May 7, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As we look ahead to the 2020-2021 school year, I would like to share with you our planning process. To emerge from COVID-19 stronger than ever, our top priorities at Westminster School include:
- Attending to the health and safety of our campus community.
- Attending to our commitment to excellent teaching and learning.
- Attending to our school’s defining culture that embraces our motto Grit & Grace as well as our core values of community, character, balance, and involvement.
Throughout this pandemic, our approach has emphasized the watchwords vigilant, sensible, calm, and balanced, as governed by the importance of pacing.
As you know, this spring, we transitioned successfully to a distance learning program, thanks to our experience with distance learning during recent summers and plenty of Grit & Grace among students, faculty, and staff. Our distance learning program emphasized classes with students and faculty interacting on a personal basis, not just exchanging assignments. We also successfully restored various elements of our community offerings, such as chapel, coffee houses, and advisory meetings, which remain so important to our school’s ethos.
Moving forward, all of us cannot wait to return to on-campus, in-person teaching and learning during the 2020-2021 school year! A committee of trustees and faculty continues to meet regularly to coordinate our planning and consider contingencies:
Miles Bailey ’94, Dean of Admissions
Steve Bailey ’89, P ’21, ’23, Trustee
Renee Carrel ’84, P ’19, ’21, Trustee
Julie Collins, Chief Financial Officer
Ted Dardani P ’14, ’18, Trustee
Mark de Kanter ’91, P ’19, ’22, Dean of Faculty
Madeleine Ekholm P ’19, ’20, Trustee
Moy Ogilvie Johnson ’86, Trustee, Vice Chair of the Board
Tom McCargo ’82, P ’21, Trustee
Mary Peck ’90, Trustee
Bill Philip P ’06, ’09, Head of School
Brad Raymond ’85, P ’19, ’20, Trustee, Board Chair
Davis Smith, Medical Director
Our hope is to start school as planned; however, we recognize that the day-to-day uncertainty accompanying our circumstances means that time and patience remain critical salves as we seek the best pathway forward. In that regard, we will continue to prepare a variety of contingencies as well as health protocols, designed by our Medical Director, Dr. Davis Smith, to support hosting on-campus, in-person teaching and learning. We will keep you informed as this planning advances.
In the event that on-campus, in-person teaching and learning is delayed, we would return to distance learning, as enhanced by our experience this spring and the additional time to prepare afforded by the interval before the fall term. In any event, understanding that some students may face insurmountable travel logistics or even compromised personal medical circumstances, we would continue to support for a reasonable time simultaneous distance and on-campus, in-person teaching and learning.
In the months between now and the fall, we remain hopeful that there will be meaningful advances in containing the coronavirus and in the robust availability of reliable and rapid testing. Some reports are encouraging about possible progress on therapeutic treatments, even if the promise of a vaccine seems more distant. We look forward to learning more about these medical initiatives and the timing of their availability as information is disseminated.
We deeply appreciate your understanding and flexibility in this extraordinary time, and, most importantly, we extend our best wishes for your good health and safety.
With Grit & Grace,
William V.N. Philip
Head of School