December 18, 2020
Peace on Earth, Good Will to All!
The holidays are such a wonderful time of the year, even in the midst of a pandemic, social unrest, and a vitriolic political season! At MSA we are filled with boundless hope, a spirit of generosity, and an attitude of kindness toward others as we look forward to the promise of a healthy and happy 2021.
As we conclude the fall semester and retreat to our hearths and homes for winter break, we cannot forget that we are all still very much connected and will soon reunite. With that in mind, here are some notes to remember:
Festival of Lights will be rescheduled and announced in January after our return.
All classrooms will be deep-cleaned by 360Clean, a professional, health-focused cleaning service, over the break.
CDC/SCDHEC recommendations: limit travel, avoid large groups, wear a mask, social distance, and wash hands frequently.
Our MSA Health and Safety Task ForceTeam will be monitoring our local COVID-19 levels and spread rate during the holidays. Based on those trends, administration will make a decision by Jan. 2 about possible remote learning during our first week back.
If we do shift to remote learning, child care will still be offered.
When it is time to return to school, do not come back to campus if you are having any symptoms. Let's keep our students and faculty healthy in the New Year!
Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for your children! Working together, we have exceeded all expectations this first half of the year. Yet with the vaccine in sight, we must remain vigilant. The health and safety of our community is the highest priority.
I wish you stockings filled with HOLIDAY CHEER and GOOD HEALTH, LOVE, and PEACE in the New Year!!!
Peace on Earth, Good Will to All,
Dr. Dana Hill
Dates to Remember
Remember that you can always check the MSA website calendar for upcoming calendar events.
December 17 - Festival of Lights - POSTPONED - TBA in January
December 21-23 - Extended care only
December 23 - All programs close at 2:30 pm
December 24 - January 1 - Winter Holidays, all programs closed
As we approach the holiday break, I am reminded that gratitude has become the true blessing of 2020. If this year has taught us nothing else, it has reminded us all not to take life for granted and to treasure the little things. Since last March, there has so much to be grateful for.... family, friends, tradition, health, researchers and science, front line workers, educators and everyone in between who keeps our country functioning, even through a pandemic.
This year has been full of many highs and lows and in my role as a nurse, safety coordinator and lead of the Health & Safety Task Force at school, and the responsibility and level of concern of maintaining a healthy and safe community is daunting at times. MSA has worked with the MSA Board of Trustees, MSA Task Force Teams, South Carolina Independent School Association, SC Department of Education, CDC, SCDHEC, Anderson District 5, local physicians, and legal counsel to name a few organizations that weighed in on policies and practices for reopening and remaining open. Careful thought and research goes into each decision when it comes to the health and safety for all of our stakeholders.
Early in the pandemic, the uncertainty from one day to the next clouded whether or not we would be able to open our doors safely for in-person learning. We met this uncertainty with countless hours of developing a plan that would allow for flexibility if the community rate of transmission, percent positivity rate and other public health metrics escalated. All of the Covid data for South Carolina and Anderson County specifically takes constant monitoring and assessment, but MSA took to the challenge as a team. Our staff and faculty have done a remarkable job delivering care, comfort, education and support to each and every child on campus during these uncertain times. The health and safety of the children has been at the forefront of the mission of each and every employee. We've asked you to partner with us and reinforce the practices that we have instituted at MSA so the children can model your habits at home.
With the surge and elevated rate of transmission in South Carolina, the presence of disease on our campus was and is inevitable. Until this past week, we were able to function on a normal operating schedule. Despite closures, the MSA Task Force planning during the summer allowed us to swiftly shift to remote learning when classes became affected. Yes, it is probably inconvenient, and yes, it is not ideal, but we are still able to offer the children an educational experience albeit remote.
Each one of us will assess this pandemic and its impact for many years to come, and takeaways will depend on which lens and perspective that you are viewing it through. Through my lens as a part of the MSA community, I am proud that MSA was able to reopen, operate normally for the majority of the semester, maintain terrific attendance records, minimize illness, and offer a comprehensive plan of operation that allowed the children to achieve their educational opportunities in the healthiest and safest setting possible.
As the surge of this virus will continue during the holiday season and after, our decisions now will make a difference in our families and in our community. Please continue to practice all of the public health measures that the leading health authorities have recommended, and protect all of your families by making sacrifices now for the hope of future holidays. Bright days and some sense of normalcy are on the horizon as the vaccine offers a health option to protect against this virus. I am optimistic about our future and our school, and grateful for all of the little things in life.
I wish you peace and all of the blessings of the season and continued good health.
Susanna Merriman, RN