Throughout our history, our students, staff, and campers have overcome challenges by working together as a group and striving towards a shared community purpose. Today the challenge before us is how to respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, which has rapidly evolved into a global health crisis with many local implications. We are all facing this challenge together and so I have sent this message to the entire Chewonki community.
I write to ask for your unprecedented support and understanding as we respond. We are focused on keeping our community safe and healthy now and into the future.
In particular, public health officials are calling on all of us to help “Flatten The Curve” of COVID-19 cases so that we do not overwhelm the healthcare system in the next several months. This can be done through protective measures such as “social distancing,” which requires changes in our behavior and in the ways we gather.
From NBC.com/science/sciencenews/ accessed March 12, 2020
This week Chewonki has been adjusting internal practices, protocols, and procedures to better align operations with public health recommendations. That work will continue.
With this message, I am sharing additional decisions about our programming and I will continue to offer regular updates as the situation evolves and we have more information.
After carefully reviewing the existing and emerging guidance documents from federal and state officials, some of which are divergent, we have made the decision to adjust all in-person Chewonki programming.
Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki will delay the planned return of students to campus until Sunday, April 5th. This approach and timeline are aligned with decisions being made by other secondary boarding schools in New England with geographically diverse populations.
Chewonki Elementary and Middle School will be closed for the week of March 16-20 to prepare remote learning strategies.
Chewonki Outdoor Classroom will cancel programs and conduct all school presentations virtually for March 16-20.
Chewonki Traveling Natural History Program has canceled all public appearances for March 16-20. Current bookings will be rescheduled and our staff will explore options for virtual delivery of lessons.
Chewonki Waypoint will suspend activities until March 23rd. This will include cohort meetings, field trips and Waypoint Educator visits to the school.
Camp Chewonki is continuing preparations for a great season this summer. Our Eastside Expansion project continues on schedule.
These program adjustments are subject to change as we receive new information and status updates can be found on this page: https://chewonki.org/covid19
In the meantime, we will wait for the Maine Department of Education and other agencies to offer more guidance for decision-making about the health and well-being of our learning communities.
Families, students, and school partners in each program area will be receiving specific information about program changes and what to expect in the weeks ahead.
Finally, as we all know, this global pandemic is a challenge that none of us have ever encountered. It will require each and every one of us to dig deep, care for ourselves, our families, and our communities in new and creative ways. I want to extend my appreciation and gratitude to the entire Chewonki community, our families, alumni, students, staff as we support one another.