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Dear BSA community,

As we navigate the many challenges COVID-19 presents, we have consistently sought to be transparent about our decision-making with all members of our academic community.

I’m writing to you today to let you know that, after long and careful deliberation, Broome Street Academy has determined that we will continue to offer instruction on a 100% remote basis through December 31, 2020.

This was a hard decision to make, but we are confident it’s the right one. Over the last several months, we’ve listened intently to our stakeholders, from caregivers to students to faculty; I believe this decision reflects our core values as a school and is in the best interest of our students and our community.

Please know that letting go of the idea of offering in-person instruction at least one day a week has been challenging for every person involved in this decision – not least because, as many of us are also parents and caregivers, we understand and sympathize with the challenges remote instruction has created for every family.

Some of the key factors that led us to make this decision include:

  • The health and safety of students, families, and faculty come first. Even though COVID infection rates are much lower in New York City than they were in March and April, as schools have reopened for in-person instruction, the possibility of increased infections remains a concern. In our assessment, the risks posed by congregating in classrooms continue to be very significant, and we’re making choices that put the health and safety of our community first.

 

  • BSA has successfully adapted to remote instruction. 93% of our students are signing on daily, and every student has up to six classes plus additional supports. We’ve heard from caregivers that this schedule is providing necessary structure to students, and that students have regular interactions with their classmates as well as good access to guidance counselors and social workers. Our remote teaching has been engaging and is supporting varied learning styles. Teachers are available to support students throughout the entire day as needed, and students have opportunities to safely socialize with staff-supervised clubs

 

  • We’re focusing on high-quality remote instruction. We have come to the conclusion that continuing to offer 100% remote instruction is more sustainable for now; we believe a consistent approach will support students’ mental health by creating stability. Moving back and forth between in-person and remote instruction is an inefficient use of our resources and places an undue burden on our teams. Additionally, the hybrid offerings we could make available would be less rigorous than the stable remote model we currently have in place. We believe focusing entirely on remote instruction will limit learning loss.

 

  • Students will continue to access critical supportive services through BSA and The Door. When students elect to come to our building to receive supports, including daily grab-and-go lunches, health services, and counseling, BSA is implementing rigorous safety protocols; accordingly, we’ll be setting up timed appointments for such visits. As needs become apparent, we’ll also provide a safe space for students to Zoom into classes at BSA and The Door.

 

As educators, we all agree that being able to learn together in person is preferable to remote instruction, and we are looking forward to the day when we will be able to do so safely and effectively.

 

In the coming months, we will continue to stay in close and consistent contact with caregivers and students to see how else we can be of support. In early December, we will provide you with an update about our plans for remote and hybrid instruction in 2021.

Sincerely,

Melissa Silberman

Head of School, Broome Street Academy