May 8, 2020
Dear Supporters of Fairhaven School:
We hope this letter finds you healthy and safe. We are writing to update you on Fairhaven School in this unprecedented time of a global pandemic. Prior to closing on March 13th, as required by state authorities, we were in the midst of one of our most successful years ever. We had just enrolled our 74th student, and the remarkable surge in inquiries and enrollments that began last spring was continuing. Even now, we continue to hear from new families, and we expect an influx of new students when we reopen the campus.
What We’ve Done Since Closing
At a Special School Meeting, on March 13th, we elected an Executive Committee of staff members and students to make School Meeting decisions while the campus is closed. Almost immediately, we began setting up Virtual Fairhaven School (VFS), investigating platforms, establishing policies, and certifying students to participate. For everybody, those early weeks felt much like founding the school all over again. Crucially, students have joined staff members in creating VFS every step of the way. What an amazing group we have! While it’s not everything our beloved bricks and mortar campus is, VFS clearly still embodies the wonderful essence of the school. We’ve written about the experience on the school’s blog.
Knowing that the social and economic upheaval of the pandemic will affect our families, we have also formed the Joint School Meeting/FSI COVID Relief Committee to work on the economic impact of the closing. Meeting weekly, this committee is budgeting for next year and anticipating our families’ needs. We have pushed back the budgeting process and contract due dates to gain more clarity. Furthermore, at its May 7th meeting, the Assembly approved moving sufficient funds to raise grants to $40,000 for the 2020-2021 school year.
We applied for and received a Payroll Protection Program grant from the Small Business Administration, working in concert with our long-term, community lender, Sandy Spring Bank. We are confident that this grant will help the school weather these turbulent times. We are also exploring contingency plans with Sandy Spring.
Throughout this closure, our commitment has not wavered: to reopen bricks and mortar Fairhaven School as soon as the state and local authorities allow and we establish the steps and policies necessary to do so safely. Our priority is the safety and health of our students, staff, families, and the larger community, and we are shepherding the school to the other side of the global pandemic with this in mind.
What Can You Do?
Like many small businesses and nonprofits, Fairhaven School is reaching out to our community for support and commitment. Here is how you can help:
- Stay in touch. Follow Fairhaven School on social media. Let us know how you are doing!
- Attend the Theatre Corp radio play of “12 Angry Men” over Zoom on May 29th at 7:00. Admission is free.
- Consider donating to the special COVID Joint Committee fund drive through Fairhaven School, Inc., either by mailing a check to the school or selecting the Donate tab on the school’s website. All donations are tax-deductible and will help reduce the amount the school has to allocate to meet our $40,000 commitment. We will be calculating grants after June 1, 2020, so that’s the final date for this urgent campaign.
Thanks for your time and continued support. We wish your family the best of health and prosperity. Fairhaven School looks forward to seeing all of our students in the near future, and we hope that you all find comfort in the extra time spent with your families and that you will stay connected with us on our social media channels. Stay well and safe.
The Joint Fairhaven School Meeting/FSI COVID Relief Committee