Mustangs (re)Unite

From the Head of School

July 1, 2020

To our Breck families,

Thank you for returning to this webpage. As promised, we continue to update this site in order to share the most up-to-date information regarding all aspects of our planned return for the fall 2020. While some headings have remained the same, content has been updated, and we invite you to read through this site for detailed information about our plans and procedures for the fall as they stand today, July 1, 2020. 

Since March, we have promised to remain flexible and to move nimbly as more information becomes available. The plans and procedures outlined below were developed by an incredibly committed and hardworking group of faculty and staff with guidance from a number of credible sources and our consulting epidemiologist. 

As our faculty and staff continue our work throughout this summer, one thing has become glaringly obvious. We must work together, families with school — school with families, to improve our culture and mitigate our COVID-19 risks. In my most recent communication, I recognized our school’s responsibility for the broken promise of equality and justice within our walls. We need your partnership to improve our culture and community.

Similarly, we recognize that we must work together to mitigate our COVID-19 risks. Anyone who comes to our campus brings with them the risks they have taken outside our school. We urge our families to strictly enforce practices with their children and adolescents that will make it possible for us to return to school and activities this fall. 

Finally, I want to thank the many people who continue to contribute countless hours to understanding current science around COVID-19 and apply it to our beloved Breck experience. We are doing everything we can to mitigate risk, protect our community, and communicate our plans for the fall.

With Mustang Pride,

Natalia Rico Hernández, Ed.D.
Head of School

What's New on this Page:

July 1: Updated guidance and information regarding our plans for reopening in the fall. School begins on August 31, 2020.

We are Listening 

We hear you! We started our design process with 40 1:1 interviews and 20 open listening sessions.
We will hold additional listening sessions later this summer. For now, you can share your ideas via our suggestion/question box.

Feedback Themes

Throughout distance learning and since the creation of the design and compliance team, we've collected feedback through surveys and interviews with our students, parents, faculty, and staff. 

Themes

What might school look like?

Our Mustangs Reunite plan is centered around community and support, deeper learning, and real-world application of knowledge. We are building on the best of Breck as we generalize excellence, design for flexibility, and reimagine the Breck experience. While our models for reopening include a variety of scenarios, they center around three main concepts. In all circumstances, we will follow the same daily schedule. Please click on each icon below for more information.

Most likely scenario as we begin 2020-2021

While we are prepared and equipped to bring 100% of our students back to campus as they are ready for the fall, we believe this is the most likely scenario for the start of the academic year based on current information and community spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota. This recommendation is based on information available as of July 1, 2020.

Fewer students on campus at any given time allows us to maintain proper social distancing.

Throughout this model, we will have all Lower School students on campus daily.

Middle School and Upper School will be split into Blue and Gold Cohorts if we are hybrid learning. 

  • The first half of the alphabet will be in Blue Cohort
  • The second half of the alphabet will be in Gold Cohort
  • Wednesday attendance will alternate based on grade levels in MS/US

We will increase student population on campus as social distancing allows. 

Calendar and Schedules

July 1 Proposed Semester 1 Calendar

In this proposed schedule for the fall, we have prioritized five-day weeks in order to have all student cohorts to be on campus as regularly as possible. Read more by clicking on the title of photo.

Other possible scenarios throughout the year

On Campus with Safety Protocols in Place
Periods of Off-Campus Learning

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

Levers 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
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, de-densification, and facility maintenance, cleaning, and disinfection
  • 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.

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.