Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Page last updated: 7/2/2020, 2:15 pm

National Cathedral School is carefully monitoring the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and responding swiftly to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors in this evolving and unpredictable situation.
 
At this time, NCS buildings are closed to faculty, staff, parents, students, and visitors.
 
As information and plans change, we will update our community directly through email. This page serves to gather messages sent to parents from the school and other related information.
 

Questions? Comments?

Please send your comments or questions regarding COVID-19, including about planning and preparedness measures, directly to NCSHealth@cathedral.org.
Beginning Tuesday, March 31, NCS enacted our Remote Learning Plan for student instruction for the final eight weeks of the 2019-2020 school year.
 

Our Remote Learning Plan
is available online for your review.

 
With the school year concluded, NCS administrators and staff will remain off-campus over the 2020 summer and connect online through email, MyNCS, and other online tools.
 
We are eager to welcome students back to campus for the 2020-2021 school year, and we are exploring several potential scenarios for the fall, all of which are based on health and safety guidelines developed by health and government officials. Decisions will be shared with enrolled families as soon as possible. In the meantime, back-to-school information is online on MyNCS for parents.
 
Rentals and summer camps that normally take place in our buildings over the summer have been canceled in the interest of public health.
 
We are grateful for the flexibility and good will that families have provided NCS during this unprecedented challenge. Despite the uncertainty that remains, we are committed to keeping our community informed about the road ahead.

NCS Updates

List of 23 items.

  • July 6, 2020: An Update on Commencement Activities

    Dear Class of 2020 Graduates and Parents,
     
    It is a pleasure to write you for the first time as graduates and parents of graduates! We join you in being so proud of the accomplishments of the wonderful Class of 2020 and excited about the upcoming Commencement ceremony and associated events for our Visionaries.
     
    As we develop plans for the 2020-2021 academic year, considering how best to celebrate Commencement has been just as much of a priority, as we considered multiple scenarios and stayed abreast of health and safety recommendations for events and gatherings in Washington, D.C.
     
    As we demonstrated through your School Closing and Diploma Conferral ceremonies in June, it is important to honor the hard work and accomplishments of the Class of 2020 through NCS rituals and traditions. We also know the significance of the class being together as much as possible. The challenge has been fulfilling this responsibility while heeding the guidance and, in some cases, requirements coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the D.C. government, and other health experts.
     
    The Class of 2020 has shared with us that its highest wish in any in-person Commencement events is to graduate inside the Cathedral. That priority ultimately drove our planning of the following events:
     
    Virtual Commencement Rehearsal on July 28
     
    On Tuesday, July 28, Dean Clark and Sra. Riquelme-Manzoni will host two Zoom sessions—one at noon and another at 6:00 pm—in which the Class of 2020 can reconnect and learn details about the festivities ahead.
     
    Homeroom Celebrations on July 31
     
    On Friday, July 31, our graduates are invited by homeroom to drive into Hearst Circle to pick up graduation-related materials, including their caps and gowns, to reconnect with one another—practicing social distancing—and to receive a few surprises from the school.
     
    We hope graduates will embrace and celebrate this opportunity to come together again as a homeroom, whether that is through decorating cars, wearing matching clothes, and/or presenting their advisor with the traditional paper-plate award.
     
    NCS will take informal photos, including a group photo of the advisory. These will be emailed to graduates the following week.
     
    The drive-up homeroom celebrations at the circle are planned in 30-minute increments. The July 31 advisory schedule is:
    • 1:00-1:30 pm: Blumer
    • 1:30-2:00 pm: Brevard
    • 2:00-2:30 pm: DiQuinzio
    • 2:30-3:00 pm: Flores
    • 3:00-3:30 pm: Jacobs
    • 3:30-4:00 pm: Maaia
    • 4:00-4:30 pm: Riquelme
    • 4:30-5:00 pm: Sinbondit
    • 5:00-5:30 pm: Villalta
    Flag Day and Commencement Ceremony on Aug. 1
     
    On Saturday, Aug. 1, at 9:00 am, NCS will conduct a graduation ceremony in the Cathedral that combines elements of Flag Day and Commencement.
     
    Whether family members will be able to attend in person depends on the D.C. government's reopening phase in place on Aug. 1:
    • If the District is in Phase 3 (when gatherings in a house of worship may have no more than 250 people), each of the 70 Class of 2020 graduates may invite two guests to attend the ceremony. Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony.
    • If we are still in Phase 2 (when gatherings in a house of worship may not exceed 100 people), attendance will be limited to the Class of 2020 and people who have an essential role in the ceremony.
    Either way, the ceremony will be live-streamed online, and recordings and photographs of the event will be made available. Immediately after the service, a "social-distancing photo booth" outside the Cathedral will provide a spot where family members can be professionally photographed with their graduate.
     
    Due to the combined nature of this service, graduates may elect to wear their cap and gown, traditional Flag Day attire, or other white attire that suits a ceremony inside the Cathedral.
     
    Health Considerations
     
    Some graduates and parents may feel uncomfortable being part of any large gathering, and we respect the range of judgments that people will reach about participation. In spite of the precautions we have arranged, NCS cannot eliminate the health risk facing those who join us in person. Please know that all 70 members of the Class of 2020 will be named and celebrated on Aug. 1, including those who may not be in the Cathedral on that day. Please email Sra. Riquelme by Tuesday, July 27, if you are unable to participate in the celebrations on July 31 or Aug. 1.
     
    Finally, the plans outlined here are based on current health information and remain subject to change. We will communicate to you any necessary updates as soon as possible.
     
    We are proud of the accomplishments of every member of the Class of 2020 and the leadership the class exhibited throughout the 2019-2020 school year. We look forward to seeing you soon and having the chance to celebrate you in person after being apart for so long.
     
    Warmly,
     
    Head of School
     
    Associate Head of School/Head of the Upper School
     
    Dean of Student Life
     
    Senior Class Dean
  • July 1, 2020: Information About the Start of 2020-2021 Classes

    Dear NCS Parents and Students,

    As our country deals this summer with racial and political tensions and the continued spread of the coronavirus, schools around the nation face the additional challenge of planning for the 2020-2021 academic year amid the moving target of public health. Shortly you will receive an update on our school's current work and plan for future work in the fields of diversity, equity, and inclusion; today, we share our preliminary plan for returning to campus in the fall. At NCS, we have embraced the opportunity to learn from our experience of this spring and to consider at length those elements of an NCS education that are most essential to student success.

    Since late May, three working groups of NCS administrators have investigated myriad options for resuming on-campus instruction and other aspects of school life that are safe, academically sound, and fiscally responsible. These groups have consulted with experts including physicians, government health officials, and fellow academic leaders. Among the many questions considered in our work, three particularly stood out:
    • How do we best fulfill our foremost responsibility, providing a safe environment at NCS for our students, faculty, and staff?
    • How do we design a learning environment that both builds on the strength of our teaching team and the capabilities of our students and stays true to our commitment to excellence in education, strong student-teacher relationships, and robust co-curricular offerings?
    • How can these environments adapt to what may be an unpredictable mix of remote and in-person learning this year?
    We have decided upon a blended-learning model for 2020-2021 that combines in-person classwork on campus with remote learning online. This plan draws from feedback from NCS parents, faculty, and students (including focus groups and surveys), government guidelines and recommendations for opening school, and input from doctors and U.S. and international schools that have already returned to campus after a period of distance learning.

