Updates and information about Concord Academy’s continued planning and response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Plans for the fall of 2020 will be posted on Healthy Concord as they become available.

 

While CA’s campus is closed, our school is continuing virtual operations.

Updates will be posted below by date.

July 24 Healthy Concord Reopening Update

Dear CA Families,

As I write to you today, our world is still grappling with the great challenges that COVID-19 has created. Indeed, the situation in many places has unfortunately grown considerably worse since my last letter. I offer my sincere condolences to those of you who have suffered illness or lost loved ones to this pandemic. This disease has caused extraordinary pain, stress, and dismay on so many levels. We must all find ways to focus on hope and the prospects of the recovery that will come, and the opportunities that any crisis presents to assert our powers of caring and goodness. We hope you are leaning on and helping those around you.

Over the past months, I have had the privilege of speaking with many parents and guardians and heard firsthand the courageous and determined ways they are facing this remarkable situation. I admire the resilience of our CA community and know we can and will get through these difficult times. They will not last forever, and we believe we can be stronger on the other side of this crisis.

Here at CA, we have been challenged too, but above all have been inspired by the faith you place in us and our duty to live up to the bond of common trust that is the heart of this extraordinary learning community. As you can tell from the struggles nationally over this fall’s educational plans, CA is itself confronting questions unlike any we might ever have imagined facing before. As we do this work, we are prioritizing safety, the values of CA, and the profound learning experience that defines CA. We know that education, and CA’s type of education in particular, matter deeply to the lives of our students and to their families and especially so now.

With all the moving pieces that are affecting educational planning in this dynamic situation, I do not have as much information to share yet as I would have liked and which I know you crave. I apologize for this. But I want to tell you today what we have decided thus far. If I might paraphrase a member of our Board of Trustees, we are trying to make an unpredictable time as predictable as possible by sharing what we can as those decisions are made.

Boarding

One of the toughest decisions has been around the boarding experience. We have looked at this matter with excruciating detail and sought every possible option that could make it work, from testing options to hallway renovations, staggered residential schedules to massive changes in campus life. We have finally accepted the cold reality that the current circumstances make it impossible for us to safely house a cohort of students on campus this fall. We deeply regret that this decision has proven necessary, and we hope you understand that, as much as we would prefer to have our boarding students in CA’s houses, we have to put safety first. We are committed to providing our boarding students with an engaging and rigorous learning experience, even as they will not be here in person. We are hopeful that we will be able to welcome boarding students during the spring semester and we are pursuing every path to make that happen.

Campus Reopening

We are still in the midst of formulating our exact plans for fall opening, including critical questions related to teaching in-person. Having stressed this important caveat that our plans are still underway, I want to share with you that to every extent possible we intend to reopen campus for day students. We also would welcome boarding students who can participate as day students (i.e., if they live or can live nearby or within commuting distance). We are working to resolve our plans as fast and as thoroughly as we can, and I will let you know our final decision no later than mid-August.

Curriculum

I can also share that our faculty have been working tirelessly in preparation for the fall and are building an academic program that is creative, robust, and exciting for every student, no matter whether we are able to welcome students back to campus by day or whether students will learn via technology. Specifically, we have reimagined the CA academic schedule to develop Short Term at Concord, or STAC, a modular-style schedule that allows deep engagement with a few subjects at a time, guided by our faculty in the same caring, personal way as ever. The STAC model will make the most of the common waking hours across our diverse student population and multiple time zones, allow flexibility for the unique circumstances of learning from home or commuting in new ways, and offer engaging classwork as well as opportunities for connection and rejuvenation. You can learn more about the dimensions of this program on our new Healthy Concord website.

The Learning Experience

The circumstances of this pandemic have brought out yet more ingenuity from our faculty, who have been taking in-depth training in designing courses that help students make the most of the learning experience whether they are attending class in person or joining that same class from remote locations. In whatever mode a student will engage with our faculty and staff this fall, we are determined that they will each find the same thoughtful attention to detail across the entire learning experience. You know our faculty and staff, and you know how seriously and personally they take this mission. In addition, we are working on plans to offer activities outside of academics as a way of more closely replicating our typical extracurricular program.

The Concord Pact

Everyone who learns or works on campus this fall will also have special responsibilities to one another as we cope with this pandemic as a learning community. With these shared obligations in mind, we will be asking all students and adults who will be on campus this fall to commit to the Concord Pact, a community agreement that will have specific language in which we each formally acknowledge our responsibility to one another. We will share this pact with you shortly and will also post it on Healthy Concord.

Forthcoming Survey

In order to make additional decisions for the reopening of school, I am also asking you today to play a critical role in our last stage of planning. Next week, we will be sending a survey that will help us to understand your plans and expectations for your children’s education in the fall. Several weeks ago, we gathered responses from a similar survey, but we know that as the virus has asserted itself in so many areas around the country and the world, your perspective may have changed. When we send this questionnaire, please respond to it in a timely fashion so we can better understand your plans and expectations in this moment.

Additional Information

I will be in touch again over the coming weeks with more details about other critical pending matters for this fall. Meanwhile, please visit Healthy Concord for more details than I have covered here, and please make a point of checking this site regularly, as we will continue to update information there. In addition, we have created a central landing point for your specific questions and concerns. Please email healthyconcord@concordacademy.org so that we may direct your question to the best member of our leadership team for quick reply. (Starting with this letter, we will also post translated versions to the website in Mandarin, Korean, and Spanish. There will be a slight delay in the availability of these translations.)

We will also be offering Zoom calls so that families can ask questions and share their thoughts with us:

Day Student Families: Monday, July 27, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Domestic Boarding Families: Monday, July 27, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. ET

International Boarding Families: Tuesday, July 28, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. ET

As expeditiously as we can, we will move through the many decisions required to give you full information for this fall. We are profoundly grateful for the trust you are placing in us as we navigate through this crisis. I know that together we can guide your student through this challenge and give them a renewed gift of great confidence and a sense of possibility into the bright days beyond.

Take care and be well,

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

June 18: 2020-21 Reopening

Dear CA Families:

I am writing today to inform you that we intend to reopen Concord Academy this fall for on-campus living and learning. We are grateful for your trust in us, and are pursuing this objective with a comprehensive and detailed approach. Before I share more about these plans, though, I want to pause for a moment and express how deeply grateful I am for the commitment, adaptability, and resiliency you and our students demonstrated throughout these past few months of emergency remote learning.

