Updates & Information
Stoneleigh-Burnham Position Statement on COVID-19
Stoneleigh-Burnham School began a period of remote learning on March 23 and delivered its mission remotely for the remainder of the academic 2019-20 school year. The health and safety of our Stoneleigh-Burnham students, families, staff, alumnae, volunteers, contractors, and their extended families and communities is of paramount importance at all times and especially now. We appreciate your partnership as we work through all of the complex challenges that COVID-19 poses. Our world is changing quickly, and we need to do all we can to flatten the curve of the virus. This is an unprecedented time in our country, and we are reacting accordingly. To help keep you informed of how we are responding to COVID-19, this page includes the letters sent to members of our SBS community. We will keep this page updated with the most current information for new and returning students. Updated June 24, 2020
Communication to currently enrolled SBS students, families & guardians from Head of School Stephanie Luebbers:
July 6, 2020
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham Families:
I am writing today to share our fall plan with you. As we look forward to the 2020-2021 school year with excitement and anticipation, we are continuing to keep two priorities at the forefront of our work: the health and safety of our students and staff, as well as our ability to offer a strong and comprehensive program that remains true to our mission.
Though Massachusetts cases of COVID-19 have been falling, spikes across the United States and around the world are concerning. Conditions are constantly changing, and it is unclear what the local, state, and federal guidelines will look like in a few weeks or a few months. The Senior Administrative team, the Board of Trustees, and I have been working together to determine the path for fall. In order to best ensure the safety of our students and the community, we have made the decision to deliver our mission remotely for the first half of the year. We will determine a clear return date for students and communicate this with you in the fall.
We are committed to providing a consistent and robust Stoneleigh-Burnham School learning experience to our students, no matter where they are in the world. As we learn of plans that other schools have made, we are reminded that each school has its own unique circumstances which guide their decision-making. We believe it is most beneficial for our students and faculty to have a consistent program for the fall, not one in which there is constant stress around highly restrictive safety protocols and the potential disruption of a sudden campus shutdown due to COVID-19.
As we prepare to offer a strong and comprehensive remote program, our commitment to the SBS mission, values, and culture is at the heart of our work. In this time of uncertainty, one thing that we can control is the quality of the education our students receive. Our rich program can be delivered either on campus or remotely, and we are also considering ways we can authentically incorporate our traditions and elements of our extra-curricular program into the fall, to engage our students in the fullest SBS experience possible.
When Stoneleigh-Burnham made a quick shift to distance learning in March, the feedback we received from students, families, and faculty was that it was a remarkably smooth and successful transition in a time of crisis. Now, with the decision to be fully remote for the fall, we can focus our resources and time to further enhance our distance learning program:
- We have moved to a new learning management system, Canvas, that is widely used at high schools and universities and accessible around the world. It is an intuitive system and will allow us to be both streamlined and unified in how classes are offered and how students interact with their teachers and the material.
- This summer, every faculty member will complete an intensive training program in online teaching through One Schoolhouse. Teachers will be fully equipped to deliver the distance learning program with consistency and will be able to move effectively back to in-person instruction when the time comes.
- Our decision to engage in extensive professional training this summer gives us the opportunity to provide an enhanced and equitable remote experience for all of our students.
- The classes we will be offering this fall will have been evaluated and designed through the lens of distance learning to better serve our students’ interests, abilities, and circumstances.
- We are currently developing clear and reliable ways to interact with families, both to keep everyone up to date and to support our students. We understand that social and emotional connection to the SBS community is essential to the educational experience of our students and must be maintained.
- Our planning includes the development of formal co-curricular programs and class meetings. This includes E&I work, remote social events for students, wellness and physical activity programming, as well as strong student support systems.
- We are assessing several weekly schedules in order to fully support students in a variety of time zones.
- Our commitment to comprehensive college counseling and academic support services will remain strong.
The economic challenges posed by the pandemic and increased costs in technology and preparing campus for the eventual return of students have put pressure on our annual budget; the cost of educating our students has not decreased, despite our careful budgeting and planning. Nonetheless, the Board of Trustees, which last fall substantially reduced 2020-2021 day tuition and kept this year’s boarding tuition at the 2019-20 rate, has now voted to further adjust tuition for the 2020-21 school year, particularly for boarding students.
The new tuition rates will be:
- Boarding Student Tuition: $46,312
- Day Student Tuition: 9-12, $21,250 and 7-8, $17,250
- Student activity fees and International student fees will be cut in half.
In the next week, Admissions and the Business Office will be coordinating and sending updated information and enrollment forms. We have also now extended the due date for tuition payments to July 15.
Calendar and Communications:
- Once it is finalized, we will be sharing a fall calendar with you, but students should be ready to begin an orientation period during the week of September 8th.
- We will be sending our “Snapshot” newsletter for families regularly over the summer.
- As the summer progresses, we will keep everyone apprised of changes and will begin building community for the 2020-21 school year.
