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Friday Letter 2020-2021

 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Fri 20th: Topeka High Debate Invitational
 
* Sat 21st: Topeka High Debate Invitational
BSA Blood Drive in the Commons, 9 am to 1 pm
 
* Sun 22nd: Topeka High Debate Invitational 
 
* Mon 23rd: NO CLASSES
 
* Tue 24th: Convocation (Online--see below!), 9 am
Thanksgiving Break begins!
 
* Mon 30th: Classes back in session
 
Dear Parents,
 
Congratulations!  We hit our Seabury Fund Goal of $150,000!  This is a big number!  Our success with the Fund should be the source of great community pride as we move into the Thanksgiving Break!  Thank you to all parents, trustees, faculty, and friends of the school for your support!  And thanks to our Development Director Ellen Chindamo, our Seabury Fund Chairs Doni Mooberry and Jim Slough, and our class captains, Kristen and Tom Helling, Stacey and John Rinnert, Eliza and Thadd Hale, Tracy Hill, Jennifer and Dane Oldridge, Teresa Hanna and Deb and Mike Orozco. For those who would still like to make a donation to the Fund before the end of the year, please do!  THANK YOU ALL!  
 
Additional good news: after testing all of our on-campus faculty & staff and a random 25% of our students, all COVID tests came back negative.  We had hoped for such a result, of course, but it was great to have confirmation!  We will continue to do surveillance testing twice each month through March, 4 faculty and 9 students tested each time.  This represents 25% of faculty and 10% of the in-person student population.  Parents will be notified a week in advance if their child is selected for that test. The December dates are December 1st and December 15th.  We are thrilled to be able to partner with LDCDH and LMH for this initiative.  Thanks to our students and staff for adhering to on-campus protocol.  Let's do our best to stay safe and healthy over the Thanksgiving Break!
 
I was surprised to see our county positivity rates drop yesterday from 13.4% to 11.5%.  I don't know that this trend will hold, but hopefully the Lawrence community will make good choices over the holiday.  Regardless, I will send out an announcement next Wednesday or Thursday about whether we will be on campus the following week.  
 
Our weekly stats:
7 # of students out sick this week
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
1: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
52: # of students in Seabury LIVE 
 
Our annual Bishop Seabury Academy Convocation occurs Tuesday morning at 9 am.  The event is online this year, so students will be able to watch in the comfort of their pajamas!  (Parents too, perhaps.....)  Here is the link to join the event: Convocation 2020.  Once Convocation ends, the Break begins!
 
You should have received the video link today for the Middle School production of Story Theatre, and I hope you find time this weekend to enjoy our youngest actors at work.  Our Upper School production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will drop the week after Thanksgiving.  The play is a rollicking and faithful adaptation of Mark Twain's novel with a cast of 7 playing 25 characters!  A fun time will be had by all!
 
The Seabury winter apparel store is still open.  Click here if you want to be fashionable.  Orders may be submitted through Wednesday, November 25th!
 
Our Seabury grandparents received holiday cards this week with notes from our resident Seahawks.  Although we could not have grandparents on campus this fall, we were able to send them this virtual tour.  Enjoy!
 
I am grateful for many things right now, but chief among them is the opportunity to look after our students and our community.  I am very thankful that we can be together in this challenging time.  I hope you enjoy Convocation on Tuesday and can relax during this Thanksgiving break.  I think we have earned it!
 
Yours respectfully, 
Dr. Schawang

 

 
THE WEEK AHEAD:

*  Fri 13th:  Shawnee Mission East & West Debate Invitational
* Sat 14th:  Shawnee Mission East & West Debate Invitational 
* Fri 20th: Topeka High Debate Invitational 
* Sat 21st: Topeka High Debate Invitational
* Sun 22nd: Topeka High Debate Invitational 
 
Dear Parents,
 
We are only weeks away from wrapping up our Seabury Fund Drive, and I am looking forward to an announcement when we hit our goal!  Parent participation has been over 50% across the grades, and that is a good sign!  Please send in your pledge if you haven't done so already.  You can also give here.
 
I won't repeat the information from this morning's letter, but I do want to encourage two steps for families.  One is to create a family "bubble" if you have not already done so.  Many cases of community transmission are understandably occurring due to parties, dinners, or other group activities outside of school that put individuals in close contact with others, with or without masks.  I expect we are all having to suspend our normal social activities at this time for the collective good as well as our own health.  Second, we have some students who participate in club sports outside of school, and not all of those groups will employ the same precautions that we are taking on campus.  If your child does participate in such activities, I urge you to have them wear a mask and take precautions as much as possible.  Otherwise, Seabury LIVE might be a good option moving forward.  
 
Our basketball teams this year will be focusing on conditioning and team activities, not competition.  The exception will be the varsity boys basketball, and those players will be in Seabury LIVE throughout the competition season (which will account for a higher number of online students below):
 
Our weekly stats:
12 # of students out sick this week
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
1: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
51: # of students in Seabury LIVE 
 
I want to congratulate all of our athletes for an excellent showing this fall season.  With all of the uncertainties, challenges, and periods of suspended practices, they all demonstrated tremendous spirit, resilience, and talent.  I hope they are proud of their work and success!
 
The BSA middle school production of Story Theatre will be delivered to you as an online event this year.  The production includes Aesop and Grimm tales as told by an amazing cast.  Funny, irreverent, and yet true to the original tales, this play uses imagination to its fullest.  And it is a great experiment in "LIVE" Theatre. And many thanks to filmmaker Pancho Metz, technician Colin Farha, Music Director James LaRocca, and Director Cheryl Weaver!
 
All faculty/staff will take COVID tests on Monday morning before school--and a random collection of students on Wednesday morning.  Ms. McCaffrey will communicate with all individuals about testing details.  
 
As I review this letter, I contemplate a time when I talked about something other than this virus!  I can promise that my Convocation address on the 24th will be about a different topic.
 
I hope you all have a good weekend and get some rest!
 
Yours respectfully, 
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Fri 6th:  Blue Valley Classic Debate Invitational
 
* Sat 7th:  Blue Valley Classic Debate Invitational 
 
*  Fri 13th:  Aaron Thomas Memorial Debate Invitational
 
* Sat 14th:  Aaron Thomas Memorial Debate Invitational 
 
Dear Parents:
 
Our Seabury Fund contributions have hit $135,545.  We have made tremendous progress and will continue to solicit pledges until we hit our goal.  Please send in your pledge card if you have not done so already.  You can also give here.
 
Our county's COVID positivity rate has moved from 5.4% to 8.5% in a week.  A reminder that we will check the color code again next Thursday.  If we enter Orange or Red on any given Thursday, I will announce a move to Connected Learning the following Monday. 
 
Our weekly stats:
6: # of students out sick this week
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
0: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
37: # of students in Seabury LIVE
 
A few of our November traditions will look a bit different this year.  First, our annual Heritage Day (Nov 23rd) was founded by students when we first moved to the Clinton Parkway campus in 2003.  It was originally named "Founder's Day" and included morning community service and an afternoon of presentations by seniors to remind students of the school's history and its mission.   Eventually, we reduced the presentations to a morning video by the seniors and focused our attention on service work and rehearsal for our convocation ceremony (see below).
 
This year, we will be honoring Heritage Day in a different way.  We're moving our annual tradition of Renaissance Day to this half-day on Monday, November 23.  For new families, Renaissance Day generally occurs in the spring when students can sign up for interesting classes taught by teachers but also older students and even some parents.  Previous classes have included Taekwon Do Basics, Biking to Clinton Lake, Russian Cinema, and Instant Pot Cooking.  All classes must accommodate COVID-safety protocols.  Classes may be taught or taken over Zoom (and Seabury LIVE students will be included as much as possible!).  For any parents who would like to offer a class, please complete this Heritage/Renaissance Day class sign up form. Please enter your class information by this Monday, November 9 so that Ms. Czarnecki and prefect Morgan Orozco can create the schedule and organize the signup process. 
 
