Spring Term Information for Phillips Academy Families

Read More

Comprehensive Q/A

Community Health & Wellness

Will students be expected to be tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus?

All students will be tested at registration. This is an update to our previous requirement due to the challenges many families are experiencing obtaining testing prior to coming to campus. If a student tests positive, they will need to leave campus immediately with their parent/guardian or, if a student is traveling to campus alone, a parent needs to pick them up within 24 hours. Please expect that registration will take approximately 30 minutes to test and wait for results.

What if a student tests positive before returning to campus?

If a student tests positive before returning to campus, they must stay home for at least 14 days prior to coming to campus. The Sykes Medical team will collaborate with the student, their family, and their healthcare provider at home to determine when it is safe to return to campus.

How can students minimize their risk before returning to campus?

Students should continue to follow stated public health guidelines, including physical distancing, wearing face coverings while in public, washing/sanitizing hands regularly, and minimizing contacts and exposures in order to minimize their risk, especially in the 14-day period before returning to campus.

Will boarding students be required to quarantine before coming to campus?

No. Boarding students will quarantine on campus for two weeks after their arrival.

Will day students be required to quarantine before coming to campus?

Yes. Day students must quarantine for two weeks at home prior to their re-entry to campus.

How often will students be tested?

Testing will occur at least twice in the first two weeks on campus. Throughout the term, on-campus testing will be administered at regular intervals.

What health practices must students adopt as members of the Andover community?

To care for ourselves and each other, every member of our community will need to comply with specific health and safety practices: including the use of face coverings, social (physical) distancing, hand washing, self-monitoring, mandatory testing, and participation in contact tracing. If students are unable to comply with these standards, they will lose the opportunity to be on campus and will be asked to switch to all-remote learning at home.

How will Andover conduct daily screening of students, faculty, and staff?

Every member of our community who is learning or working on campus will be required to complete daily screening via an app to monitor for symptoms and signs of COVID-19, as well as to assess for additional risk factors. Students will not attend classes and adults will not come to work (or engage with students in person) if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing will be performed when any potential exposures occur.

Where will this information be sent and who has access to students’ health information?

Private medical information will be handled as confidentially as possible. Our primary goals include caring for the individual who is experiencing symptoms, and assessing risk to determine next steps regarding testing or quarantining for the individual and any additional contacts on campus. Only the Sykes Wellness Center team, impacted individuals and their families, and public health officials will have access to relevant health information on a need-to-know basis.

For a student who tests positive while on campus, where will they be isolated?

If a student who lives on campus tests positive for COVID-19 we will care for the student in isolation on campus until the student’s parent/guardian (or other designated adult caretaker) is able to care for the student off campus. All students must have a plan in place for a parent/guardian (or other designated adult caretaker) to come to take their child off campus within 24 hours of diagnosis. In the event that this is not feasible for a particular family, we will work with that family to create a solution.

What care will be taken for those who have been potentially exposed to a member of the community who has tested positive?

Any student or campus adult who is considered to have been in close contact with a campus community member who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine to monitor for the development of COVID-19 symptoms for up to 14 days. Quarantine may occur in a student's dorm room, off campus, or at home, as appropriate.

    What will happen if a group of students needs to be quarantined?

    In the event that a group of students needs to be quarantined in their dorm, Sykes Wellness Center staff and campus adults (practicing physical distancing and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment) will regularly monitor the students for symptoms, provide food, and assist with academic responsibilities.

    How will students learn about the health and safety protocols and what’s expected of them?

    The Academy will continue to share updates and guidelines with the campus community through regular communications, emails, and announcements. As we get closer to the start of school and return to campus, we will send additional information to students and families.

    Academic Experience

    Will there be a specific orientation for new students, many of whom may not be on campus during the initial opening weeks?

