March 2, 2020

MA Family,
I know that many of you have been following the news regarding COVID-19, the disease caused by the spread of the Coronavirus. I want to reach out today to share some of the steps that we are taking as a school to prepare for a possible public health emergency on campus or within the Montgomery area. 

Here at MA, we are closely following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to the spread of COVID-19.  It is important to note that the CDC has emphasized that there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States, and the number of cases in the United States remains small.  However, given the fact that this situation is evolving and the fact that the CDC had identified this as a potential public health threat within the United States, we are closely monitoring the situation and planning for potential next steps should the conditions change.  Along with the CDC, we are remaining in close contact with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Montgomery County Department of Public Health as well. Our school nurse, Shontrice Boswell, has engaged in some professional development with the Southern Association of Independent Schools on preparing for the spread of the Coronavirus, and I joined many Heads of School and other administrators around the country in attending a live-stream session with the National Association of Independent Schools on preparing for this potential pandemic.  Furthermore, in conjunction with our school’s crisis management plan, I have created a special COVID-19 planning team that is meeting regularly to ensure the school’s preparedness in case there were to be a public health emergency in the Montgomery area.  

While there is not an immediate, known threat to the school, our priorities remain the health and safety of the MA community – our students, faculty, staff and other persons on campus. We have established a designated page on our MA website that will keep our full community informed of the steps that we are taking as well as provide links to important resources.  At this time, we are not announcing any alterations to our plans for the spring. All school events, field trips and student travel remain on track at this time. However, we will be following the guidance of the CDC as well as local health agencies as the situation evolves. Our planning team will be developing contingency plans should there have to be any interruption to the daily school schedule due to the spread of COVID-19.

Health experts tell us that many of the same precautions that we take for cold and flu season are applicable to COVID-19.  Therefore, the most important thing that you can do, as parents, right now is to stay informed and follow these simple steps that are similar to the types of steps that you would take in dealing with cold and flu season each year:

  • Encourage your family to engage in regular hand-washing with soap and water.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Encourage all in your family to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Please keep your child at home if he or she has a fever. Please do not send the student back to school until he or she has been fever-free (with no fever-reducing medication) for 24 hours.

For your information, here are some important links that may be helpful to you and your family:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Montgomery County Department of Public Health

Alabama Department of Public Health

World Health Organization 

John McWilliams