Our annual Convocation ceremony is a formal event that always occurs on the Tuesday morning prior to Thanksgiving and is a time for the students, faculty, trustees, and available parents and alumni to celebrate the school's mission.  This year, the event will be online and will include both pre-recorded and live content.  With the help of my staff, I hope to make the event available at 9 am on the 24th and then as a recording later in the day.  Stay tuned!
 
Don't forget the November 11th BSAP Education Night entitled "Fostering a More Inclusive Culture."  At this online workshop, Seabury parent and consultant Robert N. Page, Jr. will help us explore how to make a more diverse, productive, and welcoming school community.  I hope you can join us!
 
I hope your children had a good time at the Halloween movie night.  I really appreciate all the efforts of parents who helped supervise or provided an impressive array of snacks.  A team effort!  And a HUGE thanks to the BSAP crew who provided the faculty & staff with treats all through last week.  We really appreciate it!
 
Have a good weekend!
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Fri 30th: Service Club ITEMS DRIVE ends (at the movie night)
Halloween Movie Night, 7 pm (doors open 6:45 pm)
 
* Sat 31st: Vars XC KSHSAA State Championships @ Victoria-Sand Plum Nature Trail, 10:05 am
 
* Mon 2nd: BSAP mtg, 5:30-6:30 pm
 
* Fri 6th: Raku Field Trip
KCKCC Debate Invitational
 
* Sat 7th:  KCKCC Debate Invitational
 
Dear Parents,
 
In case you are not aware, we have a national election next week—either that or the apocalypse, according to many news accounts.  Certainly, with so much frustration, uncertainty, and intense emotion this year, I can understand how such a significant moment of cultural and personal disagreement can be a vehicle for aggression.  Still, I hope that people will keep their wits about them.

I will be reminding students next week that we have an obligation to our community despite ideological differences that inevitably exist.  As a school, we encourage students to be engaged in national and world affairs, and we underscore the importance of voting and civic responsibility.  We also try to impress that political debate and disagreement are not themselves acts of hostility, though our recent presidential debates may suggest otherwise.  My message to students who might read this letter is that ideological disagreement, dissent, or even outrage may be required of any citizen at certain moments in our lives, but we should never descend to hatred for our fellow citizens.  With every election, I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Is this a naïve sentiment?  Are there differences that should break us apart or force us to abandon restraint and confront one another?  Are there differences in values that simply cannot be reconciled?  There may be.  Yet I cannot imagine how a country or community divided can ever more effectively achieve what is best for its constituency than can one that holds together in passionate debate.

So to the students who are reading the Friday Letter (if you have managed to get this far!), you should endeavor to be informed, engaged in public discourse, and committed to the values that make us better people.  The ultimate outcome of the political process should be to serve the good of all our people—including those whose views are contrary to yours.  We must recognize the humanity in people with whom we have disagreements—even significant ones—and we should respect the rights of other people to have different opinions.  When we express differences of opinion, we will be wise also to be listening and understanding what people of dissenting views have to say, even if we finally choose to reject those ideas.  Don't mistake me: the idea that all beliefs are equally correct is a dangerous product of lazy minds.  But the belief that all people have the right to have an opinion and to find their individual way to truth—that is an essential premise of democracy.

No matter how our election ends on Tuesday night (and let us hope it DOES end on Tuesday night!), we come back into the halls together on Wednesday as a community, committed to the values that bind us together and that help us to be our better selves.

On other business, our Seabury Fund total has hit $122,391. We are closing in on our goal, and I really appreciate the work of all the people who have stepped up to support the school.  We are only $27,609 from this year's goal.  If you have not yet pledged, please do so here.  Every gift matters, and remember that you can fulfill your pledge after the new year.    

It was nice to be in green for a week, but we are now back to YELLOW on our county rating system, as the positivity rate just went up from 4.5 to 5.2%.  I am hopeful this is not the beginning of an ongoing winter ascent, but we will see.  As I noted earlier in the week, our ability to stay on campus will depend on keeping our community healthy, and that depends on good choices off-campus as well as on.  My biggest concern right now is fatigue and complacency.  I will do what I can to shore up our safety measures on campus, and I ask families to do what they can in their own lives.  Also, please note that Douglas County has changed its standards for "close contact," and I have attached a jpg of the new rule.

Our weekly stats:
1: # of students out sick this week
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
0: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
37: # of students in Seabury LIVE

BSAP is hosting their virtual monthly open meeting Monday 2nd at 5:30 (https://kansas.zoom.us/j/9785928131, Meeting ID: 978 592 8131, Passcode: 803731).  As always, all are welcome, and committee chairs are strongly encouraged to attend to update the community.  Also, grocery card orders for December are due by 11/15. This is a great time to purchase grocery cards in preparation for the holidays for your own shopping or purchase as holiday gifts! Use this link to place your grocery card order or go to the BSAP section of the website for more information. 
 
I am attaching a flyer for the BSAP November 11th Education Night entitled "Fostering a More Inclusive Culture."  At this online workshop, Seabury parent and consultant Robert N. Page, Jr. will help us explore how to make a more diverse, productive, and welcoming school community.  I hope you can join us!

This year, winter weather arrived faster than my message about our school cancellation policy for inclement weather.  Here is that policy:  
Whenever classes are canceled, my first call is to Mr. Kellogg, who will post a weather closing notice on the opening pages of the school website, www.seaburyacademy.orgThis is the very best and fastest way for you to know whether we are having classes no matter where you live.
*I will also notify the Journal World and KPR.
*I will try to avoid canceling class during the school day because I don’t want students on the roads, especially without parents knowing. However, should bad weather ever originate mid-day, you are welcome to come and pick up students if you are concerned about them getting home safely. Should such an event become likely, I will send an e-mail to the community.
*It is unlikely that I would close school due to cold temperatures, but I might do so if there is ice on the ground.  I try to announce school closures as soon as possible and preferably the night before, but when the weather happens late at night...it can be tricky.  Thanks in advance for your understanding!
 
Sara Asher has had surgery and is well on her way to recovery.  She thanks everyone for continuing to send healing thoughts her way!  
 
Don't forget that tonight is the Halloween Movie Night at 7 pm.  Ms. Czarnecki sent out details earlier.  Thanks to her and our staff and parent volunteers tonight--and to those parents who donated individually-wrapped snacks!  I hope your children have a fun time.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed the pictures of our jack-o-lanterns that I sent out previously.  This year, our advising groups went up against diminished advising time and the difficulties of group work with safety protocols.  Of course, obstacles are always good motivation for creativity.  Thanks to all of our teachers for taking the time and effort to keep this tradition alive!
 
Have a good weekend and a Happy Halloween!
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Fri 23rd: Debate @ Lansing
 
* Sat 24th: Debate @ Lansing
Seahawk Visit Day, 10 am to noon
KSHSAA 2A Substate Volleyball @ Lyndon, 2 pm
KSHSAA 2A Regional Cross Country @ Pierson Park, 11 am
 
* Mon 26th: Boys Vars KSHSAA Soccer Regionals, TBD
Service Club ITEMS DRIVE begins
 
* Tue 27th:  Boys Vars KSHSAA Soccer Regionals, TBD
Girls Vars VBall KSHSAA State Championship Quarterfinal Game, TBD
  
* Thurs 29th:  Boys Vars KSHSAA Soccer Regionals, TBD
 
* Fri 30th: Girls VBall KSHSAA State Championship Tournament, TBD
Service Club ITEMS DRIVE ends!
Halloween Movie Night, 7 pm
 
* Sat 31st: Vars XC KSHSAA State Championships @ Wamego Country Club, TBD
  Girls VBall KISHSAA State Championship Tournament, TBD 
 
Dear Parents,
 
Our Seabury Fund contributions are sitting at $92,070!  We now have 100% participation towards the fund from our trustees and faculty.  We are thrilled to see our parents stepping up, but we still have a ways to go and need everyone's support to hit our goal. If you have your pledge card sitting on the counter, please send it in.  And as always, here is the link to pledge online.  Thank you!
 