    We learned that preserving the sense of community and personal connection between students, teachers, and colleagues was vital. Formal and informal community gatherings this spring, whether chapel or homeroom meetings, helped NCS students develop and maintain a sense of community. Asynchronous learning opportunities provided opportunities for students to employ their design-thinking and collaborative team-building skills, attributes that we intend to enhance this school year.

    We applaud our teachers for the heavy lift they took on this spring and are grateful for their talent, expertise, and willingness to pivot under extreme circumstances. Recognizing the need for planning, retooling, and reimagining the curriculum, our faculty is engaged this summer in training and curriculum development work focused on designing hybrid courses.

    Back-to-Campus Instruction Highlights
    So that no more than 10 students may be in a classroom at one time, Lower, Middle, and Upper School students will be divided into two teams, or cohorts. Each week, the cohorts will switch locations, with one on campus for in-person learning and the other in remote learning.

    Assuming health considerations for opening school are met, in-person classes for Cohort 1 would begin on Tuesday, Sept. 1; Cohort 2's school year would begin on campus on Tuesday, Sept. 8, while Cohort 1 is at home learning remotely.

    Teachers would be on campus continually throughout the school year to deliver instruction to students in each cohort.

    We will communicate cohort assignments no later than Monday, Aug. 3. Within each cohort, we will work to schedule students in groups to minimize risk.

    Because we are adjusting the previously announced school schedule for half of our students, we feel it important to share the broad strokes of our plan now, even as other details are still being finalized. A detailed description of our plan will be shared with you later this month.

    In addition, we share highlights of the health and safety guidelines we intend to implement for the 2020-2021 school year. Again, this information is an overview, and it will update as events evolve, but it provides a sense of the school's plans with the information we have now. As with our remote learning plan in the spring, we will continually assess our back-to-school plan and adjust it in response to public health demands and the learning needs of our students.

    Some students may be unable to return to school due to medical conditions, whether personal or familial, that present a higher risk with coronavirus. We are creating a confidential form for the Health Portal on MyNCS, through which parents may communicate this information. Forms submitted through the Health Portal, a third-party, HIPAA-compliant website, will be reviewed by the school nurse, and all information will be held in confidence.

    As health guidelines and recommendations from the experts change, we will continue to update you by email. Families are important partners in implementing our back-to-campus plan and in ensuring that children adhere to safety measures while they are at NCS or at home.

    The start of a new school year is always a special time, full of hopes and possibilities. This year is no exception, even with a backdrop quite different than one could have imagined. We have deeply missed being among our students for these many months, and many of you have told us that your children miss us, too. (Almost as much as their friends!)

    So, we approach September with keen anticipation, confident that this will be a memorable year at NCS for all the right reasons. We also hold deep gratitude for the support from our families, the resilience of our students, and the talents of an exceptional team.

    Sincerely,
    Susan C. Bosland
    Head of School

    Denise Brown-Allen, EdD
    Associate Head of School/Head of Upper School

    Paige Blumer
    Head of Middle School

    Rebecca Jones
    Head of Lower School
  • June 9, 2020: Information About Retrieving Personal Items Still at School

    Dear NCS families,
     
    As the year draws to a close, we know that our students have materials at school that they would like to retrieve or, if they are not returning in the fall, need to retrieve or return. Given our commitment to keeping our students safe, we have developed the following plan to accommodate these needs:
     
    Picking Up Items
     
    Unfortunately, no students will be allowed into school buildings before we return for the 2020-2021 school year. Contents of assigned lockers, desks, and cubbies will be emptied into boxes by a school employee wearing a mask and gloves. This will occur on a rolling basis throughout June, with priority given to non-returning students. Items in common areas, hook rooms, and art rooms can be retrieved when we return for next school year. More information on this, including how we will coordinate pickup when your student's belongings are ready, will come from divisions shortly.
     
    If you are uncomfortable coming to campus for curbside pickup or are unable to pick up boxed items, you may choose to leave the items until next school year, or they can be shipped.
     
    School-Issued Devices, Library Books, and School-Owned Textbooks
     
    Lower and Middle School students who are returning to NCS in 2020-2021 will be allowed to keep their iPads for the summer. We ask that all families review with their student/s the expectations for acceptable use of this property.
     
    Students who are not returning should leave their devices and other school property, including library books, and school-owned textbooks (as well as any unwanted textbooks they would like to donate), in the designated location when they come to pick up their boxed belongings.
     
    Sincerely,
    Associate Head of School/Head of the Upper School
     
    Head of the Middle School
     
    Head of the Lower School
  • June 2, 2020: Information on This Week's End-of-Year Ceremonies

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    This week, National Cathedral School is observing several ceremonies to end the 2019-2020 academic year and send our students into summer. These include:
    • The Lower School Closing Ceremony this morning
    • The Middle School Closing Ceremony on Wednesday, June 3, at 10:00 am
    • A School Awards and Closing Ceremony on Friday, June 5, at 9:00 am
    • A Diploma Conferral Ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Saturday, June 6, at 5:00 pm
    Each of these ceremonies is an occasion of transition and celebration, and we welcome the entire school community to attend any and all of them to cheer on these wonderful students.
     
    Wednesday's Middle School closing will recognize the students in Grade 8 who are concluding their time in the division. Similarly, today's Lower School ceremony honored the students in Grade 6.
     
    The School Awards and Closing Ceremony will showcase the academic, athletic, artistic, and service accomplishments of the Class of 2020 and select members of the Upper School, as determined by the faculty and peers. In addition, there will be a recognition of Lower and Middle School graduates, the much-anticipated announcement of the Purple or Gold Team winner for 2019-2020, and an address by Anaya Rodgers '20, who has been selected by her classmates.
     
    The Saturday ceremony will individually recognize each graduating senior and officially note the Class of 2020's completion of academic studies at NCS. Both Friday and Saturday's ceremonies will be viewable online at ncs.cathedral.org.
     
    With the school campus and the Cathedral closed, the online School Awards and Closing Ceremony and Diploma Conferral Ceremony have been planned since we are unable to come together for our annual Flag Day celebration and Commencement. Our traditional year-ending events have been rescheduled to Aug. 1 and 3, respectively, when we hope and expect to gather once again in person. The new ceremonies will have elements of Flag Day and Commencement, but they will differ in other respects. For example, the procession of the senior class and presentation of diplomas are special moments that we hope to witness together in August. We will send specific information about these events this summer.
     
    NCS is making every effort, even during a challenging time in our nation’s history, to ensure that this week of closing celebrations will be special and memorable for all Lower, Middle, and Upper School students, as well as for the visionary Class of 2020. We look forward to you joining us at these important events in the life of our school.
     
    Sincerely,
    Sue Bosland
    Head of School
     
    Denise Brown-Allen
    Associate Head of School/Head of the Upper School
     
    Paige Blumer
    Head of the Middle School
     
    Rebecca Jones
    Head of the Lower School
  • May 8, 2020: A Message From the Governing Board Chair and Head of School

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    We hope this letter finds you and your families safe and well during this unprecedented and uncertain time. We are thankful for and inspired by the courage, compassion, and fortitude of our NCS community. We write today to share with you the measures we are taking to support our community and to safeguard the continued financial health of National Cathedral School.
     
    When the Close institutions made the decision to transition to a remote-learning environment in the face of the emerging pandemic, we did so based on advice from medical experts and guided by our priority to protect the health and safety of our community. As we move forward, the NCS administration and Governing Board will continue to make adjustments, both short-term and long-term, to anticipate and address the impacts of this ongoing public health crisis and to prioritize the welfare of our school and community.
     
