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Apr 03, 2020 EXPLO Today

COVID-19 Update: Trying to Do Our Part

EXPLO is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and will provide regular updates on our planning and response as we plan for another successful summer.

Moira Kelly, EXPLO President

I write in the hopes that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. 

Since the EXPLO community spans the globe, we have been in touch with many of you the world over. I am pleased that some of our families in Asia are starting to see things turn in a more positive direction. At the same time, my heart goes out to those in Italy, Spain, and New York City who are dealing with COVID-19 ravaged communities. We have heard from families in India who are now in lockdown and we are in touch with many of you across the United States, Canada, and other countries who are sheltering in place and looking at an extended period of time attempting to do school from home. It is an unprecedented situation.

Uncertainty is now the new watchword.

I have no new news about our summer plans at this time, but when I do, I will reach out. In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that EXPLO is still operating much in the same way that we were two months ago. Because we are people who believe in good contingency planning, a number of years ago we put together a plan for how we would continue working should our headquarters, the Exploration Center, be shut down for an extended period of time. We update this plan yearly and we will continue our remote work as long as necessary. We strongly feel we all need to do our part to flatten the curve on this pandemic.

There are other ways that we are trying to do our part.

Donating Personal Protective Equipment

EXPLO has a large warehouse where we store all of our course supplies and equipment. The area holds literally hundreds of course bins. A little over a week ago, an EXPLO team went through the warehouse and sorted through all of those bins searching for materials that would help healthcare workers fighting COVID-19. The team collected 1,100 surgical masks, 40 bottles of hand sanitizer, 500 surgical gowns, and 15,000 pairs of nitrile gloves. We donated them all to the Norwood Hospital.

Remote Learning Resource Roundup

Because of our connections with international and American schools in Asia we knew we could access information about virtual learning that could be of help to the rest of the world. (Asian schools, facing COVID-19 early, moved online more than two months ago.)  We tapped our connections and compiled resources and lessons learned. We shared those materials with schools and other educational organizations. Our first piece, Remote Learning During COVID-19, can be found here. Please feel free to share . 

Launching Virtual Outreach and Projects

We know that being home days and weeks on end with children can be trying, if not exhausting, particularly with younger children. We’ve been hearing from many EXPLO parents of elementary-aged children that they are looking for ways to keep their children engaged. In response, the EXPLO Boston team is putting together a Virtual Quad for our youngest students. We expect that online option to launch soon and will be sending families a communication shortly. We’ll have projects, but we’ll also slip in some comforting traditions like the Numa and familiar faces. More to come soon for online programming for our older students.

These are extraordinary times, and no doubt many are suffering. At the same time, there is beauty to be found in the darkness. I know that many of you have engaged in noteworthy acts of kindness and humanity, not only for your own families, but for neighbors, friends, and even strangers. As one citizen of the world to another:  thank you. We can act with patience, integrity, and good humor, if we choose. 

We are choosing to do what is right, not what is easy. It is our individual sacrifices that will save lives, and I feel fortunate that I am connected to a warm, thoughtful, and diverse community that believes in our common humanity. That is the EXPLO community.

Please stay in touch. Reach out with ideas and thoughts, and as soon as we know more about the summer, we will reach out to you.

Be safe.

Moira Kelly, EXPLO President