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Head of School Briefing: September 13, 2021

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Head of School Briefing: September 13, 2021
Weekly Briefing from the Head of School Christian Sullivan

Dear Bullis Community,

On Saturday, September 11, at 8:45 am, I happened to be with two other Bullis community members. Together, we recalled where we were at that moment 20 years ago. In the Upper School on Friday, a moment of silence was held at the same time to remember those who lost their lives and those whose lives were irrevocably changed in New York, in Shanksville, and at the Pentagon. We wore red, white, blue, and purple ribbons to show our support for the many impacted families. None of our current Bullis students were alive in 2001, but imparting an age-appropriate understanding of what happened and its reverberations is important. This, the 20th anniversary, seems particularly poignant and sad, made more so perhaps by the reminiscent gorgeous weather on Saturday. In the years to come, Bullis will continue to remember September 11, 2001.

COVID-19 Test Results and Our Protocols:

Every student and employee, regardless of vaccination status, must be tested every week. Similar to last year, I will report our test results on a regular basis. This academic year, we have now carried out two rounds of testing.

  1. Week of August 30: 1067 Tests - 2 positives (students)
  2. Week of September 4: 1079 Tests - 1 positive (student)

Total: 2146 Tests - 3 positive results

As previously reported, once the FDA has fully authorized a vaccine, Bullis will require all eligible students and faculty to be vaccinated. Since the Pfizer vaccine has been fully authorized for individuals 16 years and older, students of this age and all faculty need to have received (at least) their first vaccination shot by September 17 – the date of our next COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinic. If you have not already done so, please register for the COVID vaccine clinic here and the flu vaccine clinic here.

Again, I urge all to be vaccinated as soon as eligible. Every major scientific institution, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health, is enthusiastically endorsing vaccination to protect against COVID-19 and support public health. Of secondary importance, but also significant, is that Montgomery County Health Protocols treat vaccinated individuals (students in particular) who have been a close contact of an infected person differently than the unvaccinated – the quarantine requirements are not as stringent. As a reminder, any student who is not fully vaccinated must continue to fill out the daily health screening, and, of course, no one should be coming onto campus or participating in school activities when they are sick. While life may seem to have returned to normal in many ways, we still need to be extremely careful. We were successful last year because we came together as a community to keep everyone safe and to ensure as much education for our students as possible.

September on Campus:

In much lighter news, school is up and running! After the long Labor Day weekend, classes, arts, and athletics are in full swing. Though this next week will be shortened because of Yom Kippur, we are now full steam ahead. I am looking forward to a sustained period between now and Thanksgiving of all our students throwing themselves into their work and activities. It’s been fun wandering around classes and watching the first athletic competitions of the year – cross-country, crew, soccer, field hockey, tennis, volleyball, and football – the first home game of which is this coming Friday at 7:00 pm. And I can’t wait for the plays and artistic performances later this semester. The positive atmosphere and excitement around campus is palpable; it’s great to be back!

And finally, our terrific Board of Trustees will hold their first plenary session this academic year on September 22nd. Among other things, they will consider the draft strategic plan proposal. I look forward to reporting back to the community on that important process. I am extremely grateful to the six committees that undertook the lion’s share of the work, and the 100+ community members who staffed those committees; exciting things are ahead!

Have a great week!

Warmly,

christian sullivan signature

Christian G. Sullivan
Head of School