Fall 2020 Opening of School Information for Phillips Academy Families

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Living in Community on Campus

Living and learning on campus this academic year will look very different and will present new challenges and opportunities. However, we will embrace this shared endeavor and lean into our non sibi motto as we all commit to keeping ourselves and others safe and healthy. Now, more than ever, we have the chance to highlight our commitment to each other and appreciate the value of community.

With a focus on safety, health, and equity, Andover will need to re-imagine this fall term in order to provide an excellent academic program and a robust student experience. We will need to develop new and creative practices for building community and forging connections.

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.

Quarantine Requirements

During their first two weeks on campus, boarding students will need to complete a 14-day quarantine period. Classes during this period will be remote. All meals will be delivered to the dormitories and campus buildings will be locked.

Initially, as boarding students are going through waves of quarantining on campus, day students will stay at home and take classes remotely. Day students must quarantine for two weeks at home prior to their re-entry to campus.

Gatherings & Movement on Campus

We will abide by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidance to limit the number of people who may gather, both indoors and outdoors. We will make good use of our beautiful campus and host events and gatherings outdoors as often as possible. We will also continue to look for ways to engage online to bring together on and off-campus learners, advising groups, and dorm communities. For example, although we will not be able to be together in Cochran Chapel, our tradition of gathering for All School Meeting will continue via remote delivery.

Directional signage will be installed for safe movement across campus and within buildings. Some pathways and corridors may be one-way only. Sanitation stations will be installed at various locations, inside and outside of buildings. Additionally, 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.

Inside the Dorms

House counselors will continue to serve as 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 foster a sense of community.

Seeking to protect the health and safety of dorm communities, at a minimum we will adopt and enforce the following standards:

  • 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.

What to Bring

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.

Maintaining a Healthy Environment

We will increase custodial attention to communal spaces, bathrooms, and high-touch surfaces, and will look to increase air circulation and filtration in buildings across campus. Boarding students will also play integral roles in keeping living spaces sanitary and clean.

Introducing Dorm Pods

To create a sense of familiarity, normalcy, and fun, we will introduce dorm pods, or family groups, this fall. This new structure will allow a more relaxed dorm atmosphere with a smaller group of students, in line with our mitigation strategies.

If and when we are able to loosen some of our restrictions, we hope that students will be able to spend time with these groups more comfortably and casually. Depending on dorm population and constraints created by the architecture of the dorm, pod families will be able to host dorm meetings, game nights, communal meals, and allow a space for students to visit, study, and socialize without face coverings. These activities would only happen once we have reached a level of confidence in our community’s health to lower this restriction. We will provide more information about dorm pods once we know which students will be on campus this fall term.

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. We appreciate your patience, flexibility, and open-mindedness with this process.

Co-Curriculars, Activities & Athletics

So much of student life takes place outside of the classroom and is integral to the Andover experience. This fall, we anticipate offering clubs, activities, and extra-curricular activities in new and creative ways. Activities and offerings will likely be a combination of both 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.

In this time of COVID-19, keeping the mind and body active has never been more essential to one’s wellness. As such, we remain dedicated to our philosophy of “athletics for all” at Andover. We also understand that local and universal health protocols and safety, which now guide all of Andover’s decisions around academic, residential and co-curriculars, are leading us to redefine Andover’s athletic program.

We will not be participating in interscholastic competitive play this fall. We will re-double our efforts to 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.

As always, we will also offer non-interscholastic options—life/instructional sports, dance, 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 life beyond the classroom. Knowing that we will have on-campus and off-campus learners, we will lean into innovative practices to bring students together for enrichment, physical activity, artistic pursuits, and fun! These connections will offer invaluable opportunities to build relationships through shared pursuits and interests.

EBI, Advising & Residential Programming

We will be coordinating with our Empathy, Balance, and Inclusion (EBI) program to expand efforts to educate our community in age-appropriate ways. We will address the health, wellness, and community needs of adolescents, with a focus on the societal challenges amplified by COVID-19 and pursuant to an anti-racist agenda. We will offer coordinated programming in EBI classes, advising sessions, and dorm meetings to articulate, discuss, and uphold shared community values. We will underscore our commitment that every student at Andover deserves to learn in a healthy and supportive community where they feel safe, respected, and valued.

Day Students

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. During the two weeks prior to day student arrival on campus, they will need to quarantine at home.

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.”

Travel & Visitors

To ensure the health and safety of our school community and our surrounding community, we will all need to adjust our routines, movement, and travel. Boarding students will need to remain on campus for the foreseeable future. We will need to restrict visitors to campus, including parents/guardians. We hope that once our community gains confidence and comfort, and as public health guidance allows, we will be able to loosen these restrictions. In extenuating circumstances, students who need to leave campus must seek permission from their cluster dean and a member of the Sykes medical team.

To protect the health and safety of the entire community, we will need every community member’s commitment to refrain from high-risk behaviors and gatherings. We will ask all students and family members to refrain from large group activities (concerts, sporting events, etc.), crowds, and dense gatherings.

For the fall term, we will also suspend riding permissions; boarding students will not be allowed in day student cars. This will be in place until we have reached a level of confidence in our community’s health to lower this restriction.

We are planning to host a virtual Family Weekend in October where students will have creative opportunities to share their Andover experience with their families while avoiding the community health risk of hosting a large group on campus.

Classrooms & Administrative Offices

We will adhere to face coverings and physical distancing/barrier guidelines in all classrooms. The number of students per class will be adjusted according to 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 in order to reduce contact.

Students, faculty, and staff will also be required to wear face coverings and maintain a safe physical distance of six feet when in other learning spaces and campus locations such as the library, the dean of student’s office, the mailroom, etc.

Dining Services

As Dining Services adapts to comply with the stringent standards outlined by local, state, and federal health authorities, our commitment to provide the highest levels of workplace and food safety for the Andover community has never been more crucial.

To keep the academy community safe and healthy, the staff at Paresky Commons is preparing to implement a number of changes that will support menu offerings that are diverse, well-balanced, nutritious, and meet the varied dietary needs of the community. Menu modifications, seating, service area adjustments, designated meal times, and food delivery options are some of the initiatives we are taking to ensure a safe dining environment for our students and school community.