I was very happy to see the Douglas County School Reopening alert go to GREEN yesterday!  It is a relief to see our county infection rate going in the right direction, though I am doubtful that trend will continue as we head into winter.  And even when the numbers improve, we still need to reinforce our safety protocol, as those practices are what continue to protect us.  Please keep this in mind as you make Thanksgiving plans.
 
Our weekly stats:
5: # of students out sick this week
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
1: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
45: # of students in Seabury LIVE

As the weather gets colder, we are moving our morning screening procedure indoors for the health of our screeners and because the cold hinders the accuracy of our thermometers.  Here is how the process will work:
Please make sure your child takes the screening on the rSchool app before leaving the house in the morning.  Children who have any symptoms should stay home!  
When you arrive at drop-off, your child should come to the front doors where an administrator will verify that the student has completed the rSchool screening.  (You do not need to wait once your child exits your vehicle.)
The student will enter the building, sanitize their hands, and stand at appropriate distance for the in-person screening and temperature check.
In the event that a student has a fever or notes any symptoms, we will call you immediately to come and pick them up.
Please remember to deliver your child at the appointed time according to the staggered drop-off schedule from the beginning of the year.  Increasingly, we have noticed that students are being dropped off closer to 8:30, creating congestion in the screening line and making the work harder for my staff members.  Thank you for helping us with this process!
 
Another reminder: parents and delivery people are not allowed to enter the main office area without permission from the school.  If you have anything to drop off to Betsy or for your child, please leave it in the airlock vestibule just inside the main entrance door.  This step protects Betsy and students in the building.
 
We developed the Seabury LIVE option for students who have families at risk, who are sick, or who need to quarantine.  It is not an alternative to coming to campus for students in other situations, and students must first be excused by the main office before being allowed to be on LIVE.  Students must be excused by a parent and not the students themselves, and it is the School's discretion to determine if a student has a valid excuse to not be on campus.  Having students enter and exit Seabury LIVE willy nilly creates a chaotic situation for teachers and administration, so please get them to campus unless they have a valid reason to be home.
 
Don't forget that picture orders are due back Oct. 28th.  And thanks again to Steven Hertzog for donating all picture proceeds back to Seabury!
 
Regional and State sports competitions are heating up this week.  Good look to our athletes in the home stretch!    
 
COVID has not deterred us from looking after the community, and our Seabury Service Club has organized a one-week Halloween Items Drive.  Starting on Monday and culminating on Friday night, members of our Service Club will be accepting donations before and after school each day, as well as Friday night before our Halloween movie night.  We are working with Family Promise, D.A.R.E., and Lawrence Community Shelter to get these resources to Lawrence families and individuals in need.  Please see the attached flyer for a list of priority items, and send any questions to billgollier@seaburyacademy.org.  And thanks for your help with this effort!
 
It has been a challenge to include Altera Familia in our daily on-campus schedule, so we were all happy to get those groups together this week, even if the effort has been a bit messy at first.  Advising groups will meet every morning next week, as many are working on their jack-o-lanterns.  I always look forward to seeing student and teacher creativity on display.
 
We are looking forward to hosting the Halloween Movie Night for students on Friday 30th.  Thank you to BSAP for helping us organize this event.  We still need parent volunteers (and you will get a kick out of seeing the kids together, I can assure you).  If you can contribute appropriately prepared snacks/drinks or help supervise the evening, please use this SignUp Genius link.  We really appreciate the help!
 
And finally, just a reminder about parameters for costumes next Friday: nothing offensive, too skimpy, or involving real weapons.  I will continue to remind students that they must still wear approved face masks, and they may not wear anything over those masks (i.e., I need to see that their masks are on appropriately).
 
Thanks to everyone for helping make it a special week for the students!
 
Yours respectfully, 
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Sun 18th: 6th Grade Get-Together @ BSA North Patio, 4-5 pm
 
* Mon 19th: Girls VBall vs. Veritas Christian @ BSA, JV 5 & Vars 6 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Pembroke Hill School, Ward Parkway Campus, 6:30 pm
 
* Tue 20th: Boys Vars Soccer vs. Cair Paravel Latin @ Topeka Sports Complex, 4:30 pm
Girls Vars VBall @ Marais Des Cygnes Valley HS, 5 pm
 
* Thurs 22nd: Boys Vars Soccer vs. Christ Preparatory Academy @ YSI, 4:30 pm
 
* Fri 23rd: Debate @ Lansing
 
* Sat 24th: Debate @ Lansing
Seahawk Visit Day, 10 am to noon
KSHSAA 2A Substate Volleyball @ Lyndon, TBA
KSHSAA 2A Regional Cross Country @ Pierson Park  
 
Dear Parents, 
 
We are back into the swing of things on campus.  I hope you and your children had a good fall break.  
 
Seabury Fund pledge cards have gone out.  When yours arrives, please turn it around as soon as you can.  You will hear from your class captains soon.  We are looking for 100% participation from parents, and we are already close to 100% participation from our teachers and trustees.  We really need to hit our goal this year, and on behalf of the students, I appreciate your support of the school!  Please click here to make your online gift:  Seabury Fund
 
Our weekly stats:
3: # of students out sick this week
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
2: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
45: # of students in Seabury LIVE
 
This year's photo proofs should be going home with your students today.  If you are in Seabury Live, they were mailed to you today.  The due date for orders has been highlighted on the order form.  Orders should be turned in to Betsy or mailed directly to the photographer if you are on Seabury Live.  Mr. Hertzog is again donating the proceeds of all orders back to Seabury.  Pictures always make good gifts especially now when some loved ones can't see each other in person.  Please remember that because of COVID, there will be no retakes this year.  
 
If this is your first year at Seabury, you should know that Halloween is a big deal at our school.  Part of our holiday celebration is a Jack-O-Lantern carving contest.  I distributed pumpkins to advising groups yesterday, and they will no doubt be making plans next week when we will have altera familia for the first time on campus.  I expect the actual carving/decorating will occur the week of Halloween, and we will direct students to follow our existing safety protocol when working in their groups and outside when possible.  On Halloween day, jack-o-lanterns will be on display in the commons, and we will invite students to see them by grade on a schedule in the morning.  Standouts will receive prizes...and eternal glory.  Due to our present circumstances, I cannot invite visitors in to see the display, but we will send out photos to be sure!
 
On Halloween day, students are also welcome to wear costumes to school.  I always ask students to be tasteful in their costumes--nothing offensive, too skimpy, or involving real weapons.  (If they have to ask....the answer is probably "no.")  I will continue to remind students that they must still wear approved face masks, and they may not wear anything over those masks (i.e., I need to see that their masks are on appropriately).  
 
Finally, I regret that we cannot host our typical fall carnival or the senior haunted house this year.  However, the student senate has been working hard to create a multi-room movie night on campus that will incorporate our safety protocol.  That event will occur on October 30th at 7 pm.  We would really appreciate any parent support with supervision, and I think you would have a great time with the students.  If you are interested, please reach out to sonjaczarnecki@seaburyacademy.org.  Like everything else this year, there will be uber-structure involved in that evening, but we think it is worth the effort to reinforce the "special" in the season.  
 
