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A Message of Solidarity to our Community

March 27, 2020

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by co-founders Jeremy Rossmann and Ashu Desai

As we reflect on another week of self-isolation and social-distancing, we want to share a message of solidarity to the Make School community.

We are feeling what most of the world is feeling - there are so many voices sharing so many possible courses of action that it feels harder than ever to predict what the world will look like even two weeks out, let alone months out. Truth be told, we know this will end, but we don't know when. What we do know is that the consequences of the pandemic are severe and will escalate before they abate. We must all be prepared for that reality.

In light of unprecedented uncertainty in the job market, we would like to assure our students and community that we remain committed to our core financial model: if graduates don't have a job, they don't have to pay. To operate sustainably in this riskier climate, we had to cut resources from growing enrollments and building new products to focus on instruction and core operations. As a result of this shift in focus, Make School made the heartbreaking decision to conduct layoffs last week. No instructional staff were affected and we will still be bringing on 9 new faculty and student support hires this summer to support our next class of students. If you know folks who are interested in teaching or student support at Make School, please send them our way.

Make School has been operating remotely and online-only since March 9th. We are immensely proud of how quickly our faculty were able to adapt. Operations are by no means perfect, but all classes will run as planned and we are grateful to our students for helping us iterate and improve. In a couple of weeks we will update the community with our pain points and learnings from teaching online. If you would like to learn more about how we are adapting to remote learning, please join our upcoming webinar on Thursday, April 2nd at 5pm PST.

While we hope to welcome our next class onsite in San Francisco come August, the health and safety of our students is our top concern. If necessary, we are prepared to welcome new Make School students remotely this fall and operate online for as long as needed.

This may sound alarmist to many, but with major gatherings already cancelled as far out as July there is a chance that most colleges across the country are not able to welcome students on campus until 2021. We don't think it's the likeliest outcome, but it can't be ruled out. If we have to stay in isolation this fall, we will rethink the college experience to bring our community together even if we are far apart.

All of us will experience some form of isolation if we haven't already. They call it 'social distancing', but what is most important is to remain socially close while physically distant. If you are looking for a community with whom to share project ideas and find like-minded collaborators, I'd like to extend an invite to the Make School Community Slack.

I would also like to share a daily checklist that has helped me while in isolation:

  1. Who am I checking in on today? 
  2. How am I getting exercise today? 
  3. How can I improve my living space today?

The next few weeks will be a challenge to your mental and physical health. Connecting (and reconnecting) with loved ones, staying physically active, and seeking out professional help if you need it are critical to everyone's well-being. It is important to stay informed, but there is a point where consuming more information has diminishing returns and a negative impact on your productivity and mental health.

15 minutes of your day focused on updates from health organizations and news outlets you trust will keep you just as up to date (if not more!) as consuming endless opinion pieces, Twitter threads, and Medium meta-analyses. To our community of makers and doers - take this trying time as an opportunity to learn and create.

Apart but together, we will make it through this,
Jeremy and Ashu

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