March 13, 2020

Dear Menaul School Community,

What School Looks Like for the Next Few Weeks:

Due to the threat of coronavirus in our community and consistent with the decision of the New Mexico Public Education Department to close public schools in the state, Menaul School will move to online instruction beginning Tuesday, March 17.  We will continue to observe the teacher workday already scheduled for Monday, March 16 (no school for students) and our spring break scheduled for March 30 to April 3.  The school will be open from 8:30 to 10:30 am on Monday, March 16 for students who need to pick up personal items or instructional materials.

During these two weeks, schooling will continue but move to an all-online format.  We will continue to use our learning management system, Canvas, as a base for instruction.  In the same way that they do now, teachers will post weekly assignments as well as instruction.  Instruction may take the form of a screencasted lesson, of a video lesson, reading assignment, or other mode.  Students will be expected to complete lesson materials through the week and should keep an eye on due dates so that they’re able to turn in their work.  Video conferences that are scheduled for set time periods may also be part of the instructional framework. 

Boarding students will remain on campus in the care of our excellent residential staff. All off-campus activities outside of shopping trips and low population density outings have been cancelled.  Should any of these students become ill, we have a procedure in place to isolate and care for them.

Teachers will be working primarily from home and will be accessible via email or Canvas messaging.  Students are encouraged to ask questions, participate in online discussion boards, and to otherwise maintain a normal academic life, albeit a digital one.  The transition to online schooling may not always be smooth, but we believe this is the best choice for our community and for the education of our students.  Grades for assignments during the period of online schooling will count the same as any other grades and work is due as normal.  In both divisions, Middle and Upper Schools, teachers do not plan to accept late work turned in after the week it’s due unless other arrangements are made with the teacher for sickness and other extenuating circumstances.

The School asks for parent support to help students through this difficult period.  Please help monitor students so that they complete their studies and are able to finish the school year on time, without the need for summer school.  The School aims to support families by starting a Facebook group to connect families, by continuing to share information as we receive it, and by sharing school decisions promptly. 

If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to email your division head, Julie Shuler-Misra (jmisra@menaulschool.org) or Troy Williamson (twilliamson@menaulschool.org).  Support staff, including Registrar Marian Bock, will continue to work from school offices unless the situation changes.  Our Chaplain, Rev. Takako Terino, will be available through email (tterino@menaulschool.org) and over the phone (917-796-0873).  Our facilities team will use this time when students are off campus to deep clean classrooms and common spaces in anticipation of students’ return.

If your student shows signs of infection with Covid-19, please call your doctor and alert the New Mexico Department of Health (855-600-3453).  The School would prefer to be notified of any student’s illness, and we would not share that information with others.  Once we return to campus, please keep our community healthy by staying home when you are sick.  Faculty are prepared to support students who have been out of school due to illness.  Students need to stay home and will be sent home with the following conditions:

  • Active vomiting or diarrhea (students need to stay home 24 hours, symptom-free).
  • Fever, chills, or generalized body aches (students need to stay home 24 hours after becoming fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications).
  • During the first 24 hours of various antibiotic treatments (e.g. strep throat, pink eye, etc.).
  • Undiagnosed, new, and/or untreated rash or skin condition until treatment begins.

Lindsey R. Gilbert, Jr.

President and Head of School

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