Have a great weekend!
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 9th: FALL BREAK, NO CLASSES IN SESSION
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Classical School of Wichita @ YSI, 4:30 pm
 
* Sat 10th: XC Varsity Invitational @ Baldwin Golf Course, 9 am
 
* Mon 12th: FALL BREAK, NO CLASSES IN SESSION
 Girls Vars VBall @ Heritage Christian Academy, 6 & 7 pm
 
* Tue 13th: CLASSES RESUME ON CAMPUS
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Ottawa @ YSI, 4:30 pm
Girls Vars VBall vs. KC East Christian Academy @ BSA, 6 pm
 
* Wed 14th: PSAT 10/11 & SAT 12, 8:30 am
 
* Thurs 15th: MS XC @ Spring Campus Paige-Field, 4 pm
Vars VBall @ Alma-Wabaunsee HS, 4:30 pm
 
Dear Parents,
 
In the coming weeks, I will start my letter with an update on our Seabury Fund.  The Seabury Fund is the way that our school—and every independent school—closes the gap between tuition revenue and the cost of operating the school.  Fortunately, the Seabury Fund allows us to cover the gap through tax-deductible gifts from parents with the support of gifts from trustees, faculty, alumni, grandparents, and friends of the school.

One week after announcing the Seabury Fund, we are off to a good start, having raised over $50,000.  Our goal is $150,000. You will soon receive a letter from me in the mail with a pledge card, and you can also give online:  The Seabury Fund 20/21.  Your participation in the Seabury Fund is vital to filling the gap, paying our bills, and inspiring others in the community to give.  Please give to the best of your ability.  On behalf of the students and staff—THANK YOU!  
 
I am looking forward to seeing the students back on campus next Tuesday.  Presently, our stats looks good for our return:
0:  # of students/staff currently in quarantine for testing positive for COVID 19
0:  # of students/staff in quarantine/monitoring for symptoms
 
Please remember to contact Ms. McCaffrey if anyone in your family has a direct exposure with someone who is COVID-positive or if a student or family members tests positive for the virus--including over the break.  Also, should you ever have any non-urgent COVID questions, you can submit them here.  The form will be submitted to the administrator who can best answer your questions.  
 
So many aspects of school life have to be adapted this year, and one of those aspects is admissions.  A crucial part of the admissions process at Seabury is the visit day, but we want to be intentional and careful about how we bring visitors into the building.  After much discussion with teachers and administration, we have decided to move the in-person visit day to Saturday, October 24th, 10 am to noon.  With the help of a handful of teachers and current 6th graders, we will provide future Seahawks with a taste of Seabury life in a controlled and abbreviated series of classes with all participants following the same safety protocols we have in place during the regular school day.  If you know any Lawrence children who would thrive at Seabury, please reach out to Ms. McCaffrey.  Also, the registration link for the Visit Day is here.
 
I was sorry that the students' much-coveted Spirit Week was cut short before we went off campus, so we will pick up where we left off on Tuesday--and add a day!  No doubt you will wonder what is going out the door in the morning, so here is the line-up:
Tuesday: Somewhere Over the Rainbow (dress by color according to grade):
6th: Yellow
7th: Orange 
8th: Purple 
9th: Pink
10th: Green 
11th: Blue 
12th: Red 
Faculty: Black and White 
Wednesday: Which Witch is Which?  (aka witches, twins, triplets, etc.)
Thursday: Welcome to Emerald City  (aka formalwear, jewelry, tiaras, bling, green)
Friday: Pink-Out!
 
Regarding Friday's color choice, our teacher Ms. Asher was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago and successfully fought that illness.  At the end of this summer, she discovered that the cancer has returned, and she will be having surgery later in the month.  The Student Senate would like to show their support for her by having students wear pink on their final day of spirit week.  I know you will all want to send your support and affection to Ms. Asher, and we are all going to be wishing her strength and a speedy recovery.  These sorts of health struggles are difficult at any time, but the pandemic seems to make every problem worse.  But it is easier when you have an entire community behind you, and Ms. Asher certainly has that.
 
Have a good and restful break.
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Fri 2nd: Debate Olathe Northwest
 
* Sat 3rd: Debate Olathe Northwest
 
* Wed 7th: Parent-Teacher Conferences (Zoom), 6-9 pm
 
* Thurs 8th: P/T Conferences (Zoom), 1-4:30, 6:30-9 pm  NO CLASSES IN SESSION
XC Meet @ Eudora HS, 4 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy @ Sprint Campus-Paige Field, 6 pm
 
* Fri 9th: FALL BREAK, NO CLASSES IN SESSION
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Classical School of Wichita @ YSI, 4:30 pm
 
* Sat 10th: XC Varsity Invitational @ Baldwin Golf Course, 9 am

Dear Parents,
 
I hope you are enjoying the crisp turn in the weather as we head into autumn.  This summer has been so busy here at school that it feels as if the sweatshirts were just recently stowed.  Did summer really happen and we missed it?
 
With positive COVID cases on campus this last week, I expected to see our school in the local paper, but I was surprised by the discrepancy between the numbers of positive cases they reported and what we have on our books.  After contacting the Health Department, Ms. McCaffrey learned that their numbers include not only our students (which now is down to five) but also any of their direct contacts outside of school who might have tested positive (friends or family members).  I appreciate Ms. McCaffrey's extensive work with our internal contact tracing, as it is extremely helpful to understand that this appears to be a contained event.
 
In my ongoing conversations with Ms. McCaffrey and the rest of our campus response team this week, we have spent a considerable amount of time examining the details of the situation and exploring how to communicate with parents and what decisions appear to be the most sensible.  Often, we are toggling between practical choices based on real data (much of which is confidential and cannot be related to the public) and how to best communicate this information to parents so that you can have confidence in our decision-making.  It is challenging to walk that line effectively.  
 
I know that many of us struggle with the present state of the world as it is impacted by the pandemic, and there is a lot of fear, anger, confusion, and inadequacy that can weigh on us daily.  However, I think it is important to remind ourselves that we did not create this situation, even as we have to live through it.  The best we can do is to navigate our daily challenges, practice grace in our dealings with other people and with ourselves, and make the best decisions with the data we have in front of us.  My task force and I come back to that foundation every day--sometimes several times a day.  We will have more positive cases in the community in the future.  Our job is to identify and control the situation as quickly and effectively as possible to avoid transmission on campus.  I appreciate the support of parents and students and your efforts to help support the general health of the community.
 
Please remember to contact the school whether we are on campus, in Connected Learning, or on break in the event that anyone in your family has a direct exposure with someone who is COVID-positive or if a student or family members tests positive for the virus.  This information is confidential, and it really helps us to protect the school community.  Also, we cannot recommend travel or social gatherings over the break, but if you spend time outside of your household "bubble," please remember to follow safety protocols (masks, social distancing, hand-washing, and so forth).  If you find yourself in close contact with others (15 minutes or more within 6 feet of another person, with or without a mask, indoors or outdoors--or any other contact that would likely expose you to the virus), please contact the school.  Ms. McCaffrey can advise you on when you should quarantine and how to protect yourself and the community.  Please see the attached document for more information.  
 
I also appreciate your understanding for our return to Connected Learning prior to the break.  I intend to have us back on campus on Tuesday, October 13th, barring any surprises.  There have been prophetic delcarations about what the winter months will hold regarding COVID infection rates.  Regardless of how the coming months unfold, I believe we can be nimble in moving between campus and Connected Learning as the situation requires.
 
Some of my weekly statistics are less applicable when we are in Connected Learning, especially the numbers who are out sick and those in Seabury LIVE, so I have omitted those categories.  Here are the relevant stats:  
5 - # of students/staff currently in quarantine for testing positive for COVID 19
2 plus varsity volleyball team and coaches - # of students/staff in quarantine/monitoring for symptoms
 
Parent-Teacher Conferences are on the horizon.  Betsy sent out the electronic sign-up email to parents previously, and we will be holding conferences on Zoom.  (Parents will use a list of teacher personal Zoom links to enter the conference, and teachers will utilize the "waiting room" feature to let parents in when it is time.)  In case you haven't signed up yet, you still have time: Conference signup.  The deadline for sign-up is Monday!
 
