Dear Chicago Friends School Community:

Chicago Friends School will suspend in-person classes and all before- and after-school activities starting this coming Monday, March 16, 2020.  These classes and all activities will remain suspended until at least Monday, April 20, 2020.

As you may have heard, Mayor Lightfoot has ordered all city public schools to be closed through April 20th.  Because this is a decision that is made in the interests of everyone’s health, and based on our best understanding of the evolving epidemic, we will follow that decision.
This is difficult news.  I think I am speaking for all of us when I say that we would far rather be having school as usual.   Let me assure you that the team here at Chicago Friends School is doing its best to ensure that your children remain connected to their classroom community and staying in a routine of connection and academic work.  Now more than ever, the continuity and predictability as we can offer will help kids to feel that at least some things are normal.  The teachers tell me that kids are joyful at seeing their peers over video, and we’re glad to offer that to them in addition to helping them keep up with their academic routine.
Because the whole school community is equally important, we’ll continue our weekly virtual community meeting at 8:45 every Thursday morning. (This week local Quakers from at least three different meetings virtually joined us, as well as some former staff members!)  We’ll add to this some other whole school connections, starting with a whole school virtual dance party, this coming Monday from 2:50 – 3:00 PM.  Everyone can log on, listen to music and show off their best dance moves over video.  Parents are invited as well. The teachers are thinking about some other ideas, like virtual whole school field trips, to roll out in the coming weeks.
We are living through unprecedented times and it is difficult for everyone to adjust to so much change in such a short amount of time.  I hope you are comforted, as I am, by knowing that this community will support each other.  I encourage all parents to reach out to each other for help and support.  We are stronger when share our struggles.   I’ve heard one family talk about a video cocktail hour after the kids are in bed and I encourage all such activities.  If the school can help you organize such events, please let me know.
Finally, I’m available to you as a listening ear or sounding board during these times.  I’m going to start having virtual office hours by appointment between 11 AM and 3 PM on every  weekday.  If you want to video chat, please let me know and I’ll set up a chat.
Thank you for your continued perseverance.  We’ll support each other through this.
Karen Carney

Head of School, Chicago Friends School

1246 W. Thorndale Ave, Chicago, IL