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Academy Updates

July 2020 Academy Update

The COVID virus has disrupted the lives of people all over the world.  The Academy did not escape the effects.  We were shut down in March 2020, and re-opened June 1st.  While our numbers were favorable, they subsequently dropped down to 17.  And it did not sound like families were going to return their student.  
Discussions were held, and it was decided to present our options via Zoom to the parents/guardians of our students.  This was done on Tuesday, July 14th at 5 p.m.  Below are notes of the meeting which were published by email on July 16th to all parents and guardians.

John Finlay, President of Friends of Down Syndrome, presented a “state of the Academy address” via Zoom on Tuesday, July 14th at 5 p.m.
Due to the COVID19 virus, the Academy is facing hard decisions in light of the student body not returning.  He believed it best to give an update and what is being planned for the days, weeks and months ahead given the information at hand.
Some of the talking points were:

  • A history of how he and Rosa Rocha met, they co-founded Friends with a 501(c)3 that he had available, and that he has served on the Board of Directors.
  • After Rosa’s death, which had a profound impact on him personally and professionally, John explained how his goal is to keep the Academy going, and continue working on the dream to have a campus one day.
  • He understands why some families are keeping their student at home due to COVID, and that each family will do what is best for them.
  • The Academy will close on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting with 7/21, due to low turnout, and operate only Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  • For those not returning their student, families were asked to donate $200 per month to help the Academy and hold their student’s place.
  • We will continue classes into August and take it one month at a time.
  • Each month, should the number of students plus the number of families donating not be sufficient to maintain a “skeleton crew” of staff, we will shut down the Academy at that time.  We will look at re-opening after January 1, 2021.
  • He further stated that he was not pleased with the treatment that his staff has been receiving via phone calls, emails and texts.  Especially his office personnel.  He reminded the families that should Tina & Sandra leave, the whole building - including the Academy - would be shut down immediately, and he would have to hire a management company to take care of the building.

Updates will be given as information is available, with a decision made around the middle of August whether the Academy will close at the end of the month or continue into September.
John believes we can pull through this, with staff and families committing to the Academy.

Should you have any questions, please email

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