Staying Current, Planning for August

Following the news of Nashville's return to Phase 2 of the Roadmap for Reopening Nashville, Director Vince Durnan shared the following letter with K-12 families, faculty & staff. Locker cleanouts have been postponed, and campus has again closed its doors.
Dear USN families,
 
Heading into this holiday weekend, the Metro announcement about returning to a modified Phase 2 COVID response drew immediate attention here at school. While the guidelines include very little direct reference to educational settings, the message about taking our city’s virus trajectory more seriously than ever comes through loud and clear. The next six weeks need to feature a broad-based, consistent, and mitigation-first approach from all of us. That’s the best way to provide for a safe and healthy return to classes in August. What that means for USN in coming days includes:
 
A return to the “special permission needed” routine of the original Phase 2 when it comes to being on campus. You may have seen the screening protocols on our website in the past 10 days as we’ve very gradually opened up to visitors and locker cleanout, even as we’ve encouraged colleagues who can work from home to do so. We’ll suspend that access for the next two weeks and review case numbers at that point in advance of trying to open up again on 19th Avenue. Just seems like the right thing to do.
 
Our talented Division Heads and I will continue developing the details for our K-12 Return to Classes Plan. We’ve been consulting with schools literally around the globe about what works best with regard to classroom basics, schedules, co-curriculars, food service, AFTER-SCHOOL, and myriad mitigation measures. Fair to say there’s abundant emerging wisdom on all of those topics, and we expect to present a medically-reviewed draft in two weeks or so. And we need to be ready to go remote for a time as situations dictate. Flexibility will be a watchword with any announcements we make, given the fluidity of the situation, but it’s fair to say we will do whatever we can to be open and to be open safely.
 
We continue to make investments in the safety of our physical spaces. Each day brings progress building our stockpiles of sanitizing equipment, PPE, classroom fixtures, and air purification system improvements. That being said, it would be deeply appreciated if you maintained and cemented habits of wearing face coverings over nose & mouth, frequent hand washing, and appropriate distancing at home, to build a bridge back to school. Consistency in the lives of our students is a key, and we’ll be asking for a stronger social contract than ever when classes resume. We need to be able to confidently count on one another.
 
This week’s statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics provides welcome encouragement by putting the importance of school in perspective, as did this great New York Times commentary by a USN pediatrician uncle. Still, the health and safety of all involved remain priority one. It was right to postpone Commencement in June. It was right to take summer programs into remote mode. It’s right to start sports workouts very carefully.
 
We’ll be ready to do what’s best in August. That’s our promise. Keep in touch, let me know if you have any immediate questions, and thanks as always for your partnership on the journey.
 
Keep setting the instructive example for our communities,
Director 
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