It is October--that time of year when we ask you as a community to come together to support the annual Seabury Fund.  As you know, in every independent school, a gap exists between the cost of educating a Seabury student and the actual cost of tuition.  The annual Seabury Fund exists to cover that deficit and allows us not only to maintain an exceptional education for our children but also to underwrite the resources and safety measures that protect the health and well-being of every student.  For Seabury this year, that gap for each student is $2,227.  In the next week, you will be receiving a letter from me along with a gift/pledge card.  Please support all that we are doing to serve your children this year, and give to the best of your ability.  Here is the link to make your gift:  The Seabury Fund 
 
Congratulations to sophomore Beck Oldridge on being named the LJWorld Athlete of the Week, following some impressive work on our varsity soccer team.  Good work Beck!
 
Have a good weekend.  I will send my next letter on Thursday prior to Fall Break.
 
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Sat 25th: Vars XC Meet vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ TBA, 11 am
 
* Mon 28th: Boys Vars Soccer vs. Eudora @ YSI, 4:30 pm
                      Girls MS VBall vs. Veritas Christian @ BSA, 4 & 5 pm
 
* Tue 29th: Boys Vars Soccer vs. Atchison @ YSI, 4:30 pm
 
* Wed 30th: Boys MS Soccer @ Pembroke Hill School--Wornall Campus, 5 pm
                       MS VBall Game @ Pembroke Hill School--Ward Parkway Campus, 5 pm
 
* Thurs 1st: XC Meet @ Zarda Farm: MS 4, Vars 4:30 pm
                    Boys Vars Soccer @ Maur Hill Prep School, 4:30 pm
 
* Fri 2nd: Debate Olathe Northwest
 
* Sat 3rd: Debate Olathe Northwest
 
Dear Parents,
 
To recap the week in terms of COVID contact tracing, the School was made aware of a possible direct contact (to a COVID positive individual) as early as last weekend.  With the subsequent identification of a COVID positive student on campus, we have engaged in detailed contact tracing.  This process has allowed us to identify a handful of direct contacts  (who went into quarantine straight away), one of whom testing positive on Wednesday and a third testing positive on Thursday night.  All of these instances are related to close contacts occurring off-campus or outside of school protocol.  Two of those positives are teammates on our varsity volleyball team.  Again, we have traced exposure to off-campus incidents, and though Mr. Rios implements very intensive safety protocols (masks, sanitizing, distancing) in all practices and there is no evidence of any close contact in practices or games, we have followed best practices and quarantined the team because athletic programs are considered to have a higher level of risk.
 
Here is the basic situation: we have some students who are at risk of exposure because of actions that are outside of school protocol.  We have three positive students, and it is possible that we may have a few more in the coming days.  I know many parents may be concerned about exposure to COVID on campus, and, subsequently, there has been an uptick in the number of students on Seabury LIVE this week.  As I have noted previously, I will definitely put the school into Connected Learning if I feel that there is a notable risk of infection on campus, but with the evidence I have and the identifiable nature of these existing positives and direct contacts, the pattern suggests that this situation is contained to a specific group of students and does not cross the barrier of protections we have on campus.  Simply put, if I put us into Connected Learning, it would be because of a general apprehension about the number of positives and not because there is demonstrable risk to our students and staff who are following the safety protocol.
 
I completely understand that some parents and students will be nervous about the number or even the existence of positives on campus, and that is one reason we have the Seabury LIVE platform.  However, I also hope that students will remember that the safety protocols we have on campus are in place to protect them from transmission of the virus, and unless they have experienced close contact (within 6 ft for 10 mins) or some other intimate contact with another student, they are at very low risk of contracting the virus from another person.

Here are this week's stats:
9: # of students out sick at any time this week
3: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
5 + VBall team: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
61: # of students in Seabury LIVE
 
On a lighter note, we can't have a school year without a Spirit Week.  Next week, inspired by a certain children's novel, student apparel will be themed each day as follows:
Monday: "It was all a dream..."  (aka pajama day)
Tuesday: Twister!  (aka wacky outfits)
Wednesday: Which Witch is Which?  (aka witches, twins, triplets, etc.)
Thursday: Welcome to Emerald City  (aka formalwear, jewelry, tiaras, bling, green)
Friday: "A storm is coming..."  (aka Seabury spiritwear!)
 
If you drop off students each morning, you have probably noticed the abundance of new landscaping that has been installed around the property, especially in the front of the building.  We have a lot of new plantings taking root....and only one very busy Director of Facilities who has a lot on his hands right now.  I know Mr. Neuteboom would be greatly relieved to have any volunteers to help with watering!  If any parent might be available on Tuesdays and/or Friday for the coming weeks for 30 minute waterings (as your schedule allows), please respond to this email and let me know.  Your help would be much appreciated!  
 
Congratulations to our 6th student senate representatives, elected today: Alice Pulsinelli & Lucas Sherwood!
 
Finally, I was crushed to hear that Mr. Reggie Robinson lost his battle with pancreatic cancer this weekend.  Reggie held senior positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, served in many administrative positions and taught at the University of Kansas, and was CEO and President of the Kansas Health Foundation.  He agreed to serve as our 2015 Convocation speaker, and we all found him to be a very kind and generous man.  He will be deeply missed, but he leaves a legacy of positive influence on many people.
 
Have a good weekend, 
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Fri 18th: Boys Soccer @ Maranatha Christian Academy: MS 5, HS 7 pm
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational
 
* Sat 19th: Girls Vars VBall Tournament @ Hiawatha HS, 9 am  
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational
 
* Mon 21st: Girls VBall @ Melvern-Marais des Cygnes Valley: JV 4, Vars 4 pm
MS Girls VBall @ Oakhill Day School, 5 pm
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational  
 
* Tue 22nd: Vars XC Invitational @ Tonganoxie-Leavenworth Co. Fairgrounds, 4 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Pembroke Hill @ YSI, 5 pm
Girls MS VBall vs. Pembroke Hill @ BSA: B-Team 5, A-Team 6pm
 
* Wed 23rd: MS XC Meet @ Tonganoxie-Leavenworth Co. Fairgrounds, 4 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Bonner Springs @ YSI, 4: 30 pm
Virtual College Micro-Fair (10th-12th grade students/parents), 7:30 pm
 
* Thurs 24th: Boys Vars Soccer vs. Bishop Ward @ YSI, 5 pm
 
* Sat 25th: Girls Vars VBall @ Madison HS, 8 am
Vars XC Meet vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ TBA, 11 am
 
Dear Parents,
 
It is good to have a full week under our belt on campus and in Seabury LIVE.  I feel that we are starting to get into a new rhythm.  According to the Douglas County weekly report, the COVID positive rates fell slightly this week, so we are still in Yellow and will continue to be on campus next week.  Let's hope the numbers continue in that direction!
 
Regarding the weekly tally of stats I will be including in each Friday Letter, I found myself scratching my head about the first item (students out sick) because the range of reasons for students being out is a bit deceptive and therefore unhelpful.  Betsy and I agreed today to include only students who were home specifically with any symptom that is somewhere on the chart of potential COVID symptoms (including low-risk symptoms like nausea, headache, congestion, etc.) that are not linked to to existing conditions (migraines, allergies, menstrual cramps, etc).  I expect the value of this statistic is to let you know the number of kids who tend to have these particular sorts of symptoms; it is obviously not an indicator of students who are likely to have COVID-19.  Also, the quarantine number includes individuals who have had close contact with a known positive case, who have a family member with one high risk or two low-risk symptoms and is being tested, or any other reason that might justify temporary quarantine, such as travel.  
 
14: # of students out sick at any time this week
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
2: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring 
25: # of students in Seabury LIVE
 
Ms. Czarnecki and I are working on a plan to fold altera familia (our advising groups) back into our weekly schedule.  I know most of our students miss this chance to meet with their "families," so we are eager to bring that tradition back.
 
