Dear Old Trail Community,
Over the past two weeks, we have been closely monitoring and quickly responding to the evolving news and information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We’ve consulted with medical and public health experts and organizations, both locally and nationally, and have been in constant contact with administrators of independent and public schools in our region and around the country.
While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Old Trail at this time, we realize that we are an interconnected and interdependent community, and the choices we make and the risks we assume can have unintended, yet potentially serious, implications for others.
This is why, after many days of detailed and thoughtful discussion, as well as effective planning and preparation, the Old Trail School leadership team and Board of Directors have decided to proactively close Old Trail starting this Friday, March 13, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
This decision was not made lightly. Furthermore, we fully recognize and understand that this creates a stressful and unique set of challenges for our families. Please know that the decision was informed not only by our priority to protect the health and safety of our students, families and employees, but also by our communal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19. We believe this is a critical moment in the outbreak when such measures can potentially impact the spread of the disease.
Details About the Closure
* The closure will begin this Friday, March 13
. All OTS after-school activities and athletic events have been canceled until further notice. Students will be informed of this decision this afternoon and personal items will be sent home with them at the end of the school day. Parents may come to school to retrieve any additional personal items tomorrow, if necessary.*
Chromebooks and iPads will also be sent home with students today. Please use this checklist
to ensure you are able to connect your child's device to your home network and test that the webcam and audio are working properly. Please contact the Technology staff
with any questions to troubleshoot issues. *
OTS faculty will have in-service work days tomorrow and on Monday, March 16, to prepare to implement our full distance learning model if necessary when classes resume following Spring Break
. We feel confident in our ability to deliver meaningful educational experiences through technology. Division Directors will reach out to their respective families later today with more details. *
We understand that some households may not have access to web-enabled devices or the Internet at home. If this is the case for your family, please let the appropriate division director know so that the school can provide support.
* Students will have a Distance Learning Orientation from home on Tuesday, March 17
. During that time, schedules, guidelines and expectations for distance learning will be communicated and technology will be tested. Families can think of this as something similar to what a “First Day of School” would be like be. Students will get their first sense of what an actual remote day of school will feel like on Wednesday, March 18. More details will be shared tomorrow.
* Spring Break will begin on Thursday, March 19
, and continue until Monday, March 30.
* ASSIST sessions scheduled for next week have been canceled.
Should we need to implement the full distance learning model when classes resume from Spring Break, students who participate in ASSIST with either Mrs. Solis or Mr. Kramer will have their sessions at their regularly scheduled times via Zoom. Students who participate in ASSIST with Mrs. Kristoff will have their sessions (via Zoom) at a time scheduled by Mrs. Kristoff in consultation with each family.*
During the closure, Old Trail administrators, faculty and staff will be accessible through email during the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Email addresses can be found via the Faculty & Staff Directory
our school website. *
Starting Monday, March 16, and continuing until further notice, our building will be closed to students and parents/guardians. A deep clean of the building will take place before students return to school.*
If you would like to speak with one of our School Psychologists during the closure, please contact Kathi Howard
to set up a phone call or Zoom appointment for you and/or your child.
Throughout this closure, you will receive frequent communications from the school. To help families keep track of all COVID-19 communications, we have created a webpage
that you may find helpful. There, you will find all past and future school-wide communications, as well as helpful links and resources. How You Can Help
We want to emphasize that during this closure, all of us – including students and parents/guardians – have a responsibility. As public health officials have emphasized, school closures will not be effective unless they are accompanied by social distancing strategies. We ask that you restrict your social interactions during this period. If our student body is out and about, spending time with various friend groups, the virus is more likely to continue to spread.
With the campus closed, we recognize that families will be responsible for their students’ daily activities. Please know that we are here to help and feel free to reach out to division directors and/or support services during the closure.*
Work with your student to make sure your family is practicing appropriate social distancing measures
, as outlined by the World Health Organization
Review common-sense preventive actions
including appropriately covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands often (and for 20 seconds).*
Discuss how to slow the spread of the disease. Review the CDC’s recommendations on how you and your family can help
Talk with your student about how they will handle schoolwork
. Make sure they have set up a place to work. *
Help your student come up with healthy strategies
to connect with friends they normally see at school, as well as ways to get exercise, which is proven to improve
children’s mental and physical health.
Likewise, help students limit distractions
. Middle School students do not have access to cell phones during the school day; you may want to consider this during the “school day” at home as well.*
Talk with your student about what they are thinking and feeling
. Kathi Howard offered some helpful tips here
. There is also a New York Times article
about how to talk to teens and tweens about coronavirus. You can find more resources from our student and family support program on our coronavirus webpage.
In Old Trail’s nearly 100 years, our school community has weathered many storms. This is not the first major challenge our community has faced, nor will it be the last. We trust that every member of our community – students, faculty, staff, parents/guardians, and alumni – will work together, supporting each member of the Old Trail community and our larger regional community. Take care of yourself – take care of each other – and especially take care of those who are the most vulnerable in our midst.
Thank you for your resilience and empathy as we navigate through this challenge together.