We are deeply aware of how important it is to ensure the welfare of our community. With this as our top priority, we will continue to monitor the news and follow the advice of our medical professionals before making any determination regarding when we can welcome students to campus. We look forward to the day when we can all be together on campus, yet we feel confident that the experience our students will receive through our robust distance learning program this fall will truly enhance their SBS education.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com and your inquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate person or department.
Head of School
June 24, 2020
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham Families:
I hope that this letter finds you well. In my last letter to our 2020-21 school year families, I explained how we are developing flexible plans and that our decision-making regarding the fall will be based on guidance from local, state, and federal agencies. Though we have not yet made a decision on how to proceed for the coming school year, I want to update you on our work and assure you that we will be offering a powerful SBS education to our students this fall.
This week, we expect that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Return-to-School Working Group will be issuing its guidance for school reopenings. We believe that the framework, protocols, and guidelines will give us further understanding of how to best plan for the coming school year. Once we have received and reviewed the guidance, we are confident that we will have enough information to share a plan for fall on or around the first of July. With this time frame in mind, we are moving our tuition payment due date of July 1 to July 10.
We recognize that the pandemic is far from over, and our priority remains the safety and well-being of the entire SBS community. We are maintaining as much flexibility in our plans as possible, creating scenarios for in-person instruction with significant protocols, and preparing for remote instruction as well. There are many models that schools are working with, and we are, as all schools are, evaluating our unique situation and our community’s needs as we consider models. We will adapt as necessary as new information surrounding COVID-19 and its spread becomes available.
Since classes ended a few weeks ago, three fall scenario planning groups have been hard at work:
Academic and Student Life Working Group
This group has focused on training faculty and preparing a platform to toggle back and forth between online and in-person instruction as needed. It is also reviewing a variety of daily schedules to best support our student body.
Operations and Health/Safety Working Group
The Health Center is being expanded and moved, and the Dining Hall and classroom spaces are being evaluated to minimize density. We are working with agencies and our medical provider to acquire PPE and testing, and we are developing protocols for returning to campus.
Finance and Enrollment Working Group
The team is looking at all expenses for each educational scenario for the 2020-2021 school year, including additional technology costs associated with distance-learning and additional costs for staffing, equipment and supplies associated with new on-campus protocols. If SBS cannot open campus in the fall and must be remote for a period of time, a new and reduced distance-learning tuition structure will support the change for all students. Unlike in the spring, there is time now to adjust our costs, so a lengthy distance learning period would result in a significant decrease in room and board fees.
Since we began our period of remote learning in March, we have longed for our students and faculty to be back on campus. The heart of our school is the relationships we forge together. Our comprehensive preparations are guided by this truth. Whether we are together or apart, it’s clear how vital it is that our academics, co-curricular/community activities, and wellness/physical exercises all work together to support our community and the growth and development of our SBS Owls.
Our School is meeting the current challenges with creativity, commitment, and energy. We are confident that SBS will offer a compelling and comprehensive education to our students, no matter how we have to shift in the coming year. We are not alone in this shift and I am grateful for the suggestions, support, and ideas. I also appreciate your continued patience as we navigate this ever-changing landscape.
Head of School
May 19, 2020
Dear New and Returning Stoneleigh-Burnham School Families:
Warm greetings to everyone, especially our newly enrolled students and their families. I hope this letter finds you safe and well. As I write to you today, our current students and faculty are finishing up the 2019-2020 school year through our Distance Learning Program.
The last nine weeks have been a flurry of change and uncertainty, and we end the year with a great deal of pride in how our community has adapted and continued to provide the key elements of a Stoneleigh-Burnham School education: strong academics in a supportive community which values student voice. We are busy finalizing end-of-year celebrations that mark the tremendous work of our students within the honored traditions of the School, while also acknowledging that this spring has been like no other.
We have succeeded this spring because we are:
Committed to Flexibility and Growth: When the time came for us to embrace a trimester of distance learning, our faculty, administrators, and staff researched, developed, and implemented a strong program to support our students and honor our mission.
Committed to Compelling Teaching: Our dedicated and talented faculty have engaged in creative discussions and planned innovative lessons, remaining focused on how to best support our students’ learning, whether it is through distance learning or in-person instruction.
Committed to Community: As a small school that both knows and nurtures its students, we have been able to build on our community connections through clubs and online community meetings and events, even as we moved into a lengthy period of distance learning.
We very much hope to have our community together on campus at the end of August, but, as there is still much uncertainty about how the pandemic will impact schools in the fall, we are developing flexible plans. Importantly, the School’s decision-making will be based on guidance from local, state, and federal agencies. Within that framework, we are unwaveringly committed to providing SBS’s mission via a robust and community-connected program.
Scenario Planning: We acknowledge that an SBS education is best delivered face-to-face, but we are confident that we can provide an outstanding Stoneleigh-Burnham learning experience from a distance if that becomes necessary. To be prepared for the fall, and to support our students from all over the world, we have teams developing flexible learning models and protocols in both modalities.
Safety and Wellness: Our first priority is always the health and well-being of our community. As such, we will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our State’s health officials as they outline appropriate measures for the reopening of schools.
