Campus Re-Opening for St. Margaret’s 100th Year
Dear St. Margaret’s Families,
World events have guaranteed that the centennial year at St. Margaret’s will be a memorable one. And as we look to the weeks ahead, please know the SMS team is eagerly awaiting the gathering of our community once again for the 2020 - 2021 academic year.
The SMS team this coming year is rich in talent, eagerness, and innovation. Each member of the team has individual passions, opinions, and new ideas. The uniting factor on this historic campus is simple: we value each of our students. We care about the physical, mental, intellectual, social, spiritual, and emotional health of each girl. We want each Scottie to belong here amongst peers, to believe in her innate talents, and to become her best self.
As you read these plans, please remember that above all else, we labor tirelessly alongside all of you for the growth of our Scotties. The power of an all girls education in a supportive community cannot be weakened by any virus. This sisterhood will thrive as we continue to come together, unite in the best interest of our students, and mentor each young woman into a promising future.
Please take time to review the abundance of information included here on the safe re-opening of campus next month. You will find this information comprehensive and detailed. It is purposefully designed to give all of our families the much needed information on how our operations are shaped by current community trends and world events.
Please save the dates for 2 events next week to discuss these plans:
- Students, please join Coach Walker and Ms. MacPherson on Tuesday, July 28 at 7:00 pm for a students-only Question & Answer Sisterhood Forum.
- Families, please plan to join the SMS Administrative Team on Thursday, July 30 at 7:00 pm for an SMS Family Forum.
Access information for these sessions will be disseminated via email a few days before the event.
The Hybrid Options
The rural nature of Essex County and residential setting of St. Margaret’s School afford an opportunity to remain isolated from the more densely populated areas of Virginia that have experienced heavier concentrations of COVID-19. However, as many areas of the nation experience an uptick in cases and hospitalizations, St. Margaret’s must prioritize safety as a critical component of our mission.
Thus, we have determined that the safest path forward for our school is to hybridize our fall offerings.
Please review these options carefully. For planning purposes, we ask each family to elect an option no later than August 3, 2020. A St. Margaret’s faculty member will reach out via phone and/or email during the week of July 27 to each family for an individual discussion of these options, to answer questions, and to provide a conduit to the Admission Office (as needed) for financial information.
- Options for all Boarding Students (5 - day and 7 - day):
- Options for all Day Students
- What is the residential bubble?
- What are the advantages of the residential bubble?
- I hear that many schools are going fully remote. Why doesn’t SMS want to go fully remote as well?
- How is the residential bubble “built”?
- How does this bubble stay protected with faculty and staff on campus at SMS?
- What types of precautions are being taken by the campus food service?
- Why September 30? What's the intent behind that date?
- I want my daughter to join the residential bubble, but we have family plans in mid-September that will require her to leave campus. What can we do?
- What if my daughter is unable to travel home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Spring Break due to the pandemic or worries about health?
- What if my daughter needs to visit the dentist, orthodontist, or a medical doctor while on campus?
- Do these changes affect the School Calendar?
- Do these changes affect the daily schedule?
COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy
The foundational concept of SMS's mitigation plan is layering. We implement scientifically-proven strategies to mitigate risk to COVID-19 exposure. While we cannot eliminate risk, we can layer approaches to lessen it. Research from Children's Hospital of Colorado describes many of these strategies as part of a tiered mitigation effort.
The layering approach requires all of the following from community members:
- Health Screening
- Increased Cleaning and Sanitation
- Quarantine and Isolation
- Contact Tracing
- Influenza Vaccine
- Are there any additional measures that families should take before the start of the school year?
- What additional supplies should I send with my Scottie to campus?
- What happens if there is a case of COVID-19 on campus?