Please take a few minutes to view this important video message, the text of which is included below. Thank you so much!
Although obvious, I want to begin by acknowledging that no one alive today has ever experienced something such as this. The scale and impact of this experience is something that we are all likely to remember for the rest of our lives. We are living through history here, and history is the story of facing and overcoming challenges. No one bothers to write or read histories about the easy times. It is the tough times that define and mold us, and I know — without a doubt — that our Brunswick boys, our faculty, staff, and parents, our town, and our nation at large will face this challenge and come through it.
What follows then are some steps that Brunswick is going to take to best face this crisis for the health and welfare of all in our community.
After much consultation with medical professionals, peers at other schools, our colleagues at GA, and taking into account today’s eight-week restriction on gatherings of 50 or more by the CDC, we have made the decision to implement distance learning beginning on March 30, and will not expect our boys to physically attend school at least through the month of April.
Although we reserve the right to modify our plans as the situation evolves, we also want to let everyone know now that, as things currently stand, there is also the strong likelihood that we will continue with distance learning through the month of May. We will shoot to make the decision as to May's format by mid-April at the latest, and will make decisions regarding traditional end-of-year ceremonies, such as Graduation, at that time as well.
This is a dramatic decision and not one we have come to lightly. I cannot adequately describe how sad I am about all this and how badly — most especially — I feel for our boys, who love this school so much.
Distance learning, despite of all the hard work and preparation our faculty committed to the effort before break, will not be perfect and is most certainly not a substitute for the full Brunswick experience our boys have grown to love. I simply cannot pretend that it is an equal experience to what they are used to. I can, however, assure you that we will make every effort to make the experience meaningful, fulfilling, and educational.
I should also note that despite all the preparation for such an event on our end, and despite our extensive plans for redundancy, there is the possibility that a period of widespread, national, and even international use of remote learning platforms (both at the school as well as the college level) is likely to put an undue strain on each and every available application from Zoom, to Google Classroom and even to YouTube.
We will, nevertheless, continue to move ahead and adapt as needed and will, of course, make every effort to keep you and your son informed and engaged along the way.
Perspective is of value in times like this and it is worth reflecting — for a moment — on the fact that this experience will be widely shared and will, in reality, be generational. By that I mean, despite being forced to learn remotely this spring, your son will not, as a result, be behind his peers at other schools — as all schools are likely to be doing the same thing.
The best way to look at it — it seems to me — is that learning is not going to stop. Rather it is just going to be different during the course of this spring — different for Brunswick boys and different for all students in all schools.
In our new remote-learning mode, after March 30, we will make plans for division-specific assembly time, learning time, project time, even social time and exercise time. We won’t so much try to replicate the daily experience of school before this crisis, rather we will seek out the most effective methods to achieve the developmental and academic goals we have always had for our boys – just, now, by doing so in a different format.
I should also point out that the heavy reliance on screen-time necessitated by remote learning will cause us and our boys to shift our screen usage from a largely entertainment experience to a learning one. As a result, I urge parents and older students to begin considering ways to seek enrichment and entertainment away from screens. Board games, extended projects, daily chores, caring for a vegetable garden, and reading — reading from actual paper books — should become key features of our days ahead.
As we move forward and begin with this effort on March 30, in advance, you will hear greater detail from your son’s respective Division Head regarding the pace of the coming days, the specific methods of instruction and interaction, and the ways in which we will measure progress and individual student achievement. Actually, as jarring as this is for all of us, now that the decision has been made regarding our plans, I urge you — to the degree that you can — to try and enjoy some measure of time between now and March 30, to get some rest and relaxation in these turbulent times.
Now, there is no hiding the fact that as much as we will be asking of our faculty as they re-set to this new reality, remote learning from home shifts a significant burden from the school on to parents — this is especially true for parents of our youngest children — and while we see no effective way around that reality, please know that we understand it and deeply regret to put still more on the plate of our hard-working parents and caregivers. To that end, and to the degree we are able, if there are families that find themselves in great duress because of this new reality, please let us know and we will make every effort to connect you and your family with any and all local and national support programs and authorities available.
I’ll end, then, by noting that there are — in life — situations and circumstances beyond our control. This is most certainly one of those.
As I say often to the boys, it is not so much what happens to us that matters, but rather how we respond to what happens to us that counts.
I have no doubt that our boys will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger still because of it.
As isolated as we may feel from time to time, given the circumstances of social distancing, there is no escaping that we are all in this together, and together we will come out triumphant on the other side.
Thank you for your time in reading this. Look for further updates in the days and weeks ahead, and my very, very best to you all.