We continue to follow developments regarding COVID-19 and are aware of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updates and cautions on its spread in the United States. This evolving situation asks that we be who we, as a community, always are: caring, patient, and prudent.
While the current threat of COVID-19 remains low, particularly in healthy populations, our pandemic preparedness group continues to meet on a regular basis. This group of colleagues, includes our school nurses, division heads, as well as members of the Cranbrook Educational Community’s operations, facilities and human resources teams. We continue to consult with outside authorities including the Oakland County Health Department, to review our standing pandemic plan and to anticipate our Schools’ needs.
We hope that COVID-19 does not spread widely; nevertheless, we must anticipate that it will manifest locally and be disruptive to our routines. Like all schools we are mindful that we share close quarters in classrooms, dining halls, dormitories, residences, etc. Most important we share – and are proud to share – a collective responsibility for the health and wellbeing of everyone on our campus and in our Cranbrook community.
With that in mind, I offer here five important updates and areas of immediate focus:
1. Current Health Precautions Remain UnchangedAt this time the CDC’s recommendations for prudent flu hygiene have not changed and we will continue to follow them.
- We have increased routine disinfection of high traffic areas around campus (bathroom surfaces, doorknobs, etc.)
- Please continue to make sure that you and your children get appropriate rest, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, use the hand-sanitizer available throughout campus, cough into your elbow, minimize close contact with those who are ill and stay home if experiencing flu-like symptoms. These common-sense practices are essential to keeping the community healthy.
2. Preparation for Online Instruction
Pragmatically and in line with other independent schools, we are anticipating that at some point in the next few months numbers of students or teachers could be absent from school for an extended period of time. Should full pandemic conditions emerge, Cranbrook will continue to serve students while they are recovering or in quarantine, to the best of our ability and with all of our healthy, adult resources. To do this, all teachers at all divisions are preparing, should the situation warrant, to move instruction online. We will utilize any number of tools including CranNet, Zoom meetings, YouTube, etc.
Our expectations are the same as always – that students will keep up with class to the degree that their health allows and that we will be empathetic, patient and flexible adults who know that the most successful learning happens in the context of caring relationships, where we balance our passion for our subject matter with our heartfelt, personal care for our students and each other. Know that division and department heads are leading discussions with our teachers as teachers take a long-term look at syllabi and decide what skills and content are truly essential and how those can be developed and delivered effectively, and in creative ways, through digital means.
To ensure that your family would be able to access on-line instruction, please let your child’s division head or campus dean know if your family does not currently have access to high speed internet and/or to a computer, laptop or equivalent device at home.
3. Spring Break Travel
At this time, we ask that all employees and school families carefully assess the risks associated with their spring break travel plans, paying particular attention to potential consequences of travel outside the United States. The spread of the virus is difficult to predict and, by the end of March, return to the United States from any number of locations may be restricted. Too, quarantines may be imposed by governmental heath agencies for any number of reasons including:
- because of an individual’s travel to/through an affected area or proximity to affected persons on airplanes or cruise ships, or at hotels and resorts
- if an individual is symptomatic
- based on the individual’s own citizenship or passport of origin
- Please be aware that Cranbrook has no ability to intervene in efforts by governmental organizations, here or abroad, to quarantine individuals.
Please evaluate your family’s travel plans carefully, and seriously consider remaining in the United States. No matter where your family travels this spring break, please take a laptop or equivalent device with you. If you or your child is delayed returning to campus, you and your child will want access to online instructional materials.
4. Help Needed: Homestay Hosts for International Boarding Students
We are grateful to the families who have already offered to host our international boarding students who cannot return home or be visited by family during our upcoming spring break.
We eagerly welcome more state-side hosts, regardless of which Cranbrook division your family is affiliated with. For both guest and host a homestay is a tremendous opportunity to learn about and care for each other; these are critical moments of community-building.
If you are interested in serving as a host for one of our boarding students, for all or a portion of spring break (6:00 p.m. March 13-noon March 30), please contact our International Student Coordinator Anna Bryant at (248)-645-3634 or email@example.com
5. Continued Communication
Finally, we will continue to monitor the situation through resources at the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the Oakland County Health Department; we are also in contact with colleagues at Beaumont Hospital, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS).
In order to facilitate timely and open communication with all our families, the external Cranbrook Schools website and our internal CranNet will soon both feature a dedicated tab labeled “COVID-19 Updates.” For convenient reference and access, starting this week, copies of all school communication and other helpful resources regarding COVID-19, will be housed there.
As always, I am grateful for your family’s commitment to our school community’s health and wellbeing. My colleagues and I know - and are so thankful - that we will navigate this situation with our usual care, calm and partnership.