2021 Planning

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Details on Areas of School Life

List of 6 items.

  • January 2021 Repopulation Timeline and Plan

    While bringing everyone back to campus after summer break was, by and large, a success, it was also a learning experience. When we all return to campus again after Winter Break, we will be changing some elements of our repopulation process to A) streamline and shorten the experience to maximize Winter Break for everyone, B) take advantage of pre-arrival quarantine days to prevent bringing COVID-19 to campus, and C) guarantee the return to the relaxed policies we have in place now as quickly as possible.  To meet these objectives, we will adhere to the following timeline for repopulating Woodberry after Winter Break:

    Friday, January 1 - All students begin pre-arrival self-quarantine at home.  
    Just as we did in the summer before move-in, we will ask that all students adhere to careful self-quarantine guidelines to limit the possibility of bringing COVID-19 to campus upon arrival. Here are guidelines for pre-arrival self-quarantining at home. Asking each student to self-quarantine before coming to campus serves two main purposes. First, if the student became infected prior to beginning quarantine, it provides a window of time for symptoms to develop and alert the student that he might be COVID-19-positive before making the decision to come to campus. Secondly, it limits the opportunity for a healthy boy to become infected just before arriving on campus, possibly prior to the development of symptoms.

    Sunday, January 3 - Arrival day for boys finishing self-quarantine on campus.
    All students who require mass transportation (airplane, bus, train, etc.) should complete their travel by this day whether they plan to quarantine on campus or with a classmate or relative within driving distance of WFS. That way, they can maximize the period of controlled, unbroken quarantine for the reasons stated above. Although research is beginning to suggest that the use of mass transportation poses a lower risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus now than earlier in the pandemic, particularly with the enforcement of face coverings and social distancing, it still represents a situation with many unknowns, such as the infection status and health practices of other passengers. Finishing travel as close to the 3rd as possible will allow us a sufficient amount of time to detect and isolate any positive cases before school operations return to normal and the virus would be allowed to spread. If you need to arrive outside of this window, you must get approval from the dean of students. Additionally, we have limited capacity to care for these boys from the 3rd to the 10th and as such please make every reasonable effort to quarantine at a friends house or somewhere else local

    Boys using mass transportation will be asked to wear a properly fitted KN95 mask, maintain distance from others, practice good hand hygiene, and avoid places such as restaurants where others are not wearing masks. All boys will be tested for COVID-19 via a nasal swab upon their arrival on campus, plus two more times over the proceeding two weeks. Combined, these measures should prevent COVID-19 cases on campus as a result of mass transportation, as well as stem transmission on campus should a positive case arrive. 

    Sunday, January 10 - Arrival day at Woodberry Forest for all forms.
    Upon completion of the at-home quarantine period, boys of all forms will move back onto campus on Sunday, January 10. Staggered arrival times based on distance from campus will be utilized to streamline this process, similar to the arrival days at the beginning of the school year. All boys will be tested for COVID-19 by nasal swab upon arrival before being allowed to move into their dorm rooms. On the way to campus, we ask that everyone follow good health practices including masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding places where others are not wearing masks, such as restaurants. Please do not come to campus if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for the virus. In addition, it will be of critical importance to wear a mask and maintain social distance from everyone on campus (except roommate(s)) from the moment you arrive until the strict in-room quarantine period has ended. After returning to campus and receiving a COVID-19 test, all students will go straight to their dorm rooms to begin strict in-room quarantining. All other campus buildings will be closed. Parents should not enter dorm buildings.

    Sunday, January 10 post-arrival - Friday, January 15 - Strict in-room quarantine period.
    In order to return to normal operations as quickly as possible, we must ensure that any positive COVID-19 cases brought to campus are not allowed to spread through the student population. One of the downsides of the cohort system in use in the Fall was that it would allow an infected student to potentially expose others in his cohort over the course of days or even weeks. Thus, attempting to trace, quarantine, and test those contacts with great confidence proved difficult, and the possibility of further rounds of spread always existed. Because of this, the time spent in cohorts was prolonged and necessary activities such as athletic team practices and meals in the dining hall were delayed. As an alternative to the cohort system, this Winter we will be utilizing a strict in-room quarantine period that will ensure a healthy student population and allow a return to our current operating status much more quickly.

