Classes to Resume, Remotely, August 25

Head of School Chris Mazzola announced today that Branson will begin fall classes on August 25 as planned but, due to a new mandate from Marin County Health and Human Services, instruction will be online only and the campus will remain closed through at least Labor Day. The text of the announcement follows:

I write to update you on some new information we received from Marin County Public Health today. As you know, we have been planning in earnest for our return to campus, and have been moving along smoothly with our schedule for classes, as well as with our health and safety protocols. As I've said previously, we are eager to have our students and employees back on campus together when it is safe to do so. 

We learned today that Marin County Health and Human Services has mandated that schools in Marin not open for in-person learning until after Labor Day, September 8, at the earliest. While this news is disappointing, it is not completely unexpected given the rising number of positive cases in the Bay Area. Tomorrow, Governor Newsom is holding a press conference at 12 pm about reopening schools, which should give all of us more context about what they are considering. I urge you to tune in if you are able.

In the coming days, my team and I will begin re-working the opening of school given this new reality. Regardless of what other mandates are handed down or what happens in the Bay Area with the virus over the next month, we will still begin classes as planned on August 25, albeit remotely. As soon as we have firm plans about all of this, we will send them to you. For now, please use our current calendar as you plan for our return. If any dates or times change, we will update you accordingly. 

Our COVID-19 Task Force, made up of members of my administrative team and several members of our Board of Trustees, is hard at work creating a "Return to School Playbook," which is a comprehensive guide to what school will look like at Branson this year. It contains our philosophy of running school during a global pandemic, as well as information about the cohort model; contact tracing; our daily, weekly, and yearly schedules; modifications to campus; and all of the practices and protocols we've put into place to keep our community safe. We will share this document with you in early August, once our Board of Trustees has met and formally approved our plans.

Please reach out with any questions you may have, and we will answer them as well as we can given the information we have. As always, we will promptly update you with any new information we receive.

This is a disappointing setback, but fear not, as I am absolutely confident in our ability to react appropriately and create plans that are in the best interest of our students and employees. Thank you, as always, for your patience as we react and work through this new information. 

My best,

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Christina K. Mazzola
Head of School