Showing posts with label Grace Episcopal School Alexandria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace Episcopal School Alexandria. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Class Action Lawsuit Against Liberty University Spells Bad News For Grace School

Adam Levitt, attorney suing Liberty University
Grace Episcopal School, which Lisa “Princess Porcine” Medley refers to as “our day school” to the great angst of school staff, faces potential bad news. Specifically, an unnamed plaintiff has filed a class-action lawsuit in Lynchburg federal court against Liberty University, alleging that it has improperly retained tuition after cancelling classes and ostensibly moving them online.

Much like Liberty University, Grace School has said it will retain tuition, despite the fact that it has slapped together “distance learning” in response to COVID-19 related social distancing.

The problem, of course, is that online learning is a poor substitute for the experience that Grace School offers. Many parents pay upwards of $20,000 a year for the small class sizes, warm environment and personal attention that the school provides. A hastily thrown together online experience is a mediocre substitute, and one that in fairness warrants a large refund. That is particularly the case when, as here, some economists say we are moving into a full-blown depression.

Some major colleges and universities, including Harvard, promptly offered prorated refunds in response to the pandemic. Others, including several large state schools, are facing class action lawsuits for their failure to do so.

In the Liberty Uvinersity case, the plaintiffs note that Liberty’s failure to refund tuition and attempt to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly inappropriate in light of the school’s professed values. And such is the case with Grace Episcopal School, where Patti Culbreth now wants parents in some cases to pay more than 20K a year for the privilege of implementing the school’s distance learning plans.

In its defense, Liberty University asserts that its actions were mandated by government, and thus the plaintiffs have no case. But the school has violated the both the letter and the spirit of the state social distancing regulations, including trying to charge reporters on campus covering the issue with trespassing. Moreover, it is unlikely that the state intended to unjustly enrich organizations such as Liberty.

Those attending schools that refuse to refund tuition can reach Adam Levitt, counsel for the plaintiffs, via email at alevitt@dicellolevitt.com. Levitts’s phone number is (312) 214-7900, and his offices are located at Ten North Dearborn Street, Eleventh Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60602.

I would add that the school’s proximity to the Pentagon and DC, and the experiences of 9/11, should have led it to develop distance learning contingency plans long ago. The need for a plan B is, in the overall scheme of things, neither unexpected nor surprising.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Grace Episcopal Alexandria Food Pantry Places Parishioners and Students at Heightened Risk of COVID-19

Grace Episcopal Food Pantry Creates Elevated Risk of COVID-19 Exposure to School Students and Others

Let me say upfront: I fully support efforts to alleviate poverty and food insecurity. But the presence of the food pantry at Grace Church creates serious ongoing issues of potential exposure to COVID-19 for students at the church school, as well as parishioners and staff.

The problem is that the food insecure and marginally housed or homeless persons typically lack access to medical care and testing. Further, they often are unable to maintain social distancing, and will lack access to COVID-19 testing for the forseeable future.

"This virus is quite transmissible through relatively casual contact, making this pathogen very hard to contain," says James Lloyd-Smith, co-author a UCLA study on the topic. Moreover, the virus can travel on shoes for at least five days, according to another study. This results in widespread transmission, including to areas that would otherwise seem unlikely to experience exposure.

While children may be less affected by COVID-19 than those in older cohorts, those with asthma and other preexisting conditions are at elevated risk. Further, children at Grace School may unwittingly bring the virus home and expose parents, grandparents and others in vulnerable cohorts.

The New England Journal of Medicine also reports that the virus can live for at least three days on door handles, light switches and other high-use hard surfaces. Ibid.

Thus, with the Grace Church food pantry remaining open during this period of social distancing, floors and hard surfaces in and around the Commons — which includes the entrance to the school —have the potential to spread the virus through all parts of the building, particularly via foot traffic. Given the high percentage of persons age 65 and above in the parish, this creates enormous risk when in-person worship resumes at the church.

For these reasons, all persons at high risk of infection should avoid entering the building until such time as a vaccine and wide-spread testing are available. Additionally, those at risk should pay close attention to efforts to develop some form of treatment for the disease; as things stand, all medical professionals can do is provide mechanical ventilation and other supportive measures until the disease has run its course. And the elderly should carefully contemplate the words of American Health Care Association Mark Parkinson, who said, “The grim reality is that, for the elderly, COVID-19 is an almost perfect killing machine.”

Meanwhile, parents are well-advised to avoid re-enrolling their children at Grace Episcopal School.