As I’m sure all of you have already learned, New York City has entered a new stage in its response to the threat posed by the coronavirus. The Mayor announced last night that New York City public schools would be closed at least until April 20 and has instituted significant restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other venues where people congregate in large groups in order to encourage increased social distancing.
Following the city’s lead, Bank Street programs, including the School for Children, will also be physically closed until April 20. Our primary concern right now is making sure that everyone in our community is safe, healthy, and supported to the extent that we possibly can. I want to personally urge all of you to take this threat very seriously. Ultimately, experts have shown that social distancing is the key to slowing the spread of this virus, enabling our health care system to adequately prepare for this illness, care for those who need it, and save lives.
More than ever, this time shows how deeply connected we all are and I hope that you will each take the steps needed to protect everyone in our community. To this end, I encourage you to review this guidance for families and this coronavirus simulator. The former provides sound advice for parents around children and social interaction, and the latter presents a clear visual for how the spread of the coronavirus works and demonstrates how “a single person’s behavior can cause ripple effects that touch faraway people.”
As communicated previously, our plan is for School for Children faculty and staff to reconvene virtually on Monday, March 30 following spring break. Later that day, we will communicate plans for at-home learning to students and families in order to resume age-appropriate instruction on Tuesday, March 31. At this time of global uncertainty, we are heartened by the generosity of schools across the country, and we are closely monitoring the rapid and effective adaptations to teaching and learning that are taking place in Seattle and beyond. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Even as we remain physically distanced from each other, please take every effort to connect via phone or video, to check in on each other, and to care for each other. As Lucy Sprague Mitchell stated so presciently in our credo, this is a time when we most need “the courage to work, unafraid and efficiently, in a world of new needs, new problems, and new ideas.”