An Update from Breakthrough on COVID-19 

March 13, 2020

Hello, Breakthrough Community, 
I am reaching out to touch base with respect to Coronavirus/COVID-19. First, I want to say that this is an unsettling, if not upsetting, time for people. We are keeping all of you in our thoughts and have been communicating regularly with our students, families, teachers and school partners. We wanted to take a moment to update the broader Breakthrough community at this juncture. 
Monitoring & Planning 
Things with respect to COVID-19 continue to change daily and Breakthrough has been very actively monitoring the situation and tracking updates from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Commonwealth, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and each of our partner cities and school districts. There are many great minds working hard to minimize risk.   
Fortunately, there are no positive cases of COVID-19 among Breakthrough staff, family, or students, as of today. Like communities across the country, Breakthrough is engaging in thorough preparation and prevention activities. We have launched a set of updated policies and procedures to maximize health and developed contingency plans for various scenarios. 
Current Program Closure & Commitment to Supporting our Students 
Breakthrough has temporarily stopped running all in-person programming through Friday, March 27th. This was a very difficult decision and we took a number of factors into consideration including updated guidance about how to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread and recent school closures, particularly of our partner districts. 
Over this twoweek time period, our staff will work from home. Fortunately, we have the technology in place to continue our behind the scenes operations without interruption. Harder, of course, is supporting our students and teachers, who regularly engage with Breakthrough in person. We are developing plans to support our students remotely, including sharing educational resources, offering phone check-ins, providing scholarship essay feedback online, identifying ways for families to access breakfast and lunch in their cities, and helping our students in college make unexpected trips home.  
As soon as it is safe to be back up and running in person, we will do so. In caring for our community, health is the number one priority, but education is a close second and something that we will do everything in our power to offer consistently. 
Breakthrough Gala 
Consistent with the Governor’s recent decision to cancel all gatherings of 250 people or more and guidance around social distancing, we will be making our April 30th Breakthrough Gala virtual! Stay tuned for much more information next week and beyond about how you can hear powerful “I Am Breakthrough” stories, support our students and teachers, and demonstrate your own connection to this community – all remotely! We are planning a unique, lively and interactive event experience that will ensure that Breakthrough can sustain our work in the months to come. 
We will remain in touch with you as things continue to evolve. Thank you for caring about our community during this unprecedented time.   
Wishing you and yours health, 

Elissa G. Spelman
Executive Director
Breakthrough Greater Boston
p: 617.349.6647   f: 617.349.6810
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Breakthrough Greater Boston increases educational equity by closing opportunity gaps for students and diversifying the teaching force. We strive continually to make Breakthrough a welcoming and inclusive community for people of all identities, backgrounds and beliefs.