I was happy that students could enjoy the sunshine and nice weather this week.  We encouraged them to go outside during breaks in the schedule, and they have done a great job with following mask and distancing protocols during those times.
 
Mr. Gollier and I joined the seniors on Wednesday morning at 6 am at a lake north of town to listen to music, play a few socially-distanced lawn games, and watch the sun rise.  The seniors came up with this idea, and Bill and I enjoyed spending a little time with them.  It was a beautiful, misty morning!
 
Congratulations to seniors Audrey Nguyen-Hoang and Morgan Orozco on being named as Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Program.  Commended scholars score in the top 5% of the 1.5 million seniors who take the PSAT.  (I just got notification today, so I will announce the news to the students in morning meeting on Monday.)
 
A slightly shorter Letter today--which I expect you will appreciate!
 
Have a great weekend!
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:

* Sat 12th: Vars XC @ Wamego Country Club: Boys 11:15 am, Girls 12:00 pm.
 
* Mon 14th: Girls MS VBall vs. Veritas Christian @ BSA, 5 pm
*Girls Vars VBall vs. Burlingame & Onaga @ Onaga HS, 5 pm
 
* Tue 15th: Picture Day
*Boys Vars Soccer vs. KC East Christian Academy @ YSI, 4:30 pm
*Girls MS VBall vs. Oakhill Day @ BSA, 4:30 pm
*Girls Vars VBall vs. KC East & Veritas @ East Lawrence Rec Center, 5 pm
 
* Wed 16th: MS XC Meet vs. Pembroke Hill @ Lewis Park, 4 pm
 
* Thurs 17th: Girls VBall vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ BSA: MS 5, JV 6, Vars 7 pm
 
* Fri 18th: Boys Soccer @ Maranatha Christian Academy: MS 5, HS 7 pm
 
* Sat 19th: Girls Vars VBall Tournament @ Hiawatha HS, 9 am
 
Dear Parents,
 
My Director of Facilities texted me last night to assure me that he would have the flags at half-staff this morning.  Having been out of the loop with national news, I asked him what I had missed.  My failure to have 9/11 on my mental map (for the first time since it happened) is a pretty good indication of how intense this week has been!
 
Now that we are back on campus, I want to remind parents that we will use the Douglas County Thursday updates to determine whether we will be in session for the following week.  Douglas County rates have risen, but we are still in Yellow, so we will be on campus next week.  Next Thursday, I will keep my eye on this site and notify you immediately about the status for the following week.  This gives our teachers three days to revise curriculum for Connected Learning should we need to return to that program on the following Monday.
 
I also promised a weekly tally of stats that I expect will interest parents, and this data will also be relevant to decision-making about remaining on campus in the future.
9: # of students out sick at any time this week (for any reason: migraine, congestion, nausea, hives, etc.)
0: # of students/staff who are presently positive for COVID
0: # of students who are in quarantine/monitoring (having been around a known positive case or required due to travel)
25: # of students in Seabury LIVE
 
Congratulations to our two National Merit Scholar Semifinalists: Lyle Griggs & Peter Westbrook.  These seniors are among the top scoring 16,000 students (or the top 1%) of the more than 1.5 million seniors in the country who take the PSAT.  Congratulations to these students! 
 
Tuesday 15th is Picture Day.  Thank you to our photographer (and parent) Steven Hertzog for working an extended shooting schedule so we can keep kids from grouping up.  Betsy has reached out to Seabury LIVE families about scheduling photos between 4:15-5 pm on that day.  6th-11th graders should wear dress code.  Seniors should bring a dark suit & tie w/ white shirt or a dark blouse.  
 
Tuesday's orientation was one of the most exhausting days most of us have had working at this school--and not just because most of us did not sleep well the night before!  With Middle School students in the morning and Upper School students in the afternoon, we went through the entire day's schedule (in accelerated fashion) and reviewed the new protocols with students several times.  It was a lot of information for students to assimilate.  But by the afternoon, we were ready to start our first day of classes.
 
I would not have chosen overcast or rainy weather for our first days of morning screenings, but you work with what you get!  The car line has moved much faster than I expected--thanks both to parents for following a staggered arrival schedule and to our staff for moving the process along.  What tends to slow us down is when students have not completed their rSchool screening.  Parents, you can help us out a great deal by asking your children if they took the screening when you leave the house. 
 
Morning meeting is something of a hybrid between in-person and online.  The meeting is telecast throughout the building with teachers projecting the daily Zoom meeting in their classrooms.  A prefect leads announcements, and when a student or teacher needs to say something, they are filmed on camera in their individual classroom and projected across the building.  After morning meeting ends, the teacher opens their course Zoom meeting so Seabury Live students can attend and then class begins.
 
Using my 1st period class as an example, I only have one student in LIVE that period, and her face is projected on the screen while she can see wherever my tripod camera is pointed.  (This has been a learning process, of course, and my LIVE student kindly asked me early in the class if I could turn the camera so she could see her classmates and not the dry erase board that I was no longer using!)  Different teachers may follow a different approach with Seabury LIVE, especially since classroom methods inevitably vary based on discipline.  I found the process has been fairly straight-forward on my end, though I have asked Mr. Kellogg to order conference microphones that can improve audio so online students can hear classroom discussion a bit more clearly.
 
Passing periods and breaks are probably the trickiest part of the day because children and adolescents are very social creatures, and they have a gravitational pull to be together.  Most of the time, they are doing a good job in hallway passing and congregating at break time.  I talk to staff and students about "adaptive distancing," which is my phrase for capturing how personal proximity functions in a social place such as a school.  We necessitate 6 ft distance in classes where students are in static positions for extended amounts of time, but in flex times during the day when we are traveling or briefly standing in places, more variation in distancing is possible.  Students tend to figure this out pretty quickly--they just need a nudge on occasion to move a bit further apart.  Managing this throughout an entire day is different than navigating a single instance with one other person.  Our main objective is to create an evolving awareness in students so they can increasingly self-adjust.
 
For lunch, some students stay in the same room and others move to new classrooms, but all students wash their hands before eating.  Ms. McCaffrey and Mr. Rios created lunch and handwashing assignments, and I was amazed on Wednesday to see the students move through this choreography for the first time as if they had practiced it for weeks.  I am in the commons for lunch, and several groups enter this space to wash their hands; if you have seen one of Ms. Lawrence's music concerts, you know the sort of traffic patterns I am seeing.  In my experience this week, I have been reminded how capable these kids are of adapting and following directions. 
 
Dismissal is sorting itself out.  I was concerned about this part of the day, not knowing how easy it would be to get students to their vehicles--and knowing that the car line could get lengthy!  Opening both lanes of the parking lot helps a great deal, as does the patience of parents (thank you!).  I was surprised to find that most students are picked up and gone within 10 minutes.
 
All in all, I am very pleased with this week and especially with our students.  They have readily complied with a very lengthy set of procedures that require adaptation to different spaces.  I have not had a single problem with a student wearing a mask.  Indeed, even when they go outside and are at a proper distance, they choose to continue wearing their masks. Based on my inquiry, they seem to be grateful to be back on campus, though there are moments of anxiety with some students, which is quite understandable.  I believe the students feel the intense focus of the adults on campus, and they are doing their best to comply.  We just all have to remember that this is not a perfect process and we are not robots.  We just have to do our best.
 
I really appreciate the support of parents and the hard work of faculty and students this week, but most importantly, I offer my deep gratitude to the administrators and staff who are running the morning screening, supervising passing periods and breaks, distributing lunches, and facilitating a speedy pick-up--and all the while trying to find time to do their regular jobs!  As I am sure you know, we are giving this effort everything we have to give, and the positive response from the students makes it worth it.  
 
But let me say with more meaning than ever in my life: TGIF!
 
