Lucille Smith 0

Choate Return to On-Campus Learning

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This petition is to communicate to Choate that we, the undersigned students and parents urge a full reopening of the Choate campus as originally scheduled for early September of this year. The August 20th letter sent by Head of School Alex Curtis is unacceptably late in rescinding this semester’s long planned reopening and mandates unrealistic and unattainable standard of having a .0001 Covid positivity rate for returning to campus. Furthermore the letter leaves open the distinct probability of an indeterminate delay until at least January of 2021, if not beyond. The protocols set in the early summer by Choate and expectations of returning to school under our current set of unique circumstances can be fully understood and implemented by all students without another month’s delay. The invaluable sense of community and support that our students depend on from Choate to foster their academic and personal growth can only be achieved in an on-campus setting. We have chosen Choate for its exceptional resources and academic standards. If our students are not receiving the full benefit of a Choate education, we expect a full refund (pro-rata refund for every day on-campus learning is missed or replaced by on-line learning).

A couple of points worth highlighting:

  • Dr. Curtis lauded the fact that Choate was collaborating and planning with the Eight School Association (Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Andover, Exeter, Northfield Mount Herman, St. Paul’s and Lawrenceville). They are ALL returning to on-campus learning in early September. Choate is the only exception.
  • Since your June announcement that Choate would be returning to on-campus learning this September, the state of Connecticut has consistently ranked in the best-in-the nation for the virus.
  • Choate has had all summer to prepare students and faculty and to address any issues.
  • Every boarding school has day students and other populations (adults not employed at Choate) circulating on and off their campus daily.
  • All the private day schools in Choate’s area are returning to on-campus learning.
  • Faculty who are not comfortable teaching in person can teach remotely.
  • Choate, with their proximity to world class medical care at Yale New Haven Hospital is better positioned to return to on-campus learning than all the other schools with the exception of Lawrenceville.
  • Your citations of infection rates in other universities and other parts of the country as well as referring to people coming into Connecticut but not to Choate, have little or no bearing on your stated goal of creating a “bubble” at Choate.

You can always wait and see what happens to the “others”. Our families are prepared and have spent a great deal of time educating our children/your students with the upcoming new normal on-campus (protocols, etc.) Making this decision at the 11th hour is incredibly upsetting to the students, causing possible harm to both their emotional and mental health. Further, it has damaged both your and the Board’s relationship with current Choate families. The fact that you have chosen to not even try to implement your previously outlined opening is disheartening and quite frankly unacceptable. We sign this petition as parents and students to strongly ask you to reassess your decision and open the school as planned.

Please share this online petition with other parents and students from Choate!

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