COVID-19 Updates for the Phillips Academy Community

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Campus Response to Coronavirus

The uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact weighs heavily on us all. We are mindful that members of our own families and those of our students are experiencing this pandemic in varying degrees of severity across the globe. We work and live in a closely-knit community and will remain supportive of one another while doing all we can to keep our employees and students safe during these unsettling times. Our responsibility to our campus community and to the greater public health is to limit the spread of infection and to mitigate the strain on our health care systems.

The Academy has designated a COVID-19 response team to manage all efforts, including disruptions to campus programming, events, and travel. Our aim is to consider the latest information with thoughtfulness and care, and to anticipate challenges while protecting the health and wellbeing of our campus community.

Community Liaisons and Resource Partners

Families and students – Linda Carter Griffith, Jenny Elliott, Amy Patel

Staff and administrators – Ferd Alonso, Amy Patel, Chris Joel, Leeann Bennett

Faculty – Clyfe Beckwith, Jeff Domina, Raj Mundra

Coaches and student-athletes – Lisa Joel

Seniors and uppers (college counseling) – Sean Logan, Kassy Fritz

Newly admitted students and families – Jill Thompson

Alumni – Thom Lockerby, Tracy Sweet

Town of Andover – Ferd Alonso, Chris Joel

Families & Students

The following communications have been sent to families and students.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Below are Frequently Asked Questions to help guide you around spring term academics. If you have other academic questions that have not been answered here, please email

What is our commitment to students and families?
We are committed to graduating every student with their designated class.

How are we preparing to go online?
From March 23-27 faculty have engaged in training/practice to prepare for online course delivery. We will be working primarily with Canvas, the Learning Management System (LMS) we already use, Zoom, and we will explore other online tools. Students will receive specific course information from their teachers on or before 5 p.m. Sunday, March 29 EDT (to account for time zone difference), and should expect to have information for each course accessible through that course’s specific Canvas site.

What are our guiding principles as we approach this new experience on short notice?

  • Equity: Students will have the same access to materials.
  • Connections: Students will continue to have strong relationships with their teachers and other faculty on their team. We will continue to support the wellbeing of students.
  • Less is more: We will have to do less, and we will plan to do it well.
  • Teachers will learn and collaborate together to deliver our academic program as best as we can.

With online courses, how will we compensate for time zone differences?

We will deliver new material in our academic classes asynchronously so that students can look at new material on their own time, should plan to work on the material when it suits their schedule and home environment best, and submit work before the deadlines according to the syllabus. Asynchronous teaching will provide a more equitable learning experience to account for different time zones, home environments, and technology experiences.

Why will grades be Pass/Fail?

All grades will be Pass/Fail to reduce the level of stress for students, and to account for the variability of technology access and home environments. Students will not have the option for numerical final grades spring 2020. There is no expectation that this spring experience will replicate the same course taught another term, nor can we predict or adjust for all scenarios in which the learning experience is different for one student to another.

What are course expectations?

Students are expected to have three assignments/check-ins (asynchronously) each week. Specific expectations will be explained in each course syllabus. Since classes will be taught asynchronously, all work is homework. Work for each course may not exceed a total of 6 hours/week. Most courses have an expectation less than that depending on level and department.

Will there be office hours?

As teachers are able, they may offer opportunities to connect synchronously or via small group chats. Written communication instead of synchronous communication might be more appropriate for both students and teachers.

How will we keep to our posted daily schedule?

Teachers will have work posted by their class period and will use the daily schedule as a framework for checkpoints and deadlines for sending out and collecting work. Assigned periods are NOT expected to be times to connect synchronously but can be if that is mutually convenient for teacher and student.

Why keep the daily schedule when students are at home?

The daily schedule offers a framework to help students and teachers think about the pacing of the week. For the adults on campus (or remote), it also helps facilitate shared faculty committee meeting times and other student support services.

Are we cancelling any courses/sections?

No. We are confident that teachers will provide a meaningful experience. No course will deliver exactly what was originally planned. Phillips Academy is designed for small in-person classes; we will return to in-person classes with a deeper appreciation for the unique learning opportunities of a boarding school community.

How will Add/Drop of classes work?

We will run a restricted ADD/DROP session with the goal to finalize class rosters by March 31.

We will focus on:

  • seniors who have outstanding graduation requirements not on their current spring schedule;
  • seniors who are currently enrolled in 4 courses but should be taking 5 according to what was reported to colleges;
  • juniors who are enrolled in 5 courses but wish to add a 6th course from a list of limited choices, without making other changes to their schedules.

How will we teach classes that require a hands-on experience (science labs, art classes, theater and dance, physical education, for example)?

We will do the best we can; we are finding opportunities with this new delivery method too. Our teachers will continue to do the most important things: create community and social connection, inspire curiosity, and create opportunities for deep thinking and reflection.

Will we need physical books?
All e-texts will be provided online through your course instructor.

Where do I go for technology concerns?
Please email the Help Desk (, or call 978-749-HELP, 978-749-4357). Faculty and students will be experiencing technological hiccups. Be flexible and patient; do not expect a flawless experience.

How will we handle AP Exams?

Please refer to the College Board AP website. At the time of this posting, the College Board had announced that:

  • Traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place. Students will take a 45-minute online free-response exam at home.
  • Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh.
  • Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates.

Will the spring term calendar change?

