Dear Menaul School Community,
We are continuing to map out the steps we will be taking to ensure that your children will be safe to return to face-to-face learning in the fall. Our COVID-19 task force is continuing to meet regularly to detail the measures to keep the campus clean and safe. We wanted to communicate a few specific pieces of information in response to questions and comments we have received.
First, we are incredibly lucky to live in New Mexico. We are one of the few states which has consistently been at or near the top in terms of the response. Helped by a responsive and proactive administration and the rural character of much of the state, we are doing far better than neighboring states like Arizona and Texas where rates have been climbing steadily. We will continue to follow the best practices laid out by the state government for keeping our community healthy and safe because we can see how effective their efforts have been.
Second, we are fully prepared for face-to-face learning in August. While the Public Education Department of New Mexico has recently come out with plans for public and charter schools to start the year following a hybrid school model (students spending two days in school, three days off with some online learning), Menaul School is already in a position to meet state targets for reopening. With 11 separate buildings spread across 33 acres, small class sizes, and a block schedule which keeps students to only four classes per day, we’re well-prepared to minimize student contact and meet state social distancing recommendations without having to keep half of our students home each day. We know that learning works better face-to-face, and we are proud that we will be able to do it safely.
Third, as a World Smart school, Menaul School welcomes students from around the world and we do not want to rob anyone of the experience of studying in a diverse environment. Many of these students come from countries where the COVID-19 situation is far better than that in the United States. Nonetheless, we have a firm plan to ensure that any students who are members of our community will be safe under our care, domestic and international both. Boarding students will be kept under quarantine in one building on campus as they arrive. They will be tested before they can mix with the general population. Throughout the year, no students will be allowed to undertake international travel. During times when the school closes, we will keep students comfortably isolated as we have done during the spring semester, and we continue to do for some of our students over the summer.
The next few months will be difficult for all of us, but for children most of all. We rose to the occasion of online learning during the past school year, but we recognize that nothing is better for our children than to have them engaged in learning as full community members – so long as we can do so safely. We are committed to that and will continue to expand upon our health and safety initiatives as we move forward. In every way we plan to meet or exceed state guidelines and best practices for maintaining a healthy environment for your children, because we recognize there is no greater responsibility than to keep our children safe as we prepare them for the future.