An open letter to Colorado Academy students

Dear Colorado Academy Students,

As I watched people walk to their cars and drive off campus for Spring Break, there were more than just a few heads hanging. In a typical year, Spring Break is something we all look forward to. This year is not a typical year, by any measure.

Departure for break came on the heels of the Colorado’s High School Athletic Association suspending all games and practices through April 6. The Mock Trial State Championship was canceled. We had to postpone several international student exchanges and Spring Break sports trips. These were difficult decisions that we know have profound consequences for everyone involved. It can certainly feel that those things that bring students and families together have suddenly disappeared. What does school look like without your peers, your teachers, and all the people and places that heretofore have defined our day-to-day lives? We often talked to students about resilience and adaptability. This is when and where it comes to bear.

After Spring Break
Across the state and nation, hundreds of schools and public school districts are suspending operations or going to an online model. We may very well need to do the same upon our return from Spring Break, and your teachers have been working hard to get ready. It won’t be perfect, but it will be new, different, sometimes humorous, and even sometimes frustrating. It will, however, be a connection and lifeline to a community that provides you with care and support. You’ll get more via email from your teachers and principals about this effort.

CA Upper School teachers meet to discuss ideas around remote learning.
CA Upper School teachers meet to discuss ideas around remote learning.
I ask that you approach this new learning with an open mind and open heart, and that you do your best to stay engaged and create a new routine around these daily online classes. The efforts driving this stem from our responsibility to do what we can during this global health crisis. It comes from our wish and our moral obligation to protect the vulnerable, to slow the spread of this virus, and to be active participants in a larger effort to save lives. And it comes from the school’s wish to do all that it can to continue to provide you with great learning and strong connections with others.

We each play a part
It is important that we each do our part to avoid gatherings, to take precautions like washing our hands, to stay six feet away from others, to isolate if we feel ill, and to help slow the spread of this virus. There are countries that have experienced a spike in infections, causing health care systems to be overwhelmed. In America, we are trying to get ahead of the high transmission and infection rates. Successful efforts will save lives.

I know it is causing stress and anxiety as you worry about your loved ones. For Seniors whose last trimester is being impacted, I know it may dash your hopes and expectations around some of our favorite CA traditions. Know that we are working to protect those as much as possible. I am already working on my commencement address, and I don’t want anything to stop me from handing you those diplomas in June.

Dr. Mike Davis addresses CA faculty and staff before Spring Break.

A historic event
As you get older, this global pandemic will punctuate your life story; you will not forget the February of 2020 when news reports began about an unknown and novel virus making its way from China across Europe and the U.S. You will not forget the seemingly endless ways it changed things. You will be moved and impressed by how people try to help one another. You also might be disappointed and enraged by others who do not seem to care at all. You may be excited by new opportunities and saddened by how those same opportunities are burdens for others. Know that you are living through an event that will be in future history books.

Health, homework, and hope
In addition to your responsibilities around health and homework, I also want you to be responsible by being hopeful. We will get through this, and life will return to normal. Thanks for being such a wonderful school community. I am so proud of each of you. You are truly the kindest and most awesome group of students out there. Please enjoy your break and return to CA with a renewed vigor for learning. We’ll be waiting for you.

With gratitude,
Mike Davis, PhD
Head of School
Colorado Academy