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Third Trimester Operations for St. Margaret's 100th Year

Dear St. Margaret’s Families,

Unbelievably, it has been a year since the novel coronavirus pandemic began. Throughout the past year, our Scotties have embodied flexibility. From fully remote learning last spring to hybrid learning this fall and winter, our Scotties continue to embrace change and make the best of trying circumstances. As we look to the spring, scientists reassure us that an end is near as community prevalence rates decline. And thanks to the hard work of the Three Rivers Health District, most of our faculty and staff will be fully vaccinated by the end of March. Thus, we are now prepared to enter a new phase of operations here at SMS while still prioritizing safety as a critical component of our mission. 

Please remember, as you read our operational plans for Third Trimester, that we are a residential, secondary school: we must take into consideration that our campus is home to over 75 individuals and numerous families. While we cannot guarantee risk elimination, we carefully practice risk mitigation to minimize risk. 

The COVID-19 Task Force identified priorities for Third Trimester that have informed decision-making on how to allocate our limited staffing resources. We are a small community and these priorities will help us to allocate our energy and time in the months ahead: 

  • Bring back all students to the classroom for in-person learning, to the fullest extent possible.

  • Engage in a competitive sports season. 

  • Maintain a residential setting that is as safe as feasible.

  • Celebrate May Ball, Baccalaureate, and Graduation in person. 

Please take time to carefully read the options below. As you read, remember that the uniting factor on this historic campus is simple: we value each of our community members. We recognize that every family’s circumstance is different. Thus, we strive to offer all possible options that are safe for the community at this time, uphold the mission of the school, and feasible within our resources. 

Please review the options for your family and then, complete the March 2021 Student Plan. This information is due no later than Friday, March 12 at 5:00 PM. Our hard-working SMS team needs time to prepare for March 21 returns while also taking a well deserved Spring Break. Thus, we ask for you to please honor the deadline and request contact from an SMS team member via the Plan. 

The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to meet regularly in the Third Trimester to assess local metrics and adjust operations accordingly. The Task Force members include: Cathy Sgroi (Head of School), Nancy Smith (Chief Financial Officer), Cynthia Walker (Director of Athletics & Wellness), Jen Howard (Director of Residential Life, Math & Sciences Co-Chair), Christy Livesay (Registered Nurse), and Cameron Sgroi (School Counselor). I am the Chair of the Task Force and appreciate the wide range of insights provided by this group as we make decisions together in the best interest of our community. 

Please remember that the power of an all girls education in a supportive community cannot be weakened by any virus. While we all anxiously await the end to this pandemic, this sisterhood remains strong. 

Be well,

Cheryl MacPherson
Assistant Head of School for Internal Affairs
804.443.3357 ext. 3084
cmacpherson@smsapps.org

 

The Hybrid Options

Please review these options carefully. For planning purposes, we ask each family to complete the March 2021 Student Plan no later than Friday, March 12 at 5:00 pm.

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: