Letter to CoaH Boston Families – March 13, 2020

Dear CoaH Boston Community,

I am writing to provide an update on City on a Hill’s response to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

This morning I participated in a call with the Department of Public Health and the Commissioner of Education where more information was shared about the Coronavirus/COVID-19. In making this decision we have also researched the advice of the experts from the CDC and the Department of Public Health. These sources have shared the importance of slowing the spread of the virus through social distancing.

We know that there continues to be many questions that you may have about how we are preparing as a community. The Senior Leadership Team has extended our FAQ to help address your questions:

Will City on a Hill be closing for an extended period of time?

Yes, City on a Hill will close for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. At this point, City on a Hill plans to re-open for normal operation on Monday, March 30. 

The Senior Leadership Team will continue to evaluate community needs in conjunction with medical and public health professionals, and make decisions about re-opening with those needs in mind.

Will this two-week closure take the place of Good Friday (April 10) or April Vacation (April 20-24, 2020)?

No, this two-week closure will not take the place of Good Friday or April Vacation. We currently plan to return to school on March 30, will have no school on Good Friday, and will begin April Vacation on its established schedule. 

How does this closure impact the last day of school?

Like with many of the details related to returning to normal school operations following closure, our last day of school cannot yet be known. We are working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to understand the impact of Governor Baker’s State of Emergency Declaration on schools. At this moment, the best information is that the last day of school will be no later than June 30, 2020. We will continue to share updates throughout the spring on this topic.

What materials will City on a Hill share with my child during the extended closure?

City on a Hill has created a dedicated page on our website about our response to COVID-19 (https://www.cityonahill.org/covid-19/). We will share work packets via this webpage and will provide on-demand mailing of physical packets for students who are not able to access the internet during this time. If you would like a packet mailed to you, please email covid19@cityonahill.org with your students’ name(s), grade(s), and mailing address and we will mail their materials as soon as possible.

Please support your child as much as possible and encourage them to continue to read and remain engaged as much as they can to ease the re-entry into school following closure. Students will be graded on these assignments, and they are encouraged to complete the work to the best of their abilities and treat this differently than they would a school vacation week.

Will teachers and administrators be available during the extended closure?

City on a Hill’s Network Office will operate remotely beginning March 16 to ensure our operational functions continue, and to prepare for eventual re-opening of our schools. If you have any questions during this time, please call (617) 533-9471 or email covid19@cityonahill.org.

All teachers and school-based administrators will be out of the building for the entirety of the closure, though they will offer 5 hours per week to be available remotely to students via phone or email. Instructions on how to reach their teachers will be included in their packets.

I have a child who is part of the Learning Network. Will their work be modified during the closure?

Yes, Learning Network (LN) students will have modified materials made by our Special Education and ELD teachers. These materials will also be posted to our website and be available for mailing.

How will long-term closure affect my child’s MCAS testing schedule?

MCAS (and other standardized tests like AP, ACT, and SAT) testing schedules are not decided upon by City on a Hill, or other schools. We are in contact with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which is the entity that sets testing schedules, and we will share additional information as guidance becomes available.

Will City on a Hill provide meals to students during extended closure?

We are currently connecting with partners to explore what is possible to provide during our closure. We will provide updates as we receive more information.

For additional information, please feel free to utilize any of the following links:

We recognize that this is unprecedented and that this closure will be a significant burden for a number of our families. Please know that we remain committed to supporting you to the greatest extent possible during this time, and you can expect more communications in the coming days and weeks. 

Thank you once again for your help to keep our community healthy and safe. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any school leader.


Kevin T. Taylor

Chief Executive Officer

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To read our most up to date information, please visit the Our Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

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