Head of School’s Response to COVID-19

St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s is monitoring reports regarding COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. We are approaching this situation thoughtfully and deliberately, recognizing that the risk to our families and all New Yorkers is very low. We post this note not to cause alarm, but rather to offer guidance and assurance. Our Board President, Dr. Evan Flatow, has connected us with experts in the Mount Sinai Health System to provide advice and counsel about addressing the virus in our community.

Click here to view the letter from Head of School Virginia Connor or read the full message below.


Dear Parents and Faculty,

Like many of you, we have been closely monitoring reports of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). At St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, we are approaching this situation thoughtfully and deliberately, recognizing that the risk to our families and all New Yorkers is very low. At this time, no one has been diagnosed with this novel coronavirus in New York City*, and its presence in the United States is minimal. We send this note not to cause alarm, but rather to offer guidance and assurance. Our Board President, Dr. Evan Flatow, has connected us with experts in the Mount Sinai Health System to provide advice and counsel about addressing the virus in our community.

With the approach of spring break, and keeping in mind the number of parents who travel internationally for work, we ask each member of our community to remain informed about travel restrictions and to exercise vigilance, particularly when returning home after international travel. Any flu symptoms should be taken seriously; please consult your physician if you have any concerns, and stay home if you feel sick.

As this is a developing situation, please refer to the New York City Department of Health page or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page on coronavirus, which will be updated as new information is available.

At school, we regularly and diligently clean every room in the school building, especially during flu season. The building will be disinfected daily. We also continue to practice good hygiene with all of our students, frequently and thoroughly cleaning hands and surfaces. We will encourage students to sanitize their hands upon arrival at school, before meals, and prior to dismissal; please continue to do the same at home.

We also encourage you to adhere to our guidelines about when to keep your child home from school.

We know that the specter of this virus may cause anxiety for adults and children alike. As always, we encourage you to listen to your children, answering questions simply and truthfully and assuring them that you and the school are working hard to keep them safe. This is a helpful article to consider regarding how to address this issue with your children. Our school counselor, Valerie Morel, is available as a resource, and you may also reach out to our consulting psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Zients (212-639-9543), with your questions and concerns.

Please be assured of our vigilance on behalf of our students, families, and faculty.

Sincerely,

Virginia Connor
Head of School 

UPDATE: The first case of COVID-19 was reported in New York City on March 1. New York City's Health Commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbo, assures us that New York City residents remain at low risk for contracting the virus.