Academic and Community Life Programming: Our educational program will continue to support both academic and personal growth. We have learned a lot during our distance learning period and will implement this knowledge as we prepare for the fall, building on our expertise in Social Emotional Learning and further diversifying our teaching methods.
Communication and Feedback: In the weeks and months to come, I will write to you regularly with status updates and new information. The next update will come to you in the middle of June. Though the situation is fluid, my aim is to keep you as informed as possible. Do not hesitate to be in touch if you have questions or input.
Though these are difficult times, which are stretching each of us in significant ways, I look forward to the 2020-2021 school year with great confidence and optimism. We will certainly need to adapt to new ways of being together, but the Stoneleigh-Burnham community will continue to stay strong and connected, as we have for more than 150 years.
Head of School
May 1, 2020
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham School Families,
Greetings from the SBS campus where spring is slow to arrive, but it is definitely coming! My wish is that this letter finds you all safe and well. I want to thank everyone who has reached out to us with input, encouragement, and stories about their daughter’s experiences with our Distance Learning Program. Our connections with you buoy us, and often guide us, in our work. Below are some important updates I would like to share with you.
Departing Staff: I have bittersweet news from the Dean of Students and Residential Life Office. Kristen Peterson has been named the Dean of Student Life Programs at Northfield Mount Hermon School just a few miles north of SBS and will lead the school’s student life programming in advising, leadership, and character development. I am very proud of Mrs. Peterson’s work at SBS and am so grateful for her support of students and faculty throughout her five years here. During her tenure, she developed considerable student life programming for the School, and she has been an anchor for students going through difficult times. Mrs Peterson has conveyed to me her deep gratitude to SBS, “a loving and caring community with student wellbeing at the heart of our mission.” When Mrs. Peterson leaves us at the end of June, she will be missed, and we wish her the very best as she continues her professional journey.
Drive-By Cookies: Next week, Carrie and Jeff, our Co-Directors of Dining Services, are going to head back into the SBS kitchen and don their cooking gear and their face masks and gloves to make our beloved chocolate chip cookies! Their goal of 1600 cookies will then be wrapped in packages of two and shared with the broader Greenfield community. Our message to Greenfield is that “Our students love our cookies! We hope you love them, too!” We are aiming to have our free cookie pick-up on Friday, May 8, from 4-5:30pm by Coleman House where we will have a table and tent set up for no-contact pickup. I will be greeting people from the porch and hope to see our local SBS families! Any remaining cookies will be donated to Baystate Medical. We’ll be posting our cookie time on social media next week and will confirm the day once it is finalized.
Trees: Last week during our Community Zoom Meeting on Earth Day, I announced that we would be purchasing an Arbor Day tree for each of our students. We will start a new grove somewhere on campus. Right now, the trees are on hold waiting for the nursery to begin shipping again in the late spring. We truly miss our students and want these trees to symbolize that they will always be with us on campus.
Virtual Coffee/Tea: Ellen Carter and Kristen Peterson will be hosting two more virtual coffee/tea meetings for current parents on Tuesday, May 5 and Tuesday, May 19 from 9:30-10:15am. These meetings are intended to talk about what is going well, discuss any difficulties, and share ideas and resources. Please visit the school calendar to access the Zoom link or email Ellen with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academic Information: Midterm reports providing an overview of what our students have been working on in their classes should be arriving soon. Individual comments will be provided by teachers at the end of the trimester.
Reminder: the last day of classes is May 22.
Juniors and College Counseling: Lauren Cunniffe is meeting with each junior individually to talk about the college application process and she welcomes questions and input from families. You can reach Lauren at email@example.com.
- Senior Gifts: These are in the mail, and hopefully many have arrived on senior doorsteps around the world!
- Vespers: May 28, 7:30pm EST. This beloved tradition will be held via Zoom with a prerecorded program featuring our seniors’ messages to the community.
- Graduation: May 29, 7:30pm EST. Please note that this is a new time so that we can accommodate both working families and multiple time zones. Our Zoom Graduation will last about an hour. I’ve attached an announcement to this email. The program will include senior tributes and several speakers chosen by the class. Please bookmark sbschool.org/commencement2020 and check back for up-to-date information regarding our seniors and graduation.
- Future Gathering for Class of 2020: TBD. We are firmly committed to celebrating our seniors in person when the time is right to do so.
- 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony: TBD. Middle school teachers are working on the specifics.
Annual Fund: The School is launching a month-long fundraising drive on Tuesday, May 5 in conjunction with #GivingTuesdayNow, the global day of giving. A generous group of alumnae in the Class of 1970 has offered to match all Annual Fund gifts up to a total of $70,000! Watch for details of the fund drive in your email inbox. The Annual Fund supports faculty and school needs. Gifts to the Annual Fund from alumnae, parents, and friends fill the gap between what tuition covers and the full cost of an SBS education.
Belongings: Kristen Peterson has sent all students information and a form about their belongings. Some of the options (if allowable by health guidance) are for students/families to pack up a room in person, store belongings on campus, or have belongings shipped. Once health guidelines allow, we will refine and begin the process of packing rooms and readying the spaces for the fall.
