Parent Newsletter by Franny Shuker-Haines

Dear Buxton Families,

Lots to report on this week!

First for parents of seniors, I want to let you know our plans for graduation:

  • As always, senior members of the faculty will work with seniors to craft their senior speeches
  • The seniors will work on these during the last weeks of school.
  • When speeches are complete, we will be facilitating each senior making a recording of themselves delivering their speech.
  • We will combine those recordings to create a “real” Buxton graduation that will be live-streamed (probably via YouTube) on graduation day, Saturday, June 13th at 8:00 P.M. (to accommodate all students’ home time zones).
  • The graduation committee is sending a survey to seniors today to help us help them through this process.
  • There will be other elements and possibly a surprise or two!

These plans may change slightly as we work out the logistics, but we are committed to giving this class as authentic a Buxton graduation experience as possible. We talked a lot about trying to do it live, but felt that the worst thing that could happen would be for some seniors’ speeches to get interrupted or compromised because of technical glitches on the day. Having a pre-recorded set of speeches feels more equitable and safe.

We are also hoping that all Buxton families will tune in and “attend.” Graduation is always a huge highlight of the year.

I also wanted to reassure you that what I said last week still holds: Buxton is planning to open in the fall, on campus, on September 12.

We have a taskforce looking at every logistical aspect of making that work. We are developing multiple tiers of response, depending on the status of the coronavirus cases in our area at the time, and we will share the nitty-gritty details of each of those tiers with you soon. But all the plans include these adjustments:


  • The campus will be much more locked-down than in the past. No town time, no visits from families, no leaving campus except if absolutely necessary.
  • The campus has already been disinfected and will remain so. We will be making changes to our daily cleaning protocol and to Work Program to include increased cleaning/sanitizing protocols.
  • We will be spreading kids out in the dorms: no “four-rooms,” as few triples as possible, possibly some singles.
  • We may have fewer room changes.
  • We will be asking students to come to school with fewer belongings to facilitate cleanliness.
  • We are looking at changes to the yearly schedule to make sure there is as little coming-and-going as possible. For example: Most likely, there will be no home weekend, probably a virtual Fall Arts festival, and a modified winter vacation schedule. (If students go home for Thanksgiving, for example, it might not make sense to have them all come back again for a few short weeks before the winter break. Possibly a week or two of final projects and report conferences from home after Thanksgiving? And then returning sooner from winter break?)


None of us has a crystal ball, and a lot can change between now and September. But we are at an advantage: we are small and, therefore, nimble; our school is in a rural, remote spot; the Berkshires has, thankfully, not been particularly hard-hit by COVID cases; our students are highly motivated to do whatever they need to in order to be back at Buxton. That’s our ace, right there.

Some parents have asked me if they should plan for their children to return. My answer is an emphatic YES! 

All the best,


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