June 16, 2020
Dear Powhatan Community,
Thank you for your steadfast support, patience, forbearance, and grace during these disruptive, uncertain, and complex times. Powhatan’s strong sense of community and the genuine care we have extended to one another since March have meant so much to our students, faculty, staff and families.
As we reflect back over the past few months, the experience constantly brings us back to the mission of the school. In particular, the beginning of our mission statement provides our school community with a roadmap for moving forward and a reminder that “Powhatan School believes that successful education creates lifelong learners who use their knowledge, creativity, and skills to be confident students in an ever-changing world.” For all of us, these words have even greater meaning now, as our school community is truly living our mission and preparing students for challenges ahead.
Powhatan’s Board of Trustees and senior leadership team met for several hours yesterday afternoon to decide the next steps we will take moving forward through this challenging time. Our preeminent priorities continue to be:
1. Attending resolutely to the health, safety, and well-being of our children, our faculty, our staff, our families – and anyone present on our campus.
2. Preserving and strengthening our School’s timeless and noble mission of nurturing mind, body, and heart.
3. Communicating candidly and frequently with our school family.
After lengthy discussion, careful consideration of the helpful data collected from the surveys distributed to parents and faculty, and review of the Virginia Department of Education Recover, Redesign and Restart 2020 school opening requirements, your Trustees have unanimously made the following decisions:
1. We plan to begin school – five days a week – with all students on campus starting Wednesday, August 26, 2020. We intend to conduct a full school year during 2020-2021.
2. On July 15 th , the school will send each enrolled family our Powhatan Recovery Plan which will have specific information addressing the measures Powhatan is taking so we can start the school year together. Topics to be addressed in this plan include physical distancing, handwashing, sanitation, classroom sizes, transportation procedures, athletic guidelines, health checks, and management of new COVID-19 cases. Powhatan is adjusting its budget further to ensure that we have the requisite measures in place while also maintaining as much of the unique Powhatan experience as possible.
3. We have now approved $300,000 in additional financial aid above and beyond our traditional budget. We are determined to do all we can to help families experiencing significant financial stress remain a part of our school community. Our Emergency Financial Aid Fund continues to grow, and we thank all families who have donated to this important fund.
4. If a recurrence of COVID-19 forces us to go to remote learning for a prolonged period of time – 40 days beyond the usual 10 days we allow for short term and long term school closures – we shall refund $1,500 for each student. This amount will be prorated for those receiving financial aid. If we have to pivot to remote learning beyond 50 days, Powhatan will decide on an additional good-faith refund.
We are extremely grateful to the Board of Trustees for taking these important steps to help our families and our school move forward. We are also continually impressed with the hours of work the faculty, administration, and trustees have put into thinking through this process and visioning our program for the 2020-2021 academic year.
With gratitude for your continuing support and encouragement,
Sue Scarborough & Billy Peebles