Parents, please read this letter from Head of School Joy McGrath on our policies and protocols for the coming school year.
I hope you are enjoying a restful and restorative summer with your children. It has been a great pleasure to be back at St. Andrew’s, and I am enjoying my work on campus with our wonderful team. We have been busy preparing the guidelines and documents included with this second issue of the Summer Bulletin. I cannot wait to meet your children and begin our school year!
Linked here and posted in the Parent Hub are our draft COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-2022 academic year, as well as an updated, combined Student and Parent Handbook. Let me remind you of the principles we began with as we planned for the coming year:
- All eligible students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Therefore, we will return, as far as possible, to what we think of as the St. Andrew’s experience: an education premised on proximity, connection, and congregation;
- In adjusting to this new normal, we will take all necessary steps to protect the health of all in our community;
- We will take steps especially to protect the most vulnerable in our community, such as children who are unable to be vaccinated or individuals who are immunocompromised or especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and other illnesses.
This chart outlines our draft COVID guidelines for the coming school year. I say these are draft guidelines because they are contingent on factors that may cause us to change our approach. These include, but are not limited to:
- changing government guidance;
- changing COVID prevalence in our area or changing COVID conditions on our campus; or
- new scientific information about the behavior of COVID or any variants in schools, congregate settings, or the adolescent age group.
That said, this chart represents our most current thinking about COVID guidelines. Please note that although we currently intend to allow vaccinated individuals to remain unmasked indoors during this school year, a return to indoor masking for all would be one of the steps we would take in a worsening COVID environment (as would prevalence testing of vaccinated individuals). All students should plan to bring a supply of face masks to campus once again this year.
In the chart, you will see a column listing the restrictions, if any, for vaccinated individuals, and a column listing the restrictions for unvaccinated individuals. In the day-to-day course of school life, our restrictions will be minimal. I want to make clear that we are requiring a vaccine of all students. The unvaccinated column lists precautions that will be asked of students who will begin the vaccination process upon arrival to campus from international destinations where they cannot access the vaccine. These precautions also apply to any students (we would expect this to be a very small number, if any) who requested and were approved to receive a medical exemption for a known contraindication to the vaccine.
Below you will find links to Zoom webinars next week for any parents who have questions about the COVID-19 precautions and any other aspect of the coming school year. We ask that you submit your questions in advance using this form. You will also have the chance to ask questions live during the webinar; however, submitting questions in advance increases the likelihood that we will be able to address your question(s) during the webinar.
- Tuesday, August 3, 8:00 AM ET – International Parents Meeting
- Click here to join
- Tuesday, August 3, 8:00 PM ET – New Parents Meeting
- Click here to join
- Wednesday, August 4, 8:00 PM ET – Returning Parents Meeting
- Click here to join
Although I recognize that COVID-19 restrictions are uppermost in the minds of many, I want to point out that this Bulletin also includes our updated Student and Parent Handbook. There are a few notable changes to which I would draw your attention:
- We have combined the Parent Handbook and the Student Handbook into one document (previously two separate documents) whose purpose is to outline our community norms and expectations and the consequences for breaches of these norms and expectations.
- With the normalization of our academic calendar and weekly schedule, we will also return to a dress code.
- We have clarified the cell phone policy.
- We will return to meals in the Dining Hall, and with that, we will return to breakfast sign-in; we will wash or sanitize hands before meals; and we will shower and change after athletics and before supper.
- We anticipate, pending COVID-19 conditions, that student campus leaves will once again be permitted, and to that end we ask that all parents review the campus leave policies in detail.
- We will permit personal furniture in student dorm rooms at the discretion of the dorm parent, but all personal furniture must be removed from campus during move-out in June. We cannot store any furniture for students over summer break.
- We have updated language regarding daily room inspections and some of our safety procedures.
Dean of Students Matt Carroll has sent the handbook to all students. I thank you in advance for reading it carefully and asking your child to do the same. Dean Carroll is available to answer any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below this message you will find links to additional information, including a suggested packing list, transportation tips, a calendar denoting this year’s closed weekends and delineating the Opening of School schedule, and an update regarding our College Counseling database. All of this information is available on the Parent Hub, where you can find all of the information you need in one place.
Our third and final Summer Bulletin will reach you on August 16. Until then, I hope that you are enjoying time together as a family and that your children are preparing for a fun and exciting fall term at St. Andrew’s! I look forward to greeting you in person very soon.
With warmest wishes,
Joy McGrath ’92
Daniel T. Roach, Jr. Head of School