Dino wears a mask

Message from the Headmaster

 
 
Dear Baldwin Community,

It’s been almost a year since the emergence of COVID. While it took a while to reach our shores, Puerto Rico has been subject to the health, social, and economic effects of the pandemic for the better part of 8 months. Our home and professional lives are disrupted, and we are learning to live with a changed world.

Public discourse—partisan, hyperbolic, reductive—at the very least agrees that the welfare of our children should be our highest priority in these uncertain times, even as the “what” and “how” of it remains contested. We know children are better served in schools. We know too much screen time is counterproductive. We know critical socialization cannot be replicated in a virtual format. For now, we all must do our best with online education, and wait for the right to return our students to campus. Thankfully, children are resilient, oftentimes far more than their adults. They’ll be okay. And for the record, Baldwin is ready to receive your kids, and we are eager to begin.

We acknowledge how hard this moment is for parents. For all of us, our private lives, normally curated for public consumption, are streaming in high definition every day. We know you didn’t sign up for this, whatever this is! We assume that you are tired and frustrated. We are aware of the sacrifices that you are making to find some way to make everything go...school, home, relationships, work, finances. Anxiety and frustration are likely at a tipping point. Don’t give up, and don’t give in. Find the humor in it all, and laugh as often as you can! Hey, at the very least, we’ve learned who among us enjoys walking around in their pajamas, and everybody’s preferences for, um, colorful turns of phrase! Also, remember that kid hugs are powerful medicine.

Our teachers are similarly exhausted. While the pandemic has pushed more work online, forced hard pivots with regards to the management of supply chains and the delivery of products and services, and inconvenienced our masses with cumbersome public health protections, most industries and operations largely resemble life before COVID...plus a mask. This is not the case for teaching and schooling. Virtual education is a radical departure from classroom teaching. In-person, synchronous, and hybrid programming are all distinct modalities. Our educators have had to reinvent themselves and change or adapt nearly every practice related to instructional design, pedagogy, and assessment. Concurrently, they’ve faced a steep learning curve with technology. Their behind the scenes work has effectively doubled. Our teachers work nights and weekends to keep their students’ learning moving forward.

We are all in this together. We are here with you, in solidarity, every day until we find our way. It is clear that we are in a marathon and not a sprint, that the pandemic will persist for some time, that the disease that gave rise to our present hardship is here to stay, and that “normal” will be a long time coming. Let us double down on community. There’s strength in our numbers. Let’s build hope today, one smile at a time.

See you soon,

James