It is time for an update from NSA! Our parents have been receiving daily updates and weekly conference calls (as well as individualized calls) to process the situation, and they have been absolute troopers in making the tough decisions about whether to bring their sons home or leave them in Costa Rica to finish out the quarter as we shelter in place. Truth be told, we were conflicted about what to do, but we knew that if parents agreed, we could certainly shelter in place without losing our flow of academics, activities and therapeutic support. Almost all of our parents agreed, so here we are!
If you are curious about our decision-making processes and risk management protocols that we’ve been implementing since late February, feel free to reach out. We have back up plans in place and feel prepared for worst case scenarios, but we are optimistic and hoping for the best. Costa Rica took early preventative and precautionary measures and continues to implement policies that seem to be making a significant difference so far. We are proud of Costa Rica and our UN's representative's acknowledgment of our exceptional and innovative handling of the pandemic.
As for NSA, we are very proud of our team and how everyone came together to adapt and adjust to the “new normal” – from extra strict cleaning protocols (and additional cleaning staff and cooking staff in order to implement these protocols) …to inventing a whole new list of on campus activities. The students showed outstanding participation and ownership in building and setting up of all sorts of new on campus recreational activities like cornhole, frisbee golf, a horseshoe pit, a graffiti wall, bocce ball, ladder golf, etc. in addition to our already existing recreational options like basketball, ping pong, pool, etc.. It feels a bit like summer camp on the weekends and we’re grateful to be on 7 acres in a climate where we have plenty of space to be outdoors and active. At this point, boredom is a choice!
We understand that this is far from over. When the US issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory, we knew that we had a tough decision to make. We involved parents in the decision, and we found that almost all were more comfortable with their students staying here and continuing a healthy routine and progress towards graduation with therapeutic support, even if that meant not being able to fly home mid-May when the quarter ends. The various medical professionals in our parent group certainly helped confirm that decision. So with that collaborative decision made, we hunkered down and got to work.
Since the Costa Rican border is closed to incoming foreigners until April 13, we are not currently accepting enrollments, but we will continue to assess referrals and continue application processes. When the border does open, we will have a plan for enrolling new students that will take into account the global health situation at that time (and our responsibilities to do our part) and will communicate that directly with all applying families and referral sources. But for now, we are committed to providing the best possible outcomes for our current families, our staff, and our program as we do our very best to weather the storm and turn lemons into lemonade. And, let's be honest, our lemonade here is pretty tasty!
Take care & stay healthy!
Dr. Heather Tracy, EdD