A Q&A With Mrs. Adams

by Laetitia Haddad '20

Alexandria City Public Schools have stated that they will remain shut through April 13. Is there a chance that we will remain closed through Easter, too?

Unfortunately, I believe there is a good chance that our facilities will remain closed through Easter given recent CDC guidelines about large group meetings. While the facilities are closed, our teachers will still be leading their amazing classes and community activities online. We have not made a decision on a reopen date, but I think it will likely be later in April or May.  

Is there a possibility that school will remain closed through the end of the academic year? Are we coordinating our closures with other independent schools in our area?

I think we are in a time when so much is uncertain. I hope we do not have to keep our campuses closed through the end of the academic year, but I also know it could be a possibility depending upon the progression of the virus.  I am in regular consultation with lots of other Heads of School--I am so grateful for the friendships and partnerships within our network of Heads. 

 

What types of resources are being consulted when decisions regarding community health and safety are made?

We are regularly following the guidelines from the Alexandria Health Department, the CDC and the World Health Organizations. We have a pandemic planning team that has been meeting regularly to discuss planning for health and safety of our community. Each member of the team has their own set of resources--experts in how best to clean campuses, experts in how to implement digital learning etc.  Other outside resources include our risk manager, our medical consultant, our Board of Governors, our legal team and other Heads of School.  

 

Our campuses are receiving a deep clean while we are away. What does that look like?

C&W is providing advanced cleaning practices for ‘Environmental Infection Control’, based on CDC guidance, EPA approved cleaning agents, and techniques aimed at high touch areas of the school as well as shampooing carpets and washing floors.

 

Did you feel any pressure from parents to either close earlier than we did or stay open?

Our community is awesome.  We certainly got some feedback from parents about their hopes for the school, but it was not pressure. We are very receptive to parent feedback, but we also have to follow best medical advice on these types of decisions. 

 

Are SAGE Dining, the transportation staff, and the janitorial staff still receiving wages while we are not at school?

Transportation staff are SSSAS employees and are therefore paid for the foreseeable future, and I hope until we return from closure.   The SAGE dining team and C+W housekeeping team are employed by SAGE and C+W, and we are working closely with their teams to support their employees during our closure.

 

In the case of a long-term uclosure, how would traditions such as prom, senior projects, senior chapel, and graduation play out?

This is a part I am feeling very emotional about as I know how important these events are to our community. The commitment I can make is that traditions are so important to us as individuals and us as a community, and we will do all that we can to hold onto as many traditions as possible during the closure.  We may need to be creative and find alternative ways to handle various traditions, but our community has demonstrated over and over again that we can be creative and rise to the occasion. I wish I had all of the answers on these events right now, but we just do not.

 

Is there anything else you would want our student readers to know?

We love you all, and we will miss seeing you every day. I am so proud to be part of this school community, and I cannot wait until we are together again.

 

Finally, what Netflix show are you binging right now?

 With my family, we love to watch some old-school movies from when I was younger (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Back to the Future, E.T.).  I am also excited to watch Frozen 2 on Disney Plus (no judgement!). When it is just Mr. Adams and me, I am watching Marvelous Miss Maisel, House Hunters International and rewatching some old favorites like The West Wing, Homeland, Jack Ryan, etc.