As we know, this pandemic has created challenges unlike any our society has seen before. I can certainly say I have never experienced anything like it. I also admit that as someone who loves CA deeply and has spent his life in education, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the communal power of our school. But as is so often the case in life, the most difficult times cast the most vital truths in sharp relief. I have thought and spoken many times about certain rare CA values — common trust, caring for each individual, our spirit of inventiveness, creativity, and yes, faith, to keep moving forward that defines this learning community. But never before have those qualities been more evident or meant more to me.

This deep realization — re-realization, actually — has assured me that for CA, this is a time for tenacity and ingenuity. We are therefore aiming our collective focus and planning toward a safe return to on-campus living and learning in the fall. It will be no surprise to you, any more than it was to me, that our leadership team has embraced the challenge.

Toward that end, I will provide an overview of our planning process now. In the weeks ahead, you will hear from me as soon as decisions are made and details are confirmed. We are following two main guiding principles.

First, and above all we must protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, while continuing to be a responsible partner with the town of Concord. As we plan for the fall, we are closely following the advice and guidance of public health experts. This includes drawing on the extraordinary array of health expertise that is one of the great strengths of Massachusetts and the Boston area, with its world-class medical and scientific institutions. We are also following the guidelines being provided by federal offices, notably the Centers for Disease Control, and the Office of the Governor of Massachusetts. The governor has implemented a phased re-opening process for Massachusetts that is now in effect. It sets education on a timeline to open this fall. All such guidance is contingent, of course, on the risks associated with COVID-19 and efforts to mitigate them.

The second is preparedness. As we look toward reopening on-campus this fall, we are collaborating with faculty and staff across numerous areas of logistics, academics, technology, safety, and well-being to serve our students and families. These individuals are innovative and resourceful, and they are committed to protecting our students and ensuring the fullest expression of the CA learning and living experience. On our COVID-19 Healthy Concord website, you will be able to see some of the issues they are addressing, which include everything from reconfiguring spaces on campus to allow for social distancing, and reimagining basic school functions such as food service, to employing testing and contact tracing to mitigate risk. In mid-July, I will write again and provide an update on key elements of our progress. We promise to plan rigorously, but also to remain open minded and nimble as new information becomes available.

Once we begin rolling out the details of our fall plans, we will provide further updates as they take shape. We also will continue to add information to the Healthy Concord website.

I know the challenges we face are many, and the questions considerable. I believe that we will rise to meet the hurdles put before us, and we will emerge even stronger. Our community is about more than what happens in the classroom. It’s about inspiring students to be generous, fully present, and engaged citizens of the world. The world has rarely needed such learners more. Whatever the circumstances require, we must bring that vision to life.

As our plans turn into action steps, we are going to ask every member of the CA community to step outside of our individual and collective comfort zones. As we are asking of ourselves, we will ask our students and families to make sacrifices, to think differently, and to hold as our guide the common trust we share in this community we love. We will be required to embrace the unknown. But we already have. We can step toward a fall unlike any other because we share what this pandemic has made clear: our commitment to living up to what CA has always been — learners joined together in common purpose.

I look forward to sharing more information and detail soon.

Take care and be well,

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair 

May 11: CA Now & The Road Ahead Letter From Fay Lampert Shutzer and Rick Hardy

Dear Members of the CA Community,

Last weekend at last gave us sunshine and soft breezes, a welcome antidote to the weeks of rain and cold that marked March and April. The Board of Trustees met via Zoom on Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, for its Annual Meeting, and we want to share an update on that meeting, as well as a few thoughts on the upcoming academic year.

Much of the Board’s discussion at this meeting was focused on the school’s response so far to the Covid-19 pandemic. The school’s approach has evolved over the last three and a half months to a dual perspective: first, a near-term focus on serving students, supporting faculty and staff, and stabilizing CA’s finances; and second, a longer-term focus on planning for the 2020–21 school year. Given the circumstances, the Board agreed that it will continue to meet monthly through the summer to provide guidance on that planning effort.

Our near-term focus is on working with our students to provide a meaningful and positive conclusion to the 2019–20 school year. In that spirit, we are aiming to showcase student work in visual arts, music, film, technology, and senior projects, and to celebrate our seniors for all they have given to CA during their time here. The Board heard about plans to re-imagine the rituals and ceremonies synonymous with the end of May, particularly Baccalaureate and Commencement, which will take place at their previously scheduled days/times. Details about these events have been shared already with students and families, and can also be found at our 2020 Commencement page.

The Board also discussed how best to support faculty and staff, and to ensure the financial health of the school. Given the uncertainty about reaching our budgeted 2019–20 Annual Fund number by the June 30 deadline and the drop in CA’s endowment value, the Board approved the creation of a reserve from any operational savings at the end of the fiscal year to support anticipated needs in 2020–21. The primary purpose of that reserve will be to benefit students, families, faculty, and staff.

As for the longer-term, the senior administrative team is coordinating various groups to develop concrete plans for potential scenarios we are likely to face in 2020–21. These teams are focused on the following areas:

  • Distance learning: taking steps in the event that we need to establish a planned remote-learning program for some period of time next year;
  • Safe return to school: determining what would be necessary for a safe return to campus of some or all of our population;
  • Financial: planning for the financial and human implications of these scenarios; and
  • Communications: gathering and disseminating information to the community as we reach decision points.

Recognizing the importance of having a robust distance-learning plan ready for the fall, we have invited members of the faculty and staff to join these working groups to partner around planning. We are working on a schedule that will allow our courses to run as fully as possible, and we will be working with faculty and staff to broaden and strengthen skill sets that will support the implementation of an intentional distance-learning curriculum. Whether we find ourselves on campus or online, we know this will lead to professional growth that will serve us well. We are also centering equity of experience for students across time zones and circumstances, and are developing plans to counter systemic inequities exacerbated by distance learning. One lesson we have already learned from our experience with distance learning is that we must strive to balance student needs, faculty and staff capacities, family expectations, and pedagogical best practices, acknowledging that there is not always perfect alignment along all of these priorities.

We also know a safe return to school, when it is possible, will require rigorous guidelines and practices to be in place for cleaning, food service, physical distancing, commuting, and visitors to campus, to name a few. Federal, state, and local guidelines will be critical in enabling us to develop our plans. We must also take into account the particular needs of a boarding community, such as our capacity to quarantine, to provide appropriate staffing in health services, and to get boarding students safely off campus if we are forced to close campus once again.

All of the contingencies around distance learning and return to campus have financial implications, and we are engaged in modeling possible scenarios, with particular attention to tuition and enrollment; it is also possible that we will need to adjust staffing levels in alignment with our students’ needs. We recognize that balancing tuition, enrollment, and staffing has the potential to impact the people who make CA what it is. We do not take these decisions, or their impacts, lightly, and we will do all that we can to support our employees.

