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Head of School Briefing: September 11, 2020

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Head of School Briefing: September 11, 2020
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Dear Bullis Community,

I have to let you know that it feels great to have the first week of school completed. The mixture of anxiety and excitement before we started was palpable. I hoped that once we got going, the anxiety would wane, and so it has proved. In uncertain times, the fear of the unknown can be distressing for adults and students alike, but now we have had a successful first week. Rest assured that we will not become complacent; I remain so aware of the parlous public health situation, and I commit to you that we remain vigilant.

Bullis video We're Back - view classrooms

To help parents understand what it looks like in the classrooms and learning spaces, we put together this short video to highlight some of the protocols that we have put into place. I hope you enjoy it.

► Video: What the classrooms look like!

Bullis Covid-19 Update:

At the end of every week, I will give a brief report on the situation at school. When appropriate, this report will include our own testing results. Here is this week’s report:

With regards to contact tracing and quarantining, what constitutes a “contact?”

Being within six feet of someone for 15 minutes or more, or having direct physical contact with bodily fluids from an infected person. So please don’t ever do that! Due to our strict safety and physical distancing protocols, the chances that we would have to quarantine people are greatly diminished. All of our protocols are designed to help ensure that no one would be a direct "contact" here on campus. 

Can I change to in-person learning from remote learning?

Yes! We have already had quite a few students do this. A negative test and a clear Magnus screening are required beforehand. We also require an advance notice of 48 hours (two business days), which can be sent to the head of your child's division, to facilitate a switch from remote to face-to-face learning. 

Has the Health and Safety Committee met?

Yes! The second meeting is this afternoon. The committee has reviewed our policies and protocols, as well as the COVID-19 state dashboard. In general, it was noted that everyone has a done a remarkably good job of following the protocols. Adults need to be reminded as well as students. Here are some observations made this week about things that we can, and will, do better:

  • Not all masks are fitting well – we must remind people to keep them tight.
  • Door handles must be cleaned more regularly.
  • It’s tempting with rolling desks to move towards classmates. May have to change them out!
  • Must remind people about the pedestrian traffic patterns.
  • During carpool, ensure that students physically distance and keep masks on until they are in the cars.

State of Maryland Guidelines for the Reopening of Schools:

Schools may fully reopen in person if the test positivity rate is below 5% and the seven day moving average case rate is below 5 per 100,000. Schools may reopen partially in person if the test positivity rate is below 5% and the daily case rate is between 5 – 15.

Montgomery County Health Statistics:

Bullis School Testing:

  • First Testing Regimen (Aug. 24-26): 868 tests conducted; 4 positive tests.
  • Second Testing Regimen (Sept. 11/14): Results to be reported September 17.
  • Third Testing Regimen (Sept. 25/29): Results to be reported October 2.

At the end of my first week, I have been struck by the friendliness of everyone. I am conscious that most people are fairly affable to a new head (long may that last), but I want to believe that this warmth is being shown to everyone! New families in particular – I know these are difficult circumstances within which to start at a new school. Please, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help to your division leadership, to the admissions office if you feel more comfortable, or to me. We all want to make this as stress-free as possible for you.

I hope everyone has a much deserved restful weekend.


Christian G. Sullivan
Head of School