Message From The Headmaster
Updated August 18, 2021
We hope that the summer has given you and your family a well-deserved opportunity to recharge, and we look forward to seeing our school community return to BWL in person in September. The guidance that we have received from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics underscores the importance of in person learning for children of all ages. We will continue to receive updated guidance from local, state and federal health authorities up until the start of school on Thursday, September 9th. All of our procedures have been and will be in alignment with our peer schools. As educators we are confident that we can provide the following broad guidelines at this time, keeping in mind that specific protocols are still subject to change:
· Guidance from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics states that the benefits of in person learning outweigh the risks posed by COVID-19 in almost all circumstances. Requests for remote learning (e.g., for families who are living overseas or far away) will be considered individually and should be directed to the appropriate Division Director: Curtis March for Upper School, Lori Kennedy for Middle School, or Kevie Michael for Lower School.
· Given the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant that continues to circulate, we are requiring everyone in the community to submit an initial negative Molecular PCR COVID-19 test, regardless of vaccination status, before returning to the building. Rapid tests will not be accepted. Your child should be tested no earlier than Wednesday, September 1st with the test result submitted to BWL by no later than Wednesday September 8th. We are simplifying the process of submitting test results and vaccination status through a new online Health Portal. We believe that the new system for reporting testing and vaccination updates will be effective and easier for families.
· We strongly urge everyone in the community who is eligible to get vaccinated. After the initial COVID-19 testing in order to enter the building at the beginning of the year, proof of full vaccination will allow a symptom-free individual to come to school without submitting a weekly Molecular PCR COVID-19 test. This protocol is subject to change.
· Because children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, they are required to be tested weekly, following similar protocols to those established last May when we were all in school in person, with a Tuesday night cut-off time each week beginning on September 14th. Any member of the community who is not fully vaccinated by the first day of school will have to submit Molecular PCR COVID-19 test results weekly.
· Masks will be worn by all students, faculty and staff while at school
· We will continue to use Ruvna Health, a daily digital symptom screening platform, for everyone in the community.
· The rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols that were followed during the 2020-21 academic year will remain in effect. The building will be sanitary at all times. Classrooms will have desk shields for students in Grades K through 6 and we will maintain three feet of distance between students.
· All appointments with parents, including parent/teacher conferences and curriculum night events, will take place via Zoom. Large assemblies where we are not able to maintain social distancing between students will also take place via Zoom until further notice. We expect to liberalize these protocols once the infection rates in New York City begin to decrease.
· Lunch will be delivered to students individually in grades K through 8, using the protocols we followed last year, in which parents in those grades pre-ordered lunch for their children through Nutrislice via Cater To You, our food service provider. Upper School students will be permitted to leave the building and purchase lunch outside.
· Thursday, September 9th is the first day of school, and will be an Orientation Day for all grades. More details about the first few days of school, including arrival and dismissal times, will be sent out by the Division Directors shortly.
Frank J. Carnabuci III
Mr. Carnabuci has been the Head of School at The Birch Wathen Lenox School since 1992. In addition to his administrative duties, he has taught a Political Union course, and a course on Protocol. He is currently teaching an Honors English course called The Outsider in Literature. He established the School’s Swimming, Squash and Lacrosse teams, created the STEM Initiative and the Archaeology curriculum, and developed the Overseas Studies and Peer Relations programs. Most recently appointed to the council board of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he has also served on the governing boards of the Rippowam Cisqua School, The Brick Church School and Drew University.