Remote Learning as a Coordinated Effort

The following letter was shared with K-12 parents, faculty, and staff at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14 regarding conversations among heads of schools as well as between USN and local public health leaders.
Dear USN families and faculty,
 
Checking in from the desk here now that Spring Break has begun, we are more determined than ever to keep in touch. There’s nothing substantial to report — still no documented or suspected COVID-19 cases in our school community, but a broader concern continues to guide our efforts. 
 
We’re part of an independent school group in Nashville that announced a plan Friday afternoon to toggle to remote learning mode in the week of March 23. At last count, the cohort included 20 of our Nashville neighbors, all with familiar names, and we aim to make a statement about the importance of doing our part. My sense is that other schools will join next week. The emerging consensus within that group is that we should plan for at least two weeks without face-to-face schooling from that time forward, but I want you to know that we’ll communicate week by week at USN. Conversations with colleagues on the West Coast and overseas convinced us that a weekly approach, with no specific end date suggested, makes sense.
 
Meanwhile, we’re gearing up on the communication front, making sure our special webpage is comprehensive, confirming that our faculty have what they need on all fronts, and configuring all school offices to best combine work-from-home mode with a presence on campus as appropriate, given the evolving circumstances. My main message to you is please let us know what you need and how we can help. There’s nothing easy about any of this but I’m certain that the strength and talent under the big USN tent are unrivaled.
 
One particular case in point, and with his reluctant permission for me to even mention his name, is USN parent Alex Jahangir, Vanderbilt University Medical Center surgeon, Metro Board of Health chair, and now leader of the Mayor’s Metro Coronavirus Task Force. His support and counsel have been invaluable to me and for us all along. Steady and smart as we could ever hope to see. Please check the Metro Nashville Health Department coronavirus webpage on a regular basis to stay current on local recommendations and news.
 
Past that, let’s give ourselves a few days to adjust to new routines and new expectations of one another. I’ll try to follow that advice and be back in touch midweek. In the meantime, take that deep breath, circle up with your family at an appropriate social distance, and remember that USN is not closed. We’re learning new ways to function in a time that’s calling for our very best. Together.
 
Take care all,
Vince Durnan
Director
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