Lynda’s Latest Update: July 17, 2020
- Hello Families,
With virus metrics in NC and Wake County increasing rather than decreasing, Heartwood does not feel it is in the best interest of the of health and well-being of our students, staff or families to open our buildings for in-person learning in just a few weeks, even in Plan B with reduced classroom capacity and enhanced safety measures in place.
We do have a Plan C for 100% remote learning and have been preparing to both supplement and bridge any potential in-person gaps this year with remote resources. That being said, Heartwood is not and never has been a virtual academy. The relationships, discovery, observation and interaction with peers, teachers and materials in the learning environment are a foundation on which we can support, supplement and continue the learning process remotely when needed. The idea of starting out our Montessori school year in 100% remote learning is concerning to our teachers, staff and many parents and is not the Heartwood experience we all know and love, nor is it the one anyone was anticipating.
As of today our enrollment numbers are at only 50% capacity. Many of you have expressed that some form of in-person experience (even if altered, shortened, disrupted or supplemented by remote resources this year) is fundamental to your commitment to Heartwood and the value of your tuition dollars. By starting out the school year remotely and heading towards a combined flu/COVID-19 season this fall/winter, the in-classroom experience this year is not something of which we can be certain. In addition, Heartwood’s ability to increase enrollment and meet our required student numbers during a remote school year in the midst of a global pandemic is limited at best.
Taking all of this into account, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to furlough our school program for the 2020-21 school year. The best interest of the health and safety of our community, the financial stability of our families, and the Montessori educational experience for our students are our deciding factors. I wanted to let you know as soon as possible so you can make alternate plans for your children and family for the coming school year.
For families who had signed an enrollment agreement and made a commitment to Heartwood for this coming school year, all deposits and any initial draft fees or payments will be refunded to you. For those who had decided not to continue already, all family deposits will be refunded as usual.
It is heartbreaking to make this announcement and yet is necessary at this juncture. I know many of you will be disappointed and feel the loss of this year’s Heartwood school experience as much as we do. If you have any questions or are struggling with what to do for education plans this year please contact us.
Just this past year Heartwood’s incredible community rallied around our school’s ambition to continue the 29-year legacy of Sue and Mary and move to a new location within two years time. Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that a global pandemic would close our campus on March 14th, 2020 and that the public health crisis would continue into the 2020-21 school year. All of the careful planning in the world could not have prepared us for the challenges of the past 4 months or those that lay ahead. We will continue to take stock of the COVID-19 situation throughout the year and determine if it might be possible to reopen our program for a 2021-22 school year. In the meantime we remain hopeful that a vaccine and/or therapeutic treatment is approved and that the difficult choices we are all having to make this year are short lived.
Heartwood’s commitment to Montessori learning and philosophy remains strong. Of all of the wise words Maria Montessori said in her writings and lectures, this one resonates more than any other right now: “We shall all walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and we are connected with each other to form one whole unity.”
Thank you all for walking this path with Heartwood, with our truly amazing teachers, staff, students, parents and friends. I am hopeful we can remain connected through our shared commitment to the growth of each and every child in our community. We are so grateful that you have shared your children with us as part of their journey and ours, they truly make our world a better place.
With peace and gratitude,
Gathering information from trustworthy sources is crucial in this time of uncertainty. Heartwood’s policies have been driven by guidance from the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Stress and uncertainty have powerful effects on mental, physical, and emotional health. If you or a loved one finds yourself struggling, please seek help. Resources we have found helpful include:
- Resources for Helplines, Hotlines, and Finding a Therapist
- The Child Mind Institute’s Guide to Managing COVID-19 Stress