Monday Notes from Head of School, 3/2

"Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together." - Woodrow Wilson

Dear Palm Valley Families,

Happy Monday! It's hard to believe that it's already March! Thank you to the many families who returned their enrollment contracts and deposits last week. A reminder that those were due March 1! As such we will be reaching out to speak to you this and next week, as well as making faculty and staff available for your inquiries about next year. If you aren't planning on returning, we are so sad to lose you, but please let us know as soon as you are able. Additionally, please reach out if you have questions or want to learn more about the school, or next year! Also, there will be two upcoming events for incoming 6th and 9th grade students to learn about the new division they will be moving into and to spend more time with incoming Head of School, Dr. Steve Sherman, to learn more about his vision for the future of Palm Valley School. An invitation will be coming soon, and we hope to see you there!

In regards to the Coronavirus that we are receiving many inquiries about, I want you to know that we take this threat very seriously. Let me share with you some of the ways we are taking a proactive approach to this issue and how you can reinforce these efforts at home.

    • Students and adults should wash hands more often and regularly. Faculty will be speaking to your students about how this is the best measure for the prevention of not only cold and flu, but also for more serious diseases. We will be encouraging and asking students to wash their hands after using the restroom and during/after lunch supervision periods. Faculty who are on lunch duty will make this conversation part of our supervision process with students each day.
    • Students will no longer be permitted to share food at lunch. We will be speaking to them about the dangers of sharing drinks and food.
    • In addition to the soap and water hand washing that we will be encouraging, we are also making available hand sanitizers in classrooms this week and encouraging students and adults to use it frequently. Additionally, we will be educating students on the proper way to wash hands and how long to wash for best efficacy. You can learn more about that here.
    • Please do not send your children to school if they show indicators of cold/flu. We will be making a stronger effort to evaluate and send students home if they are ill or show symptoms of illness. Additionally, we will be accommodating any students who are staying home/sent home sick with electronic communication for instruction and homework. We will not allow illness to affect their grades or instruction if they are kept or sent home so that we can limit exposure of illness to other students and adults on campus.
    • We will continue to monitor the travel of students and families, as well as visitors to campus and to our families, and to communicate with them about countries and areas that require a self-quarantine period before returning to campus. This enforcement is based on the best information that we have available, and the CDC recommendations for countries affected.
    • We will be temporarily ceasing the practice of handshaking/high fives, etc. in classrooms with students, amongst students, etc. We will instead be encouraging other ways to greet one another and celebrate each other that do not require direct contact. Mr. Kroe in the Lower School has been adopting the "Elbow Bump" to greet students each day - a great alternative that does not require direct contact.

We will continue to monitor the CDC website to stay up to date on their recommendation and status. I highly encourage you to stay informed with facts and to remain calm in your approach to this issue. We are grateful for your questions and communications and will update our policies as this situation unfolds. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, or information to share on this topic.

Lastly, our annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day is coming soon! Invites will be in the mail to all Grandparents addresses we have on file. If you would like to have your child's Grandparents or Special Friends (neighbors, aunts, uncles, family friends or loved ones, etc) invited to this event, please let the Administrative Assistant in your students' division know. By leaving us with contact information, we can send them an invitation directly! This event includes a special assembly with student performances, a breakfast from our incredible Parents Association, and classroom activities for visitors to join in on. Please join us on Friday, March 13th at 8:00 am for this special day to honor our community of extended family and friends!

Make it a great week, Firebirds!

Susan Rice
Head of School