Summer 2020: Due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, state and national recommendations, and with the safety of our campers, counselors, and program directors being our top priority, the School has cancelled all on-campus summer programs for 2020, including Bonnie Castle Riding Camp, Animation Intensive, and Dance Intensive. Registered campers will receive a refund in the coming weeks. Please note that SBS is considering ways to offer online programs and will update the website with this information when it is available. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall 2020: At this point in the spring, we are hoping to welcome everyone back to campus in late August, but our decisions will be informed by science and state, local, and federal guidance. We plan to share more information with you in the first few weeks of June. The administrative team is building programming, safety protocols, and flexible scenarios so that we continue to be strong and adaptive as we work to meet our mission with our students.
By the time you receive this letter, our students and teachers will have three weeks of classes remaining! I’m grateful for their efforts and their ability to adapt so quickly to this spring’s changes.
Be well, SBS!
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham Families,
My sincere hope is that this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well. In such a challenging and uncertain time for us all, we are especially appreciative of everyone’s support and feedback as we navigate this new reality. The COVID-19 pandemic and all of the daily, and constantly changing, disruptions and worries have generated many emotional, financial, and community challenges. The toll is broad and deep for each of us, and for the institutions we are a part of.
The Stoneleigh-Burnham School administrative team is keenly focused on stewarding our community through our current challenges and the painful economic circumstances that have required difficult decisions. SBS, like many other independent schools and small colleges, manages its business model through three funding sources: tuition revenue, endowment draw, and fundraising. Each of these sources is currently under great pressure, but we are prudent in our financial work. We have furloughed employees, cut spending in many areas, shifted employee responsibilities as necessary to launch remote classes and remote work, and applied for the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program which will enable us to reinstate furloughed employees and pay all employees their full wages during this difficult period.
As is also true for many schools, a large portion of our costs are fixed, whether students are on or off campus. In fact, we have invested in innovative ways to deliver our curriculum to our students, and the school has incurred additional operating expenses associated with adopting and implementing online learning tools. Personnel costs are by far the greatest segment of our annual budget, and our amazing teachers have been creative and brilliant in their ability to pivot and offer an online program that is compelling and valuable.
Our enrollment agreement states that refunds are not given when the school continues to provide academic instruction during an unusual situation such as a pandemic. Despite this stipulation, we have now determined, with approval of the Board of Trustees, that we will allocate families a credit/refund for board during the 2020 spring trimester. A credit for the 2020-21 school year will be allocated to returning students in grades 7-11, and a refund will be allocated to seniors and students not returning to SBS in 2020-21. Amounts will be adjusted by financial aid award percentages, and the credit/refund will be noted on the May statement from the business office. If you have questions, please contact Breinn Robert at email@example.com.
It is clear that many families are also under financial strain. We promise to work with you, to the best of our ability, as you face changes that require more time, flexibility, or assistance in your efforts to ensure a Stoneleigh-Burnham education for your daughter.
My gratitude to our faculty, staff, students, families, Board of Trustees, and alumnae is immeasurable, and my efforts are inspired by our community and our school’s mission. As I work in a very quiet Coleman House with my husband, Mark, and our college senior, Max, each of us spending much of the day tucked away in our home office spaces, I find moments of joy in the simple things, but I wait impatiently for everyone’s return to campus.
Head of School
Dear SBS Families,
Greetings from Stoneleigh-Burnham campus where the daffodils that the seniors planted in the fall by the Tarbell Terrace are in full bloom! Maple trees have buds, and there are a few spots where the grass is turning green. We miss having everyone here and hope that you are all well.
Today, I write with some updates and information:
Update on Student Belongings
from Kristen Peterson, Dean of Students & Residential Life
We know many of you are wondering about your belongings. We will have a protocol for emptying rooms and will keep students and families informed as plans unfold. Our first step is to designate one resident adult to each corridor to remove perishable items from rooms. This work will begin immediately. Over the course of the next few weeks, the Dean of Students Office will be asking students what they would like to do with their belongings (store, eventually pick up, or ship). While campus is currently closed to students and families, we anticipate a time when many families could come to the SBS campus to collect belongings. Look for more details and information soon!
Senior Class Meeting
from Lauren Cunniffe, Shawn Durrett, Sara Gibbons, Kristen Peterson, and Stephanie Luebbers
We met via Google Chat for a class meeting with the senior class. It was so wonderful to see them, get some input on end-of-year traditions, and hear how they are doing. Sara Gibbons, Class Dean, will be having smaller group meetings with them next week, and we will also be surveying them and their parents to gather further input as we begin to envision how to celebrate them in this very unusual time.
Course Selection and Academic Planning
from Lauren Cunniffe, Academic Dean
Advisors will be working with their advisees in April to go over course selections and academic planning for the upcoming year, as well as to think about long-term academic goals. Please reach out to your child’s advisor or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Advisors will be following up with families in early May.
