COVID-19 Information

Stoneleigh-Burnham Position Statement on Coronavirus Response

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. 

Stoneleigh-Burnham School began a period of remote learning on March 23 and will continue to deliver its mission remotely for the remainder of the academic school year. It is with a very heavy heart that we made the decision to deliver our mission remotely for the remainder of the school year, and we have cancelled on-campus graduation and reunion.

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 over the past few weeks. We will keep this page updated with the most current information. Stoneleigh-Burnham is a strong community, and we are 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. Please feel free to direct any questions you may have to communications@sbschool.org. Updated March 27, 2020

Below is communication that was sent to all SBS families and guardians regarding our actions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 sluebbers@sbschool.org 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,

Stephanie Luebbers
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.

Best,

Stephanie Luebbers
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.

#SBStrong!

Best,

Stephanie Luebbers
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.

Campus Accessibility:

  • 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.

Remote Learning:

  • 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.

Communication:

  • 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.

Best wishes,

Stephanie
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 kpeterson@sbschool.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.

Best wishes,

Stephanie
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 jpotee@sbschool.org 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 jpotee@sbschool.org or Kristen Peterson, Dean of Students, at kpeterson@sbschool.org 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.

Stay well!

Best,


Stephanie Luebbers
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 kpeterson@sbschool.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.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Luebbers
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 jpotee@sbschool.org 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.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Luebbers
Head of School

 

Below is communication that was sent to 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, 

Stephanie Luebbers
Head of School