    We are profoundly grateful for the resilience each member of our community has demonstrated throughout this difficult time. Our exceptional administration, faculty, and staff have devoted countless hours to ensure that NCS continues to provide the best educational experience for our students. They have redesigned the curriculum to balance real-time instruction by video with asynchronous learning while keeping in mind the needs of their students. They have creatively integrated into the school day familiar activities and traditions—Cathedral and chapel services, clubs, homerooms and even athletic training—in reimagined ways. Their commitment to ensuring that our students continue to receive the challenging, innovative, and nurturing educational experience that is the hallmark of NCS is truly inspiring.
     
    We also are grateful to our families and students, who have embraced our new learning environment with patience, creativity, and flexibility. We appreciate your support and your compassion for one another as we undertake this journey together. Never has the value of an NCS education been as evident as in difficult times such as these as our community continues to live by our core values of excellence, service, courage, and conscience.
     
    Even as we celebrate the resilience of our community, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has created financial uncertainties for NCS and many of our families. As the markets decline and unemployment continues to rise, many in our community will experience, and already are experiencing, financial hardship. The closure of our campus has resulted in the loss of rental and other auxiliary income that will impact NCS's operating budget. Our endowment investments are carefully stewarded. Nonetheless, the downturn in the financial markets has caused a decrease in the value of our endowment, which may affect future endowment draws supporting our operating budget.
     
    In order to help us navigate the changing economic landscape, the Governing Board has created a Pandemic Response Task Force, composed of members of the Board and the school administration. The Task Force already is identifying and assessing the anticipated impact of the pandemic on NCS finances, enrollment, operations, and financial aid and will recommend strategies for addressing these challenges.
     
    Notwithstanding the expected fiscal pressures, the Governing Board is committed to assist vulnerable members of our community and to ensure the ongoing financial sustainability of NCS. To this end, the NCS administration and the Board have moved forward on a number of initiatives:
    • The Governing Board has established a Pandemic Relief Fund, separate from our traditional financial aid program, to provide short-term supplemental financial aid to our families who encounter financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that no family will have to leave NCS because of financial difficulties resulting from this unprecedented public health crisis. We are grateful to the members of our community who already have pledged to support this initiative. If you would like to make a gift to the Pandemic Relief Fund, please contact Director of Development Richard Hastings or phone (202-567-6357). You may also make a gift online; place the gift amount under "Other," and indicate "Pandemic Relief Fund" under "Comments."
    • The NCS Development Office and volunteers continue their outreach in support of the Annual Fund, which is critical to NCS's operations and mission. Your Annual Fund gift enables NCS to fund the financial aid program, to support great teaching, and to keep the NCS community strong and connected. Your gift is important, now more than ever. We currently are $288,218 from meeting our Annual Fund goal. If you have not yet made a gift to the Annual Fund, please consider doing so today.
    • The Board is committed to supporting our invaluable faculty and staff, who are dedicated to our students and essential to NCS's educational mission. The school continues to employ and compensate our employees and contractors, to support our employee wellness programs, and to provide flexibility for unexpected emergencies.
    • We have reversed charges for cancelled events and programs that would have occurred in the spring and that are normally billed separate from tuition and mandatory fees. These reversed charges include, most notably, spring break trips (all of which were canceled).
    • We have assisted families and faculty with additional training and technology support to enable them to participate fully in our remote-learning programs.
    • The NCS Care Committee, composed of members of the administration, faculty, and staff, is helping to connect families who need immediate assistance with supportive resources.
    • We are monitoring our non-payroll discretionary expenses to identify and reduce those that are not critical to NCS's academic programs.
    • The Board is prudently stewarding our endowment funds. The endowment is the fiscal foundation that underlies NCS's future, providing sustainable financial support to serve the school's mission in perpetuity.
    • NCS considered and did not apply for funding from the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.
    Over the next weeks and months, as the situation evolves, we will continue to monitor closely our finances and operations and to assess options and possibilities for resuming on-campus instruction for the coming school year. We expect that there will be challenges and compromises and we will need to plan for multiple potential scenarios for the fall. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work through these complex decisions. Thank you for believing in NCS's mission, the strength of our community, and the enduring legacy of National Cathedral School.
     
    With sincere gratitude,
    Ellen M. Jakovic
    Chair, NCS Governing Board
     
    Susan C. Bosland
    Head of School
  • May 4, 2020: A Message From the Heads of the 3 Close Schools

    Dear Beauvoir, NCS, and St. Albans Communities:
     
    We write today with disappointment and sadness to advise you that, after much reflection and consultation with public health experts, the three Cathedral schools will continue in distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
     
    As much as we had hoped to see your wonderful children in person again this spring, we ultimately concluded it would not be responsible, given the continuing health risks and challenges involved, to bring all our students and faculty back to school after May 15, even under the various modified schedules and scenarios we considered. We promise to keep your children academically engaged in distance learning through the end of the year and remain committed to supporting our community in every way we can.
     
    While we are keenly aware of the significant challenges involved, we have not foreclosed the possibility that some form of in-person ceremony or celebration might be arranged for a smaller universe of our students during the first week of June—specifically the 3rd-grade graduates of Beauvoir and the seniors at NCS and St. Albans, who are struggling with an especially profound sense of sadness at the loss of their final rites of passage and culminating experiences.
     
    We want to be careful to manage expectations: The possibility of in-person ceremonies in June is contingent, of course, on a host of variables we cannot predict or control related to the status of D.C. stay-at-home orders and public health directives. And the ceremonies, even under the most optimistic scenarios, would still require extensive curation, with mandated social distancing, limited audiences, and a host of other constraints and precautions.
     
    If early June proves unworkable, the plan is for some of the end-of-year ceremonies to be reimagined in virtual form, with others rescheduled in the Cathedral for later in the summer, when restrictions on in-person gatherings are perhaps more likely to ease. Individual schools will communicate separately with their "graduating" students and families in the coming days to provide more detail.
     
    Throughout this planning, we are holding dear the goals of teaching and engaging your children in learning, honoring and celebrating them to the fullest extent possible, while never forgetting our obligation to safeguard the health of our students, faculty, families, and the world beyond our schools.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Cindi Gibbs-Wilborn
    Head of School
    Beauvoir School
     
    Sue Bosland
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
     
    Jason Robinson
    Headmaster
    St. Albans School
  • April 17, 2020: An Update From the Division Heads on Assessments and Grades

    Dear NCS Families,
     
    We hope this message finds you well and safe. We are writing today to provide an update on how NCS will handle assessments and grades. This has been a topic of broad interest for students and parents alike as we enter into this new dynamic of remote learning.
     
    Since we created our Remote Learning Plan, we have been mindful that assessments for students in an online environment must necessarily differ from those for a classroom setting. At the same time, assessments create the valuable opportunity of recording how a student is faring and identifying areas of student strength and areas for additional work.
     
    On Wednesday, our teachers took time to reflect on takeaways of the past two weeks, work on lesson plans, and learn about new assessment tools. Teaching and providing feedback in an online environment requires a recalibration of the curriculum, learning goals for the term, and determining how we will assess that learning. We will continue to assess and provide feedback to students regularly, yet with less frequency and differently, as necessitated by the circumstances of the time. For example, to allow for additional teaching time, the Middle and Upper Schools will not give traditional final exams and instead will hold classes May 26-29.
     