Virtual Class Recordings
from Maeve Ryan, Marketing & Communications Manager
We are mindful that some of you may prefer that your child is not filmed during virtual class recordings. While these recordings are essential for communicating material to students who may not be able to attend the virtual class in real time, we respect and understand the option to not be filmed. If you would prefer that your child not be filmed, please advise them to turn off their video function or place a small piece of paper or a sticky note over the webcam while attending an online class. This will not impact their class participation in any way.
Deposit Addendum to Enrollment Agreements
from Kristen Mariotti, Director of Admissions & Enrollment Management
We will soon issue an addendum to the enrollment agreement for the 2020-2021 school year. We have created specific policies based on student Visa status and COVID-19 travel and health restrictions. You will receive the addendum in your School Forms Online (SFO) portal and will need to sign the new document and submit online once received.
SBS Academic Annex
from the Technology Department
The Technology and Communications Offices have set up an SBS Academic Annex website in China so that our students in China can access their academic work. We’re excited to get this support in place.
How is your SBS Student Doing?
Advisors would love to hear from parents. Please let us know how your SBS student is doing with the Distance Learning Plan by emailing email@example.com.
from Robert Brainin, Director of Operations and Finance
Business Office staff members are working as remotely as possible as they maintain the financial operations of the School. We are determining the process for crediting/refunding families for certain fees related to the spring term. More specific information on this will be forthcoming. Please contact Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Thank you all for your support and patience as we navigate this challenging time. It has been heartening to learn about the great classes taking place, and to hear from students who so want to be on campus. The spirit of SBS is strong.
Be well, Stoneleigh-Burnham School.
Head of School
March 26, 2020
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham School Families,
My hope is that this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. A month ago, I would not have imagined sending you this letter, but these last weeks have brought all of us into a whole new world. It is with a very heavy heart that I let you know that Stoneleigh-Burnham School will deliver its mission remotely for the remainder of the school year, and that we have cancelled on-campus graduation and reunion.
The decision to suspend all campus programming through the end of the school year has incredible weight and will bring much sadness, but it has been made with careful deliberation. Even as we finalized this letter on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Baker of Massachusetts ordered that all Massachusetts schools remain closed until May 4th. Every day, the situation with COVID-19 becomes more intense, and it has become increasingly clear that this pandemic will not end soon.
I am most disappointed for our seniors, whose final months at school, with all of our lovely traditions and on-campus bonding experiences, should be full of joy. I have worked in schools for nearly four decades, and know how very important this time is for seniors; it cannot be understated. Our SBS seniors are a creative, smart, and passionate group. Frankly, they are a powerhouse. They have each shown us the relevancy of our mission in a multitude of ways. They have discovered their best selves and will graduate with the confidence “to think independently and act ethically, secure in the knowledge that their voices will be heard.” I cannot wait to see the difference they will make in the world. They are ready, and the world needs them to act.
The administrative team has begun to talk about how we will celebrate seniors and mark their very important steps to becoming alumnae of Stoneleigh-Burnham School. In the next few weeks, we will be sharing information about plans to celebrate and connect with our seniors, and we will be working with them to ensure that they have a strong voice in our planning.
Our spring trimester will be very different this year. Campus on Bernardston Road is too quiet. Only a few residents and essential employees are here. I miss our students and the faculty/staff who serve them. I miss Housemeeting, backpacks in the halls, the energy of student conversation everywhere I go, and the important connections that make up our community. As we proceed through the spring and our Distance Learning Program, we will work hard to maintain and build community; it is who we are.
There are lots of questions that you will have. For now, let me say that we are working on many key areas for decision-making, such as the logistics regarding student belongings. Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of our students and staff. Campus is currently closed, and all student rooms are secure. We will share a lot of information on procedures in the next week; the administrative team is developing a list of items we need to make decisions about and creating protocols as necessary. At any time, please feel free to contact me by email at email@example.com or respond to this communication and your information will be forwarded to me.
I have many thank yous, large and small. Our faculty and staff have been resilient, creative, and dedicated as we have pivoted to a new learning model. As we’ve adapted to new situations and faced new challenges, we have felt supported by our talented Board of Trustees and our SBS families and alumnae. Our students have been flexible and engaged through the first few days of remote work.
Back in August as we began the school year, few could have imagined that we would be faced with all of these challenges. I am truly grateful for everyone’s efforts and patience under difficult circumstances, and I am deeply and unwaveringly proud to lead and be a part of the Stoneleigh-Burnham community.
I wish you the best,
Head of School
March 23, 2020
Dear SBS Families,
Today, we began our Distance Learning Program (DLP) at SBS. We are in communication with students all around the world and hope that everyone is safe and well. Here on campus, we are tightly observing social distancing and all but a few employees are working remotely. I have moved my office to Coleman House. This morning, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts has issued a Stay-At-Home Advisory beginning Tuesday, March 24, at noon and ending on Tuesday, April 7, at noon.
I have a few updates for you:
- For the first few days of the Distance Learning period, students and teachers will be getting reconnected and figuring out where things are and how to best communicate. We have a strong plan in place, but we will take it week by week, making adjustments as necessary.
