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Return to School 2020

Since moving to Virtual MFS in March 2020, the Administrative Council and School Committee at Moorestown Friends School have been in deep conversation about how best to reopen school when the time is right. We have been engaged in detailed scenario planning that would allow our students to return to in-person learning, continue in Virtual MFS, or engage in a hybrid learning experience, as the ever-evolving situation requires. This webpage will be updated throughout the coming months as we share plans, logistics, and decisions related to starting school in the Fall.

Guiding Principles

The following principles will guide our leadership team as we make the best decisions possible for our community.

  • Our top priority is the collective health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and families. We will strive to make decisions that can be sustained by all community members over the course of the school year.
  • Clear and regular communication with our community is critical for maintaining trust and ensuring the smoothest experience for all involved.
  • Our foundational Quaker values of integrity, community, equality, and stewardship will be core to how we make decisions. We are committed to maintaining a strong educational experience for our students through the pandemic and will make sound financial choices to ensure the long-term sustainability of the institution for generations more.
  • The “power of small”–as a small school, we will adapt as needed to meet the changing situation and to reduce disruption for students.
  • Remaining inclusive in our decision-making will help us best address the needs of our diverse constituents. 
Assumptions
  • In order to balance the educational and health needs of our community, we understand that unless all families and employees are under strict quarantine, there will always be an element of risk to convening in person. Our goal is to mitigate that risk and create the healthiest environment possible in which children can learn.
  • The school year will look different from what we have known in the past and may include some combination of virtual, face-to-face, and hybrid learning, as waves of infection impact our geographic area.
  • We will operate on campus only if it is in alignment with our local and state authorities and if we can successfully and reasonably follow the CDC guidelines available at the time.
  • Moorestown Friends expects a phased re-entry to the school year and will prioritize getting our youngest learners (Lower School – Preschool through Grade 4) on campus as much as possible, as they require the greatest hands-on support to grow and adapt to the changing environment.
Communications Regarding Reopening School
Committee on Reopening School

In May 2020, Head of School Julia de la Torre formed the Committee on Reopening School (CRS), whose mission is to plan for how MFS will open the 2020-21 school year, whether it be virtual, face-to-face, or hybrid. The CRS oversees the work of five sub-committees listed below. Each committee is clerked by senior administrators and directors and is supported by teams of employees with deep expertise in their respective areas of focus. The CRS and clerks collaborate across committees to ensure the most informed, sound decisions on behalf of the school.

Committee on Reopening School Structure

Academics
Clerk: Meredith Godley, Upper School Director (Associate Head of School and Academic Dean starting July 1)
Mission: To address the teaching and learning needs of the community in a virtual, face-to-face or hybrid learning model.

Technology
Clerk: Steve Kolaris, Director of Technology 
Mission: To plan for the infrastructure and training needed to support learning in an equitable way.

Social-Emotional Wellness
Clerk: Dot Lopez, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Mission: To tend to the social-emotional wellbeing of our community as we transition through summer and into the school year.

Health, Safety, & Logistics
Co-Clerks: Lisa Carbone Warren, Director of Finance and Operations & Martha Cameron, Director of Auxiliary Programs
Mission: To plan for all of the operational logistics that will allow us to start school in the healthiest and safest way possible.

Athletics
Clerk: Danielle Dayton, Director of Athletics
Mission: To explore–in partnership with our leagues–the possibilities for opening school with athletics as part of the experience.

The CRS and sub-committees are carefully reviewing reopening plans from around the world and are considering the latest guidance from the CDC, the state of New Jersey, and our local health officials. Moorestown Friends belongs to several associations, including the National Association of Independent Schools, the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, and the Friends Council on Education. We attend webinars and briefings almost daily with experts from a variety of industries and are in close contact with our local law enforcement as well as other regional schools to coordinate the best plan for MFS. In addition, we are fortunate to call on several esteemed alumni and community members who work in infectious disease, child psychology, social work, and higher education to lend their expertise as we explore possibilities for next year.

While we will be communicating regularly throughout the summer, you can always check back here for updates on our plans to reopen school for the 2020-21 academic year.

Questions and concerns may be sent directly to the Committee on Reopening School (CRS) at reopening@mfriends.org.