A Road Map to Return to Campus Learning in the Fall
Dear Waterford Families,
As we close the chapter on one of the most challenging spring terms in Waterford’s history, I want to share my profound gratitude to all of you. The manner in which the Waterford community responded to the unanticipated COVID-19 disruption is nothing short of extraordinary. I thank parents, students, and faculty for your strength, patience, fortitude, and resilience throughout. Time and again over these past two months, I have been reminded of the generous spirit and gracious goodwill that defines this remarkable community. I know the journey was long and taxing but together we’ve made it!
Today I am pleased to share with you our road map (see link below) for the coming 2020-21 academic year. Assuming that health and safety restrictions do not prohibitively tighten, we plan to return to on-campus learning in the fall. Our liberal arts mission to stimulate intellect, ignite passion, and shape character compels us to seek pathways that lead us to be together on campus. So despite current uncertainty, our planning is focused on maximizing learning days on campus to ensure the integrity, consistency, and breadth of the Waterford experience.
Since early April, a Return To Campus Task Force composed of members of the leadership team has been meeting weekly and partnering with faculty, staff, and health professionals in our community, as well as Waterford’s Board of Trustees. Our work has been guided by local and national health experts, organizations, and independent schools. We have iterated often, and in response to the shifting COVID-19 landscape, our plans have evolved, and will continue to evolve.
Our highest priority in returning to campus is the health, safety, and well being of our students, faculty, and staff. Our return to campus must come with the resolute commitment from all of us -- students, parents, and employees--to be responsible to each other to ensure the safety of all. We will ask every member of the Waterford community to practice research-based hygiene, and adhere to our health policies and protocols, especially self-screening and remaining at home when ill. While we understand that we cannot eliminate all risk to our community, we must all agree to practice newly adopted policies and protocols to reduce the risk of virus transmission and support our capacity to remain on campus.
While this roadmap does not cover every detail or attempt to account for all contingencies--it simply cannot--we hope it provides you with some clarity about how we envision campus instruction in the fall. We know you will have questions, so please join us for a Zoom call next Wednesday, June 17 at 8:30 am. We are also available all summer to respond to ongoing questions or concerns. As we move forward, we appreciate the value of ongoing communication, and are committed to keeping you informed and apprised of information and updates. We will be in touch with final plans no less than two weeks prior to our August 31st start date.
As we transition from the 2019-20 school year and shift our focus to our fall return, I am reminded of the critical role human relationships play in the life and development of our students. It is the first and unequivocal response Waterford alumni offer when answering the question, “What makes Waterford so special?” - “Relationships...with exceptional faculty...and classmates!” More than anything, in-person, live, human relationships are at the heart of every student’s learning experience, and those connections provide the foundation for inspiring liberal arts learning.
Waterford is a special place and I know I speak on behalf of my Waterford colleagues when I say that we can not wait to be back on campus with you this fall!
With every good wish for health and happiness this summer,
Head of School