- We will be making decisions later this week or early next week regarding the end of the trimester, graduation, and reunion, and we will communicate again when those decisions are made.
- We have learned that IB International has cancelled the May exam sessions and will be granting diplomas and certificates based on work completed. Here is a link to the IB International letter. Karen Pleasant and Miriam Przybyla-Baum, our Co-Coordinators of the IB program at SBS, will have more information for IB students soon.
- Director of Health Services and nurse Jenny Potee will be available for basic health calls during daytime hours 8am-7pm by calling or texting (413) 768-0054. International students may email her directly, and she will respond.
- Director of Athletics, Scott Gray, will be sending out “Workouts of the Week” in lieu of the “Games of the Week.” The workouts will consist of yoga, strength training, dancing, and will have guest instructors on Friday afternoons. Additionally, students will be able to share their workouts and build a support network on Google Chat. I look forward to having everyone come together to support our physical and mental health through physical activity.
Stay well, Stoneleigh-Burnham School community. You are all in our thoughts as we navigate this challenging time.
Head of School
March 19, 2020
Dear SBS Families and Students,
Our academic team has been working hard to create a strong remote learning plan for our SBS students, and teachers have been busy preparing and training to start SBS Remote on Monday, March 23. Today, we are sending you the primer for our Distance Learning Plan (DLP), a copy of the schedule, and a copy of a letter to students.
Download PDFs below:
These documents can also be accessed at sbschool.org/distance-learning-resources/.
All students and parents should familiarize themselves with the plan. Because this is such a big shift, we all know that there will be some bumps as we get going. Please adhere to the communication paths we set out in the plan so that your questions can be addressed by the appropriate person.
In the next few days, we also ask that you test your technology, let us know if you have connectivity issues, and get a pair of earphones. As we have implemented electronic meetings, it has become abundantly clear that earbuds or earphones are essential for all meeting participants.
I will be writing to you on Monday, March 23, with an update from school. Next Wednesday, you will receive the Snapshot!
We are here to support our SBS families and students in any way we can and wherever they are in the wide world. We are all trying to find a new norm as we move through the next month or so.
Head of School
March 16, 2020
Dear SBS Families,
I am writing to you with an update from campus. Our world is changing quickly, and we need to do all we can to flatten the curve of COVID-19 virus. This is an unprecedented time in our country, and we need to react accordingly. We are moving quickly to have only critical staff on campus, and this new status will begin on Tuesday, March 17.
The CDC has recommended that there be no gatherings of more than 50 people for eight weeks. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has mandated that there be no gatherings of more than 25 people for three weeks, and the State of Massachusetts has ordered that all schools be closed for three weeks.
Stoneleigh-Burnham School will begin an extended remote learning period on March 23.
No students or parents of students should come to campus at this time.
We are no longer able to accommodate any students in the dorms. Kristen Peterson is working with a few families to assist in finding student hosts or to make travel arrangements.
This new program will not be like a regular class day. We are structuring our weeks in a way that will provide a legitimate academic experience while providing the flexibility necessary in this unique situation.
Some classes will be synchronous (all students online with a teacher at the same time).
Some classes will be asynchronous (material, including written and/or visual instruction sent to students to be submitted by a certain time).
Our athletic department is preparing a communication for students regarding staying physically active.
Later this week we will send a communication specifically dedicated to remote learning.
Much of the remote learning will make use of the Google platform, including Google Meet and Google Drive. Some students, in the US and internationally, will have limited or no internet capacity beyond email or WeChat. We are making plans for these students and these plans will be shared in an email later this week under the “special situations” heading.
Duration of Remote Learning:
At this time, we do not know when remote learning will end and in-person instruction will recommence.
I will email the community, parents and students, next Monday, March 23, or earlier if necessary, and plan to send a weekly email so that we are as transparent as possible. As we get through this critical period, we want you to know that we have a host of items on our to-do list regarding student belongings, etc. We will address those items as the weeks pass, and we have a clearer sense of what the appropriate steps may be.
On Wednesday, March 18, we will have updated our website with important information and will continue to add information as things develop and/or change.
To help us stay connected during this challenging time, our Snapshot newsletter will continue to be delivered to your inbox on a weekly basis.
We have many details to finalize over the next week or so, and I appreciate your patience during those times when we might not have an immediate answer.
I am sending you warmest regards from Stoneleigh-Burnham and my wish that everyone stay safe and healthy.
Head of School
March 11, 2020
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham Families,
As I wrote in yesterday’s letter regarding Stoneleigh-Burnham School’s COVID-19 response, we have been preparing for a variety of contingencies that we may face. Today, I am writing with an update. The governor of Massachusetts has declared a State of Emergency, and it is now prudent to take the next step for the wellbeing of our community.
The safety of the SBS students and staff is our highest priority; we want to prevent infection from occurring on campus and want to mitigate any possible direct or indirect impact on our community. At this time, we have no known exposure among students or staff.
It is now becoming clear that social distancing is one of the important steps we can take to protect against COVID-19, as the virus spreads rapidly in communities. Many members of our community have traveled domestically and internationally over our break, and it is now prudent to further limit risk to community members.
