July 8, 2020
Dear Brighton Parents and Families,
As we look forward to the opening of school for the 2020-2021 school year, our number one priority is the health and safety of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff while continuing to offer the best learning environment for students who learn differently. We understand that students such as ours are typically more negatively affected by distance learning and may be disproportionately impacted by interruptions in regular education. Beginning Monday, August 10, The Brighton School will have school with the goal of having all healthy students physically present on a daily basis. That goal includes having our school perform as close to “normal” as possible.
Since last March, the school administration in conjunction with the Board of Directors has been keeping a close watch on the happenings around the state and nation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We have remained in close contact with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), La. Department of Health, and our sister International Dyslexic Association schools to study plans and participate in discussion on the safest ways to return to school.
We recently formed a Health and Medical Committee of the Board representing the various constituencies of our school – board members, teachers, school administration, and the medical field. This group has worked diligently to put together a plan that will help accomplish the goals of our school. This committee should be finishing up its recommendations to the Board of Directors this week. The plan will then be reviewed by the Board and, upon approval, will be sent to our school community.
We have come to believe that no single plan applies to all pandemic incidents nor provides all the information needed. As with any pandemic, there is much uncertainty, and the policies adopted are intended to mitigate, not eliminate risk, as no single action nor set of actions will eliminate the risks of virus transmission. While our plan serves as a guide for specific activities during this pandemic incident, every incident is unique and the judgment of the school administration at the time may alter the strategies that have been outlined in accordance with guidance from federal, state and local authorities and the specific needs of the Brighton School.
Our plan includes addressing the mental health and stress related needs of our students and staff through proper training and support. Staff, students and families will be given sufficient time to understand and adjust to changes in routine and practices.
The policies and practices adopted will be practical, feasible and appropriate for child and adolescent developmental stages in the least disruptive manner possible. Our main strategies for virus prevention are aligned with the CDC Guidelines and will include physical distancing when possible, appropriate face covering and hand hygiene.
Physical Distancing - There is a conflict between optimal academic and social/emotional learning in schools and strict adherence to current physical distancing guidelines. At Brighton, our goal is to find an acceptable balance between these two items; safety and learning. More detailed information will be included in the adopted plan.
Face Covering - We view face coverings as an important way that we can help to slow the spread of the virus and to protect one another. Students in grades 4-12 will be required to use a face covering at school at any time movement is necessary and in common areas of the school. Face covering is optional for students in grades K-3. More detailed information will be included in the adopted plan.
Hand Hygiene - Practicing proper hand hygiene is a very important infection control measure. Hand sanitizer stations are available in touch-free dispensers throughout the buildings, and students will be encouraged to sanitize regularly. More detailed information will be included in the adopted plan.
The final plan will include much more information than included in this update. We will address cleaning and disinfection of the building and furniture, drop-off and pick-up of students, the lunch program, established protocol for promoting healthy students, teachers, and staff as well as other areas of possible concern.
The orientation planned for Friday, August 7 will be a parent only event. Details will be forthcoming. Planned social activities for the month of August such as Bengal Bash have been canceled. Other events such as Back to School Night have been changed to a virtual setting. Each subsequent months’ activities will be determined at a later date. No determination regarding playing and attending athletic events has been made at this time.
We realize that this message is not a complete update, but we felt that an update was important at this time. Please continue to monitor your email and other forms of electronic communications as we will continue to update you over the next few weeks as we finalize our plans.
Kenny Henderson, Executive Director