    During the first two weeks of remote learning, grades were not included in the cumulative course grade for the term. Now, after two cycles of remote learning, we have determined that NCS will continue to assess and provide feedback to students regularly. The form of the assessments and their impact on grades will differ by division, to account for developmental and schedule differences (semester vs. trimester). The specifics of each division's plan follow.

    Lower School

    As noted in the Remote Learning Plan, the Lower School will not report grades for the third trimester or a final cumulative grade for the year. At the end of the trimester, parents will receive a narrative report—similar to what was created at the end of Trimester 1, but with no letter grades.
     
    Students are receiving feedback on their work from their teachers online. This feedback is not easy to share separately with parents, so you might ask your child to discuss with you work that has been returned and to review the comments together.

    Middle School

    We will report traditional grades at the end of the third trimester, recognizing that this provides familiarity and direction for students. At the same time, the grades will count differently toward a student’s year-end grade than those of the first two trimesters.
     
    Third-trimester grades will carry less weight than other trimesters in establishing the year-end grade, to more accurately reflect the difference in volume and type of work completed. 
     
    If a student's third-trimester grade would lower the year grade in a course, it will not be factored into the year-end calculation. If the grade will lift the year grade, it will be considered in the year-end calculation.
     
    A grade of 60 percent or higher is still the bar for passing the requirements of a course in a given trimester.
     
    The trimester grade will provide next year's teachers a data point in determining concepts that may need additional supplementation. 
     
    Amid remote learning, one thing remains unchanged: Middle School grades do not become part of a student's Upper School transcript.

    Upper School

    In addition to verbal and written comments from teachers, letter and numeric grades help students understand their level of progress and performance in their courses. After carefully examining the advantages and disadvantages of moving to an alternate grading system, we will continue to use letter/numeric grades for report cards, and letter grades will be reflected on transcripts, as we have done in the past. In making this decision, we considered feedback from department chairs, faculty, students and parents, reviewed how colleges and other independent schools were handling grading, and looked at recommendations from educational researchers on grading during this crisis.
     
    Before determining a student's final Semester 2 grade, her Indicator 2 grade will be used as a performance marker, below which we would not anticipate the Semester 2 grade to fall. Since we trust our students are working earnestly to maintain or raise their Indicator 2 grades, the indicator grade serves as a safety net, given the student has worked to the best of her ability to meet course requirements under these unusual circumstances.
     
    We ask students and parents to be in communication with the child's teachers, advisor, class dean, counselors, the learning specialist, and/or the division head immediately if any changes impact student learning.
     
    * * *
     
    While responses to our constituent surveys indicate our Remote Learning Plan is providing a positive academic experience for most of our students, we acknowledge that learning differences, stress, access to technology, appropriate workspaces, etc. will impact both teachers' and students' ability to work at capacity. We understand different circumstances exist and will support any family or child by making individual adjustments where needed.
     
    As always, we welcome families to start a dialogue with us if factors in the life of their student infringe on her ability to complete work or assessments.
     
    We are grateful for all you have done and continue to do in community with us, and we will continue to keep you updated on any tweaks or updates that may change the workflow at home.
     
    Best wishes,
    Associate Head of School/Head of the Upper School
     
    Head of the Middle School
     
    Head of the Lower School
  • April 15, 2020: Cathedral Schools to Remain Closed Through May 15

    Dear Parents, Caregivers, Faculty, and Staff of Beauvoir, National Cathedral School, and St. Albans:
     
    The three Cathedral schools have decided to keep our campuses closed and extend our distance learning programs through Friday, May 15, 2020. This will align us with previously announced closures at the Cathedral as well as D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's announcement today that the stay-at-home order and the public health emergency for Washington, D.C., will last at least through May 15.
     
    We deeply miss seeing you and your children at school, but we feel this is the best decision for the health and safety of all our families, our city, and the wider community.
     
    As we continue to assess when to reopen, each school is examining our distance-learning plans and developing contingency plans in case we are unable to return to the Close this school year. This, of course, would mean different things for our campuses and our individual traditions and celebrations. We are committed to informing you of any updates as soon as possible.
     
    We hope you and your families are safe and healthy, and we are praying for all of you. Please let us know if there are ways we can help you and your family. Thank you for your continuing support and good wishes.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Cindi Gibbs-Wilborn
    Head of School
    Beauvoir School
     
    Sue Bosland
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
     
    Jason Robinson
    Headmaster
    St. Albans School
  • April 10, 2020: A Message From the Head of School

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    As we near the end of our second week of remote learning, I hope you and your family are staying well! I wish I could talk to each of you individually to hear how you are doing during this difficult time and to let you know how much I, and the faculty and staff, miss you.
     
    I am in awe of the way our NCS community has come together, is working collaboratively, showing admirable resilience, working hard, and planning with thoughtfulness and thoroughness. I have participated in the first remote all-school Cathedral service, attended a parent coffee, joined a Lower School faculty/staff meeting, answered questions at a senior-class gathering, and more. In each case, I was so impressed by the embracing spirit of community, the sharing of expertise, the openness to sharing perspectives, and the comprehensive information discussed. Thank you for your continued dedication and support.
     
    I would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt thoughts and prayers to anyone suffering from illness, sorrow, or hardship during this difficult time. Our collective gratitude is extended to all healthcare professionals and their families, and everyone who is assisting, treating and potentially discovering a way to eradicate COVID-19—including NCS alumnae and parents past and present.
     
    We are seeking feedback from parents, students, and faculty/staff as we monitor and assess our Remote Learning Plan. Your input is important and appreciated. Parents, we encourage you to fill out the survey that the division heads linked to yesterday in the weekly Bulletin. We are gathering feedback from students, faculty, and staff, as well.
     
    NCS and the other Close schools are reviewing the feasibility of returning to school on April 27, as previously announced. In addition, we are reviewing the calendar and thoughtfully deciding how to proceed with various events, performances, and meetings. Our preference is to postpone or re-imagine, rather than cancel, an event. We understand how important our traditions and community gatherings are to the fabric of our school experience and are trying to do everything in our power to sustain the positive impact of each experience—for the students, families, and faculty/staff.
     
    In the meantime, I look forward to seeing and hearing about the great work our school community is producing in the virtual classrooms, with colleagues, and within departments and divisions. Please contact me if you have any comments, questions, suggestions at my email address: sbosland@cathedral.org.
     
    Best regards,
    Susan C. Bosland
    Head of School
  • April 3, 2020: A Message From the Head of School

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    National Cathedral School welcomes you back from spring break! As we metaphorically reopened the doors to education this week, we began a new journey together that includes a whole new way of teaching and learning remotely! Please be assured that, although each day will look and feel very different from what we are all used to in a normal school year, we are here for you. We are excited to begin this new academic adventure, as well as to embrace the possibilities for community connection, collaboration, and innovation.
     
    Students – We realize that these next several weeks will not match what you had anticipated when you began this school year. Our aim is to sustain a strong educational program for you, as well as to plan for and schedule the traditional gathering times that ground us and unite us as a community: Cathedral, clubs, homerooms, advisory, and special events. Seniors, our leaders, the Class of 2020—you are in the forefront of our minds. Please know that we are thinking of you and will work collaboratively with you to plan for a wonderful, if highly unique, spring term! We know that many pinnacle NCS traditions take place in the spring—including Flag Day, prom, and Commencement. We want to consider all options—and perhaps even some new traditions—as we move through the next several weeks. (Your ideas are welcome!) All grades have important milestones, and we will work to offer meaningful virtual experiences across the grade levels, as well.
     
