Distance Learning Following Breaks 10/2/20

Dear Hackley Community,

I am writing to let you know that Hackley will employ distance learning for the week of November 30, using this approach as a bridge measure before returning to in-person instruction on Monday, December 7. We intend to do so the week of January 4, 2021 as well, before returning to in-person instruction on January 11, 2021.

School leadership carefully considered many factors previously shared with the community in arriving at this decision, assimilating input from families and employees, and remaining ever mindful of community health and safety. 

Pool Testing
In order to safely resume in-person learning, Hackley will conduct pool testing on Friday, December 4 to clear students and adults to return to campus on Monday, December 7. Through consultation with the laboratory director at Mirimus, we determined testing too early the week of November 30 would not provide sufficient time for viral loads to build and be detected. As such, the move to distance learning for a brief period and testing later in the week of November 30 is the safer approach. 

We will communicate at a later date regarding the exact timing and logistics of saliva sample drop-off on Friday, December 4. However, we anticipate this being a morning drop-off and adjusting the distance learning schedule to accommodate travel. Consistent with our practice, students who do not submit a sample on December 4 must participate in classes via hybrid learning the week of December 7; outside testing will not be accepted.

Distance Learning Schedule
Over the summer, a small group of Hackley teachers and academic leaders developed a distance learning schedule that was shared previously as part of our reopening plan. The Lower School schedule developed was a 5-day, Monday-to-Friday schedule and will be used during this period. However, the Middle and Upper School schedule was developed with a longer-term use in mind, using a rotating 10-day schedule. With our intention to use distance learning for only one week - and then to accommodate sample drop-off on Friday, December 7 - we will revisit this schedule and develop a 5-day approach that best supports student learning, advances the curriculum, and maintains student well-being during this period. We will share this schedule in an upcoming communication.

Continued Vigilance During Break
Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been a special time for family, food, and gathering. And in this challenging year, the pull towards normalcy seems all the stronger. As we approach the holiday season, I urge all members of the Hackley community to remain vigilant and to adhere to the important safety measures that have kept us case-free for the last four weeks: wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, refraining from interactions with symptomatic people and/or those awaiting test results, and continued hand hygiene. 

We have been successful to date because individuals have made these choices and sacrifices to support the greater good: our community’s collective health and the ability to remain present on campus. Please continue to make these difficult, yet vital choices to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our area and in our community.

Please know that if you travel to a state or region on New York State’s restricted travel list, you are required to quarantine for 14 days per state order. During that quarantine period, individuals are not permitted to come to campus and may not participate in pool testing. Students traveling to a state or region listed above will necessarily participate in classes via hybrid learning during the quarantine period.

Hybrid Learning
Families proactively choosing to move to or from hybrid learning prior to winter break will have two more opportunities to do so. We will release the hybrid learning survey on October 16 for the period of hybrid learning November 2-24, and then again on November 20 for the period of hybrid learning December 7-18. 

I want to thank all those who shared their thoughts and feedback regarding this complex issue. The input and conversation was valuable and was a tangible example of the partnership between school and home that makes Hackley so special.

Forward together,
Michael C. Wirtz P ’29 ’31