COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Dear MBA Community:

Remote Learning: We are pleased and grateful for the ways in which our community has embraced the remote learning so far. Most of all, we want to maintain some substantive academic work, take advantage of using technology positively, and make certain our students and families know we care about them. By the same token, I am proud of the ways our faculty and staff have worked together to support one another and to reach out to their students and advisees.

Return to School: Many of you have already read the Governor's decree that schools in Tennessee will be closed through April 24, 2020. We will adhere to that date unless there are changes in the interim, and it is likely that we will have an update. I am hopeful that we will be back on campus together by Monday, April 27, so that we can have at least a month together to finish the school year.

Events: We are currently working on calendar issues for the end of the year. Many of events have been postponed through the end of April. We are hopeful to reschedule some of those events for the last month if we are back in school by April 27. In the next weeks we will send out a revised calendar and some updates.

Community and Communications: We will do all we can to maintain a sense of commmunity during this time of remote learning and to communicate regularly with our students, faculty and staff, parents, and alumni. I am grateful for the many ways people care about one another at MBA.

Warmest regards -- Brad Gioia, Headmaster

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear MBA students, families, and faculty/staff:
Each week we will send updates about school and the plans for the days ahead. Like many of you, I have had to keep away from social activity because of the concerns of the virus. Since my immune system has been compromised, I am more vulnerable to the virus. This condition reminds me how important it is that we all take this situation very seriously. Being conscious of "social distancing" and taking special care to be diligent about your own health and activity at this time are of paramount importance. I also urge you to take seriously this time of remote learning with the same seriousness and good intentions that you would any academic challenges, whether we are at school or not. This time could paradoxically be a period of growth and creativity for all of us. I read yesterday that Sir Isaac Newton invented the theory of indefinitesimal Calculus during the plague of the 17th Century, and Shakespeare composed some of his greatest plays during the plague of early 1600's. Perhaps all of us will find ways to make this time productive and meaningful in our own ways.
Nature of Remote Learning:
On Monday, March 23, our faculty will meet in groups to finalize their plans for remote learning. We will begin sending out information about assignments and times that our faculty will offer interactive sessions to discuss class material and assignments. Essentially, we will place information about academic work on our Scholar platform and announce times faculty will be available virtually for help and communication. Dr. Boyd will send out a schedule of these times  for interactive sessions.  
We will expect our students to keep up with these assignments and to keep up with all work. The campus buildings will be open on Monday and Tuesday, March 23-24, should students need to retrieve any books or supplies, and after that time only faculty and staff will be permitted on campus until this remote learning period is over. Students will be given grades and expected to meet these expectations during this time period. Although we will not have face-to-face classes, we will shift this paradigm to a plan where all of us take seriously and responsibly remote learning.
Time away from campus:
As I mentioned above, please take all precautions to be safe and healthy during this time, particularly by being proactive and responsible about "social distancing". Try to set up a routine that allows you to keep up with your work, sets in motion a plan to be focused and disciplined and allows you to be available virtually for interactive sessions with your teachers. I have discovered, for instance, that a daily schedule and discipline may be more important during this unusual time period and situation where we are not in regular contact with one another.
Spirit of unity and cooperation:
In many ways your commitment to the ideals of being a gentleman and responsible citizen are crucial during this period of time. Demonstrating that you are committed to the right principles, to finding ways to make this unusual situation better for all of us, and to doing your work and taking good care of yourself at this time will make a difference and distinguish our community.
I am hopeful that we will be back together soon. Although the routines and expectations these next weeks are very different, I am reminding you that all of us are expected to take these expectations seriously and with a spirit of working together successful. In the interim I am counting on all of you to make this period of time a good and positive journey for you personally and our community.
Warm regards,
Brad Gioia, Headmaster
Please remember that there will be no extracurricular activities during this remote learning period, and students should not be on campus during or after school times both during the week and on the weekends.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear MBA families:
We believe the best plan for the MBA community is to do online work for the two weeks following spring break. Our faculty and staff will be having discussion between now and Monday, March 23, about moving forward with these plans, but we think it would be in the best interest of the students, faculty/staff, and our families not to have classes on campus for the two weeks following spring break. 
In other words, we will not be returning to classes until at least Monday, April 6, 2020, and there will be no athletics, extra-curricular activities, or on-campus events during that time. We will initiate a remote learning program in all classes beginning on Tuesday, March 24. We will also send a weekly update letting you know about these plans and any changes in these circumstances.
Our concerns reflect the belief that the best way to contain the virus is to limit activity and contact. I have also been working with a large group of independent schools in the Nashville area about the prospect of a number of us closing for this same period of time. We believe that together we will be more effective and have a better and bigger impact on this issue.
I will follow up on these matters throughout the next weeks, but I wanted to send this message as soon as possible so that everyone can prepare for these next weeks. I understand all of these changes and worries are unsettling. We want to be of support to you and your families in every way possible. We will find good ways to keep your sons engaged during this suspension of classes on campus. We will encourage advisors to stay in touch and to be of support in any ways they can.
With warm regards,

Brad Gioia, Headmaster

Montgomery Bell Academy

4001 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 298-5514