    Faculty and Staff – Thank you for your tireless and innovative work to prepare the Remote Learning Plan, to keep the departments in the school moving forward, and to plan for a productive and meaningful spring term. We are grateful for your strong expertise and comprehensive experience, which have enabled you to pivot to a new academic delivery methodology for our students, one that remains mission-driven and will provide continuity and community over the next several weeks.
     
    Families – As we begin delivering a remote-learning educational experience, know that NCS continues to prioritize our core values of excellence, service, courage, and conscience. Our educational plan includes an incremental rollout, as each child learns to utilize new educational tools and familiarize herself with remote learning. The teaching and learning plans differ, depending on your child’s grade level, but everyone will be learning new strategies and skills to maximize learning in these first several days, and the process will begin to feel more routine over the next couple of weeks.
     
    We will closely monitor our educational plan and assess its various components on an ongoing basis. We want to meet the needs of each student, provide an appropriately challenging academic program, support students in their studies, and present a holistic learning experience that recognizes the appropriate social and emotional needs of children at each grade level. We will seek feedback soon, from our students and families, after we all have experienced this initial adjustment period.
     
    NCS's team of administrators, as well as the grade deans, homeroom teachers, your child's advisors and teachers, the Teaching and Learning Center co-directors, counselors, chaplains, college advisors, coaches and more, are always available to you as resources. We want to keep in touch with you and will offer various opportunities for parents to join us remotely for morning prayer services, Cathedrals, coffees, events, and more. I welcome your input at any time, including your suggestions, questions, and/or general feedback. Also, please let us know if you need our help and support. Please send your thoughts to sbosland@cathedral.org.
     
    I look forward to the NCS halls being filled once again with students laughing and sharing stories, the morning dining room tunes wafting up the Hearst Hall stairs, classrooms engaging in thoughtful discussions, and parents joining us in Hearst Auditorium and the Cathedral for coffees and special events! Until then, I hope everyone stays well and weathers this difficult time in the smoothest and healthiest ways possible. Please know we profoundly miss seeing you and will continue to work diligently and with care to provide an outstanding remote-learning education for your children during this global pandemic.
     
    Warmest regards,
    Susan C. Bosland
    Head of School
  • April 1, 2020: A Message From the Chaplains

    Dear Members of Our NCS Community,
     
    As we remain in separate spaces during this time, we continue to be buoyed by the strength of the meaningful relationships we share with one another in our community. Even during this time of physical separation, we continue to share our thoughts, prayers, and love with each other. Your chaplains are praying for the health and safety of our community.
     
    We are each experiencing drastic changes to our routines and patterns of life. Some of us are caring for sick or vulnerable family members, and others are juggling life at home while trying to work. We have had to pause some of our meaningful activities and adapt to others online. We are navigating friendships without our usual rhythm of being together. There is grief in letting go of regular activities that we enjoy and in prolonged physical distance from friends, family, neighbors, teachers, and colleagues. We may find ourselves feeling more isolated and disoriented by new demands coming from school or work. Through all this, we are not alone. We share this as a community, both here at NCS and across the world. The news we hear each day reminds us that each life matters immensely. At this challenging time, we hope that you find moments to care for yourself as you also care for your loved ones.
     
    We are writing today to let you know some of what we offer to stay spiritually grounded and connected during this time:
    • On school days, students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends of NCS are welcome to join us for a daily service of Morning Prayer at 8:00 am on Zoom. [Contact NCS for information on how to join these meetings.]
    • Regularly scheduled all-school Cathedral services will be held on Zoom at 9:15 am on C Days. Our first will be April 7 at 9:15 am. [Contact NCS for information on how to join these meetings.]
    We look forward to the creative ways that we will use technology to support our chapel and Cathedral services throughout our time of distance learning.
     
    Next week is a very holy time for Jews and Christians. Passover begins next Wednesday evening;  Holy Week and Easter will be observed by many Christians. We are aware that these observances will be quite different this year, and we pray that these sacred days will be a meaningful and blessed time for all. For those interested in Holy Week and Easter worship options,  we commend the  online worship offerings of Washington National Cathedral.
     
    We are living through an unprecedented time, and we may all find ourselves needing support or spiritual comfort at one time or another. We'd like to share the Cathedral's online resources page, and the Aspen Institute also provides prayer resources from several faith traditions. If you have intentions for prayer that you would like to share with us, either for our individual personal prayers or for the prayers said during our chapel services, please use this form.
     
    Finally, please know that we are here for you and available. Please reach out to us via email or phone if we can be helpful to you in any way.
     
    Holding you in our prayers and love,
     
    The Rev. Cameron Soulis (LS): 202-495-0724, csoulis@cathedral.org
    Ms. Rachel Mumford (MS): 202-556-1345 rmumford@cathedral.org
    The Rev. Eva Cavaleri (US): 202-695-2981, ecavaleri@cathedral.org
     
    Prayer for People Who Are Facing Great Uncertainty
     
    God of the present moment,
    God who stills the storm
    and soothes the frantic heart;
    bring hope and courage to all
    who wait or work in uncertainty.
    Bring hope that you will make them the equal
    of whatever lies ahead.
    Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
    for your will is health and wholeness;
    you are God, and we need you. Amen.
     
    —Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765
  • March 26, 2020: A Message From the 3 Close Schools

    Dear Parents, Caregivers, Faculty, and Staff of Beauvoir, National Cathedral School, and St. Albans:
     
    In these closing days of spring break, we are looking forward to next week’s return to learning. This has been a break that no one in our Close community will forget, our annual time for rejuvenation and relaxation irrevocably altered by the coronavirus pandemic. We pray for the return to health of those afflicted over the past month and that all in our community may find peace, grace, and courage in this troubling time. Most of all, we eagerly anticipate being once again with the wonderful people who fill our schools.
     
    Unfortunately, that reunion will be further delayed than we had thought even a week ago. As you may know, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has prohibited public gatherings of 10 or more people through Friday, April 24. Beauvoir, NCS, and St. Albans will extend the closure of our school buildings until Monday, April 27.
     
    Each school is excited to share more about its remote learning plans later today. Remote learning classes will run through Friday, April 24. As that date approaches, we will continue to reassess the situation.
     
    We know that you have questions about school events in the days and weeks to come, and whether they will occur as scheduled. Throughout the break, we have continued to ask the guidance of public health and safety experts, and we hold hope that our calendars will be affected as little as possible. Yet at this unpredictable time, we must dedicate ourselves, first and foremost, to protecting the health and safety of students, families, faculty, and staff. Please be assured that each school will communicate with you on schedule changes as soon as is possible.
     
    Thank you for your continuing support and good wishes as we navigate this uncharted path together.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Cindi Gibbs-Wilborn
    Head of School
    Beauvoir School
     
    Sue Bosland
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
     
    Jason Robinson
    Headmaster
    St. Albans School
  • March 23, 2020: A Message to Lower School Parents

    Dear LS Families,
     
    I was talking to a friend the other day, and he was lamenting how hard it is to keep his two kids occupied. We chuckled that he is teaching his kids more than I am teaching at the moment!
     
    I realize we are on spring break and our return to academics begins on March 31, but you are still home with your families and likely looking for things to do to occupy their time since playdates are not happening. Below I offer some suggestions and resources for you to use now or anytime in the next few weeks.
     