    Yes, we are excited as ever to welcome the newest members of our community, virtually and in person, as circumstances permit. Our Dean of Students Office, Office of Admission, and other departments, will work together to offer our new students robust orientation programming featuring community-building and fun, as well as opportunities to learn more about academics, residential life, co-curricular programming, health and wellness, and much more. All new students will hit the virtual ground running toward the wonderful Andover journey that lies ahead.

    May a student choose to start the year learning from home and then decide to come to campus for classes at a later date?

    Yes. Students will be permitted to participate in the academic program remotely for the fall or fall and winter terms then rejoin us at the beginning of the winter or spring term. Students will not be allowed to change status voluntarily within a term absent extenuating circumstances.

    Details regarding these options for both boarding and day students will be laid out in the enrollment agreement addendum to follow.

    How will the academic program be delivered when some students are learning from home and others are on campus?

    Every course is being designed to meet Andover’s highest standards of academic excellence. Every student will have the opportunity to be equally successful in their classes, whether they are learning on campus or at home, remote or in person.

    Faculty are planning an academic experience that blends best practices for online, hybrid, and in-person models of teaching and learning. An important aspect of faculty professional development this summer has been devoted to redesigning and building courses that can be delivered online or in person.

    How will my student be supported in this new academic environment?

    Before classes begin, all students will be required to complete an academic orientation. This online session will emphasize best practices in remote learning, giving every student the skills and resources to manage their coursework with clear expectations and greater confidence.

    A structured weekly schedule also will help students understand and plan for what is expected of them. The schedule allows for ample personal engagement and connection with teachers and classmates. In addition to scheduled class time, every teacher will be available for at least two conference hours per week.

    Will there be opportunities for synchronous classes?

    Every course will include at least two 45-minute synchronous classes each week. These classes may feature some students gathered with a teacher (safely distanced) in a classroom, while other students take part online. We will start with the premise that no student is expected to attend a synchronous class from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. in their time zone.

    What is the expectation for time dedicated to each course?

    Students can expect to spend a maximum of six hours per course per week, which includes synchronous class time and homework.

    What form will grading and assessment take?

    This upcoming year, we will use a grading scale with ongoing feedback that distinguishes achievement and offers specific support for improvement. A final determination about the grading scale will be made before the start of the school year. Families will receive instructor reports at midterm and end of term as follows: October and November (term 1), February and March (term 2), April and May (term 3).

    What will classrooms look like?

    Students and faculty members will be required to wear masks/face coverings and to abide by physical distancing/barrier guidelines in all classrooms. The number of students per class will be adjusted according to the size of the learning spaces and to de-densify the number of people within indoor spaces. New equipment has been purchased to increase air circulation in classrooms and the Academy may use tents, portable classrooms, or other administrative spaces/buildings in order to reduce the density of students, faculty, and staff within buildings. Directional signage will be posted in all classrooms, dormitories, and administrative offices so that we can maintain a safe social distance within buildings. Additionally, physical barriers such as plexiglass will be installed in some buildings to reduce contact.

    Living On Campus

    If my student lives on campus, who is my adult point of contact?

    House counselors will continue to serve as the primary point people for students assigned to their dormitory. House counselors and advisors will partner with the cluster dean and student leaders in the dormitory to build inclusive spaces, deliver a residential program in coordination with our Empathy Balance & Inclusion program, and to foster a sense of community.

    What are Dorm Pods?

    Dorm Pods are a new structure being introduced this year as a way to create a sense of familiarity, normalcy, and fun. Dorm Pods will allow for a more relaxed dorm atmosphere and provide opportunities for some fun within these pods.

    How many students will be in a Dorm Pod?

    The number will vary based on the size and architecture of each dormitory. We anticipate pods ranging in size from 6-10 students.

    How will we find out about housing assignments?

    As soon as we learn about student decisions for the year ahead, our Dean of Students Office and Office of Admission will work together to assign boarding students to dormitories. Each student will be assigned a single-occupancy room to assure a private study space and healthy environment. We will share more about housing assignments before the start of school.