We expect to learn a great deal in the coming months, and we will communicate regularly with all of you about our plans as they take shape. And while we do not yet know what next year will hold for CA, our aim is to make a decision about our approach to the fall semester by July 15.

We have deep confidence in CA and we feel that same confidence about where the school will be when we get to the other side of this crisis. An institution’s strength is never just a matter of sufficient resources, or prudent management, or an impressive strategic plan. Although CA possesses all three, its greatest strength lies in the way in which its community lives its values every day. As our mission states, “We are a community animated by a love of learning, diverse and striving for equity, with common trust as our foundation.” These values are our north star; they have guided us over many years, and they will guide us into our next century and beyond.

CA has always been there when we have needed it most. At this moment, CA needs us. To those who can lend their support, who can contribute to our Annual Fund, no matter the amount, we hope we can count on you now. For those not in a position to do so, you can still lend your support by staying connected to CA, by sharing words of encouragement for our students, and by keeping this great school in your heart.

Better days are coming. Take care and be well.


Fay Lampert Shutzer ’65
President, Board of Trustees


Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

April 15: Financial Update

Dear Concord Academy Families,

As I wrote in my letter last week, we know that the Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant financial impact on our families, our employees, the school itself, and the entire world. Today we are writing to share some of the measures that we have taken and the plans that are taking shape to ensure the school’s ability to deliver its mission, to support our families, and to mitigate the financial impact on our employees.

Even at this unprecedented time, with significant market volatility, Concord Academy’s financial health is sound, thanks to the hard work and careful management of many, including our Finance Office, our Board Finance, Investment, and Advancement Committees, our Admissions Office, and our Advancement and Engagement Office. We want to take a moment to remind our community that CA depends upon three sources of revenue to fund its operations every year:

  • Tuition, which currently supports 77% of our operating budget. We are fortunate that CA is held in high regard among independent schools, and so many families make the choice to invest in a CA education — and it is also important to remember that tuition alone does not cover the cost of that education.
  • Endowment, where a responsible 4.9% draw on investment income represents 12% of operations; Although the full impact on our endowment will not be clear for some time, we believe that the structure of our investments is thoughtful and prudent.
  • Annual Fund, which makes up the remaining 11% of the operating budget. CA’s Annual Fund relies on a strong show of support in the last months of the fiscal year. In this environment, reaching our goal by the end of June will be absolutely crucial.

The school’s financial health is very good, despite the profound and damaging effects of this global crisis, and we believe that we can and will get through this storm over the coming months. Nevertheless, like most non-profit institutions, we anticipate a budget shortfall in 2020-21, and we have taken several steps now in the hopes of lessening its impact. In early March, our Finance Office began work with budget managers to put a hold on expenses not essential to the student experience, and to identify unspent resources that can be redeployed where needed most. These funds will be directed to a reserve that will enable us to support our families and our employees, and to address critical needs in the upcoming academic year.

Despite the pressures we will face in 2020-21, the Administration, in partnership with the Board of Trustees, has decided to take the following steps:

  • Boarding families will be credited for the spring semester’s boarding tuition on a prorated basis, unless they choose to forgo this credit. For boarding families who would like to be issued a check instead of a credit for the 2020-21 academic year, please contact Cindy Morrissey.
  • To honor our commitment to our employees, we will make no changes to faculty and staff compensation through June 30, 2020. While the challenges for the coming year are considerable, we will do our best to ensure that we can return to full operations in the near future, and we will keep the community informed about our progress and any decisions that could affect our faculty and staff.

Our aim is not only to deliver on our core academic experience, but also to support our families and our employees, despite the additional financial pressures that might place upon the school.

For any families who are facing unexpected hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we encourage you to reach out to John McGarry or Trish Saunders to learn more about our need-based financial aid program.

 Even in this uncertain environment, we have much to be thankful for. As we write this letter, our faculty and staff are working with care and energy to keep students engaged in meaningful learning, and to welcome a new class. In addition, our students — as they always do — have responded with ingenuity and vision in recreating the CA experience in their homes.

We are deeply grateful for this community. In good times and difficult times, CA is and forever will be a source of strength and inspiration. We thank you for your continued understanding and for all of your support during this extraordinary time. Take care and stay safe — and please be in touch if you have thoughts or questions you would like to share.

Sincerely, 

Fay Shutzer ’65, President, Board of Trustees

Rick Hardy, Head of School, Dresden Endowed Chair

April 8: Reunion 2020 Postponed

Dear Alumnae/i,

Many of you have reached out over the last few weeks to ask about the status of Reunion Weekend. As you have now learned from Rick Hardy’s message sent earlier today, Concord Academy has decided to postpone our 2020 on-campus celebration.

We are working hand-in-hand with reunion committees and alumnae/i volunteer leaders to create ways to honor the June milestones virtually and plan for live gatherings when it is safe to bring everyone to Concord. We are still working out the details and will be in touch with more information as soon as we have it. Thank you for your patience and your partnership. The health, safety, and well-being of our community is our top priority at this time. 

If you have already registered for Reunion, you will receive a full refund.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Hilary Rouse, director of engagement, at hilary_rouse@concordacademy.org or (978) 402-2217. 

Best wishes and be well,


Laura McConaghy ’01
President, CA Alumnae/i Association

Hilary Rouse
Director of Engagement
April 8: Important End of Year Updates

Dear Concord Academy Community,

Since I last wrote to you, epidemiological forecasts continue to suggest that the Covid-19 pandemic will not end anytime soon. How long before life returns to normal, and until we can be together as a community, remains unknown. Given such uncertainty, we are continually guided by our mission, especially in the face of decisions that will affect our students, families, faculty, and staff. Our mission calls upon us to care for one another, and to understand the impact of our actions both on our campus and on our world.

After careful deliberation and in partnership with the Board of Trustees, the senior administrative team and I have determined that we cannot resume normal operations in May as we had hoped, but instead will take the following steps:

  1. To complete the remainder of the semester by continuing distance learning and virtual student programming. We are working with faculty on plans and can now confirm that academic coursework will end on May 22. We will hold virtual end-of-year community events during the week of May 25. Details will be forthcoming, and we will be communicating with families in the weeks ahead about processes for storing, shipping, and retrieval of student belongings.
  2. To hold two commencement ceremonies, first, with virtual baccalaureate and commencement events on May 28 and 29; and second, with an in-person commencement ceremony when it is safe to do so. In partnership with members of our senior class, we are currently working on plans for both the virtual and in-person events, and we will be back in touch with more details as soon as we have them.
  3. To postpone Reunion Weekend on campus in June. We are viewing this simply as an interruption and are working on ways to create virtual gatherings this spring, including our Alumnae/i Assembly on June 5. In addition, the 0’s and 5’s will have an opportunity to mark their milestones on campus — again, dates will be set as soon as conditions allow. I know that class committees have been working hard to design wonderful programs, and we will continue to support you.