    First, I would encourage you to allow your child to FaceTime or video chat with friends each day. It is so important to maintain that contact with friends, particularly in times like these! Perhaps we need to rephrase to physical distancing rather than social distancing ... socializing is needed, even if virtually.
     
    Here is a brainstorm list of things kids can do with and without parents:
    1. Make a milk carton birdhouse.
    2. Cook with a parent or sibling.
    3. Learn to code: Here are some free resources:
      1. https://code.org/
      2. http://www.crunchzilla.com/code-monster
      3. https://scratch.mit.edu/
      4. https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/
    4. Play a board game.
    5. Do a puzzle (I am currently working on a 1000-piece puzzle.)
    6. Listen to a podcast. Here is a link for the 25 best podcasts for kids: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/the-best-podcasts-for-kids
    7. Create a scavenger hunt or obstacle course for yourself, a parent, or a sibling to complete.
    8. Write a play and then act it out—record it and send it to family in other places.
    9. Start a garden.
    10. Build something from old boxes.
    11. Visit a museum virtually.
    12. Hike a national park virtually.
    13. Go for a walk, collect some good flat rocks, and when you get home, paint them.
    14. Have you tried geocaching? Here are four recommended FREE geocaching apps.
    15. Take a virtual field trip.
    16. Try a science experiment using items found at home.
    Here is a good local resource of what to do while still maintaining social distance.
     
    And, lastly, I found this list of ways to engage your child in some educational work as well.
     
    Friday, I walked in my neighborhood to see the cherry blossoms, and I loved seeing families out riding bikes, walking, and playing outdoor games. Being outside improves one’s mood incredibly. Rainy days like today can be a little harder. Hopefully one or two of the suggestions above appeal to your child.
     
    Wishing you all health and happiness during this very unusual time.
     
    Fondly,
    Becca Jones
    Head of Lower School
  • March 21, 2020: An Update on NCS Reunion 2020

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    NCS and St. Albans have made the difficult decision to cancel this year's Reunion weekend, which had been scheduled for May 1-3, 2020.
     
    We regret the necessity of this, as Reunion is always a highlight of our spring schedule. It is a joy for the NCS faculty and staff to welcome you back to the Close, where you can revisit favorite spots, reconnect with classmates, and celebrate the paths of your lives.
     
    Still, we feel a responsibility to provide you as much notice as possible, especially those who would be traveling to Washington, in light of the continuing unpredictability of the global health picture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance against large gatherings. You may have also seen the All Hallows Guild's recent cancellation of Flower Mart. We are committed to the health and safety of all members of the Close community as we all strive to mitigate and contain the spread of coronavirus.
     
    I am grateful to all who made plans to attend this year's Reunion, and I particularly want to thank the Reunion volunteers who generously invested time and energy into planning the weekend. Our Development team will be refunding Reunion registration fees during the coming weeks.
     
    We look forward to finding a future time to be together and to honor our special anniversary classes. If you have any questions, please contact Associate Director of Alumnae Relations Carly Schofield by email or phone (202-537-6667).
     
    I wish health and peace for you, your family, and your neighbors at this challenging time. Thank you for your ongoing support of NCS as we care for this wonderful community.
     
    Yours sincerely,
    Susan C. Bosland
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
  • March 17, 2020: Children and Social Distancing

    Dear Parents, Caregivers, and Students,
     
    We hope your spring break is off to a safe and healthy start.
     
    We realize you have received a number of communications from us over the past week, but we are sending this supplemental note to ask for your help with a very important issue.
     
    All of us are being urged to do what we can to mitigate and contain the spread of coronavirus. Those steps involve what the experts call "social distancing." Schools are closing as a public health precaution. So, too, are restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms. And federal health officials now recommend that we all avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people.
     
    The combined message is clear: Social distancing is imperative, and it is the best hope we have of avoiding an even more serious situation. Yesterday, one public health expert specifically asked young people for their help with the outbreak, by not gathering socially while they are away from school.
     
    This can be difficult advice to hear, especially in communities like ours, where close personal relationships are fundamental. It is a hardship not to see friends or to enjoy the sense of camaraderie and connection with one another, especially during an extended break from school, when so many activities have been canceled.
     
    Still, we need to heed the experts: Students should not congregate together socially—even in private homes—outside of school while on spring break and during the first two weeks after break. We hope your children will understand that, by practicing these measures, they are helping others in our community and in the broader world. For some of our youngest students and their families, we realize, it is not easy to deal with the reality of reinforcing social distancing. But please know that avoiding social gatherings at this critical time, whether a play date among our youngest students or socializing among our older students, increases everyone’s safety and health.
     
    You need not feel or appear sick to become a carrier of COVID-19, public health experts tell us, and no one wants to unknowingly infect others with this disease. The surest way to protect those around us‚ including the elderly and people with serious health conditions, is to practice social distancing.
     
    As Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health has repeatedly said in recent days, one of the greatest challenges during a pandemic is that we are always one step behind where we think we are. What feels today like an extreme measure may, in the fullness of time, turn out to be exactly what was needed to avoid more serious public health complications. We want to be ahead of that curve, not several steps behind it.
     
    A sincere thanks to our students of all ages for being thoughtful in your choices and to our parents for reinforcing this message with your children. Partnership between our schools and families is especially important at a time such as this.
     
    Dr. Fauci also said that, until a COVID-19 vaccine is ready and available, our only safeguard against this virus is our good judgment, our empathy for others, and our sense of collective responsibility. Our community possesses these qualities in abundance, and they have never been more important than they are at this moment.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Cindi Gibbs-Wilborn
    Head of School
    Beauvoir School
     
    Sue Bosland
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
     
    Jason Robinson
    Headmaster
    St. Albans School
  • March 13, 2020: A Message From the Head of School

    Dear NCS Parents, Faculty, and Staff,
     
    Thank you for your gracious support this week. This is a unique and stressful time for everyone as we face an unprecedented situation. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with each of you as we navigate these rough waters. I hope, as a school community, we can help to smooth the next several weeks for you in ways that are thoughtful, caring, and productive.
     
    I ask your forbearance for the length of this message. It is filled with details that will be useful to you, your child, and your family in the coming days, and I urge you to hold onto this email as a resource. You can also find it and other messages from the school related to COVID-19 online.
     

    School Reopening Date

    Our foremost responsibility at the Cathedral Close schools is protecting the health and safety of our students, families, faculty and staff. Following the recommendations of public health and safety experts, NCS, St. Albans, and Beauvoir have agreed that our schools intend to reopen to students, faculty, and staff on Monday, April 13.
     
    Athletic practices, scrimmages, and games before this date are canceled, as are musical and theater rehearsals and performances. Hopefully, school events scheduled before April 13 will be moved to dates later in the spring, but some may need to be canceled. We are reviewing calendar options now, keeping in mind the special traditions that are an important part of our spring. (The Junior/Senior Prom, for instance, has been moved to Friday, May 29.) Regrettably, though, there is not enough time left in the school year to reschedule all events, and some important ones may have to be canceled. We will follow up with more information on any calendar changes.
     

    Educational Plan/Athletics Schedule

    After spring break, NCS will move to a remote-learning model. Monday, March 30, will be a planning and organization day for faculty and staff, and instruction will begin on Tuesday, March 31.
     
    This model cannot replicate the in-person classroom experience; nor will it provide synchronous instruction for the full length of a school day. Rather, our goal is to maintain connection and continuity by engaging students in independent projects, reading assignments, and the like as well as in short intervals of online learning, adapted to the varied needs of Lower, Middle and Upper School students. We will also schedule advisory, class meetings, chapels, and other opportunities that engage our community online while our buildings are closed.
     
