes our return to campus much more feasible than for many other educational institutions; having multiple buildings with open air walkways gives us space and more safeguards than many schools to allow for in-person learning. Our fervent hope is that we are in-person for most, if not all, of the year. However, we recognize that factors such as travel restrictions or health concerns may keep some members of our community off campus. We will be ready to support them as well. We are preparing for in-person school, remote school, and any scenario that combines the two. 

In fact, based on current conditions, restrictions, and recommendations, it’s the hybrid scenario of simultaneous in-person and remote teaching and learning that we have spent most of our time focused on as we feel it is a likely scenario for us as we begin the 2020-21 school year. 

I gave the Fall 2020 Task Force three guideposts as they create the plan to launch the next school year. We’ve prioritized:

  • the safety of everyone in the community, relying on credible resources and data;
  • strong educational program, regardless of whether is it in-person or from a distance; or a combination of the two, and
  • nurturing individuals and groups through both in-person and online activities and opportunities to connect and grow as a community.

In thinking about our start to the school year, we’ve made some important assumptions:

  • The preference is to have our students return to campus for the 2020-21 school year. Therefore, we have started the intake of residential students in June to allow for phased and safe re-entry through August with appropriate protocols. Students will be invited to learn on campus each school day, providing that they are well and meet our health and safety protocols.
  • Solebury School is allowed to be open—that is, there is no government prohibition on operations as there was this past spring—and we have determined that it is appropriate to have face-to-face classes.
  • A strong Health and Wellness program is key to mitigating the risks of a pandemic and must be acknowledged, accepted, and practiced by everyone who comes to our campus.
  • Our program must be thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of both in-person and remote members, including after school and community-building activities. Every activity and experience may not be available to every student; however a rich community experience will be offered to every student.
  • The academic schedule is designed primarily to meet the greatest number of students' need for synchronous education, whether on campus or remote. 

For every student, family, faculty and staff member, we ask that you follow protocols in your life that help keep you and our community protected—complete the daily symptom screenings and monitor your health, wear a face covering (properly!) and practice physical distancing, limit your exposure by limiting your travels as much as is practicable at this time. When each of us does our part, we build a healthy community that is based on taking action to help someone else. 

While flexibility and adaptability will be key this year as the environment may change, the plans and protocols adopted by Solebury School will be thoroughly communicated and must be rigorously followed, and enforced, by all members of the Solebury community. Please check these webpages often for updates and participate in the informational Zoom calls that we offer—it’s worth stating that our plan will be a living document, with updates, additions, and evolutions as we get closer to September. If families choose to have their student attend Solebury School for in-person education in the fall, this choice is an explicit compact between the student, the parents, and Solebury School that the student will follow all of our protocols and procedures all of the time, thus doing their part to keep the entire community safe. If students choose not to abide by these protocols they will be asked to leave campus and attend Solebury School remotely until the school is persuaded that the student will choose different behavior. 

The first day of classes is September 10, 2020. I can’t wait. 

Yours from campus,

Tom

 


 

Fall 2020 Task Force

Jenn Burns P'19, Assistant Head of School

Steve Buteux, Associate Head of School

Leila Crooks BSN, RN P'22, School Nurse

Scott Eckstein P'22, Director of Admission and Financial Aid

Rob Eichem CAA P'18 '24, Director of Athletics

Steve Feld, Director of Finance & Operations

Jon Freer, Director of Technology

Carol Hey BSN RN CRNP P’03, School Nurse

Julie Laing NCC, Director of Counseling

Helen Matthews Ph.D., Head of World Languages

Annette Miller, Dean of Students

Timothy Pure, Ed.M., Learning Skills Program

Sasha Skulsky, Dean of Residence Life

Rick Tony, Director of Studies

Jim Wertman, Director of Facilities

Tom Wilschutz, Head of School