We are well aware that, in addition to the health risks posed by Covid-19, this pandemic is having a significant financial impact on our families, our employees, the school itself, and the entire world. We have already begun work to ensure the school’s ability to deliver its mission, to support our families, and to mitigate the financial impact on our employees. We expect to share more details about the measures we are taking in the coming weeks.

In the face of such disruption, I find solace at CA. Nearly every day, I walk from my house, passing Haines, Hobson, and the Bailey Commons. I pass the beech tree by the senior steps, and from time to time, I step inside the Chapel. I look up and see the marks on the beams, the numbers on the pews, the carvings on the podium, and, of course, the lines from Corinthians. I am reminded that this community has been built — quite literally — by its people. The power to come together to create something has never felt more important than it does now.

We will be back — and I cannot wait to see this place filled with your stories once again. Take care and stay safe.

Sincerely,

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

March 28: Our Community's Foundation from Rick Hardy

Dear CA Community,

The campus is quiet. Looking across a sun-filled quad at a scene that would normally be filled with students and teachers, I see instead signs of spring  daffodils and crocuses  reaching for the sun.

Beneath the quiet, there is a thrum of online activity. People are joining virtual meetings to reimagine classes and chapels. Parents are connecting and supporting not only their children but others as well. Our alumnae/i have been reaching out with words, with offers, and with thoughts. Our entire extended community has stepped up in truly remarkable, inspiring ways.

It is at these times that I am reminded of how caring is core to the foundation of this school  and of how truly inspiring our community is.

I took a moment to reflect on this, and I wanted to share that video with you now:


Please know this: During these uncertain times, we are here for you. If you are in need, please let us know how we can help.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Take care.

Sincerely,

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

March 27: Pass/Fail Spring Grading

Dear CA students & families,
 
As we near the end of the distance-learning training week for teachers and advisors, we wish you could have been flies on the virtual wall for the incredible conversations that have been taking place in our meetings! We have heard so many thoughtful ideas about engaging students, reorienting classrooms to an asynchronous/synchronous rhythm, supporting students’ well-being, and adapting classroom plans to an online format.
 
The focus has been on what is best for students, and our conversations have oriented around creating a supportive structure to contribute positively to a healthy new normal for students. Teachers have been in discussion about how to assess students meaningfully and thoughtfully at a time when there are so many new variables contributing to student experience and success.
 
With the lenses of equity and support as our main guideposts, we will be moving to a grading system of pass/no credit for the spring semester for all courses. Teachers will assess evidence of proficiency in their courses as criteria for passing and will approach the task of assessment with compassion and flexibility. The academic office will share this approach when working with students who experience barriers to distance learning, with the goal of helping every student to demonstrate proficiency in their courses this semester. Knowing that some students will want the graded work they have done already this semester to be part of their CA story, teachers will include grades at spring break as well as growth shown over the semester in their written final comments. As always, these comments contribute to the narrative of a student’s trajectory at CA and contextualize a student’s transcript.
 
We heard from students, parents, and teachers who weighed in with varying opinions and ideas — all while applying the lens of what’s best for students. We feel strongly, and heard strongly from teachers, that there is no equitable and consistent way to apply letter grades in this brave new world of distance learning amid pandemic and quarantine — a situation none of us chose or believe to be ideal. Moving to pass/no credit allows teachers to create the best online experience they can to meet students’ needs, without being limited to a previous plan that does not translate well. In a moment when we all are experiencing heightened worry and recognize that no one is working under the conditions we would hope for, we believe this approach will allow us to focus on students’ academic growth and well-being in a way that feels core to CA’s mission and values. We will continue to aspire to love of learning and equity, and to support our students as whole people with rich and complex lives and identities outside the classroom. This pass/no credit policy will allow us to maintain these goals.
 
Thank you for leaning into this unprecedented moment with us as we work together to keep our students socially, emotionally, and academically whole. We are grateful for your partnership.
 
Sincerely,

Sarah Yeh
Assistant Head & Dean of Faculty


Laura Twichell ’01
Interim Academic Dean

March 20: Distance Learning Guidelines

Dear CA families,

We are writing to share the plan and guidelines for the distance-learning period that will begin on Monday, March 30. We have spent the past several weeks researching best practices, sharing information with peer schools, and consulting with our teachers to develop a plan that fits our relational and vibrant learning community. We know that online learning cannot replicate the classroom experiences your students have on our campus, but we are confident that we can offer a supportive and positive continuation of learning while our campus is closed. 

We have worked to consider a range of challenges students might face in these circumstances and attend to them in this plan. We want to reassure you that in this unsettled time we are prepared to respond empathetically and flexibly to students who find engaging in distance learning challenging. We also hope that maintaining a routine and connecting with teachers and peers will provide students with a sense of security and optimism. This may not have been the purposeful collaboration and creative engagement we had in mind when we drafted the mission statement one year ago, but we know these values, along with the rest of the mission, will guide us through this moment. Our teachers are leaning into this work and looking forward to reconnecting with their students and courses, as are we.

The centering principles of our plan are to continue the academic learning experience such that students are able to complete their coursework for the spring semester, and to provide opportunities for social connection and community touchpoints to support the well-being of community members. As always, we want students to complete the semester feeling whole socially, emotionally, and academically. Our work in this distance-learning period will be undertaken with these goals in mind.

https://concordacademy.wistia.com/medias/m8ajkr2km5#

Please find the distance learning guidelines for students and families to review here. We will also be sharing them directly with students, and we expect them to read the guidelines closely. Students will also receive an online survey about their degree of access to distance learning and a schedule template to track their classes. Advisors will be in touch next week to talk through the schedule with them.

We want to close by thanking you for your partnership in this unprecedented moment. We know many of you are stretched by the demands of the current conditions, and we are grateful for your support and trust as we continue to work with your children. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of us with questions or concerns about the plan. The advisor remains your primary contact around your student’s experience, and we are here to partner with you and them to support your student in adapting to this new learning model.

Sincerely,

Sarah Yeh

Laura Twichell

March 18: Alumnae/i Programming Update

Dear CA Alumnae/i,

Following my message from earlier this week, I am writing with an event-specific update. Given the rapid evolution of the Covid-19 outbreak, we are canceling or postponing all CA events through May 4. We will continue to assess the potential for CA-hosted programs after that date, including Reunion Weekend. While it is our hope to be able to gather together this summer, we will be back in touch with a definitive plan no later than the week of April 5.

