March 14 – Health update

Dear Keystone Families,

On what would ordinarily be the final weekend of Spring Break, we want to give you an update on our planning efforts as we deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As you are no doubt aware, this is a fluid and rapidly-changing situation; our goal is to provide you with school-related information as we learn and adjust accordingly.

Yesterday morning, CFO Mike Flynn and I held a conference call with the Division Heads — Dena Valdez, Jeanette Vilagi, Dr. Jennifer Wivagg, and Bill Spedding — to plan for the upcoming week. We will spend the week preparing for possibly keeping school closed for a longer period of time and going to a distance learning model. Keystone is fortunate that our faculty has several individuals with advanced degrees in instructional technology, including classes focusing on distance learning.

Before we left for Spring Break, Director of Curriculum and Innovation Wilnelia Antuna-Camacho, Director of Technology Todd Moore, and Assistant Director of Technology Chris Rojas provided learning sessions for teachers in how to teach online. We will continue these sessions this week either in person or remotely with the understanding that we may need to implement distance learning as soon as next Monday, March 23.

As you would expect, the Keystone faculty and staff have responded positively to this challenge, and while we would prefer to be in school this week, we will be ready for whatever may come in the weeks ahead.

The Keystone cleaning crew is continuing their thorough antibacterial cleansing of both campuses that they performed over Spring Break.

Our Safety Committee will continue to consult with a variety of public agencies and officials, and administrators of other schools in order to make well-informed decisions in the next few days.

We understand that as wonderful as it may be to have your children home for another week, it can also present hardships. Please know that we are sensitive to this dilemma and we are factoring this into our decision making.

We also know that children may have a variety of responses to this interruption of normalcy. Some students may revel in another week of Spring Break; others may be sad to not be with their friends and see their teachers. We also realize that children at Keystone in general like school and will miss it. Older students may experience stress, particularly in regard to standardized tests like the PSAT or the ACT being cancelled, and others may be worried about the loss of class time as they prepare for the AP Exams at the end of the year. Students who are already anxious may find this change in routine even more stress-inducing.

We are attaching links here that we included in a previous email on how to talk with your children about the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we are sending a link on ways to help your children enjoy themselves and be productive while school is not in session.

Watching the ways that this virus is changing our world has been sobering.  Regardless of what happens next, we know that this year will be different from anything we have seen before. What will never change is our dedication to providing your children with the best experience possible.

Keystone’s commitment to academic excellence remains unwavering however it may manifest itself. As we potentially move to a distance learning model, we will create new ways to engage in the human and humane interactions that make the Keystone community so wonderful and exceptional.

Although we may not be together in person right now, the bonds that tie us to one another will enable us to weather this situation and make us even stronger when it ends.

We wish you a peaceful weekend, and we will be in touch with you in the days ahead.

With gratitude,

Billy Handmaker

William B. Handmaker
Head of School