    We will provide a remote-learning guide to students, parents, faculty, and staff before we return from spring break.
     
    Although an online educational experience is quite a change from our normal school days, we will take great care to normalize the academic experience for your children. The teachers are committed and have been preparing diligently for this contingency, in case we could not return to school as scheduled. In fact, faculty devoted the day today to refining our plan. We are grateful for their talent and dedication! Our robust technology and connectivity capabilities thankfully make possible today what could not occur even a decade ago.
     
    We suggest that parents use spring break to talk with their children about ways to ease the transition to learning at home. For example, where might be the best place to work with minimal distraction? Do families feel that they are equipped with the appropriate technology and remote connection? (Please let us know if you would like assistance navigating this topic.) In addition, sustaining the relationships among our community is important. Parent discussions around how best to keep your children's friends connected would be comforting, as well.
     
    NCS and the other schools in the Independent School League (ISL) are talking daily about the impact of COVID-19 on the league schedule. The Athletic Department will also work with US Rowing and the Combined Cathedral Crew Rowing Club. Further information will be supplied shortly to coaches and Upper School athletes.
     

    Travel/Medical Protocols

    As the global travel picture keeps changing, we are getting questions about family travel over spring break.
     
    If you have travel plans, we urge you to check regularly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and consider their assessment for any destination—international or domestic—that you may visit. Keep in mind that travel restrictions may change with little notice, and those returning from areas deemed by the CDC to be high-risk may face unexpected difficulties, particularly now that the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic.
     
    People have asked whether going to particular locations would create a difficulty for returning to campus. Unfortunately, with new outbreaks being reported daily, it’s an impossible question for us to answer. Instead, we are relying on the CDC's assessment to guide our response: Families who travel to areas the CDC has designated at Level 2 or 3 must notify School Nurse Virginia McCreight RN before their children can return to campus. Please know also that the CDC urges those who have visited Level 2 or 3 areas to limit interactions with others for the 14 days following travel.
     
    If you or a family member acquire COVID-19, you must notify Nurse McCreight.
     

    Cleaning Protocols

    During spring break, we will do a deep clean of hard and soft surfaces in our buildings. We will finish installing new, higher-rated air filters in the Athletic Center and complete our steam-cleaning of upholstery and carpets.
     
    Before break, we had begun spraying a chlorinated-water disinfectant in each room and common area. This is a complement to our longstanding daily practice of cleaning high-touch surfaces throughout the school, including desktops, dining tables, banisters, switches, knobs, and handles, with disinfectant wipes.
     
    Please join me in thanking our facilities team for their hard work in this effort.
     

    Self-care

    I wanted to share with you some self-care tips from our Health & Wellness team.
     
    Washing hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is the best method of protection against coronavirus. Hand sanitizer is effective, but not as effective as proper handwashing at preventing the spread of a virus. If you are outside of your home, use a paper towel to pull open a restroom door to exit.
     
    Carrying a personal water bottle daily can be helpful. The early spring means that plants are blooming, which signals that allergy season is right around the corner. Staying well-hydrated can relieve allergy symptoms, such as coughing and sneezing, that may be misunderstood at the moment as flu symptoms.
     
    Keep tabs on family members about what they are thinking and feeling. If it would be helpful to talk to one of our counselors or chaplains about questions or concerns related to COVID-19, I encourage you to reach out. They are available to students, parents, faculty, and staff.
     
    The NCS Administrative Team and members of the greater Close community are conferring daily about the latest guidance from experts and adjusting our response as needed. Be assured that NCS will keep you informed on steps we take. Information continues to be updated online at ncs.cathedral.org/coronavirus. Please email any questions you have to us at NCSHealth@cathedral.org.
     
    I am heartened by the generosity the NCS community has shown at a complex and difficult time. As we all practice our social distancing over the next two weeks, I am really going to miss seeing our school community each day!
     
    I will be local all spring break, so please feel free to reach out: Email NCSHealth@cathedral.org and/or email me directly at sbosland@cathedral.org if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions.
     
    Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support.
     
    Warmest regards,
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
  • March 12, 2020: A Message From the Head of School

    Dear NCS Parents, Faculty, and Staff,
     
    At NCS, we hold dear the sense of our community being part of a shared Cathedral Close community. In that spirit, I am sharing a message today from Dean Randy Hollerith, who says that a member of the Cathedral's worship team has tested positive for COVID-19.
     
    This news is obviously a concerning development for everyone on the Close, and I know that we keep this member of our community in our hearts and in our prayers. At the same time, this person was asymptomatic (showed no symptoms of coronavirus) while on the Close, and DC Health's assessment is that the risk of contagion is low.
     
    I urge you to read Dean Hollerith's message carefully and to consult a doctor if you should have questions about what this might mean for your family.
     
    Sincerely,
    Head of School
     
    * * *
     
    Dear friends,
     
    We want to share the news that a member of the Cathedral’s worship team has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. This person was at the Cathedral, participating in our worship services, at 8 am, 9 am and 11:15 am on Sunday, March 8. This person also participated in some Cathedral staff meetings on Monday, March 9, and in a small-group setting on Wednesday, March 4.
     
    On each of these occasions at the Cathedral, this person was not exhibiting symptoms and did not feel ill. When symptoms started to develop later, on Tuesday, March 10, this person immediately sought medical help and received a COVID-19 test. We learned late last night that those results are positive.
     
    We consulted with an infectious disease epidemiologist at the DC Department of Health, who informed us that because this person was not exhibiting symptoms while at the Cathedral, the risk of contagion is very low in this circumstance.
     
    We wanted to share this information so that everyone in the Cathedral community can make informed decisions that are right for them. Please consult your doctor if symptoms develop, and follow the guidance of public health experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidance on evaluating the various levels of exposure risk.
     
    As you are aware, the Cathedral has joined other parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington in suspending operations through March 25 in order to limit large gatherings and to protect the most vulnerable among us. We invite you to join us online for a virtual Sunday service on March 15 and 22 at 11:15 am, where we can praise God and pray for one another and for our world.
     
    In these difficult times, our faith becomes more important than ever. “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid,” Jesus tells us. So, let us trust in the Lord and together, through God’s grace, we can conquer any fear.
     
    With every blessing,
     
    Randy+
     
    Dean, Washington National Cathedral
  • March 10, 2020: A Message From the Heads of School

    Dear Parents, Caregivers, Faculty, and Staff of Beauvoir, National Cathedral School, and St. Albans:
     
    While our schools have instituted several precautionary measures and changes to our daily routines to maintain normal operations amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), events around us continue to unfold unpredictably and swiftly.
     
    Out of an abundance of caution, Beauvoir, NCS, and St. Albans will begin spring break three days early, starting Wednesday, March 11. Our buildings will open only from 7:00 to 10:00 am on Thursday, March 12, so that students, faculty, and staff may collect what they'll need for spring break and the days ahead. At all other times this week, our schools will be closed.
     
    Thank you in advance for your help and understanding during this challenging time. We will be in touch with more information as soon as possible.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Head of School
    Beauvoir School
     
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
     
    Headmaster
    St. Albans School
  • March 9, 2020: An Update About Our Daily Food Service

    Dear NCS Parents,
     
    As NCS continues to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, you may have questions for the school that we have not yet addressed. To simplify your ability to get answers, we have created a new email address — NCSHealth@cathedral.org — for questions related to our coronavirus. In addition, we have created ncs.cathedral.org/coronavirus as an online resource, collecting emails NCS has sent you over the past couple of weeks and other information.
     