The most recent calendar is posted on PANet, Blackboard under Academic Resources. Monday, April 20, will still be a long weekend. Non-Sibi Day has been cancelled.

Will attendance be taken?

Teachers will acknowledge “attendance” by offering multiple engagements per week by a student. Expectations will vary by week, department, and class but could be: a journal response, online annotations, an email, a homework submission, etc. If you miss any of these opportunities, your instructor will share concerns with your core and full teams.

What other support services are there?

We strive to offer as much of the program support you already know including:, Academic Skills Canvas,, We expect advisors and point people to connect with their students synchronously on a regular basis. Students will need this type of connection with adults and peers to support their learning and socio-emotional wellbeing.

Faculty & Staff

The following communications have been sent to faculty and staff.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


I am sick, what should I do?
We ask all employees to stay home from work if they are sick or caring for a sick family member. Please contact your manager as you would normally do and during this current COVID-19 outbreak, also please contact Human Resources at If you do not have sick time, we want to ensure that you can still take care of yourself and your family, so please contact Human Resources and together we will find a solution that ensures you will not miss any paycheck(s).

Someone in my household is sick. What should I do?
Please follow the same protocol as you would for your own personal illness and contact Human Resources.

If I am sick, when should I return to work?
We are asking all employees to remain off campus until they are asymptomatic and please consult your and your family’s health care professional before returning to work.

Will I need a note when I come back from my illness or my family’s illness?
Please reach out to human resources at and they will help you determine whether you would or would not need a note to return to work.

If I am unable to work because I am sick, caring for a sick family member, a high-risk family member as determined by the CDC, or I have to self-quarantine, what happens to my job?
Throughout this challenging time our goal is to ensure the overall health and wellbeing of you and your family. We recognize that a regular paycheck is an important part of that wellbeing so our goal is that every full-time and part-time employee will continue to get paid for regular scheduled hours regardless of their health and that of their family. We also know that each situation will be different so please reach out to Human Resources if you have specific questions at and they will help you.

What should I do if I have traveled to or I have been in contact with someone who has recently traveled to an area designated by the CDC as level 1, 2, or 3 for COVID-19 and/or I have been on a cruise in the last 14 days?
Please contact Human Resources before returning to campus at

What will the Academy do with information I share with my manager and HR about my health, my exposure to COVID-19, and/or the health of a household member?
If you believe that you or any member of your household has been exposed to COVID-19, please contact your primary care physician, and Human Resources at Human Resources regularly works with employees on sensitive information in a professional and confidential way. As always, we will handle private medical information as confidentially as possible, knowing that we may be required to share this information with health officials and/or others in the Academy who may have been exposed.

I am feeling very anxious about the potential impact of COVID-19 and I am feeling some stress and/or anxiety. What can I do?
Please consult with your primary care physician or your mental health provider for guidance and support. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you at no cost 24/7 and is completely confidential with professional counselors. You can reach EAP at 1-800-854-1446 or

Is there any situation where the Academy might send me home if I appear unwell? We ask that employees use good judgment and follow the provided guidelines to stay home if unwell or caring for a household member who is unwell. As always, please contact your manager and human resources at

Broader Academy Implications

I’m concerned about how some of the recent decisions will impact my job. Will there be work for me? Will I be furloughed or laid off?
During this time, we know that income security is very important to all employees. The Academy’s goal is to achieve pay continuity for full-time and part-time Academy employees for regular scheduled hours. We ask for your flexibility as in some instances, duties or assignments might need to change. Managers are asked to continue thinking about how these decisions will impact traditional work and to please reach out to Leeann Bennett or Ferd Alonso with questions.

What happens if I need to stay home because my child’s school or day care is closed?
These events are possible as state and local communities manage this outbreak and we know these decisions will add stress to the current situation. We recognize that this may be a reality for many in our community. We also recognize that finding childcare may be difficult. If your role does not lend itself to working from home, or the age of your child restricts your ability to work from home, please discuss with your supervisor and Human Resources and together we will find a solution.

What is the Academy’s policy on supporting telecommuting in response to COVID-19?
The Academy is finalizing a telecommuting policy which will be shared next week. During this time, we are also including a way to forward your work phone to another phone. If possible, you should set up your phone today.

How is the Academy monitoring student and adult travel?
Prior to spring break, students completed a survey to indicate where they were going. Clear communication and guidance were also provided about the potential implications of traveling to areas deemed unsafe by the CDC. Additionally, adults were asked to voluntarily complete a survey to share their travel plans. The data is being reviewed on a regular basis.

Is the Academy taking any precautionary steps for cleaning/sanitizing?
Our colleagues in OPP are sanitizing areas using EPA-approved products that are in use daily, paying special attention to all surfaces and deep cleaning all restrooms. Additionally, they are doing more thorough deep cleaning in areas that are currently not in use.

Are there any other precautions in place? Additional hand sanitizer has been made available at various locations across campus. If you do not have a hand sanitizer station near your work location or if you would like more, please email or call the Help Desk at x4320.

Are there specific actions we should be taking to protect ourselves? We also ask that employees use best-practice hygiene as recommended by health professionals and the CDC. These include:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw it away.
  • Cover your mouth with your upper sleeve if you do not have a tissue, then wash your hands.
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Alumni & Friends

The following communications have been sent to alumni and friends of Andover.

CDC Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides helpful guidance and recommendations.

While the immediate risk to the American public remains low at this time, everyone can help respond to this emerging public health concern:

Other Resources