    What types of restrictions will be in place for students living in dorms this fall?

    In order to care for ourselves and each other, every member of our community will need to adopt specific health and safety practices: wearing face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, self-monitoring, testing, and contract tracing participation. Students who live on campus will need to abide, at a minimum, by the following non sibi commitments:

    • Dorm access will be restricted to dorm residents.
    • No visitors will be allowed from outside the dorm community.
    • Boarding students will be able to remove face coverings in their own rooms.

    How will the dormitories be cleaned and disinfected?

    We will be increasing custodial attention to all campus buildings, dormitories, communal spaces, bathrooms, and high-touch surfaces. Our facilities staff will increase the number of regular cleanings for all buildings and common areas using disinfectant identified by the EPA for use against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

    Will there be additional precautions about who is allowed in dorms, such as friends, family members or others?

    To ensure the health and safety of our campus community, we will all need to adjust our routines, movement, and travel. Boarding students will only be allowed to be in their own dormitories this fall; day students and non-dorm residents will not be permitted to visit.

    How will parents drop off students for fall term? Are there any new, special requirements?

    We will communicate specific details regarding move-in processes—including dates and times—once we learn of family decisions for the year ahead.

    What should boarding students bring to school?

    Please bring as little as possible. When packing for school, boarding students should think about how they can easily maintain a clean room. Please focus on essentials and limit yourself to as few items as possible. In the event that students need to head home unexpectedly or relocate on campus, they will be more nimble with fewer belongings. In the weeks ahead, we will provide more detailed information.

    Will students be able to share bikes, skateboards, or other items?

    Unfortunately, no. Sharing of any personal items, including clothing, will be prohibited this fall.

    What about students’ personal belongings that have been stored in the Snyder Center?

    Our facilities team will relocate items stored in the Snyder Center to new room assignments.

    Will boarding students be allowed off campus?

    In the opening weeks of the fall term, boarding students will remain within campus limits. In extenuating circumstances, students who need to leave campus must seek permission from their cluster dean and a member of the Sykes Wellness Center medical team. For the fall term, we will also suspend riding permissions; boarding students will not be allowed in day student cars.

    Will boarding students be allowed to leave campus to participate in off-campus programming such as club sports, New England Conservatory, college clinics, etc.?

    Unfortunately, because of the potential risk these exposures introduce to the residential campus community, we cannot allow boarding students to participate in off-campus programming this fall. We may revisit these restrictions later in the year, if and when we reach a level of confidence in our community’s health to reconsider this restriction.

    Will there be any opportunities for gatherings of students or students and faculty on campus?

    Yes. We anticipate using outdoor spaces as much and as often as possible for small gatherings. Indoors, we will follow all mask-wearing and social-distancing expectations when gathering. If proper distancing is not possible, we will rely on masks and physical barriers to keep the community safe.

    Will movement outdoors on campus be limited this fall?

    We want to ensure that all members of the community are able to make good use of and enjoy our beautiful campus, however, we will need to do so in a safe manner. When possible, we will host events and even classes outdoors to allow for greater ventilation and air flow. Directional signage will be installed for safe movement across campus, and some pathways may be one-way only. Additionally, sanitation stations will be installed at various locations on campus and outside of buildings.

    What can boarding students expect during on-campus quarantine?

    During this 14-day period, day students will be asked to stay at home and boarding students will quarantine in their dormitories. Classes will be conducted remotely during this period. All meals will be delivered to the dormitories and campus buildings will be locked. Some outdoor activities, conducted at safe physical distance, will be allowed.

    Which day do Seniors and PGs Register?

    Seniors and PGs register on either September 11 or September 12. For more information, please refer to the Key Dates on the 2020 Plan homepage.

    Day Students

    When will day students be allowed on campus?

    Day students play an integral role in building community. We will rely on their engagement, leadership, and participation in campus life to maintain the vibrancy of our program.

