Principals Letter - Health & Safety Plans

Dear Archmere Families,

For those who were able to join us on our webinar last night, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to do so. We appreciate your supportive messages, and above all, your commitment in helping Archmere Academy to maintain a safe, healthy, and productive environment for all students, faculty, and staff. As we navigate the challenges of COVID-19, we need to act as a collective unit with our community-driven mission in mind. In the midst of all of our planning and preparation, I have certainly stopped to count my blessings. The support and resilience of this community is not lost on me, and I know it is felt in Auk households from Delaware to Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Maryland.
I know several of you were navigating power issues as a result of the heavy storms that moved through the region this week, but rest assured, we have recorded the webinar for your viewing. Attached you will find the “Health & Safety Plans for Returning to Campus,” our document of guiding principles as we move toward the start of school.

Attached, you will also find a simplistic checklist for families, as well as a document from our food provider, Sage. Sage has provided us with an updated website as well, which you can consult here.  Please note, all families must sign and return the “Acknowledgement Form,” which can be found on the last page of the “Health & Safety Plans for Returning to Campus.” Please stay tuned for information on the Magnus Health App, which is forthcoming.

Testing
As stated on the webinar last night, testing will not be mandated for students before coming to campus. However, I am providing two helpful links for sourcing tests below. On my most recent call with state health representatives, they reiterated that drive-up testing sites now offer a 72-hour turnaround time; additionally, the state is working to add additional testing sites (likely at District High Schools) to meet the increased need amongst the student population.

Schedule an Appointment: https://delaware.curativeinc.com/welcome
Delaware COVID-19 Testing Events: https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing-events/

Athletic Update
Last night in the Health and Safety Webinar, we echoed a familiar sentiment of this particular moment in time—things change quickly—and today is no exception. Between last night and this afternoon, we received some news regarding athletics, though details remain to be clarified. The DIAA Board has voted and made a recommendation to the Department of Education that the start of athletics be significantly pushed back from the original August 17 start date. Under this new proposal, the Winter Season would start in December, the Fall Season in February, and the Spring Season in April. Exact start dates have not yet been determined. The formal vote on this plan is scheduled to occur on August 20, though could occur sooner if an emergency meeting is called.

In light of this, Archmere Athletics has cancelled the physical form drop-off days on August 13 and 17. Physicals will now be due the first week of school and must be dropped off to the School Nurse, Ms. Rebecca Hendrixson, or to the Athletic Training Staff, Mr. James Malseed & Ms. Katy Sturdivant. Physical forms will be required for any on-campus athletic practice or wellness session offered on Wednesdays.

As members of the DIAA and the DSAC, we will continue to monitor the return-to-play guidelines of these organizations as well as our state health officials.  We will adapt our planning as necessary to ensure that the health and safety of all those involved in Archmere Athletics remains our highest priority. Our Athletic Department will have more information regarding Archmere's plan for the continuation of on-campus athletics after the August 20 vote, and have every intention of ensuring that our students can nourish mind, body, and spirit through their experience on our campus. We appreciate your continued patience as we await further details.

Closing
I'm going to take a page out of John Jordan's book and close with a poem. This particular work by Dorianne Laux stopped me dead in my tracks, at a time when I have been reflecting on both our interconnectedness as people navigating this new challenge, all while being isolated from those we love; it's a strange juxtaposition. This health crisis has been isolating in many ways, yet it has also forced our shared human condition into the limelight. I have found myself taking great pleasure in witnessing small, public gestures of kindness, especially at a time when simply getting out of the house and seeing a stranger feels like such a privilege. I hope you'll enjoy.
For the Sake of Strangers
No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.
And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waiting patiently for my empty body to pass through.
All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another—a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.
Somehow they always find me, seem even
to be waiting, determined to keep me
from myself, from the thing that calls to me
as it must have once called to them—
this temptation to step off the edge
and fall weightless, away from the world.
Dorianne Laux (1994)
 
All the best, 
 
Katie Eissler Thiel
Principal

Archmere Academy's Health & Safety Plans
Health and Safety Checklist
Sage's Approach to Safe Service
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Archmere Academy is a private, Catholic, college preparatory co-educational academy,
grades 9-12 founded in 1932 by the Norbertine Fathers.