With the impact of COVID-19 expanding quickly, we have made a number of important decisions:
We have decided to extend Spring Break through March 22.
On March 23, we will begin a period of remote learning. Faculty and staff will use next week to prepare for remote instruction.
At this point, we have not set a restart date for in-person course instruction, but we will keep you up to date in as transparent a way as possible. Please keep travel plans as flexible as possible.
I will write to you again on Monday, March 16 with further information.
We will share with families and students a full plan for alternate delivery of course material next week.
We will be creating a protocol for the possibility of accommodating international students with extenuating circumstances after the Spring Break extension.
We are cancelling all school trips for the remainder of the year.
We are not closing and will continue to serve our students and their needs.
We are letting you know today so that you can change your student’s travel plans and make necessary adjustments. This pivot will bring inconveniences, and we appreciate everyone’s flexibility as we take reasonable precautions and continue to meet our mission of providing academic instruction through alternative methods.
Please direct questions to Kristen Peterson, Dean of Students, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The administrative team is working daily on our preparations, and Mrs. Peterson will be the point person for families.
Stoneleigh-Burnham is a strong community, and I am once again heartened by the commitment our faculty and staff have to serving our students. We appreciate everyone’s assistance and support as we navigate the coming weeks.
Head of School
March 10, 2020
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham Families,
I am reaching out today to share information on how SBS is monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 developments. We have been working throughout Spring Break to make sure that we are prepared for any number of contingencies that we may face. The safety and well-being of the SBS students and staff is our highest priority; we want to prevent infection from occurring on campus and want to mitigate any possible direct or indirect impact on our community. At this time, we have no known exposure among students or staff.
SBS is tracking the spread of COVID-19 and taking steps in line with the advice from health experts. COVID-19 preparations are being handled by the SBS administrative Head’s Council and several on-campus working groups.
We are tracking information and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. State Department, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
We are incorporating recommendations from the CDC in the areas of dining services and housekeeping.
We are creating plans for any potential school disruption we may face.
As students are nearing the end of Spring Break, we ask that families adhere assiduously to the following protocols for return to campus:
So that we can monitor community health and assess risk, fill out the following required travel questionnaire for your SBS student(s) by noon on Friday, March 13: SBS Spring Break Student Travel Questionnaire (Faculty and staff who have traveled away from school will also be surveyed.)
If your student has traveled to a CDC rated Level 3 country, we require a 14-day self-isolation away from school. If your student has traveled to a CDC rated Level 2 country, the student must check in at the Health Center immediately upon return to campus. We have been in contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and are following their recommendations for us regarding protocols for students who left Level 3 countries and had 14-day periods of isolation outside of those countries before entering the U.S.
If your student displays any symptoms of illness when it is time to return to campus, keep your student at home and inform the Health Center. Students must be cleared to return by the Health Center.
Jenny Potee, Director of Health Services, is available to return emails. Her email is email@example.com and the Health Center will be open from 12-7pm on Monday, March 16.
As we move through the spring trimester, we will:
Communicate regularly with all SBS families
Continue to educate our community
Work with students on summer plans if they are unable to return home
Support students who may be anxious about this coronavirus and its impact
Prepare to support students who may not be able to be on campus
In the near term, we are:
Adding hand sanitizer bottles throughout the buildings
Purchasing more cleaning products for enhanced cleaning protocols
Adding signs for handwashing in all bathrooms
Making decisions regarding all student trips and exchanges
Staying abreast of information at other schools whom we compete against athletically and connect with co-curricularly
Tracking multiple agencies and professional organizations to make sure we are responding comprehensively and prudently as the spread of COVID-19 continues
Working with our community and making changes for day to day interactions in common spaces in order to limit exposure to potential illnesses
Determining with Admissions, on a case by case basis, the prudence of individual school visits for prospective families
We will continue to impress upon the students the need to:
Wash hands thoroughly
Get adequate rest
Report to the Health Center if any symptoms of illness develop
Cough and sneeze into an elbow
Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth and not to share water bottles, lip balm, or utensils etc.
We will adapt as necessary and support the students and adults in our community. Please reach out to Jenny Potee, Director of Health Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristen Peterson, Dean of Students, at email@example.com if you have concerns or questions.
I will be sending updates as needed, through the course of the spring and end of the school year, and anticipate reaching out again on Monday, March 16, with further information. Thank you for partnering with us and for your understanding as we navigate this global health issue.
Head of School
February 6, 2020
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham Families,
I am writing today with an update on how we are handling concerns about the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. We are working to stay informed and are following the advice of medical experts.
On Sunday night, a set of travel restrictions for entry into the United States from China was issued by the U.S. federal government. Because of the change, we ask that anyone planning to come to campus postpone their visit if they have been to mainland China within the past 14 days, whether or not they have exhibited any symptoms of illness.
On campus, we are monitoring the situation closely. We are adhering to all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. We are also in touch with many peer schools as well as the National Association of Independent Schools and The Association of Boarding Schools, both of which have many resources for us. Our precautions of enhanced cleaning practices and frequent reminders for rest and thorough hand washing are now a norm, as some of our community has been affected by seasonal illness.