    During in-room quarantine, students will stay in their dorm rooms except for designated times. Bathroom occupancy will be limited to roommates only at a single time. All classes will be held online and all meals will be delivered to the dorms by faculty and staff. Snacks and drinks will be on-hand in the dorm common rooms and refrigerators. Additional programming for exercise and entertainment is being developed, and the academic schedule may be modified to allow for more sleep in the mornings. Any positive cases detected from the first round of testing will be isolated on campus or, preferably, sent home to isolate, and roommate(s) will be quarantined. On Thursday, January 14, all students will take a second COVID-19 test with results available the next day.

    Friday, January 15 - Last day of strict in-room quarantine
    Operations on Friday, January 15 will remain unchanged until all results from the second round of COVID testing are known. We expect test results to be returned by the afternoon or early evening, and any positive cases will be isolated and their roommates moved to quarantine. Once this is done, campus policies and operations will return to their current state, with cohort restrictions in place only in the dining hall and masking expected in all indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing cannot be maintained. 

    Four and a half days of strict in-room quarantine will be a huge shared sacrifice to endure, individually and as a community. However, this is the only way to guarantee a speedy return to the new normal. The cohort-oriented, gradual loosening we did this fall opens the door for viral spread during that first week. Positive cases and subsequent quarantining may also lead to a longer period of cohort-only socializing. Strict in-room quarantining ensures that spread does not happen, and allows us to return to the new normal with very high confidence that we have a healthy community.
  • Rules for Parent Visits to Campus

    If you need to visit campus, the following rules are mandatory:
    1. Text, or email your son's advisor, or his form dean, a day or two in advance to let them know you wish to visit.
     
    2. Upon arrival, please tell the gatehouse attendant who you are here to see. The gatehouse will call the administrative master for the day to let them know you've arrived.
     
    3. You must only visit with your son outside and should not enter any campus buildings. 
     
    4. You and your son must wear a mask and minimize contact throughout your visit

    5. Afternoon athletic events have been declared "spectator free" and you should not attend afternoon athletic events. 
     
    5. Your son may not leave campus with you.
     
    If these rules are not followed, boys may be put into quarantine to protect the health of their classmates, teachers, and the entire campus community. 
  • Wearing Masks

    We will be wearing cloth masks (sometimes called face coverings) a lot this year. More and more research shows the effectiveness of wearing masks properly as a critical tool for reducing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Given that so many COVID-19 carriers don’t have symptoms, our commitment to wearing masks consistently is a demonstration of respect for each other and for the health of the Woodberry community.

    The Health and Safety Task Force has made two important clarifications to our mask rules recently. based on recent information from the CDC and published academic studies.
    1. Thin “neck gaiters” are not acceptable as masks. New evidence shows those very thin fabrics do not block virus particles effectively.
    2. Face shields cannot be a replacement for a mask. You are welcome to wear a mask and a face shield.

    • Indoors: Everyone must wear a mask and practice distancing. 
    • Outdoors: Everyone must wear a mask or practice distancing

    Learn more about masks here.
  • Surveillance Testing for COVID-19

    Set to begin September 29 
    Each week, one student from each cohort, one staff member from each student-facing department, and 20% of the faculty will be randomly selected for COVID testing. Our infirmary nurses will conduct the tests in-house at the infirmary. All individuals selected for testing will be presumed negative, so the only disruption to their days will be the test itself, unless a positive result is obtained. In the case of a positive result, all established procedures for isolation and contact tracing will be implemented immediately.

    We will hold our first round of surveillance testing on Tuesday, September 29th in the morning and will continue each Tuesday morning through the trimester. Those individuals selected for testing will be notified at least two days in advance with the test time and any pertinent details. For at least the first two weeks, this will be the same nasal swab and PCR diagnostic test employed during the repopulation phase, with results available within approximately 72 hours. Again, everyone selected for a test will be presumed negative and thus will be able to go about their days normally as they await results. Only positive test results will be communicated with the affected individuals.
  • Creating and Maintaining a Safe Community

    We’re fortunate that COVID-19 usually does not impact teenagers as severely as it affects older adults. However, there are no guarantees that a teenager’s case will be mild if he becomes infected. And clearly we have many faculty and staff members in the Woodberry community who are in higher risk categories because of their age or their personal health situation. 
     
    We have had at least two cases of COVID-19 on campus so far (one involving a member of the staff, the other involving a painter working on the Walker Building renovation project). Both cases were contained without further infections because the people involved wore masks, practiced social distancing, and stayed home when they started feeling sick. 
     
