Dear Peregrine School Community,
We write to you with great concern for the safety of our community and for what all of us are going through, as parents and teachers, during this challenging time. New and unprecedented developments in this week alone have shown us that “flattening the curve” and saving lives by slowing the COVID-19 spread will be a long-term endeavor requiring herculean effort from all of us. While we had originally hoped that we would stay out of school for only an extra week or two and planned accordingly, we must prepare for the possibility this extends months, rather than weeks. With great difficulty, we have reached the following decisions:
We will close both of our Early Childhood Centers until it is safe to operate them. The ECC will provide a distance enrichment model for El Nido, Patitos, Escuelita, Primaria, and Pandas families supervised by the ECC directors. The goal of this model is to provide some structure, engaging activities, and important (virtual) socialization for our young learners, and to keep a connection between families and our ECC teachers. Parents will receive details about this program soon. ECC families will not be charged for full tuition in April and beyond until we reopen.
With K-12 schools projected to remain closed for weeks and possibly through the spring trimester, we will implement a more formal long-term distance learning model to continue our elementary students’ education until they can return safely to school. Our elementary teachers, led by school directors, are designing a robust set of online lessons, discussions, and at-home assignments which will operate five days a week beginning March 31th. Parents will receive details about this program soon.
The board and administration are meeting over the Spring Break to review tuition options for families during the school closure. We will announce them by Friday, March 27. In the meantime, we have suspended all tuition invoicing.
The welfare of our families and teachers is at the center of our thoughts. We have thoroughly assessed various options, particularly the exemption allowing childcare facilities to operate solely to enable employees to continue working in industries that are deemed essential. However, recent information from county, state, and federal sources suggest that we cannot provide services safely on site at any scale at this time. Particularly disturbing are new findings which indicate that children with COVID-19 often exhibit milder symptoms that are virtually indistinguishable from the common cold or flu. We have determined that the risk of “community spread” from childcare facilities - exempt activity or not - is too great. We firmly believe in being a part of the solution, not the problem.
Many of you have voiced your concerns for the well-being of the teachers, staff and school. There is no denying the sudden financial difficulty that has been imposed on the entire Peregrine community. We will be making some challenging decisions about reducing staffing as we move forward with this plan. Know that we will continue to support our teachers, facilities and administrative staff as much as we can throughout this crisis and afterwards. Our goal is that the staffing changes that are forthcoming will be temporary.
Some expenses like wages, utilities, and food have been reduced; however, other expenses such as rent, taxes, and insurance are immutable. Even with staff layoffs across all departments, the school will experience a shortfall of approximately $136,250 per month until we reopen. For those of you who have not been as affected by this crisis and have the means, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Peregrine School to help cover our shortfall. We would be truly grateful if you do so. No amount is too small. You can mail a donation check to Peregrine South or donate online on our homepage (www.peregrineschool.org).
We will communicate regularly as the situation continues to evolve. We value our community immensely, and that community includes every one of our families, teachers, admin and staff. We miss you all! We encourage all of you to stay in touch with each other in any creative way you can during these uncertain times. Once we get ahead of the virus curve, we will reopen all of our programs as soon as possible and continue the school’s mission of providing exciting and enriched education. We sincerely hope that you - our families, teachers and staff - will be there to resume the wonderful work we do together.
Stay safe and be well, Lorie Hammond, Director, Peregrine School
Susan King, Board Chair, Peregrine School