The decisions by the U.S. federal government to restrict travel will impact many of our students as we approach Spring Break. We are working closely with those students to help them develop alternative Spring Break plans. Kristen Peterson, Dean of Students and Residential Life, is taking the lead on this work. Please reach out to her for any assistance and support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The health and safety of our community is of paramount importance, and we appreciate your partnership as we work through the complex challenges this public health issue poses.
Head of School
January 29, 2020
Dear SBS Families,
As students get ready for the Long Winter Weekend and travel, we find ourselves in the midst of a challenging cold and flu season.
Today, I am writing to update you on how we are managing the flu, and flu-like symptoms. We continue to encourage students and adults on campus to use common-sense precautions such as washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, and coughing or sneezing into an elbow. We also ask that students refrain from sharing water bottles / lip balms / eating utensils, etc., in order to prevent the spread of germs. Our school’s housekeeping staff has added further disinfecting measures to their schedules, and we are caring for students with flu-like symptoms, or sending them home whenever that is feasible.
We are also closely monitoring the situation with the coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, that has its origin in Wuhan, China, and we have been tracking updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. (MDPH). We will adjust our policies and protocols as needed as new information becomes available.
In order to keep everyone as healthy as possible, please do not send your daughter/s back to campus on Monday, February 3 (if a boarding student) or Tuesday, February 4 (if a day student) unless she is able to fully participate in classes, afternoon activities, and evening study hall. Students must be symptom-free for 24 hours before they can return to school. If you have any questions, please email Jenny Potee, Director of Health Services, at email@example.com or call the Health Center on Monday, February 3 after 1pm.
The safety of students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. Jenny and her staff of health professionals will closely monitor any students returning from travel and will continue to update the SBS community regarding symptoms as needed.
Thank you in advance for your partnership.
Head of School
Communication to SBS Alumnae and Friends regarding our actions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dear Stoneleigh-Burnham School Alumnae,
My hope is that this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. A month ago, I would not have imagined sending you this letter, but these last weeks have brought all of us into a whole new world. It is with a very heavy heart that I let you know that Stoneleigh-Burnham School will deliver its mission remotely for the remainder of the school year and that we have cancelled on-campus graduation and reunion.
Several weeks ago, I extended Spring Break by a week, and our faculty and staff began the process of preparing for remote work and remote learning. This week, we began our Distance Learning Program. Our teachers have been resilient, creative, and dedicated as we pivoted to a new learning model. Our students have been flexible and engaged through the first few days of remote work. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to have my first remote advising meeting today through Google Meet. Please read about our Distance Learning Plan and see the letters we have shared with families on the School’s website. We will regularly update information in this area.
The decision to suspend all campus programming through the end of the school year has incredible weight and will bring much sadness, but it has been made with careful deliberation. Every day, the situation with COVID-19 becomes more intense, and it has become increasingly clear that this pandemic will not end soon.
I am disappointed for seniors whose final months at school, with all of our lovely traditions and on-campus bonding, should be full of joy. I have worked in schools for nearly four decades and know how very important this time is for seniors; it cannot be understated. Our SBS seniors are a creative, smart, and passionate group. They have each shown us the relevancy of our mission in a multitude of ways. I cannot wait to see the difference they will make in the world; they are ready, and the world needs them to act. We are making plans to celebrate seniors and mark their very important steps to becoming alumnae of Stoneleigh-Burnham School.
In addition to reunion, we are suspending upcoming in-person alumnae gatherings on April 19 in West Boylston, MA, and May 3 in the Washington, DC area. Plans are underway to offer more online ways to connect with Stoneleigh-Burnham, including a very special virtual alumnae event on Saturday, June 6. In addition, we are committed to celebrating 2020 and 2021 Reunion Classes at next year’s reunion, June 11-13, 2021. Mark your calendar for these events. You will hear from us soon with details.
We know many of you planned to be on campus for Reunion Weekend this year. The alumnae office will reach out to each of our registrants and registration refunds will be forthcoming. Our most significant program to engage alumnae at Stoneleigh-Burnham, Reunion will be greatly missed. We deeply appreciate you and your classmates. Your continued involvement and support is needed to help us fulfill our educational mission during this trying time.
Campus on Bernardston Road is too quiet. Only a few residents and essential employees are here. I miss our students and the faculty/staff who serve them. I miss Housemeeting, backpacks in the halls, the energy of student conversation everywhere I go, and the important connections that make up our community. As we proceed through the spring and our Distance Learning Program, we will work hard to maintain and build community; it is who we are.
For 150 years, Stoneleigh-Burnham School has met major challenges with positivity and action. Our leaders have shared a united point of view and the courage to guide the School in today’s rapidly changing world. Community sustains us, and we are excited about the future of this community even in times of uncertainty.
Back in August as we began the school year, few could have imagined that we would be faced with all of these challenges. I am deeply and unwaveringly proud to lead and be a part of Stoneleigh-Burnham community.
I wish you the best,
Head of School