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COVID-19: We’re In This Together

By Jeffrey Shields posted 03-24-2020 08:18 AM


CEO Notebook |

While most of us are dispersed, away from campuses and colleagues, we can still support each other to tackle rapidly evolving challenges.

Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

Like most of you, I’m working from my home as I write this blog post. Last week, in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, NBOA closed its DC office and transitioned to a full telework schedule for all staff for the foreseeable future. And although many members of our staff telework already from their offices across the country, we are all adjusting to this new normal.

I can only imagine how difficult this transition has been for your faculty, staff, students and families. But, we are all in this together. Our collective missions and the value we deliver extend far beyond our physical campuses, and I’m heartened by the many schools that are creatively supporting their world-class education through a variety of distance learning delivery channels. NBOA will follow suit in its commitment to continue the business of the association, deliver on our mission and, most of all, support our members during these unprecedented circumstances.

We have been working diligently with other independent school associations and our business partners to develop resources specific to helping business officers and staff manage business operations at your school. We continue to update these resources, including news items, articles, webinars and podcasts, and share them on the COVID-19 Resources for the Independent School Business Office webpage.

It is incredible how quickly the situation continues to evolve. When we published “Academic Continuity During COVID-19 Closures: A Case Study” less than three weeks ago, the focus was on East Asia. The piece outlined how Western Academy Beijing quickly adjusted its academic operations to a virtual environment. Now, most schools in Europe and the U.S. are making similar transitions.

Then two weeks ago, we developed “COVID-19: Independent School Business Operations Considerations,” which still has relevant information, such as on wage and benefits accommodations, but some of it is no longer top of mind — trips and travel, and facilities rentals, for instance. We may return to these questions once again when campuses reopen, and the world continues to manage the spread of the disease.

Last week new topics became pressing. You are likely preparing to handle potential illness among the community, contract and tuition questions, payroll expectations, and remote hiring among many other issues. We hope these latest articles help you tackle this week’s business:

Please also join us for a community Zoom meeting, “COVID-19: Your Questions Answered,” on Thursday, March 26, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Jennifer Osland Hillen, NBOA vice president, professional development and business affairs; Grace H. Lee, NBOA legal counsel and partner at Venable LLP; and Caryn Pass, partner and leader of the independent school practice at Venable LLP, will be addressing the latest considerations.

All of these resources emphasize communication, connection and community. The community of NBOA has always been at the core of NBOA’s value. This nationwide — and international — network of business officers, controllers, human resource professionals, facilities directors, and other business operations staff is both the beginning and end of our association’s work. During these difficult times, lean into your community through NBOA Connect — COVID-19-related threads are collected on the COVID-19 Resources for the Independent School Business Office page — as well as webinars and all the other resources we and other independent school associations develop. We hope they help you feel less alone during this crisis, and beyond that, solve the all too real, pressing problems.

Stay safe, healthy and positive. I will be making every effort to do the same.

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.
From Net Assets NOW, March 24, 2020. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.



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