COVID-19 Updates: January 2021 Return to Campus
Head of School Sam Houser shared an update to the academic calendar with the George School Community on November 11, 2020:
The schedule for returning to school in January 2021 was modified to increase community safety as the coronavirus pandemic permits. All classes will begin online on Monday, January 11 and in-person classes will begin on Monday, January 25. Spring break is shortened due to the delayed start. Please read these dates and the information on the January 2021 Return to Campus page carefully, as there are some changes to the academic calendar. These changes were made in consultation with the George School Board and administrative team after soliciting advice for faculty, staff, and the Executive Board of the Parents Association.
Saturday, January 9: Boarding students in grades 9-10 return to campus to begin a period of quarantine.
Sunday, January 10: Boarding students in grades 11-12 return to campus to begin a period of quarantine.
Monday, January 11: All classes begin online. Day students will work remotely until January 25.
Monday, January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Programs (online).
Sunday, January 24: Last day of quarantine on campus for boarding students.
Monday, January 25: Campus reopens to day students and in-person classes resume. Weekly Schedule.
Friday, March 5: Spring Break begins.
Tuesday, March 16: Classes resume.
The dates for graduation and for IB and AP exams remain unchanged.
Back to School 2020-2021
George School welcomed all students back to campus this fall and provided a remote-learning experience for those who may be unable to return at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. We invite you to explore some of the commonly asked questions below for more details about fall semester. As conditions related to COVID-19 continue to evolve, so too will our planning. We will keep families updated. Visit our COVID-19 Dashboard for known positive cases for students and adults in the George School community.
Due to the pandemic, all campus buildings and grounds are closed to visitors until further notice (students and employees may enter campus buildings). If you would like to learn more about George School and our campus, we invite you to take a virtual tour of the campus and view George School News to learn more.
George School shares its plans for the upcoming school year.
George School offered three plans for the 2020-2021 school year to give families the flexibility to choose the academic program that best fits their child’s needs. We are open for in-person instruction, which includes bringing both boarding and day students to campus. Students also may choose a distance-learning option.
Day Student Arrivals
All day-student related traffic must enter using Farm Drive, which will open at 7:15 a.m. After arriving, day students must check-in at the Fitness and Athletics Center (FAC) lobby and get their temperature taken (if they haven’t done so already) and go to their assigned learning spaces for the day. Assigned spaces for day students are in the FAC and in the Mollie Dodd Anderson (MDA) Library. Should students need to be dropped off before 7:15 a.m., they can gather in the meetinghouse while maintaining social distance.
Boarding Student Activities
Many activities are planned for boarding students for evenings and weekends, including outdoor films, ropes courses, frisbee golf, and bicycle rides. All health precautions will be carefully followed as we create a culture of safety and build community.
Students and parents are welcomed back to school.
New Campus Rules
All students are required to:
- Complete and submit health data daily before 12:30 p.m.
- Always wear a mask correctly, except when you are in their dorm room, exercising with exertion, or eating and drinking.
- Maintain a social distance of at least six feet.
- Boarding students must remain on North Campus except when appropriate and with permission, Monday to Friday until Friday at 6:00 p.m.
- Boarding students may use Red Square as a study space only from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Music, fun, and games may begin at 3:31 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- Day students must remain on South Campus, except when appropriate and with permission.
- Day students may access the Bookstore and Post Office by appointment ONLY. To access the Student Health and Wellness Center, students should call 215.579.6715, when possible, before going.
If a Dean speaks to a student about violating one or more of these rules, a letter will be sent to the student, family, and advisor. If a student receives three official communications related to violations of our Health and Safety requirements, they will be sent home for ten days to quarantine. If the student receives another communication upon return, they will be sent home to begin distance learning until at least January 2021.
Here are a few key points about the upcoming academic program.
- Every teacher is completing an intensive virtual-learning professional development course to help them design hybrid classes and use technology as appropriately as possible in their subject areas and at various grade levels.
- Teachers will publish a “pacing guide” every week. These guides will show how the week’s work can be broken down into manageable portions to support student planning, time management, and organization.
- Most classes will be held in the morning, allowing students who are in time zones many hours ahead of us to join those on campus in a video conference format.
