December 28, 2021
Dear Mount Vernon Family,
Hope you are having a fun and relaxing Christmas break and holiday season with family and friends.
Apologize for the interruption, but I want to take this opportunity to respond to the latest epidemiological reports of the COVID Omicron variant, rapidly spreading through many communities including Mount Vernon. Since the onset of the pandemic including monitoring the current surge, the School has applied a set interdependent factors, among others, in deploying COVID protocols and mitigation strategies for the health and well-being of our community:
recommendations from public health officials;
consulting with experts within the Mount Vernon community;
proven effectiveness of multiple layers of mitigation strategies;
analysis of COVID positive cases and transmission data at the School;
real-time COVID data in counties surrounding the School;
vaccination opportunities for age-eligible adults and students (now 5+);
maintaining as many students on campus as possible and preventing extended periods of being sent home;
affect on social-emotional health of students and faculty/staff members;
and impact on the quality of teaching and learning between teachers and students.
As cases have risen in the counties surrounding Mount Vernon, reaching some of their highest levels during the last two years, COVID positive cases have also emerged at the School, representing faculty/staff members and students on both the Lower Campus and the Upper Campus. As a result, we remain agile to temporarily pivot on our protocols as the current surge has yet to peak in our area according to local epidemiologists.
Regardless of vaccination status, faculty/staff members returning on January 3 and students in PS-12 returning on January 4 will be required to wear face coverings indoors only, entering buildings, walking through hallways, during classroom settings, and being transported in buses. Based on the moment in which we find ourselves, the temporary shift in mitigation strategy is a preventative measure from sending a number of people home for extended periods of time. Our desire is to keep as many faculty/staff members and students on campus as much as possible.
Partnering with a local health provider during the spring, the School will continue to offer vaccine clinics on both campuses based on accessibility of vaccines and significant needs within our community. While we have heard from many during the break, please contact the COVID Information Line, email@example.com, to report positive cases in order to maintain an accurate analysis within the School. Transitioning back from the break, please keep your students at home if they are exhibiting COVID-like symptoms.
As we examine the conditions on the ground after the break, we hope to shift the face covering protocol in the near future. This is the last message I wanted to send heading into 2022, but you have been incredible partners, supporting the School during this entire complex situation.
Praying for a healthier 2022,
Dr. Brett Jacobsen
CEO & Head of School