Reopening CAIS August 26
Message from Head of School Jeff Bissell
Over the past several days we have held six CAIS community town hall-style Zoom meetings* with CAIS families where my colleagues and I were able to answer parent questions and share our most recent thinking and planning as we prepare to reopen our campuses to students on Wednesday, August 26, just two months from today. The participation rate of our families—including our newest community members whose children will be joining us for the first time in August—was impressive; we had well over 400 “screens” join us. For some perspective, we have a total of 376 families with children enrolled at CAIS for the 2020-21 school year. Obviously this conversation is near and dear to your hearts; you have entrusted CAIS with your most precious cargo, and in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic this trust extends beyond anything most of us have experienced in the past. At the end of our last town hall meeting with our middle school families, I did something that I wish I had done at all the meetings. I asked everyone to turn on their web cameras (even those in their pajamas and/or having a bad hair day) so we could scroll through the screens of images and see each other. After all these months of isolation it was just awesome seeing so many of you. It was also a powerful and personal visual reminder of this: all the parents on all of our Zoom town hall meetings love their children, and we all rely on one another to take care of and protect the health of each other’s children. The health and safety of our community is as strong as our weakest link, and so each of us needs to be a strong link—to be our best selves—in order to keep everyone healthy and safe. As I have frequently said, and will continue to say, ten years ago I came to CAIS for the program, today I am still here because of the community. The community is our school’s X factor, and it is what will help our kids flourish despite the challenges we face. As I wrote in a recent letter to our community, “remember that the decisions you make impact other’s children, and the decisions others make will impact your children.”
In the end, the most important thing we have is each other.
For some time now I have been promising that today, June 26, we would share with the community our current planning for the reopening of our campuses in August. Today we are posting the most recent version of “Reopening CAIS,” which reflects our best thinking at this point in time. It is important to keep in mind that this represents a work in progress, and that the CAIS leadership team and Scenario Planning Task Force will continue to work through the summer to refine and improve our planning. The information will live at cais.org/covid19response and will be updated regularly.
You will also notice that there are many operational details that are not written directly into “Reopening CAIS.” There are a few reasons for this. We want to provide a relatively high level view of the school’s approach to managing risk while maintaining fidelity to our school’s Mission, Values, and Vision. Many of the operational details exist in interim public health documents form the CDC or SFDPH (some of which are hyperlinked for your access), or they are in long, detailed CAIS documents that are still in draft form. In other cases we are still determining our operational approaches. Whatever the case, we will share additional details with you as we move forward so that everyone is as knowledgeable as they choose to be and as comfortable as they can be.
* The recording of the ECD meeting held on June 8 is available to view. Recordings of the Zoom meetings held this past week will be shared in next weeks’ newsletter.