Mustangs (re)Unite 2.0

March 11 Head of School Update

Dear Breck Families,

One year ago today, on March 11, 2020, I shared with you one of our first messages regarding Breck's response to what we now know was the COVID-19 pandemic. From our first communication, through starting school on August 31, 2020, and as of today, our decision-making has remained firmly grounded in the most current scientific knowledge and our school’s unique needs.

Today, I am communicating with you our plan to (re)unite all our students for full, on-campus learning on Monday, April 12. For our Lower School families, this message includes no changes for your division.

Planning the full return to on-campus learning
In mid-February we shared our pilot plan to return all students in grades 5 and 12 for full on-campus instruction on March 1. In that letter we informed you that we would use their return to assess the feasibility of further increasing all students’ time on campus. Since March 1, we have further analyzed our hallway and classroom density, identified pressure points, and heard from teachers and students about what was working and what could be improved. We also worked in partnership with our compliance team, facilities team, HVAC contractor, and nurses in the Breck Health Center and consulting physician Dr. Paul Anderson to ensure our preparedness for students’ return to campus.

Over spring break, we will return the furniture we moved into storage back to campus. This time will also allow our faculty and staff to prepare their spaces for the increase in students. With these important elements firmly in place, we will be ready to bring all students back to campus on April 12.

Please Complete: Choose in-person or virtual instruction here
We know the value of a Breck education is best realized when we are learning together, on campus. However, we recognize that some families in Middle and Upper School may prefer to finish this academic year in a virtual mode. Families can elect virtual learning for their students for the remainder of the year by filling out this survey by Monday, March 15. If we have not heard from you by that date, we will make the assumption that you are electing on-campus learning for your child. Further details about the return to school with specific guidelines for arrival, lunch, and behavior expectations will be sent by each division upon our return from spring break. Of note: if your child needs to quarantine due to an identified exposure or positive case of COVID-19, we will provide a virtual option to those students within 48 hours of notification to the school.

Reviewing our mitigation plan and building operations
The decision to return students to campus included a comprehensive review of our mitigation plan and procedures. It also includes questions such as building hours, club and after-school activities, lunch procedures, bus transportation, and a comprehensive building and capacity review to ensure our mitigation plan is adjusted accordingly and working effectively. We are working on a Question and Answer document to address these items and will share those with you in our weekly Bulletin Board email after spring break.

Maintaining quarantine protocols
Since the beginning of the school year we have looked forward to the moment when we could welcome our students and teachers to full on-campus learning. We are incredibly grateful to be at the point in this pandemic that allows us to make this move. However, it is important to note that COVID-19 and its variants are still present in our cities and communities. We will still have cases among our students, families, and staff and our masking, cleaning, and hygiene protocols remain firmly in place. As you might expect, our Breck Health Center will continue to provide quarantine guidance to impacted families. We appreciate your continued support in reporting illness and testing results, staying home when you are sick, and practicing healthy habits both at home and when you are with others.

Feedback from faculty and staff about the last two weeks indicates how happy we are to welcome our students. The buzz of learning and joy in the hallways and classrooms fuels our work at Breck.


Natalia Rico Hernández, Ed.D.
Head of School

Head of School Letters

Recent Updates

  • Learning Models (March 1)
  • Posted latest compliances team update and meeting recording

Our instructional models - March 1

Below families can learn more about the instructional model currently offered at Breck as well as our plans moving forward.

Our Current Model - Program Updates by Division

Upper School Program Updates

  • Following our design for moving between learning modes
  • Daily schedule stays the same
  • Additional focus on advisory, tutorial, and community building

Grades 7-8 Program Updates

  • Following our design for moving between learning modes
  • Daily schedule stays the same
  • Additional focus on advisory, tutorial, and community building

Grades 5-6 Program Updates

  • Remain in current model
  • Breck’s administrative team continues to evaluate 

Lower School Program Updates:

As a Lower School team, we’ve begun preparations for moving to distance learning so that we are ready if/when this comes. Our goal is to continue the strong learning experiences we engage our students in when they are in school.  Preparations will continue on the upcoming faculty planning days, November 18 and 30.  We are fortunate to approach this work with our previous experiences and your feedback from last spring, as well as the design and tech support from our innovation specialists.

Calendar and Schedules

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Frequently Asked Questions

Operating Models Throughout the Year

Our Mustangs (re)Unite plan is built around three main models while allowing for flexibility between them throughout the year. While we want nothing more than to return to normal operations as soon as possible, we will approach the year with the health and safety of our students and community as our priority. It is important to note that we are prepared to increase or decrease student population on campus as the situation allows. 

On Campus
Periods of Off-Campus Learning

Responsive to community feedback. Driven by research and practice. Built by Breck Faculty. 

