Dear MacDuffie International Community,
On Monday, July 6th, the Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), charged with oversight of international students in the United States with F-1 visas, released its Fall 2020 operational guidance: (https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/sevp-modifies-temporary-exemptions-nonimmigrant-students-taking-online-courses-during).
MacDuffie is planning to run a hybrid school (online learning for those who can’t yet make it to the US, in-person classes for those who can). From our reading, the guidance implies that you cannot take part in the online option from somewhere else in the US – you must do so from home. If you study from home, you would expect that the student visa you have with MacDuffie would be cancelled, and you would need to go through the visa process again when the time comes for you to return to campus. Please note that this does NOT mean that you can’t continue your studies with MacDuffie. Please do not make any sudden or hasty decisions regarding your enrollment at MacDuffie based on the SEVP announcement. There is no need to depart the US if you are currently here – this does not have an impact on your visa status until school begins. We do hope that this guidance encourages more people to send their child for the August 25-27 arrival window. It is the intent of The MacDuffie School to continue to offer at least some in-person instruction to international students, provided that we can do so safely, to ensure that for those students who are able to arrive on campus their visas and I-20s remain in legal status.
The guidance given earlier this year was supportive towards our international student community and allowed for online learning at home or abroad without a change in visa status. Yesterday’s guidance changes that stance by the government somewhat. However, you should know that many institutions are advocating at a national level for this policy to change, and we expect that it will be challenged in court. Please note also that the SEVP announcement is subject to change and there is an expectation that additional guidance or amendments to Monday’s announcement are forthcoming in the days and weeks ahead.
Last week, we received reopening guidance from the state, and we fully expect to announce an approved reopening plan soon. You should know that The MacDuffie School will do everything in its power to make our school a safe place to live and learn.
With Mrs. Clayton’s retirement on June 30th, Mrs. Darcie Mavlouganes (email@example.com) will be our main point of contact for visa questions. She will be getting in touch with new and returning statuses in the near future, making sure that we are all compliant.
Head of School
06/12/20 COVID-19 UPDATE
We are now planning for our boarding students, new and returning, to arrive between August 25th and August 27th. We will then implement a two-week quarantine for our boarding population before integrating them into physical classes – we will make sure they can attend virtually any physical classes while they are in quarantine. Day students should prepare to attend physical or virtual classes on Tuesday, September 8th. We will be communicating in much greater detail, but I wanted to give you this notice.
I also want to confirm at this time that we intend to continue with our standard Thanksgiving, December and March Breaks; we will make our boarding spaces available during these breaks for an additional fee to be determined; we expect that any student who travels will be subject to a return-to-school quarantine protocol to protect the safety of our students and staff. Of course, this plan is still subject to state guidelines and local Board of Health approval, but we’re confident that our framework is flexible enough to incorporate new mandates as the state prepares to reopen schools. The Emergency Management Team continues to create safety protocols while we await state guidance.
Head of School
Dear MacDuffie community,
As we head into a closing week of celebration, the thoughts of the death of George Floyd, while in police custody, weighs heavily on our hearts and minds. We know that our students can’t learn unless they feel safe; COVID-19 has caused such major disruption to the feeling of health and welfare of our students, but George Floyd’s death, and the civil unrest that has followed, has us asking what we can do.
The first thing that we have to do is to say that we stand with our students of color, and pledge to do our best to help to make sense of another in a line of senseless acts. For a school that has the Respect for Diversity as one of the main pillars of our mission, it is important to let our students of color know that we are here for you, and that our faculty and staff feel for you. Black Lives Matter, and we want to help.
For those of you who would say that all lives matter, the answer is of course they do…but when you go to the doctor with a broken arm, the doctor doesn’t tell you that “all bones matter”. When a fire alarm goes off, the fire department doesn’t say that “all houses matter”. You provide help and support and empathy to the most pressing need.
We need to emphasize to our students of color that there is still hope in the situation in which they find themselves, where black people are disproportionately impacted by police violence, disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and face other systemic disadvantages. That hope can be realized through exercising one’s voice, and it’s critically important that we work with our students to establish and exercise their voice, on this topic, and on others.
I have always said that education is vital to combat injustice. We will keep doing our level best to educate our students to respect diversity in this world, and to work for change.
Thanks for your attention.
Head of School