As of March 16, 2020, we have made the following decisions affecting alumnae/i gatherings:

  • All CA-sponsored events scheduled through May 4 (on and off campus) will be rescheduled or reimagined;

  • Faculty and staff travel for Concord Academy activity is suspended through May 4;

  • At this time we are continuing to plan for Reunion Weekend, June 5-7. When you visit the registration page you will see that we have made a provision to refund all payments in full if we are unable to bring alumnae/i to campus in June.

  • Please direct any event-related questions to Hilary Rouse, director of engagement, at hilary_rouse@concordacademy.org. 

As we work to meet the needs of our school, local, and global communities, we are holding our extended CA family close. I encourage you to stay connected to CA however you can. Of course, we’ll keep posting on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. CA’s magazine will also arrive in mailboxes and inboxes later this spring. We are thinking creatively about other virtual experiences to keep the CA network strong and united, so stay tuned. At times like these, let’s remember how reassuring it feels to reach out to a friend — especially one who has known you since you were a teenager.

Thank you for your commitment to CA and for your patience and understanding as we navigate these extraordinary circumstances.

Sending my best from a very quiet Main Street,


Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

March 16: Letter to Alumnae/i Community

Dear CA Alumnae/i,

On any given day, I hear from grads who share reports from around the world. I love receiving your news and your reflections about CA. Needless to say, these past few weeks have not been typical by any stretch of the imagination. And yet, you continue to keep CA close to your heart. 

I am grateful to all who have reached out offering support and expressing concern as Covid-19 forces schools everywhere to make significant adjustments. As you would expect, we have implemented necessary precautions to preserve the health and well-being of all in our care. Following the guidance of Massachusetts State officials and other trusted resources, we have closed CA’s campus and we will be operating through virtual platforms for the coming month. We will monitor the situation and, no later than April 20, we will determine whether it is safe to resume daily operations here on campus. Our hope is that we can do so starting May 4. Of course, the CA leadership team will continue to make sound decisions in real-time, with safety as our top priority. You can follow updates here: 

https://concordacademy.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update/ 

While no one can predict the full impact of this crisis, we have the benefit of a resilient and connected community — one that transcends our physical campus. At a time like this, I am reminded that CA is second to none in this regard. Moreover, I want to remind us that our purpose — wherever it takes place — is to learn and to care for one another. Every time we keep these core values at the forefront, we serve our students. Every time. 

This mindset is important in the best of times and it is even more essential now. New circumstances are forcing us to adapt in new ways. This is daunting for certain, but opportunity always abounds if we are willing to lean into the challenge. We know that the potential for learning increases exponentially when we do so collaboratively, as a community. 

The responsibilities of running our school are ongoing. We will not stop teaching, advising, coaching, and planning for our future — even as we do this work from a distance. As we navigate through this global crisis, I am grateful that CA alumnae/i care so deeply about this school community.  

I hope that you will continue to reach out and stay connected with me, and with CA. If there is anything we can do, know that we are always here for you.

For now, take care and stay safe.

Sincerely,

Rick Hardy

Head of School

Dresden Endowed Chair

March 13: Update for Boarding Families with Travel Restrictions

Dear International Boarding Families,

I am writing with a further update following my email from Wednesday, March 11, regarding how CA plans to safeguard the health and well-being of all within our care. As a father and as a head of school, I know how hard it is to be separated from your child(ren) or simply to face uncertain times together. Our primary focus is to do all that we can to ensure that you and your family remain safe and healthy during this difficult time. 

Given the evolving situation here in the United States, we recommend that if you are able to fly your children home, you do so as soon as possible. For example, our information suggests that there are still flights available to Beijing (Boston-Toronto-Beijing) and Shanghai (Boston-London-Shanghai) and that airlines are continuing to fly to airports in South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Thailand. For families unable to fly children home at this point, CA will work with you to secure temporary places to stay in the Boston area. 

In the two days since I last wrote, the situation has evolved rapidly with the State of Massachusetts declaring a state of emergency, and local and national health organizations recommending widespread social distancing measures. 

In light of these considerations, the Incident Management Team (IMT) and I decided that: 

  • CA will not resume classes on March 23, but will shift to a distance learning model as of March 30. 
  • Teachers will be given virtual training during the week of March 23 to become adept with distance learning tools and protocols.
  • We will continue to monitor the spread and severity of the outbreak in the coming days and weeks. 
  • No later than April 20, we will make a decision about whether to suspend operations for the rest of the semester or to resume classes on campus. 
  • The earliest date that we would resume classes on campus would be May 4 (boarders would arrive back on May 3). 
  • If we are unable to resume operations on campus for the remainder of the semester, we will re-imagine Commencement Week activities.

This was a difficult decision to make, and we recognize that this change will challenge our community in ways we have not experienced before. We are buoyed by the commitment we have already seen on the part of students, families, and faculty and staff to take on what this moment is asking of us.

We will work to maintain CA as both a learning and living environment as much as we can.

  • Students will remain engaged in learning. Families can expect to receive detailed instructions for distance learning by next week.
  • We are working on ways to modify and continue experiences such as advising, chapels, and house meetings, which are integral to the CA experience. We will share more details soon.

Our campus is now closed. We are asking faculty and staff to work remotely and are ensuring that any employees on campus continuing vital operations are following social distancing precautions. During this time, the SHAC and gym will also be closed. 

Our priority is to support students both academically and emotionally during this period. We also recognize that this change will affect each family and every student differently. If you have questions, or need support, please feel free to reach out to me or the following offices:

A summary of the measures we are taking is on our website, which we are updating regularly: https://concordacademy.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update/

We recognize that your student(s) may have some important belongings in their rooms. While we cannot permit access to rooms for health reasons, please let us know if there is anything important you need. You can submit these requests via email to the Student Life Office: student_life_office@concordacademy.org. Similarly, we ask that you reach out to the Health Center, healthcenter@concordacademy.org, to coordinate about any medications and/or if you require adaptations for support that has been provided in person.

We are continuing to track student whereabouts via Boardingware, to ensure parent coordination and safe arrival of students. If possible, we ask that you finalize travel plans by Tuesday, March 17, so that students can complete a new “Extension” pass by that date, allowing enough time for a host, guardian, or your own approval. We will need every student to submit a new pass, even if at home now and staying home, to assure that everyone is safely settled.

We ask that any student who experiences symptoms of Covid-19, or has a presumptive or confirmed case, to report this to the Health Center. This information will be kept confidential, and it is essential to helping us plan effectively.

