Parent Newsletter by Franny Shuker-Haines
Dear Buxton Families,
I cannot believe we are already four weeks into the spring term! Didn’t you all just drop off your kids yesterday?
We have been so lucky with our weather, and that is part of what has allowed this spring to go so quickly and smoothly. We’re eating on the patio, classes are able to be outside, even the spring play is rehearsing in the great outdoors, preparing for an al fresco production of Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Chorus and orchestra are back; creative writers are meeting, writing, and sharing; folk-singing is starting up again; and students are bouncing basketballs, kicking soccer balls, and throwing Frisbees. So great!
I wanted to update everyone on a few key developments. First and foremost, let’s talk about vaccines! We on the faculty are so lucky and happy to have been eligible for a little while now, and many of us are either fully vaccinated or on our way there. Many states are starting to open up eligibility to “all adults,” and, in some cases that means everyone who is 16+. This means many of our students can potentially get vaccinated this spring! We want to support this—although, to be clear, we are not requiring it—so we have developed a protocol for the school.
The Amazing Lindsey has already sent this information to you in her weekly COVID update, but it is worth reiterating here. Here is our protocol:
COVID Vaccination Appointments for Buxton Students
- On April 19th, individuals age 16+ will be eligible for COVID vaccines in MA. This includes all Buxton students, who are temporary residents of MA while boarding at Buxton.
- We encourage all eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID
- Students aged 18+ can take any of the three vaccines.
- Students 16-18 can only have the Pfizer vaccine—the others have not yet been approved for individuals under age 18.
- If you make a vaccine appointment for your student near Buxton (within a 30-minute drive, which would mean in Williamstown, North Adams, Pittsfield, Lanesborough) before the end of the school year, we can drive them to the appointment. Note: the Pfizer vaccine is a 2-dose vaccine, 3 weeks apart. Consider the 2nd dose when scheduling the 1st.
- If you make a vaccine appointment for your student near your home (or in MA but farther from campus), that is also fine as long as a guardian can pick them up from campus and drive them to and from their appointment. The guardian must follow our protocol for off-campus medical appointments:
- The guardian quarantines & is careful in the days leading up to the trip
- The guardian submits a negative COVID PCR test within 72 hours of the pickup OR provides the school with proof of vaccination (2 weeks after final vaccine)
- Both guardian & parent stay double-masked (or wearing KN95s) throughout the trip, including in the car
- Guardian & student follow usual precautions (hand washing, masking, distancing) throughout the trip
- There are no unnecessary stops on the way to/from the appointment
- Students will be excused from classes for their vaccinations as well as for any days of side effects, as needed
Please be in touch if you have any questions about this. And be patient: it can be hard to make these appointments (as we teachers found out in the past several weeks!). We are attaching a document to this newsletter with some helpful information about booking appointments. Understand that this was the best information we had available to us as of this week, but conditions on the ground change by the day—sometimes by the hour!—so it’s possible some of the locations and resources we have listed here may or may not pan out.
End of school and graduation
Onto another topic, of particular interest to families of seniors!
First of all, many families have been asking if the last day of school for all students is still scheduled for June 12. The answer is: YES!
Second of all, families of seniors have been asking about our graduation plans. I am thrilled to announce that we fully intend to have an in-person outdoor graduation ceremony for our students, faculty, and senior families on June 12! Although we normally extend an invitation to ALL of our families to this milestone event, this year we will be limiting our audience to families of seniors.
I know this leads to 10,000 other questions: how many senior family members can attend? What time of day will we hold the ceremony? Where, exactly will it be? And what I can say at this point is: Hold steady! We are working on our protocols and plans and will get back to you with details as soon as possible.
Okay, time to wrap this up and get this in the mail, so to speak. Next time, I want to fill you in on our plans for our first-ever stay-at-home Regional Intensive (non-) Trip! It’s shaping up really nicely.
Be well. Enjoy the spring sunshine!
All the best,