A Message from the Heads of School, March 12, 2020

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Dear Jackson Walnut Park Families—

When we said this was a rapidly evolving situation we had no idea how prophetic our words would be!  In the past few hours, we’ve seen a flurry of school closure decisions as local public and private schools have canceled classes for one to two weeks.  In light of the overwhelming move in this direction, we have determined that the prudent move is to close JWP for two weeks.  This will enable us to deep clean the school buildings and create social distancing, which public health experts tell us will be instrumental in slowing the pace of the spread of coronavirus.

Here’s how it will work:

Friday (tomorrow)—Walnut Park’s Professional Development Day and Jackson’s Conference Day will continue as planned.  Jackson teachers and parents are strongly encouraged to conduct their conferences via phone.  Kid’s Corner will be open for its normal hours, in order to give working parents the opportunity to organize for the upcoming two weeks.

Saturday (3/14)—Administrators will host a streamlined version of an Admissions “Open House” in the lobby of the Student Center.  No tours will be given in the school buildings.

Sunday (3/15)—Basketball games have been canceled.

Monday (3/16)—Faculty will be at school in the morning from 8-9:00 am so that parents can pick up necessary school materials (like books) that haven’t found their ways home with students yet.  The JWP school buildings will close at 9:00 am.

Our dedicated and well-prepared teachers have been planning for some time for this possibility, and they are ready to provide distance-learning for our students.  You can expect your children’s teachers to reach out to you in the next couple of days with more details about how they plan to proceed over the next two weeks.  We strongly urge our families to avoid large gatherings and practice self-isolation—this is a public health crisis, and the cooperation of the general public will be essential to help to stem its spread.

Our current intention is to re-open school on Monday, March 30.  Several events that are on the calendar in the interim, including Pizza Day (March 20) the STEAM Fair (March 25) and Accepted Parents Night (March 26) will be re-scheduled.  There will be no Kid’s Corner or Vacation Camp during these two weeks.

The phones at JWP will not be manned during the school closure and while we will check voicemail periodically, please use email as the quickest and most assured method of communication with teachers and administrators.

The prospect of two weeks without school is not a welcome one, partly because of the disruption it causes to the learning process and to families’ lives, and partly because it means a separation from the community that we have here at JWP.  But it is clearly necessary given the current situation, and we will all look forward to being able to come together again in the near future, greet our friends, and celebrate the renewal of our extraordinary community.  Until then, we will keep in touch with any updates.

With best wishes for strength, patience, perseverance, and health in our challenging time,

Stephanie Marcucci                                       Stephen Duffy

Head of Walnut Park Montessori                 Head of Jackson School