June 30, 2020
It has now been almost two weeks since the publication of our reopening plan. In the intervening days, we have received good feedback and thoughtful questions. We thank you for your input. As the plan was being developed, each iteration led to more “what ifs”. We then tried to resolve before presenting the final copy, which we knew would not be the final plan. You have raised new scenarios and questions, and, at the same time, the medical situation will continue to evolve, requiring us to adjust our response to the virus. The plan will continue to evolve.
For the past month, I have been reading reopening plans of dozens of schools of all sizes from across the country, seeking additional ideas and perspectives. Some documents are simple and straightforward communications; others are “glossy” and elaborate publications. Some express hope and concern about reopening; others boast confidence, even bravado. But, no matter what the approach or tone, each is describing a school and school-life never anticipated or imagined. What we are all doing is trying to create an environment in which we can teach effectively while reducing health risks as much as possible. Yet, the effort to reduce risks creates a Catch-22 situation, in that we end up reducing social and emotional contacts so key to good teaching and learning.
Nevertheless, when I consider the year ahead, I go back to Nulli Secundus. No school will be or feel as it has before. The coming year will be different and challenging for students and teachers everywhere. The Benjamin School will be no different, but because of its tradition of excellence, because of all that was learned through this past spring term, because of the quality of its faculty, Benjamin will remain, through on-campus and remote moments, Second to None. I write this as I complete my interim year and welcome Dave Faus to Benjamin. Many would say this is a tough year for a Head of School to start a new position. I suppose that is true, but I cannot imagine many other schools more ready to welcome and support their head in the work of the year ahead. I wish the very best and good health to all, and Ann and I thank you for welcoming us into The Benjamin School family. It certainly was a year second to none!
Thomas J. Reid
Interim Head of School