Yours respectfully, 
Dr. Schawang
 
THE WEEK AHEAD:
 
* Sat 5th: Vars VBall @ McLouth HS, 1-3 pm
* Mon 7th: Labor Day, No Classes
* Tue 8th: Return to Campus Student Orientation 
* Middle School (6-8th grades): 8-11:30 am
* Upper School (9th-12th grades): 12:30-3:30 pm
* Senior Orientation: 3:30-4 pm
*Vars Soccer vs. St. Mary's @ YSI, 5 pm
*Vars VBall Tri @ BSA vs. Lebo 5 pm, KCC 7 pm
* Wed 9th: Classes Resume On-Campus
* Thurs 10th: MS VBall vs. Northland Christian Schools @ BSA, 5 pm
*VBall vs. Bishop Ward @ BSA, JV 5:30,. Vars 6:30 pm
* Sat 12th: Vars XC @ Wamego Country Club, 9 am
 
Dear Parents,
 
As I announced yesterday, we will be returning to campus next week.  The Douglas County Reopening Guidance materials for schools includes a color-coded phased system (Green, Yellow, Orange, Red) that reflects percentages of positive tests and new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, though they take other factors into account as well.  Yesterday afternoon, they announced that we are still in "Yellow."  Moving forward, I will be using this phasing system as one metric for determining whether we are on campus or in Connected Learning.  (In other words, if I learn on a Thursday that we have moved to "Orange" or to "Red," we will go into CL the following week.)  Once we have returned to campus, the other major trigger that could move us into Connected Learning would be numbers or patterns of infection in our community that would cause me to believe that our students and staff could be at unwarranted risk if we remain on campus.
 
Starting next week, I will be including in every Friday Letter a scorecard that communicates specific data, including numbers of students/staff absent due to sickness (not necessarily COVID-related), presently positive for COVID-19, in quarantine/monitoring for symptoms, and in Seabury Live.  In order for these numbers to be meaningful, I ask that our parents and staff be forthright with Betsy in explaining the reasons for student/staff absences.  Please know that we will not share the names of specific individuals, except when required to communicate information to the DG Health Department.
 
I won't repeat the information about on-campus orientation from yesterday's email, but I am going to attach a more detailed schedule for our Tuesday orientation as well as the Student Version of the Return-To-Campus Plan for your convenience.  The on-campus daily schedule (which starts on Wednesday) is at the top of the Plan.  
 
Parents, in addition to the rSchool screening that students will complete each morning, you need to ask your child every morning if they have any of the symptoms listed in the Plan and on the rSchool app.  NO STUDENT MAY COME TO CAMPUS IF THEY ARE SICK.
 
Betsy sent a sign-up to help us create a morning drop-off schedule.  If you haven't done so yet, please follow this link and select a drop-off window. 
 
Parents with students in Seabury LIVE, I have attached the slide show from our Tuesday orientation meeting.  Also, we discussed the importance of keeping students connected even though they are off-campus.  If you would like to give us permission to share your student's names with other families who have students in Seabury LIVE, please communicate that information to Ms. Czarnecki at sonjaczarnecki@seaburyacademy.org.  

It has been a while since we have had athletics on the Week Ahead.  Part of our safety protocols that will allow athletics to occur this year is the limitation of spectators for games.  Each player will be given two wrist-bands that they may give to spectators, allowing us to provide appropriate distancing for attendees.  Otherwise, competition will be closed to all but players, coaches, and officials, and all individuals will be required to wear masks.  For the foreseeable future, we will not have a student fan section.  However, fans can have unlimited access to all games in the Seabury Dillon Gymnasium by signing up for NFHS Live Stream.  See the attached flyer for details!
 
Thanks to BSAP President Eliza Bullock and VP TiaEisha Green for their efforts to lead our parent organization.  They still need parents to sign up for committees, so please do so at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4cafa623a4fac43-bsap.  Help is especially needed with Grounds and Arts committees.
 
Also, the primary source of funding for BSAP is our grocery card program.  You create a standing order for grocery cards (the same amount you would spend regardless), and the school gets a kick-back from those stores.  Free money.  Now is the time for sign-up!  I would encourage you to "Set it and forget it!" by placing a recurring monthly order.  The deadline for ordering is the 15th of each month.  
Contact Barbara Bosché at: grocerycards@seaburyacademy.org
 
I hope you enjoyed the Curriculum Night videos from our teachers (though I know many of you will wait until the weekend for that).  I miss seeing parents on campus for this event, but I hope you find the asynchronous experience to be convenient for your schedules.
 
Finally, we all know school is going to look very different this year, but I expect the students will be relieved to be back.  We will need to be patient next week as students learn and habituate themselves to new expectations and routines.  Hopefully, by next Friday, they will feel comfortable with a new rhythm and we will have worked out the kinks in this new system, both on campus and on Seabury LIVE.
 
Thank you all and have a good Labor Day weekend!
Dr. Schawang
 
 
 

THE WEEK AHEAD:

  • Tue 1st: Seabury LIVE Orientation meeting, 7 pm
  • Thurs 3rd: Curriculum Night (asynchronous)
  • Mon 7th: Labor Day, No Classes
  • Tue 8th: Return to Campus Student Orientation (ANTICIPATED)
    • Middle School (6-8th grades): 8:00-11:30 am
    • Upper School (9th-12th grades): 12:30-3:30 pm
    • Senior Orientation: 3:30-4:00 pm
  • Wed 9th: Classes Resume On-Campus (ANTICIPATED)
 
Dear Parents,
 
As of today, I will be including students as recipients of the Friday Letter.  (Yes, I pity them.)  Students, I am including you so you may see the Week Ahead schedule and be informed about school issues.  However, you are not required to read these letters.
 
As we are nearly a week away from Labor Day, it is extremely vexing to me that I have to put the qualifier "anticipated" next to our scheduled return to campus.  You may know that Douglas County Unified Command published recently a set of reopening guidelines (recommendations, not requirements) for school reopening that is color coded Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red.  (For larger schools, Yellow suggests a return to a "hybrid" system, but for a school our size, a full return to campus would still be possible for us at that level.)  Largely due to testing of returning KU students, the number of COVID tests and subsequent positive results prompted the County to push us from Green to Yellow yesterday afternoon.  (I will admit to using some choice words when I saw that.)
 
As I have noted previously, I don't want to be confined by any numerical metric, as the exact circumstances in the community may not be fully captured by general percentages.  However, I am watching these numbers closely, and I need to wait until next week to make a final decision about the timing of our return to campus.  I have made no secret that I think it is very important to get our students and teachers back into the classroom.  That is my second highest priority.  My first priority is looking after the health and well-being of our students and staff.  That is a responsibility that weighs on me.  Once again, I strongly urge all parents (especially of older students) to convey the seriousness of following our published off-campus expectations for good hygiene, proper mask usage, and physical distancing.  This would be a good time for our students to have a tight curfew and maybe get attached to a multi-season TV show on Netflix...anything to keep them home.
 
We will be hosting a Zoom orientation on Tuesday for students and parents who have signed up for Seabury LIVE.  (This session is ONLY for those families; all other parents need not attend.)  In the meantime, if you have any questions about this program for remote attendance when we return to campus, please reach out to Sonja Czarnecki: sonjaczarnecki@seaburyacademy.org.
 
This year, Curriculum Night will be an asynchronous event.  Teachers are presently creating short videos which will include information about the courses your children are taking.  On Thursday night, we will send out links to those videos so you can walk through your child's schedule and enjoy these presentations at your convenience.  Every year, at the end of this event, I hear the same thing from parents: "I wish I could have taken these classes when I went to school."
 
I mentioned in last week's letter that I am looking for parent volunteers to support general supervision of students this year.  You won't have to wield more authority than is comfortable for you.  If you think you could be available from 8-8:30 am, 3:15-4 pm, or 4-4:15 pm (times when I expect many parents will be dropping off or picking up their students), please let me know!  Thank you!
 
At morning meeting on Monday, we will show students how to sign up for health screenings in the rSchool app.  Students can save time by downloading that app (which can be found in Self-Service on their iPads).
 