    Initially, as boarding students are going through waves of quarantining on campus, day students will stay at home and take classes remotely.

    9th and 12th grade Day students will be welcomed to campus on September 28 to begin participation in afternoon activities. 10th and 11th grade Day students will be welcomed to campus on October 10 and 11 to register and begin participation in afternoon activities on October 12.

    Will day students be required to quarantine?

    Day students must quarantine for two weeks at home prior to their re-entry to campus.

    Will day students be restricted on campus?

    Upon return, day students will have access to all campus facilities except dormitories once they have successfully completed the required 14-day initial home quarantine period.

    Are there any places on campus just for day students?

    Yes. In addition to maintaining the day student lockers and lounge in George Washington Hall, we are working on a plan to assign each day student a specific “study station.”

    Can day students visit with friends who live in dormitories?

    No, not in the fall. For the health and well-being of the community, only dorm residents will be allowed to enter the dormitories this fall.

    Co-Curriculars, Student Activities & Athletics

    Will Andover have co-curricular and student activities this fall?

    Yes. We anticipate offering clubs, activities, and extra-curricular activities in new and creative ways. Activities and offerings will likely be a combination of in-person and remote opportunities. Student leaders will play key roles in reimagining how clubs and social activities can function actively and inclusively; we have deep faith in their creativity and innovation.

    Will Andover teams compete interscholastically during the fall season?

    No. While we understand how disappointing this news is for student-athletes and families, there remain too many public and personal health risk factors related to COVID-19 which prevent us from training for and participating in interscholastic competition during the fall of 2020.

    Will Andover teams compete interscholastically during the winter term?

    At this time, we are unable to anticipate what the state, regional, and national situation will be which would guide our decision regarding winter interscholastic athletics. When students return to campus in January 2021, we will once again follow appropriate health and safety protocols for all winter sport practices. Winter athletes will not practice or compete between Thanksgiving break and our students’ return in January. However, we do hope to provide opportunities for our winter athletes to train in their respective sports on campus during the fall term.

    Will sports teams practice in any manner this fall?

    Yes. We have several plans in progress to help support and advance our competitive athletes. Programming will include rigorous sport-specific skill/drill training, strength and conditioning, and cross-team discussion groups that will address a range of topics including performance eating, growth mindset, college-recruiting, and anti-racist efforts in athletics.

    Will there be opportunities for students to take part in other fitness activities on campus?

    Yes, as always, we will offer non-interscholastic options—life sports, intramurals, Outdoor Pursuits—though these, too, will be redefined according to health and safety parameters. We look forward to partnering with faculty-coaches to redesign and rethink these activities in a new and exciting manner and to build relationships through shared pursuits and interests.

    Can boarding students attend club sports this fall?

    No. Boarding students are not permitted to leave campus this fall including to attend club athletic practices. Day students will be permitted to attend club athletic practices.

    Will students be masked when participating in their afternoon athletic activity?

    Yes. All students and coaches will be required at all times to wear masks during athletic practices, including in the fitness center. The only athletes who will not wear masks are our swimmers/water polo players.


    How will meals be served?

    To keep the Academy community safe and healthy, the staff at Paresky Commons is preparing to implement a number of changes while maintaining menu offerings that are diverse, well-balanced and nutritious, and that meet the varied dietary needs of the community. Menu modifications, seating and service area adjustments, designated meal times, and food delivery options are some of the initiatives we will undertake to ensure a safe dining environment. Further details will be available later this summer.

    Can students order food from off campus and have it delivered?

    Unfortunately, we cannot allow food to be delivered to campus this fall term. All food will be prepared and either delivered or picked up through our Paresky Commons team. We recognize this will be a big change for some members of our community. This is an excellent example of how and when we will embrace our non sibi character.

    College Counseling

    How will college counselors work with my student this fall term?

