Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19, healthcare professionals around the world have been hard at work trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus and support their communities. In February, concerns about the future health and safety of the Concord Academy community led to the organization of an Incident Management Team (IMT). One member of this IMT is Karina Early, RN, who works in the CA Health Center and has thirty years of experience in pediatric nursing. When asked to describe the work of the IMT, Early responded by saying, “We work directly under the guidelines that are set up by the state…we’ve worked with the Concord Health Department, Emerson Hospital, other independent schools in the area, and first responders.” She explained that the IMT is charged with planning for both the short and long-term future of CA, and with making decisions that best support the safety of the entire community. 

These decisions have included canceling trips originally scheduled for March break, reimagining on-campus events such as the CA Model United Nations Conference, and transitioning CA’s curriculum to a distance learning model. With the most recent decision to not reopen CA’s campus for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, Early said that the IMT has begun to focus on creating a plan that would allow everyone to return to campus safely in the fall. 

“At this point,” she added, “there have been no decisions made, but there are a couple of different scenarios that we are working through.” The group will continue to meet regularly in the coming months to discuss both the CDC and state recommendations with regard to COVID-19.

“[We] will always follow the guidelines of the State Department because that’s what’s safest for the health of the people in our community.”

In April, Early shared a message with the CA community offering encouragement and suggesting ways for individuals to get involved in the fight against COVID-19. More recently, when asked if she had any advice for students during this pandemic, Early emphasized the importance of staying connected to one’s community and continuing to follow quarantine guidelines. She also shared information about an opportunity for individuals to show their support for medical workers and patients who are recovering from the coronavirus. This initiative, called Operation Hope Delivered, asks for notes, poems and artwork to be sent to the Boston Hope field hospital, a medical center that was recently established in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Although the future is still uncertain, Early remains hopeful that the CA community will be able to return to campus next fall. In the meantime, however, she highly encourages members of the CA community to send letters to Operation Hope Delivered and to support each other while maintaining a safe physical distance.