Connected Learning on Campus (CLoC) is available all next week from 1-4 pm. CLoC provides a supervised environment for students to work on campus (masked, socially distanced) in a small-group study hall-like setting. Please contact Ms. Czarnecki if you would like to know more.  
 
I want to encourage you to sign up for the BSAP (Bishop Seabury Association of Parents) page on Facebook. The BSAP page is a place for Seabury parents and guardians to share resources, build connections, provide support, and offer opportunities to help out in the school community. 
 
Have a good weekend!
Dr. Schawang

 

 
* Sun 23rd: New Parent Orientation, 4:30-6 pm
 
Dear Parents, 
 
You get a lot of emails (especially as school opens!), so the Friday Letter is an important way to streamline communication.  I will assume that all parents will read these letters each week, as information here may not be repeated elsewhere.  To create ease in reading, I bold-face the topics in each paragraph.  (Sorry that today's is so long....)  
 
First, and most importantly, Betsy sent paperwork to parents at the beginning of the summer to be completed and returned.  Many families have not returned that paperwork.  I am attaching those documents, and they MUST BE COMPLETED AND RETURNED BY AUGUST 31ST.  Feel free to return by scan, mail, or personal drop-off during business hours.  Just make sure they are in by the deadline.
 
I hope your children have had a good first few days of classes.  I always anticipate a few bumps with technology, Zoom invites, or communication, so please encourage your child not to worry if there were any snags.  We will get into a rhythm quickly.  Also, we know students get a lot of emails this first week, but those should taper off now that we are up and running.
 
We will have an on-campus New Parent Orientation for you on Sunday, 23rd in the Commons with masks and appropriate distancing.  This will be an opportunity to learn about the school's processes and ask questions.  Parents who already have children at Seabury (in addition to a new student) do not need to attend.  The parking lot will be finished (though striping may not be, so parking could be a creative process).  If construction fencing is down, feel free to use the main entrance; otherwise, use the gym entrance.  
 
We still have dress-code apparel and athletic wear available at the clothing exchange.  Feel free to visit the 8th grade hallway on Sunday 3:30-6 pm to grab what you need!
 
If you have decided to enroll your child in Seabury LIVE instead of having them return to classes on campus and you have not notified Ms. Czarnecki, please do so ASAP: sonjaczarnecki@seaburyacademy.org.  
 
Our Chess program will be online this year--both practices and tournaments.  If your child is interested in participating, please reach out to Coach Steve Robinson at steverobinson2k8@gmail.com and let him know your student's name and grade.  Once a roster is formed, a practice schedule will be developed.  Presently, Coach Robinson is planning on one weeknight practice and one weekend practice, and everyone will be expected to attend one of those practices.    
 
Curriculum night generally happens during the first full week of classes and is an opportunity for parents to follow their child's course schedule, meet teachers, and learn about class content and objectives.  I am disappointed that we have to reschedule that event, but we will be planning an online asynchronous event for the near future.  Stay tuned!
 
I am deeply indebted to all of the parents who have helped us with a variety of tasks over the summer, from assembling desks for classroom distancing to overseeing the clothing exchange.  Thank you VERY much for your time and work!  And thanks to our staff members and administrators who have been working ceaselessly over the last few months to prepare for this new school year.  It has been an incredible and important team effort.  
 
On that note, I am looking for a handful of parent volunteers to help us with general supervision of students this year.  You won't have to wield more authority than is comfortable for you.  These are moments where I expect parents may be more likely to stop on campus: 8-8:30 am, 3:15-4 pm, and 4-4:15 pm.  I will be working with BSAP to see what sort of help may be available.  Let me know if you are interested.
 
This morning, I joined our construction foreman, our architect, and key staff for a final inspection of our building.  The parking lot will be finished tomorrow, the scaffolding will be removed from the stone facade, and the fencing should disappear soon.  I am looking forward to walking onto the finished campus on Monday!  
 
Have a good weekend!
Dr. Schawang
 

 

 
Dear Parents,
Please find attached the updated Return to Campus Plan for the 2020-21 school year.
 
I know this has been a difficult and very strange time, and parents across the country are weighing the risks in either keeping children isolated at home or sending them to on-campus education.  I have heard heart-breaking stories of young students who have cried at the idea of staying online and others due to the anxiety they feel in returning to campus.  And this is over and above the usual nervous energy that new students experience when preparing to attend a new school.  The heightened anxiety throughout the media right now has made this conversation even more confusing.  Most large schools are struggling right now to figure out how to return to campus, even in a hybrid system, and unfortunately, our smaller schools get swept up in the wake of that debate.
 
As I have noted before, we have a tremendous advantage right now in being a smaller independent school.  The same benefits that bring families to our school in a typical year are even more vital to our success during this pandemic.  Quite simply, our more manageable class sizes and our newly remodeled facilities allow us to create the conditions that allow for a return to campus five days a week with mitigated risk.  However, the ability of my staff to maintain those conditions and allow us to be on campus requires the total commitment of students, parents, and staff to the basic principles of the attached plan.  
 
I need to be very clear that any student who does not take this situation seriously or is unwilling or unable to follow the very basic expectations of distancing and consistent, proper use of face masks should not attempt to return to campus.  I think all of us have seen enough examples of ignorance or thoughtlessness in the larger community to know what I am talking about.  When we are back on campus, we will be graceful and precise in educating students and correcting any honest mistakes--we don't wish to shame or embarrass anyone.  However, if I find that any student simply cannot follow the expectations outlined in this plan (willfully or not), I will require them to attend classes remotely and will not allow them back on campus until such time as I believe they are capable of conforming to our expectations.  For this reason, I need all parents to have a serious and direct conversation--specifically about social distancing and the wearing of face masks--with their children to determine whether those students are prepared to return to campus or remain online when the time comes.
 
We have outlined the Seabury LIVE program in the Return to Campus plan.  Knowing that some students will not be ready or able to join us in person when we return to campus, we want to make sure that all students have access to education and continue to be involved in the community.  Seabury LIVE is not synonymous with Connected Learning but is an option for students to watch and listen to classes (and, when possible, participate in class discussion) from home.  This option will require a certain degree of student independence and/or management by parents.  Also, we cannot have students moving back and forth from on-campus work to Seabury LIVE due the difficulty of keeping track of students.  So we are asking that parents commit to being on Seabury Live for a minimum of two weeks, giving us advance notice (as outlined in the plan).  For those families who would like to have their children in Seabury LIVE when our campus reopens, we ask that parents reach out to sonjaczarnecki@seaburyacademy.org by Wednesday, August 19th.  You can also contact Ms. Czarnecki in the meantime if you have questions, and we can also answer questions at the parent forum.  (See below.)
 
We are hoping to return to on-campus classes after Labor Day if conditions continue to allow us to do so.  We have tweaked the schedule: on-campus orientation is planned to occur on Tuesday, September 8th with classes beginning on Wednesday 9th.  Of course, we will make the final determination a bit closer to that date.
 
I invite all parents to attend the parent forum next Monday, August 17th from 7-8 pm.  Here is the Zoom invite:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://seaburyacademy-org.zoom.us/j/87406296673?pwd=V1dvSHppdVRqQnlSS2JyRnBabFFTdz09

Meeting ID: 874 0629 6673
Passcode: 061399
 
Finally, I want to emphasize my deep appreciation for the support of parents and your understanding regarding the complexity of this situation.  The challenges that have been presented to schools right now are staggering.  Once again, I have great confidence that the attached plan and its overlapping levels of protection that will allow us to mitigate risk on campus, even in the event of a COVID-positive individual on campus.  However, we will all need to be flexible as we begin this school year and institute this plan, and I appreciate the work of all of us--parents, students, teachers, and staff--in making this work!
 
Yours respectfully, 
Dr. Schawang  
 
Return to Campus Plan