In these extraordinary circumstances, we have a responsibility to do all that we can to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. CA’s mascot is the chameleon, a symbol of adaptability. In true CA spirit, we will continue to serve and support our students. We will provide ongoing updates, and I thank you again for your understanding and support. 

Sincerely,

 

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

Korean translation

Spanish translation

Mandarin translation

March 13: Update for Boarding Families Without Travel Restrictions

Dear CA boarding families,

I am writing with a further update following my email from Wednesday, March 11, regarding how CA plans to safeguard the health and well-being of all within our care. As a father and as a head of school, I know how hard it is to be separated from your child(ren) or simply to face uncertain times together. Our primary focus is to do all that we can to ensure that you and your family remain safe and healthy during this difficult time. 

Given the rapidly evolving situation, we recommend, if your children are not yet at home with you, that you make arrangements for them to travel home as soon as possible. 

In the two days since I last wrote, the situation has evolved rapidly, with travel bans being instituted, the State of Massachusetts declaring a state of emergency, and local and national health organizations recommending widespread social distancing measures. 

In light of these considerations, the Incident Management Team (IMT) and I decided that: 

  • CA will not resume classes on March 23, but will shift to a distance learning model as of March 30. 
  • Teachers will be given virtual training during the week of March 23 to become adept with distance learning tools and protocols.
  • We will continue to monitor the spread and severity of the outbreak in the coming days and weeks. 
  • No later than April 20, we will make a decision about whether to suspend operations for the rest of the semester or to resume classes on campus. 
  • The earliest date that we would resume classes on campus would be May 4 (boarders would arrive back on May 3). 
  • If we are unable to resume operations on campus for the remainder of the semester, we will re-imagine Commencement Week activities.

This was a difficult decision to make, and we recognize that this change will challenge our community in ways we have not experienced before. We are buoyed by the commitment we have already seen on the part of students, families, and faculty and staff to take on what this moment is asking of us.

We will work to maintain CA as both a learning and living environment as much as we can.

  • Students will remain engaged in learning. Families can expect to receive detailed instructions for distance learning by next week.
  • We are working on ways to modify and continue experiences such as advising, chapels, and house meetings, which are integral to the CA experience. We will share more details soon.

Our campus is now closed. We are asking faculty and staff to work remotely and are ensuring that any employees on campus continuing vital operations are following social distancing precautions. During this time, the SHAC and gym will also be closed. 

Our priority is to support students both academically and emotionally during this period. We also recognize that this change will affect each family and every student differently. If you have questions, or need support, please feel free to reach out to me or the following offices:

A summary of the measures we are taking is on our website, which we are updating regularly: https://concordacademy.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update/.

We recognize that your student(s) may have some important belongings in their rooms. While we cannot permit access to rooms for health reasons, please let us know if there is anything important you need. You can submit these requests via email to the Student Life Office: student_life_office@concordacademy.org. Similarly, we ask that you reach out to the Health Center, healthcenter@concordacademy.org, to coordinate about any medications and/or if you require adaptations for support that has been provided in person.

We are continuing to track student whereabouts via Boardingware, to ensure parent coordination and safe arrival of students. If possible, we ask that you finalize travel plans by Tuesday, March 17, so that students can complete a new “Extension” pass by that date, allowing enough time for a host, guardian, or your own approval. We will need every student to submit a new pass, even if at home now and staying home, to assure that everyone is safely settled.

We ask that any student who experiences symptoms of Covid-19, or has a presumptive or confirmed case, to report this to the Health Center. This information will be kept confidential, and it is essential to helping us plan effectively.

In these extraordinary circumstances, we have a responsibility to do all that we can to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. CA’s mascot is the chameleon, a symbol of adaptability. In true CA spirit, we will continue to serve and support our students. We will provide ongoing updates, and I thank you again for your understanding and support. 

Sincerely,

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

Korean translation

Spanish translation

Mandarin translation

March 13: Update for Day Families

Dear CA Day Families,

Following my email from Wednesday, March 11, I am writing with a further update on how CA plans to safeguard the health and well-being of all within our care. In the past two days, the situation has evolved rapidly, with travel bans being instituted, the State of Massachusetts declaring a state of emergency, and local and national health organizations recommending widespread social distancing measures. 

In light of these considerations, the Incident Management Team (IMT) and I decided that: 

  • CA will not resume classes on March 23, but will shift to a distance learning model as of March 30. 
  • Teachers will be given virtual training during the week of March 23 to become adept with distance learning tools and protocols.
  • We will continue to monitor the spread and severity of the outbreak in the coming days and weeks. 
  • No later than April 20, we will make a decision about whether to suspend operations for the rest of the semester or to resume classes on campus. 
  • The earliest date that we would resume classes on campus would be May 4 (boarders would arrive back on May 3). 
  • If we are unable to resume operations on campus for the remainder of the semester, we will re-imagine Commencement Week activities.

This was a difficult decision to make, and we recognize that this change will challenge our community in ways we have not experienced before. We are buoyed by the commitment we have already seen on the part of students, families, faculty, and staff to take on what this moment is asking of us.

We will work to maintain CA as both a learning and living environment as much as we can.

  • Students will remain engaged in learning. Families can expect to receive detailed instructions for distance learning by next week.
  • We are working on ways to modify and continue events such as advising, chapels, and house meetings, which are integral to the CA experience. We will share more details soon.

Our priority is to support students both academically and emotionally during this period. We also recognize that this change will affect each family and every student differently. If you have questions, or need support, please feel free to reach out to me or the following offices:

A summary of the measures we are taking is on our website, which we are updating regularly: https://concordacademy.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update/.

In the interim, our campus will be closed. We are asking faculty and staff to work remotely, and only employees continuing vital campus operations will be working on campus. During this time, the SHAC and gym will also be closed. While we realize that day students might want to use or gather in campus facilities, for the safety and well-being of our community and to uphold social distancing measures, students are not to come to campus during this time. If you have a particular need or concern, please reach out to the Student Life Office: student_life_office@concordacademy.org. Similarly, we ask that you reach out to the Health Center, healthcenter@concordacademy.org if families need to coordinate about any medications and/or if you require adaptations for support that has been provided in person.

We are particularly aware of the help CARE families have provided over these past few weeks, and we are grateful to this dedicated community. While local families have opened their homes and hearts, we are not expecting that CARE families will be able to continue as hosts, and we will be working to help boarding families get their children home or to seek alternative accommodations. Please see our website for information that has been shared with our boarding families. 

We ask that any student who experiences symptoms of Covid-19, or has a presumptive or confirmed case, to report this to the Health Center. This information will be kept confidential, and it is essential to helping us plan effectively.

