Letter from the Head of School: Summer Programs
Dear Breck Parents,
I first want to recognize that since my last message to you, our community’s pain and struggle has continued to be at the epicenter of global attention. We're living in a space where we are longing for justice and peace among all people. And we're living in a moment in history that is moving so quickly that we are barely able to process our own feelings, let alone guide our children through theirs. Yet, we have to be fully present for our children. Please know that our faculty and school leaders at every level are working to provide space for reflection on the loss and pain happening in our community. We are here to provide support.
At Breck, we keep our children at the forefront of every step. Today we find ourselves needing to live in the current moment — right here, right now — while also looking ahead and planning for our children’s day-to-day experiences. With that, I am writing to share with you two important pieces regarding our summer programs. First, we are launching our virtual summer programs for all students in preschool-grade 12. Second, we are sharing our plan for a return to campus on June 29 to begin Breck Summer Programs Session 2.
As I communicated to families in April, we made the difficult decision to hold the first session of our summer programs virtually due to COVID-19. Since then, new guidance from the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control has emerged that explains how schools and summer camps can reopen safely for students and staff. We have planned for the fact that any return to society means taking measured risks for both your family and the school while also adapting to new routines.
Beginning June 15, students in preschool through grade 12 may choose to enroll in any of our 50+ virtual classes, which are being offered at minimal cost. Virtual programming for all students is available throughout the summer. Visit the summer programs website to learn more.
Starting June 29, we will offer on-campus programming for students in grades preschool-6. As we plan for this return, we have made significant changes to our course structures, pick-up and drop-off procedures, and hygiene and safety protocols. One aspect of the new normal involves being in environments where risk factors are mitigated but not eliminated entirely through protective gear like masks and increased hygiene practices such as handwashing. Our Summer Programs director, Katie Peterson, has shared more information on the changes we are making to keep students safe in the letter below. For families interested in BSP, please read on for details.
We believe this return to campus on June 29 is the beginning of continued reopening as we look ahead to the fall. We must remain vigilant and prepared to adjust our on-campus experiences based on the circumstances. We know the strength of our community is best realized when we are together, literally, on our campus. Our Design and Compliance Teams have been working collaboratively to plan for this return. You can expect more information about this plan early next week.
Thank you for your feedback and partnership as we plan for our future. We are all Mustangs, united.
Natalia Rico Hernández, Ed.D.
Head of School
Dear Breck Families,
I am thrilled to join you and your camper in the most fun under the sun at Breck Summer Programs! While our time together is going to look different than most years, our priorities remain the same: providing campers high-quality summer programming in the context of a healthy and safe environment.
As Dr. Hernández outlined above, we will enter this summer with virtual programming for our first session from June 15-June 26. In this first session, you'll find the programming you want with the flexibility you need. Virtual programming runs throughout the day; you can choose to register for one class per each hour-long time block. You can view course offerings and register at https://www.brecksummer.org/programs/virtual-bsp.
On June 29, we plan to welcome campers back to campus. While virtual offerings will continue for students in grades 3-12, we are prioritizing the return of our youngest students. On-campus classes for sessions 2-4 are available for students in grades preschool-6, however we have transitioned all specialty, sports and overnight camps for this summer into our Camp Breck model, which is a traditional day camp approach for all students. This allows us to maintain consistent groupings of children and manage scheduled activities. You can read more about additional changes below.
While we are excited for the summer ahead, we know there is a risk for both Summer Programs and your family when we return. We know that, for some families, this measured risk is not an option. If you feel the need to alter your camper’s registration or would like to switch your camper’s specialty/sports camp registration to our Camp Breck model, please communicate your preferences here. We also know that our program offerings may be abruptly interrupted depending on the latest information from the state on COVID-19 in our communities. Therefore, we hope you will explore the expanded virtual offerings for students and make a determination that best fits for your family.
Here is a glimpse at some of the changes we have made to keep children safe as we return:
- No-contact drop-off. Parents will be required to stay in their vehicles. A staff member will greet campers at the carline and run through the symptoms checklist with parents. Once completed and cleared to enter camp, a counselor will direct campers to their cohort area on the Chapel Green.
- Cohort groups for campers. All campers will be placed in camper cohorts with 8 campers and 2 counselors, maximum. These cohorts will remain intact each session (and subsequent sessions, when applicable).
- Day camp model for all campers. We have made the difficult decision to cancel all Specialty Camps & Sports Camps during our on-campus programming for Sessions 2, 3, 4. We will not run specialty camps and sports camps this summer to allow for consistent scheduling and cohort groupings.
- Hand hygiene practices. Campers will wash hands or, when not near a sink, use hand sanitizer as they enter and exit camp. Hand hygiene will also be required when changing activities, eating, and as needed throughout the day.
- Masks for indoor activities. Campers and staff will be required to wear a mask while inside for Summer Programs. We are prioritizing outdoor activities with appropriate physical distancing as much as possible.
- Prioritizing outdoor activities. Counselors will hold classes outside as much as possible. When indoors, campers will be assigned to a consistent desk/floor spot for indoor learning & activities and have individually labeled materials (markers, scissors, glue stick, etc).
- Outside lunch. Lunch will take place outside on the Chapel Green whenever possible (Eat in classrooms with cohorts during rainy or extremely hot weather).
- No swimming. Given the inherent nature of physical contact during swimming lessons, the Breck Summer Programs swimming pool will be closed for the summer.
- No-contact pick-up. Parents/guardians will remain in their vehicle during pick-up. BSP staff will coordinate pick-up upon parent arrival.
Administration and Logistics:
- Enhanced staff training. Virtual staff training will consist of previous year's staff training content and new COVID-19 policies, procedures, expectations & guidelines.
- Increased signage and hygiene awareness campaigns. These messages will communicate information about hand hygiene, social distancing, traffic/walking patterns, and child-centered information about symptoms of COVID-19.
- Review of camper health history. Summer Programs staff will review health information with families to identify high-risk students and work with families to plan for their health and safety.
- Zero-tolerance policy for illness. If a camper becomes ill during camp hours, they will need to be picked up within 30 minutes of notifying the parent.
As I mentioned, these are just a few of the highlights of our extensive plans and procedures for a safe reopening. We worked diligently with trained medical staff and summer camps across the country to prepare for this return. We are confident we will provide a safe and welcoming environment for our campers.
Please know I am available for your questions. I look forward to seeing you online and on campus!
Director of Summer Programs and Extended Day
Breck Upper School students Joseph Purvis ‘21, Ayres Warren ‘22 and Maddie McDermott ‘22 share their experience interviewing Leslie Redmond, a local community organizer and former President of the Minneapolis NAACP. They also share their excitement for the MLK Symposium and Amplify Our Love with Pie events happening at Breck this upcoming week. Ms. Redmond will be the Upper School keynote speaker for the our 20th annual MLK Symposium.
On Sunday, January 17th, Breck will co-host Sweet Potato Comfort Pie’s seventh annual MLK Holiday event: Amplify Our Love with Pie, to honor the 92nd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breck student, Kai Miller ‘22, has been working behind the scenes to get ready for the event. The communications team at Breck did a brief interview with Kai to ask about her experience working on the event.
Natalia Rico Hernández, Ed.D., Head of School, updates the Breck community on the School's response to Wednesday's events.