- Late morning and early afternoon sessions will include meeting for worship and assembly in modified formats, some PE classes, lunch in shifts that allow for social distancing, time for one-on-one and small group meetings of students and teachers, other physical and artistic endeavors, and time for students to complete asynchronous coursework.
George School recognizes the value of person-to-person contact, both in instruction and in creating a sense of community, empowerment, and personal growth among our students. Recognizing that some students may need to participate in classes virtually for at least part of next year, we will do our best to ensure that there is that personal dimension to our education, whether students are in the same room as the teacher, or on a different continent.
Attendance Policy Update
Information for Day Students:
We encourage day students to be consistent with their on-campus arrival and departure times and hope that day students will be on campus daily. We recognize, however, that it may be difficult for day students to be on campus each academic day. Please review the following points to clarify attendance expectations and procedures to report absences.
- On days when students will not be on campus, parents should contact the Attendance Office by calling the Attendance Supervisor at 215.579.6593 by 7:30 a.m. You may call the day before as well.
- Once day students are on campus, they are expected to attend all of their in-person commitments scheduled that day. If a student needs to leave before the last commitment is over, they should contact the Deans’ Office at 215.579.6589.
- All day students must check in daily with the Attendance Supervisor upon arrival, and then check out at the end of the day. Check-in begins at 7:15 a.m. at the front desk of the Fitness and Athletics Center (FAC).
- Students leaving campus after 4:00 p.m. need to contact the Deans’ Office by phone at 215.579.6589 and sign out using REACH. Day students must leave campus before 6:00 p.m.
Information for Distance Learners:
Distance learners will not attend any in-person classes or events on campus. They are expected to attend all synchronous online sessions. Distance learners who are ill and cannot attend classes should call the Attendance Supervisor by 7:30 a.m. (EST) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Schedule and Key Dates
A fun video shared by Chelsie Tuttle, Day Student Sponsor and Dorm Head (Westwood)
Campus Health and Safety
The health and safety of our community is a high priority as always, but especially this year. To assist and advise us with this, George School hired Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&E), a firm that provides consulting services to operators of buildings and campuses in the fields of education, healthcare, and commercial enterprises. Their work focuses on safety in labs, schools, and workspaces.
We are working with EH&E in a joint engagement with approximately 30 other boarding schools to develop a set of standards that provide a framework for the safe operation of a boarding school. We are also working directly with EH&E reviewing our specific campus and program, including residential life (dorm rooms, bathrooms/schedules, common areas), dining (schedules, spaces, serving options), academic planning (classroom density, spacing, etc.), athletics (including FAC usage and traffic flow), health center (screening, isolation space), and general traffic flows (ingress, egress, stairwells, etc.).
As EH&E progresses in their work, we will provide important updates about the use of masks, social distancing, student schedules, rules for large gatherings, and other protocols that will be implemented to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Please consider these guidelines when choosing your mask to know which type of face coverings are the most effective to protect yourself, your family, and your friends:
- Bandanas, gaiters, and simple cloth face coverings are not as effective as a mask. These are not permitted while at George School, and we do not recommend you use them in your day-to-day off-campus.
- Cloth face coverings should have at least two layers of material.
- Tighter weave materials are preferred over loose weave materials; coverings made of knit and fleece do not provide much filtration.
- Designs that include tighter fit around the nasal bridge, cheeks, and chin are ideal.
- Masks with exhalation valves or vents do not provide source control and should not be worn. This will help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others.
Required Health Monitoring
All students, faculty, and staff will be required to monitor and report their health daily for 14 days prior to their on-campus start date. Temperature and other important health information must be posted daily in an electronic health log available on the George School portal. All community members must have a 14-day record of normal temperatures and no COVID-19 symptoms before they come to campus.
All students, faculty, and staff will monitor and record health information throughout the year until no longer necessary. The health log will be accessible to the Student Health and Wellness Center staff, and maintaining it daily is required for access to campus.
Once granted access to campus, day students, faculty, and staff must:
• Avoid travel to areas with high infection rates, whether in the United States or abroad.
• Limit circulation in public to essential tasks.
• Avoid personal contact with those showing symptoms of COVID-19 or under isolation protocols after exposure.
Community Online Engagement Guidelines
We affirm that we are a Friends community, grounded in our core values of respect, trust, and integrity, committing us to behave and interact honestly and respectfully with one another in all our affairs when meeting in person and online. Please review our Community Engagement Guidelines.