Response to COVID-19

With the health and safety of our globally interconnected community as our first priority, Thomas Jefferson School has decided to close its campus and move to a remote learning model for the remainder of the academic year.
 
Please read the letter from Dr. Elizabeth Holekamp, Head of School, outlining the decision below.

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March 18, 2020


Dear TJ Parents, Students, Faculty, Staff, and Trustees,

 

With the health and safety of our globally interconnected community as our first priority, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close our campus and move to a remote learning model for the remainder of the academic year. Below, I will outline the decisions we have made and then share some thoughts.

 

Campus Closure

Administrative offices remain open, but dormitories will be closed by 4:00 p.m. on March 25 (one week from today). It is our top priority in the coming days to help our boarding students get safely home to their families, and we pledge to support them through this unexpected change in plans. Food service, security, and campus supervision will continue for the students still in our care until Wednesday. Separate email communications will be sent to boarding families regarding the campus closure and to day families about how to retrieve belongings left on campus.

 

Instruction

Beginning April 6 and continuing through the end of May, TJ classes will take a new form. The faculty has been working intensively to determine how we can best provide continuity of the TJ experience over the final eight weeks of the school year. They are developing a framework that will allow teaching, learning, and advising to go on, using online tools with which teachers and students alike are already familiar.


We are fortunate to have the best faculty for a situation like this. Not only are they expert educators, they are also versatile and thoughtful—and many of them have experience with online education. In the midst of uncertainty, I am finding comfort in the faculty’s dedication to continuing to provide students with the strongest possible academic background; that will not change as we move to a new format for delivering on our mission. Regular, frequent, and transparent communication with you will be a key component of the plan. Next week, we will convey all of the necessary logistical details to the students and to you. 


Some Thoughts

While we are confident that this decision truly serves the health and safety of all members of our community, we are still processing its emotional impact. Nothing can substitute for the daily, face-to-face interaction that is the heart of our nurturing community. We’re asking that we all support each other through the disappointment of changes and cancellations and to recognize all the things we can still do, and do well. 


At no point, however, are we cancelling our commitment to delivering our mission. Please remember, we are TJ. Our small community has the will, the ability, and the versatility to be nimble and flexible. These combined qualities are among the hallmarks of our school, in any circumstance. Now, more than ever, we need to appreciate and capitalize on them. TJ’s uniqueness is what will not just allow us to get through this time, but to emerge even stronger. 

 

Again, much more information will be forthcoming—including, ultimately, information about what form graduation will take. It will happen. In the meantime, stay well and look out for our next communications.

 

With warm regards,

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Elizabeth L. Holekamp, Ph.D.

Head of School

  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Sneeze and cough into a tissue if possible or a bent elbow if no tissue is available.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Don’t share drinks or food.
  • Stay home if you feel ill.