In these extraordinary circumstances, we have a responsibility to do all that we can to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. CA’s mascot is the chameleon, a symbol of adaptability. In true CA spirit, we will continue to serve and support our students. We will provide ongoing updates, and I thank you again for your understanding and support. 

Sincerely,

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

Korean translation

Spanish translation

Mandarin translation

March 11 Letter: Events & Community Tracking

Dear CA Families, 

Amid rising concerns about the spread of Covid-19 (the coronavirus), I know that you have many questions about Concord Academy’s plans following the March break and how they will impact you and your family. The health and well-being of your child(ren), and of our community, are our clear priority. We have been meeting daily on this topic, and while we need more time to finalize some details, I am writing today to share an update on our decisions and recommendations to date. 

With our student community now on break, our Incident Management (IMT) team and I are consulting with local officials, monitoring available information about the virus, and carefully considering how we come back together. We are currently putting plans in place to safeguard our community on the assumption that classes will resume on March 23 on campus. 

If, prior to the end of spring break, we deem it necessary to close campus or delay reopening, we are prepared to enact contingency plans to enable distance learning. Our academic office and IT teams have been working to coordinate our remote instructional approach, which would utilize the following tools to provide for both synchronous and asynchronous learning:

  • Schoology (our learning management system or LMS),
  • video conferencing, and 
  • our Google Suite tools. 

We are fortunate that many of these tools are already familiar to our faculty, staff, and students, and over the course of the next week, we will share guidelines and instructions with teachers and families. In the event we move to distance learning, we would begin with a set of professional days to allow teachers time to prepare online lessons and to communicate with students and families around guidelines, expectations, and schedules. 

Each day we have more information on which to base decisions. Please continue to check your email throughout this week and next for important updates. Our full set of communications is also available on the CA website here: https://concordacademy.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update/.

Looking ahead to March 22, when houses are currently scheduled to reopen for boarding students, we are instituting the following measures:

 

On-campus events & sponsored trips

Concord’s public health director has recommended canceling or reimagining all events involving external participants through the end of April. While we plan to continue gathering for assemblies and chapel talks, as well as classes, we are canceling or re-envisioning all events that would have brought others outside of CA’s core community (students, faculty, and staff at CA) onto this campus. Here is a partial list of affected events:

 

  • All athletic competitions
  • CA Model UN conference
  • Sustainability Festival
  • Women in Tech conference
  • CA Summer Camp open houses
  • CA Parents meetings
  • Directors’ Workshop performances

 

All CA-sponsored trips scheduled before the end of April, including the college trip, have been canceled. Additionally, the June trips to France and Rome will no longer take place. We made these decisions first and foremost as a precaution to ensure the safety of our students; we will be working to recoup as much of the costs as possible, and we will coordinate with families regarding the details of trip reimbursement.

 

We are currently working to reimagine and/or reschedule other events, either through a virtual experience or by engaging people in new and creative ways. These events include our admissions Revisit Days, our Community and Equity Dinner, as well as our junior leadership trip and senior transition seminar. These are important days to our community and our institution; we look forward to sharing more details around those plans in the near future. 

 

We do not take the decision to alter our programming lightly, and we know that this will impact each and every family differently. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work through these changes.  

 

Community tracking

Following recommendations from the Concord Board of Health, we will institute a required tracking system for all CA students and adults — a self-report of whereabouts during the break, which we will ask all families to complete prior to students’ return to campus. While we await guidance from officials to finalize the form, we ask you to watch your inbox next week for an email with a link and instructions. Completion of this form is mandatory prior to your student(s) returning to campus.

 

In accordance with CDC guidelines, students who have traveled to regions designated by the CDC with a level 3 advisory must be outside the 14-day window of exposure prior to returning to campus. Students who are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath) should not return to campus and should contact the Health Center for guidance on return protocols. Families and guardians are responsible for such quarantines and any isolation based on illness that prevent their child(ren)’s return to campus.

 

As a head of school, a long-time teacher, and a father, I am concerned both personally and professionally about the spread of this virus. We will stay in regular contact and share any new information as soon as we have it. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Sarah Yeh, Don Kingman, or me directly with questions. We are here to help.

 

I remain grateful for the support our community members have shown one another, and I thank you all for your partnership during this difficult time. In the meantime, I hope you stay safe and well. 

 

Sincerely,

Rick Hardy

Head of School

Dresden Endowed Chair

March 5 Letter: Spring Trips and Long-Term Planning

Dear CA Families, 

With spring break starting tomorrow, and with the coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, continuing to spread across the globe, we are writing with an update regarding our planning. We recognize that, no matter where you are located in the world, this is an uncertain time. Our thoughts are with all of you, and we hope that the guidance that follows will help you and your families plan for spring break more easily and prepare for a healthy return.

Here at Concord Academy, we are monitoring local and international developments closely, including those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. State Department, and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the town of Concord. Our Incident Management Team (IMT) group, which we referenced in an email to our community earlier this week, is in daily discussions about how to maintain the health, safety, and well-being of our students and our entire community.

We recognize that this is a dynamic situation. Since we first wrote over a month ago, much has changed, and we cannot predict with precision what will happen by the time we plan to resume classes on March 23. Instead, we are developing plans for a variety of scenarios, about which we will send more updates over spring break. These emails will be important, and we ask that you remain attentive to your inbox during this time for further communication from us. We thank you for your partnership, your understanding, and your review of the recommendations below.

In order to keep everyone up to date on CA’s policies and protocols, we have created a central landing page: www.concordacademy.org/coronavirus-covid-19-update/

Spring trips

Following the guidance for student foreign travel issued earlier this week by the CDC, which recommends that institutions consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs, and a request by the governor of Massachusetts that schools suspend all international trips, we have decided to cancel all spring trips. This includes a previously cancelled trip to China as well as trips to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

While we regret having to make this decision, we felt it was necessary to follow the guidance of the CDC so as to promote the safety of our students and chaperones. At this time, we have been in touch with all families and students affected, and we are glad to share that due to the generosity of our extended CA family and our parent community, we have found places to stay for all students during the break.

It is our plan to run these trips next March should your child be interested and able to participate. We will be in touch with families regarding the details of trip reimbursement.

We have also been receiving inquiries regarding the status of our June trips to Rome and Paris. At this point, we are not making any decisions but continue to monitor the situation closely. Should CA cancel the trips, we will do everything we can to recoup as much of the cost as possible and will share information as soon as it becomes available.

Return policy

While much of our focus has been on ensuring that students can safely depart CA for March break, we recognize that the global picture of Covid-19 is evolving daily. As it is our duty as a school to look after the health and well-being of all members of our community, we are working with local health officials on the protocols we will put in place for the return of adults and students from March break. We ask that you keep a close eye out for communication around these protocols over the next two weeks so we can share and gather information efficiently.

