Mustangs (re)Unite

From the Head of School

July 30, 2020

Dear Breck Families,

Following the Governor's briefing today on the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 academic year, I'm reaching out to confirm  that we are in the  final planning stages to resume instruction on August 31, 2020 in our hybrid model. We have made significant progress over the last three weeks to prepare for student and faculty return and cannot wait to be reunited with you on campus.

We know there is no single solution that is right for all families amidst this global pandemic. Our families are at varying stages of readiness for returning to campus and we understand the desire for many different return options. Therefore, we remain committed to flexibility. Our plan is built on current data, outbreak trends in our own community and locally, and our ability to practice safety measures across our school population. 

Our goal is to apply all policies and practices that will mitigate the risk of community spread of COVID-19. We must all do our part. 

To that end, we have a few checklist items for you to complete as we prepare for the fall. Please see the list below and contact us if you have any questions:

  • Spend time as a family reviewing our Mustangs (re)Unite webpage
  • Fill out this form to indicate your plans for your child's return in the fall. Note: Your child's schedule (MS and US) or classroom assignment (LS) will not be available until this step is completed.
    • Also included in this form is transportation information for those families who indicated bus ridership during enrollment.
  • Complete the required return-to-school forms in Magnus Health that will be delivered via email during the week of August 3.
  • Attend a divisional webinar:
    • Details sent via email
  • As you are able, obtain and practice wearing face coverings in accordance with the Governor's mandate. More information on face coverings at school can be found on our website.

Our ability to return to school is directly linked to our county’s indicators regarding COVID positive cases. We ask you and our students to practice all safety measures including limiting public activities, masking, hand-washing, and physical distancing. Any risks our students take outside our school will be brought onto our campus. 

At this time, we are actively planning for additional webinars, including a Q&A with our consulting physician Dr. Paul Anderson, for our families to learn more about the information on our website. We will continue to provide information and opportunities to connect in the days leading up to the start of our year.

Thank you for your partnership and feedback as we've worked together throughout the summer. 

With Mustang Pride,

Natalia Rico Hernández, Ed.D.
Head of School

What's New on this Page:

July 30:

  • Confirmed decision for reopening
  • Tentative cohort breakdowns
  • Levels of decision making
  • Temperature checks at home and school
  • Face coverings
  • Ventilation and airflow
  • Remote learning and classroom technology
  • Athletics
  • Transportation guidance
  • Dining services

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 will school look like?

Our Mustangs (re)Unite 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. 

Our plan for the start of the 2020-2021 year

We will begin the year in a hybrid model for the start of the academic year. This decision was based on current information and community spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota, transmission rates of children ages 0-18, health and safety practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in schools, as well as educational research for students preschool through grade 12. We are pleased that this plan also aligns with the Safe Learning Plan released July 30 by Governor Walz. Our hybrid model allows for fewer students on campus in order to maintain proper social social distancing, reduced class sizes, and increased attention to student and family needs.

Throughout this model, we will have all Lower School students on campus daily. Lower School students will be in cohorts of nine students or fewer with one teacher in the classroom guiding instruction. Specialist instruction like music, PE, art, and world language are all still important elements in their daily schedules.

Middle School and Upper School will be split into Blue and Gold Cohorts for our hybrid learning model. 

  • Students with last names beginning with A-La will be in the Blue Cohort
  • Students with last names beginning with Le-Z will be in Gold Cohort
  • Wednesday attendance will alternate based on grade levels in MS/US

Calendar and Schedules

Student Weekly Schedules

Lower School on campus 100%; Middle and Upper School in hybrid. Click on the graphic (above) for more information and a larger view of the schedule.

Semester 1 Calendar

In this 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Other 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 https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/stats/wschool.pdf

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
Green
  • 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
     

Yellow
Our current reopening zone
 

  • 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
Orange
  • 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
Red
  • 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.

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.