    Today our food-service provider, Flik Dining, is introducing changes to our dining service as a health-protection measure.
     
    Beginning with today's lunch, Flik employees, rather than students, will place hot food on plates. As students move through the line, they may ask for particular items from that day's offerings. In addition, three different types of pre-packaged salads and three different types of pre-made sandwiches will be available daily, as will fresh fruit with inedible peels (oranges and bananas). And individually packaged cereal is now available for breakfast.
     
    Other self-service food options have been removed from Davis Dining Room, including the bagel station, deli and PB&J stations, soup station, and build-your-own salad bar. We recognize that these are popular items in the dining hall and that their removal may disappoint some students. This new dining arrangement follows federal recommendations to institutions of higher education regarding food service, to minimize the likelihood of infection.
     
    These changes will remain in effect until further notice, and there will be refinements as the new arrangement is introduced.
     
    Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support in sustaining the health of our community.
     
    Sincerely,
    Sue Bosland
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
  • March 8, 2020: A Health Message From the Schools

    Dear Parents, Caregivers, Faculty, and Staff of Beauvoir, National Cathedral School, and St. Albans:
     
    We look forward to greeting your children at school tomorrow morning. Given the news reports this weekend concerning the first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington, D.C., we want to assure you that we are monitoring the health situation diligently, continuing to make changes to our schools' daily routine, and preparing to adapt as needed. The health and safety of your children, as always, is our most important concern and responsibility. Our faculty and staff remain vigilant about our community's health and continue to provide a calm and welcoming environment for our students.
     
    We remain in close touch with infectious disease experts, whose recommendations we are following.
     
    Based on their recommendations, we ask that children who exhibit any symptoms of any illness stay at home. In addition, we ask that any adult or child who has had close contact within the past 14 days with someone who has contracted coronavirus disease seek medical advice before returning to school.
     
    Our schools are committed to supporting any student or employee who misses classes. Any information provided to our Health & Wellness/Nursing staff will be kept confidential. Our faculty and staff are following these same recommendations.
     
    Our counselors recommend the following resources for parents and students:
    We have increased cleaning at all our campuses and will continue to work calmly with students about personal safety, wellness, and prevention.
     
    We will continue to review this situation daily, monitor the health and welfare of our community, and be prepared to adapt as new information emerges. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. Our schools are continuing to address issues that arise, and we will continue to keep you updated. We are deeply grateful for your partnership and understanding as we strive to protect the health and well-being of our Close community.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Head of School
    Beauvoir School
     
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
     
    Headmaster
    St. Albans School
  • March 6, 2020: Handling Children's Questions About Coronavirus

    Dear NCS Parents,
     
    Given the headlines this week, members of your family may be feeling worry related to the coronavirus outbreak. It is important for all of us to remember that this is the first time our young people have seen a virus affect so many communities around the world. Further, through social media, we are being updated constantly about this outbreak, whether we want to be or not. It's no wonder that anyone might feel worried!
     
    Here are some tips about how to discuss the situation with your child in a way that is informed and supportive and also accepts her feelings:
    • Validate her worries. Acknowledge how it can be scary to see so much media coverage and that so much remains unknown. Continue to validate and empathize, "I understand why you would be worried!"
    • Remind her that the best way to stay healthy is to wash hands regularly, especially before eating, and to avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.
    • Answer questions about the virus with facts from accurate, reputable media sources. If you need this information, too, do some research together with your child so that she can see you checking reputable sources.
    • Remind her that the adults in her life are staying well-informed and constantly evaluating our safety precautions. We will not put her in harm's way!
    • Keep your own anxiety in check. Children look to the adults in their lives to try to understand how "big of a deal" something is. The calmer you can be, the more they will be able to settle down and listen.
    • If needed, help your child to manage her in-the-moment anxiety with mindfulness strategies. Some strategies to consider:
      • A focus on breathing with square or triangle breathing: Breathe in for three seconds, hold for three seconds, breath out for three seconds.
      • Movement: Regular exercise and movement breaks can improve focus and reduce worry.
    Please let the Health & Wellness staff know if we can help you in conversations with your family or in discussing your own feelings about this outbreak. We are here for you, too!
     
    Sincerely,
    Director of Counseling/ Middle School Counselor
     
    Director of Health and Wellness/Upper School Counselor
     
    Lower School Counselor
     
    School Nurse
     
  • March 5, 2020: A Message From the Heads of School

    Dear Parents, Caregivers, Faculty, and Staff of Beauvoir, NCS, and St. Albans,
     
    Nothing is more important to each of us than protecting the health and safety of all our students, faculty, and staff on the Cathedral Close. The coronavirus outbreak is a situation we take seriously, and it has led us to make the following decisions together.
     
    1. Beauvoir, NCS, and St. Albans are canceling classes on Friday, March 13, so this can serve as a professional-development day. We are developing remote-learning plans as a contingency so that learning is not interrupted if we should have to close our schools. Faculty and staff need time to review these plans and undertake their important preparations for teaching students online. We hope we will not need to close, but we wish to be ready, and we are confident the skills gained will have long-lasting value for our teachers and students.
    2. To safeguard the health of students and their faculty chaperones, NCS and St. Albans have decided to cancel overnight, school-sponsored spring break trips, including the Chorale and Orchestra trip and athletic trips. We will reach out to families whose students are affected by this change to discuss the financial and logistical implications and alternate athletic practice plans.
    3. In this highly unpredictable situation, anyone planning to go abroad should be aware of the potential for quarantines facing travelers returning from a high-risk area. If you have travel plans, we urge you to check regularly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and consider their assessment for any destination—international or domestic—that you may visit. Those who choose to travel where there has been a coronavirus outbreak need to notify our schools’ Health & Wellness personnel before they can return to our campuses; schools may ask those who have traveled to areas with coronavirus outbreaks not to return for 14 days.
    Please know that our schools are committed to supporting any student or employee who may miss classes because of illness. Any information provided to our Health & Wellness/Nursing staff will be kept confidential.
     
    Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. Our schools are continuing to address issues that arise, and we will continue to keep you updated. We are deeply grateful for your partnership and understanding as we strive to protect the health and well-being of our Close community.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Head of School
    Beauvoir School
     
    Head of School
    National Cathedral School
     
    Headmaster
    St. Albans School
  • Feb. 26, 2020: A Health Message From the School

    Dear NCS Community,
     
    NCS continues to monitor developments involving coronavirus and the latest guidance from health experts on how to prevent the spread of this virus.
     
    The latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention echoes the agency's earlier statements: Coronavirus is not currently spreading in the United States, and common-sense actions offer the best protection: washing hands often with soap and water; using hand sanitizer when soap is not available; and refraining from touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Most important: If you or your child has an elevated temperature or feels nauseous, please stay home, rest, and recover.
     
    We are confident that NCS's health protocols provide students, faculty, and staff with ample protection against the spread of disease. Still, we join health officials in regarding the COVID-19 virus with seriousness. NCS administrators are closely reviewing the school's protocols and discussing potential adjustments that would best protect the community if the broader health situation were to change. We hope the review will ultimately prove unnecessary, but in any event, this is useful work for us to undertake.
     
    Should you have questions, please contact our school nurse, Virginia McCreight RN, your child's division head, or me.
     
    Sincerely,
    Head of School

Prevention