Levels of Decision Making

Our paramount priority is the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff. As we make decisions, we will lean into:

  • Research-based approach
  • Prioritize transparent and regular communication
  • Effective training and education 
  • Reducing risk

Below, we have provided a framework for our decision making as we move between models and levels of distance learning and on-campus instruction. While our reopening model accounts for Lower School on campus and 50% capacity of Middle and Upper School, we may increase or decrease the student population on campus based on the below criteria. 

Level External Environment/COVID Conditions Learning at Breck

In all circumstances, we will consider recommendations and/or directives from the CDC, MDH, MDE, and the Governor's office to determine our instructional model.

Case counts per 10,000 are as noted by

Mustangs (re)Unite
  • No COVID-19 cases within our community
  • Community adherence to safety protocols
  • Widespread reopening of schools, businesses, and workplaces
  • Hennepin County experiences 0-9 positive COVID cases per 10,000 over a 14-day period
  • All students return to campus
  • No COVID-19 cases within our Breck community
  • Strong adherence to Breck safety protocols
  • Area schools, businesses begin phased reopening
  • Hennepin County experiences 10-19 positive COVID cases per 10,000 over a 14-day period
  • Majority of students return to campus for full-time instruction and activities



  • Possible cases/confirmed exposure of COVID-19 within our community
  • Inconsistent or unknown implementation of recommended campus safety protocols
  • Hennepin County experiences 20-29 positive COVID cases per 10,000 over a 14-day period
  • Students engage in a hybrid learning model
  • Multiple confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in our community
  • Inconsistent implementation of recommended campus safety protocols
  • Hennepin County experiences 30-49 positive COVID cases per 10,000 over a 14-day period
  • Students engage in distance and/or on-campus learning in a hybrid model
  • Multiple confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in our community
  • Governor has issued a stay-at-home order or otherwise closed all schools.
  • Hennepin County experiences 50 positive COVID cases per 10,000 over a 14-day period
  • All-school distance learning
Understanding that we cannot mitigate every risk, we are working hard to create our school community to be as low risk as possible. Students, families, faculty, and staff will need to both assume a level of risk of their own and partner with Breck to proactively mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their families and homes.

Reducing Risk

A clear understanding of the risk level of our shared environment and our structured response to these risks can provide an increased sense of confidence and calm as we return to educational and work activities over the coming year. Our school environment is considered “medium” risk for exposure to COVID-19 based on authoritative criteria from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).  Our goal is to use a hierarchy of control measures to further reduce that risk as far as possible so that our shared environment truly becomes a “low” risk environment where people can feel safe and focus on learning and growth. This hierarchy of controls includes:

  • Engineering - i.e., building use and ventilation, facility maintenance, and repairs
  • Administrative - i.e., reduced class sizes, decreased time in common spaces, and a commitment to physical distancing
  • Personal Protective Equipment - i.e., wearing of masks, screening, reduced sharing of supplies

Our Compliance Planning Team is composed of working groups focused on meeting the following goals and objectives:

  • Plan and implement strategies for physical distancing and reducing density. This includes, but is not limited to, maximizing usable space, facility zoning (e.g., one-way hallways), facility modifications/layout, and maximizing ventilation
  • Plan and implement wellness, health safety, screening and preventative hygiene measures. These measures include increased health staffing, sick bay, screening procedures, building ingress/egress, PPE, hand washing, preventative hygiene, etc.
  • Plan and implement cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting protocols in compliance with CDC and MDH guidelines and in consultation with public health experts. Different protocols for different scenarios will be applicable (e.g., if a positive case is reported in a classroom).

Health and Wellness

In order to welcome students back to campus during Breck Summer Programs and again this fall for the start of the academic year, we've made a number of changes to our health and wellness policies. For information relating to Breck Summer Programs, visit their website here. Below are highlights for the start of the academic year. It is not all encompassing and will continue to be updated throughout the summer. For even more information, visit our COVID Handbook below.

COVID Handbook

Healthy Community

Healthy Classrooms

Healthy Building

Healthy Programs and Activities

How you can help

As we shared above, the partnership between the school and our families is critical to keeping our community healthy and safe. Here is how you can help at home:

  • Monitor your child for symptoms. 
  • Encourage frequent hand washing and healthy hand washing techniques.
  • Avoid large-group gatherings outside of the Breck community.
  • Continue regular well-child visits to your pediatrician or healthcare provider.
  • Practice wearing a face-covering during family outings and activities in public.
  • Monitor your child's mental health by providing space to ask questions and talk freely about COVID-19 and other concerns.
  • Connect with our Student Support Team. Our counselors, school nurse, and chaplains are available to help and support students.