March 16, 2020 Communication
Dear Brearley Alumnae,
We are writing to share the important message below sent by Head of School Jane Foley Fried to Brearley parents and students earlier today.
As some of you know, Brearley closed early for Spring Break this year due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in New York City and the nation. As the message below highlights, we will resume classes remotely after school reconvenes on March 30 after break.
As you will see in the letter from Jane Fried, Brearley's talented faculty and students are adapting well to the new experience of teaching and learning in our virtual classrooms, and the Brearley spirit is in evidence in all our interactions. We are certainly relying upon the core values of truth and toil that Brearley has embraced for generations.
Thank you to all who have sent emails of support to the School. We are grateful for the loyalty and commitment of the extended Brearley community. Please take care and stay safe.
Anne S. Bergen, Chief Advancement Officer
Daryl Gurian Stern, Director of Events and Alumnae Relations
Jo David, Director of Communications
Dear Members of the Brearley Community,
I hope that you are safe and well.
As you have probably already learned, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday that due to the spread of COVID-19, all New York City Public School classes are canceled until April 20. The Mayor called this a painful decision and added that he cannot assure, as of now, when schools will actually re-open. At this point, public school buildings are open to support this transition for over 1 million students in 1,700 schools. As is our usual practice in an emergency situation, Brearley and Interschool members will follow the Mayor’s guidance and close as well. There are many ramifications, but at this time we believe an extended closure is the best way to protect the health of community members, friends, and fellow citizens. When Brearley reconvenes virtually on Monday, March 30, you will receive further information about our plans to teach online.
The extended closing of our largest public school system is an unprecedented event for our country. Over the weekend, I watched state after state close their public schools and many U.S. institutions close as well. Listening to quarantined neighborhoods in Italy sing to each other from their balconies gave me hope, and I wondered, too, about the voices that we cannot hear. We live in a big world in New York City, but for the immediate future, our worlds will be smaller and more intimate. I ask us all to pay particular attention to our neighbors in need and invite Brearley families who might be experiencing hardship procuring food and school provisions to be in touch directly with me (email@example.com
) or, if you feel more comfortable, with Melissa Cassis, Director of Financial Assistance (firstname.lastname@example.org
While there are many challenges ahead for our community and the country, we will continue to focus on engaging our students as we resume our online classes after spring break. We are very fortunate to have had the chance last week to complete online training with faculty and to have had a very successful two-day online-learning practice with all students in K-XII. The girls were so happy to be reunited with their teachers and classmates, and, in true Brearley fashion, were extremely eager to continue learning in this new way. We tend to be low-key at Brearley in giving accolades, but it would be impossible for me to overstate the excellent work by faculty and staff in readying the School for this eventuality, which seemed almost impossible only a few weeks ago. I am very grateful for the commitment of teachers and staff to the students and the School. They have gone above the call of duty.
Brearley will be “open” for teaching, advising, counseling and many other aspects of school life when we reconvene virtually on March 30. It will be different, but it still will be Brearley, because the most important part of this school is its people.
We will be in touch again over break. In the meantime, we once again encourage parents to practice good social distancing with their children’s activities, and I ask that you read this informative article
(“Social Distancing: This Is Not a Snow Day”) to ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to protect your children and your community.
AW Postponement, March 15, 2020
After careful consideration, we are writing to inform you that the decision has been made to postpone the upcoming 2020 Alumnae Weekend and Reunion, originally scheduled for April 17-18, 2020.
This difficult choice was made in light of the rapidly developing situation with respect to COVID-19. Brearley is striving to observe the utmost care and consideration for the well-being of our alumnae and entire school community. With Governor Cuomo's guidance this past week limiting gatherings of more than 500 people (albeit larger than our alumnae weekend events) and as "social distancing" has increasingly become the suggested approach for communities around the nation, we felt there was no choice but to postpone one of the School's largest and most well-attended events of the year.
We understand and share the disappointment and potential inconvenience that this cancellation holds for all our alumnae, and especially for our milestone reunion year class's ending in 0 and 5. It is our hope you understand and wholeheartedly support our decision to wait until a more prudent date to gather for our annual weekend of festive and educational camaraderie.
A new date has yet to be confirmed. Please rest assured that Brearley will thoroughly communicate revised event information as soon as we are able. It is also our hope that we will reinstate much of the wonderful programming, experiences and speakers that we had planned to offer in April.
We remain grateful for the plucky enthusiasm of Brearley alumnae and look forward to seeing you on East 83rd Street as soon as possible.
Wilhelmina Martin Eaken '64 and Andrea Kassar '95, Alumnae Weekend and Reunion Co-Chairs
Terri Seligman '78, Alumnae Board President
Daryl Gurian Stern, Director of Events and Alumnae Relations