Please note that families and guardians will need to take responsibility for any extended quarantines that prevent their child(ren)’s return to campus at the end of March break.

Long-term planning

While it is our hope that we will be able to resume classes as normal upon the return from spring break, consideration of many currently unknown variables has led us to prepare for a variety of scenarios, including approaches that would allow for covering critical material and engaging students through distance learning in the event of short- or long-term disruptions following the break. We hope that such contingency plans will be unnecessary, but we are preparing to continue to serve you and your child(ren) through a variety of conditions and scenarios this spring.

Teachers are preparing packing lists so students can bring home the supplies they would need in order to engage in classwork in the event that they are unable to return to campus at the end of break. While this outcome is unlikely, we believe this is a practical preparation in an evolving situation. These lists will be shared with students during assembly block on Thursday, and they will access the lists with their advisors to be sure they know what they need before leaving campus for break.

Masks

While we have received some requests to distribute masks to our student body, we are following the guidance of the CDC, which “does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including Covid-19.” Instead, the CDC recommends that masks are essential for health workers and those taking care of someone, as well as for those who are symptomatic, to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

We would like to remind you that the CDC recommends the following sensible health care procedures to help prevent spreading the disease:

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. Over March break we will be undertaking some deep cleaning procedures of our campus. These actions will extend beyond the cleaning practices we follow on a regular basis, and include measures designed to disinfect surfaces around the campus.

For more resources and information, we recommend that you visit the CDC’s website here. We are monitoring the recommendations of national and local governing health bodies closely and will inform you of new developments.

Incident Management Team (IMT)

As we noted in our letter earlier this week, in situations that impact the normal functioning of our community, it is our regular practice to form an Incident Management Team (IMT), which we did a few weeks ago. We have found that this structure has served us well in the past. In this case, the IMT is being led by:

We also have sub-groups focused on the following areas: medical, students, travel, supplies, academic planning, and communications. Rick Hardy, our head of school, is closely involved in this process as well. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of us.

We understand the concern and anxiety an outbreak such as this causes, and our thoughts and hearts go out to everyone affected by it. By remaining aware of recommendations as they develop and maintaining communications, together we can all care for one another and keep our community healthy. The outpouring of support from this community has already been remarkable, and we remain grateful for that.

We thank you all for your understanding and partnership during this important time, and we wish you all a healthy and safe spring break.

Sincerely,

Don Kingman
Director of Campus Planning and Construction


Sarah Yeh
Assistant Head & Dean of Faculty

February 28: Letter from Sally Zimmerli, Dean of Students

Dear CA Families, 

As our community prepares for spring break, we want to thank all of you for your patience and partnership as we work to protect the health and well-being of the CA community in the context of the evolving Covid-19 outbreak.

We are glad to share that every boarding student whose plans were impacted now has a reliable plan for the break. That could not have happened without the many kind offers we received to host students. As ever, we are deeply appreciative of how this community has responded to support one another. We recognize how fluid this situation is, and will communicate about any changes in plans immediately with you, our parent body.

One of the primary challenges around planning for spring break has been the rapidly evolving nature of the event. In situations like this, which impact the normal functioning of our community, it is our regular practice to form an Incident Management Team (IMT), which we did a few weeks ago. We have found that this structure has served us well in the past. In this case, the IMT is being led by:

We also have sub-groups focused on the following areas: Medical, Students, Travel, Supplies, Academic Planning, and Communications. Rick Hardy, our head of school, is closely involved in this process as well.

This group is collaborating regularly to plan and prepare for a variety of scenarios that could play out over both the short and long-term. We will be closely monitoring developments, including government recommendations, over the course of the next week and beyond, and we will provide an update on our Covid-19 planning prior to the start of break next Friday, March 6.

We thank you again for your understanding and patience during this evolving situation. If you have questions or concerns over spring break, please reach out to a member of the IMT whose emails you can find by clicking their name above. It is our goal to continue to support our students and our families to the best of our ability, and we appreciate your support in making that possible.

Sincerely,

Sally Zimmerli
Dean of Students

January 29: Letter from Rick Hardy, Head of School

Dear CA Families, 

Amid news of the spread of a new variety of coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province, China, we want to share what we are doing as a school to prioritize the safety of our students.

In light of the issuance of a level-3 travel advisory (its highest level) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has recommended avoiding travel to China when at all possible, we urge CA students to avoid returning home to or visiting China, and any other high-risk areas, during the break. Also in accordance with this recommendation, CA has canceled its China trip scheduled for March 8-18. As a reminder, Concord Academy’s campus will be closed for the entire break, March 6-22, and students are not permitted to stay at school.

We recognize that news of this virus and its emergence around the time of the Lunar New Year festivals is weighing heavily on many of our families, particularly members of the Chinese community. We also recognize that not being able to visit with your family this spring may be difficult. While we encourage all families, and especially those from China, to work with stateside guardians and other partners to make arrangements for your child’s accommodations during our break, we want you to know that we are here to help and to support your family. 

We will continue to monitor the situation closely to determine whether the other planned March trips, to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, can proceed safely as planned. At this time, only a small number of cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the United States, none of them in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has determined that we are currently at low risk.

As always during cold and flu season, we recommend that students follow simple infection control measures that include washing hands frequently, covering one’s cough, and keeping one’s hands away from mouth, nose, and eyes. This is information we are actively sharing with our community, as we always do this time of year. Since we are in the midst of flu season, we urge all students with a fever to stay home until fever-free for 24 hours. Any student feeling unwell should come to the health center to be evaluated by one of the nurses.

Your children’s safety is our first priority, and we thank you for your partnership in limiting our students’ exposure to this disease. We understand that this situation is evolving rapidly, and we want you to know that we are here to help. If you need help finding accommodations, or have questions about travel and spring break, please reach out to either me or to Sally Zimmerli, our dean of students, at sally_zimmerli@concordacademy.org.

Your child’s safety is and will remain our top priority. We will be back in touch with CA families once we know more, or have more information to share. 

Sincerely,

Rick Hardy
Head of School
Dresden Endowed Chair

March 3: March Break and Covid-19 Update

Please be aware that, as we disperse for the break, the school is continuing to monitor the health of students and adults amid the spread of Covid-19 (the coronavirus). Look for an email from CA later this week with important information regarding plans the school is putting into place. Given this rapidy evolving situation, we are also asking parents and students to continue checking email during the break, as we will be requesting status updates from all families prior to students’ return to campus.

Contact Us

For student health questions, please contact our Student Health Center: 978-402-2333

For general questions, please call 978-402-2200

Resources