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Dear School for Children Families,
 
I hope this email finds you safe and well. As you have most likely seen by now, the mayor announced over the weekend that New York City public school buildings will be closed for the remainder of the school year. Bank Street will continue to follow New York City’s lead and will plan to keep our buildings closed through the end of June as well. As always, we will be continuing to monitor the guidance from the city and state and will revisit that decision if needed as the situation evolves.
 
In this time of deep uncertainty for all of us, I hope you are able to find some comfort and continuity in our Bank Street community. Faculty and staff from across our institution have been working extremely hard to migrate the rich Bank Street curriculum and experience to a different modality. We want to make sure students can not only access information, deepen their knowledge, and develop new skills but maintain and deepen their relationships with their peers and their teachers. (We also want to take care of our faculty and staff and to the extent we can we will make sure everyone—including part-time and hourly employees—is paid through the end of June.)
 
Toward that end, I’m proud of how our team has applied its trademark ingenuity to this new setup. Despite being on Spring Break, School for Children faculty and staff met together and planned as divisions to ensure that BankStreet@Home was in place as students and families returned virtually a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the 13/14s have launched a new project entitled the “Quarantine Diaries,” documenting through various media this unique moment in history; Middle School students have participated in an interactive human percussion lesson in their music class; we have continued small reading groups; and we are working to adapt other experiential curricula like our Hudson River study to online formats.
 
The school has also looked for other ways to support our families, students, and broader community through this time of crisis. The school’s psychologists have begun to offer flexible “office hours” for parents and faculty as well as other resources for online emotional support; Bank Street Connects serves as a community gathering space around informational and recreational topics every Tuesday afternoon; the school has launched support groups for parents/guardians working in the healthcare professions; and the After School and the Summer Camp teams will be offering no- or low-cost recreational options for families. There is also much more to come.
 
We are always interested in your feedback, and now—as we work our way through this new arrangement together—we are particularly eager to get your thoughts. We’re reflecting and troubleshooting, and we’ll continue to make refinements. We also want to capture learnings that could have longer-term implications, once we are together in our building again. In that spirit, I strongly encourage you to take the time to share your feedback each week via our online survey (the feedback form for week two is available here). We have found the feedback from these surveys to be incredibly valuable to our process of reflection and the refinement of our program. 
 
Warmly,
 
Shael Polakow-Suransky
President, Bank Street College
ssuransky@bankstreet.edu

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