    The most effective way to work with students is via one-on-one synchronous meetings. The College Counseling Office (CCO) has continued to hold synchronous meetings with counselees this past spring, and will continue to do so throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, regardless of whether a student is living on or off campus.

    How will students and families find out about any changes to the college admissions process?

    The CCO will continue to monitor changes in the college admission process and work closely with our college and university colleagues to adjust our procedures as necessary. We will communicate these changes as needed to students and families.

    What is the CCO process for seniors this year?

    As we did this past spring, our counselors will continue to meet synchronously with students this coming academic year to help them navigate the college admission process. The CCO will supplement these meetings with a growing video library of specialty topics (arts, athletics, colleges and universities outside of the U.S., financial aid, etc.), group meetings, and outside webinars. Additionally, the CCO provides the following services for seniors:

    • Individual meetings with CCO counselors this fall will continue discussions on different aspects of the application, essays, the student’s list of schools, and on organizing an application plan, including the use of early action and early decision options.
    • Support with financial aid forms, dates, and deadlines.
    • Regular opportunities to meet with college admission colleagues this fall to help our families better understand the most recent updates to the college process during this unpredictable time.

    What is the CCO process for 11th graders (uppers) this year?

    The college admission process begins in the fall for uppers and their families. Each upper will be assigned a CCO counselor in the fall with access to Naviance in December. Regular meetings with CCO counselors will begin in January 2021 and will include a minimum of four one-on-one meetings, group events, and focus group activities in specific areas: arts, theater, music, athletics, colleges and universities outside the U.S., etc.

    2020-2021 Academic Program Options

    What will the return to campus look like for students?

    Boarding and day students will return to campus on a phased arrival schedule informed by public health guidance and regulations. The fall return-to-campus program will include primarily online classes, select in-person classes as determined feasible, and a combination of in-person and remote co- and extra-curricular activities. With this phased and primarily remote initial approach, students will be able to quarantine appropriately and adults will be able to monitor compliance with the new safety protocols. Please note: Boarding students will not be permitted to participate in off-campus extracurricular programming because of the potential risk of increased exposure to dormitory communities. Students intending to participate in such programming will need to attend as day or remote students.

    Have tuition rates changed?

    Boarding and day tuition rates remain as published in the enrollment agreement for the 2020-21 school year.

    What if boarding and day students prefer to participate in the 2020-21 school year remotely?

    Boarding and day students who prefer to stay at home and participate in the Phillips Academy program remotely for the entire year may do so. Families who select this option will be charged the day student tuition rate for the entire 2020-21 school year. (The day student tuition rate is equivalent to the remote tuition rate.) Financial aid awards will be adjusted accordingly (if applicable).

    Do local boarding students have the option of converting to day student status?

    For boarding families living in the local area who wish to have their children attend as day students for the 2020-21 school year, we will temporarily suspend the day student boundaries to give nearby families the choice to attend as a day student for the entire school year. Boarding families who choose this option will be charged the day student tuition rate for the entire year, and financial aid awards will be adjusted accordingly (if applicable). Please note: Day student boundaries referenced in the admission section of our website will return in 2021-22 and students would need to return to boarding at that time if they are outside of these boundaries.

    Can students who are typically local boarding students attend as day students in the fall and then as boarders in the winter and/or spring?

    For local boarding families who wish to have their children attend as day students for the fall term and then rejoin us on campus as boarding students at the beginning of the winter or spring term, we will suspend the day student boundaries (for the 2020-21 school year only). Boarding families who choose the fall term day option will be charged the boarding rate for the entire 2020-21 school year given that it will require that the school save a space in our dormitories for their child but will receive a partial refund for the portion of the year in which they are day students, and financial aid awards will be adjusted accordingly (if applicable).

    Can day students choose a remote option on a per term basis?

    Day student families may select the remote option for fall term and be able to return to day student status in the winter and/or spring term(s) and will be charged the day student tuition rate for the entire year.