    We expect to have more cases of COVID-19 during the school year. Woodberry’s rural location and ample space is an asset, but we are not a sealed bubble, nor can we be. In order for us to remain on campus, we must all work together to limit the potential spread of the disease when a case occurs. 
     
    All of us — students, faculty, and staff — will use four strategies to create a safer community. All students and adults will also make a Commitment to Protect Woodberry. None of the four strategies we’ve outlined below offers complete protection against COVID-19 infections, and we must be prepared for additional cases on campus during the school year. If we practice these four strategies consistently and effectively, however, we will limit the spread of the coronavirus and prevent the likelihood of a single infection turning into an outbreak. 
     
     
    1. Hygiene and Facilities Changes: We are working with an engineering and environmental health company to make adjustments to our buildings. We have rearranged furniture in classrooms, the dining hall, and other spaces to allow for social distancing. We’ve also reviewed our HVAC systems; thankfully all buildings with A/C use fresh air circulation (rather than cooling and recirculating air already inside the building), which reduces the spread of virus particles. We have also added more hand sanitizer stations around campus.
    2. Face coverings: Boys will wear a cloth face covering (mask) when indoors, with the exception of their dorm room and the dorm hallway where they live. Adults will wear a mask indoors. In the month since we sent our last message, it has become increasingly clear that the virus is likely spread via aerosol and can be carried in minimal amounts of moisture and remain suspended in the air longer than previously understood. The good news is that wearing a face covering works to prevent the spread of the virus; it is, therefore, a practice that we will prioritize. 
     
    We will give each student several reusable face coverings when he arrives; boys are also welcome to bring their own or purchase more in the student store. We will collect and wash the masks for the boys each week.

    You can learn more about why face coverings are so important here.

    1. Physical distancing: Boarding school communities are tight-knit, and they don’t naturally allow for physical distancing. But we will do so whenever possible. We’ve rearranged classrooms and will not hold all-school meetings for the foreseeable future. During the fall we will take advantage of mild weather and hold larger meetings (such as for an entire form) outdoors. We will hold several chapel services each week, allowing all students to attend but creating space for them to spread out. 
    2. Testing and monitoring: As described in the section above, boys will take three COVID-19 tests before, during, and after their arrival on campus. If a test is positive, the boy will be asked to return home and continue classes online until he is fully recovered. This is our preference for all students whose parents live within several hours of campus. Boys who live further away, whether in the United States or overseas, will be isolated on House D and receive care on campus from our school nurses, as well as telehealth check-ups from our school physician.
      Students exposed to a person with a positive test but not showing symptoms will be quarantined in the Dowd House until they complete a quarantine of 14 days.  They would attend classes online during that time. We will use contact tracing to determine which students or faculty may have been exposed to a positive case.
     
    Some adults in our community are at higher risk due to age or other health factors. These employees will have the option of modified responsibilities until a vaccine is available. For example, a faculty member might teach a normal course load with strict social distancing and mask use in the classroom but not serve on a dorm team in order to reduce risk. Every member of the faculty and staff plays a critical role in the success of the school, and we know students will be flexible and understanding if they are asked to take additional actions to help protect a classmate or an adult who might be more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.
     
  • Student Quarantine Information

    Boys quarantining on campus will be in Dowd House because they’ve been exposed to a case through close contact or because they have spent a night off campus recently. Sarah Sydnor is the point of contact for boys in quarantine.



List of 6 items.

  • Academics

    Our modified schedule was built with both on campus and remote learners in mind. We already know travel restrictions or health conditions will make it difficult for some students to be here at the start of school. And it is likely that we will have on-campus students learning remotely while isolated and/or quarantined due to a positive case or exposure to a positive case. 
     
    Here are the key highlights of the schedule:
    • Classes will be held Monday through Friday. 
    • We will use the same schedule each week throughout the fall trimester. 
    • Classes for third and fourth formers will meet four times a week for 45 minutes. 
    • Classes for fifth and sixth formers will have two 45-minute meetings and one 90-minute meeting.  
    • Classes will also have asynchronous components where boys work at the time, place, and pace of their choosing.
    • Saturday will include new co-curricular activities for boys on campus.
     
    The decision to have one asynchronous class each week will prepare students and faculty for the period in December when all courses will meet online. These learning opportunities might include specific time for reflection, participation in threaded discussions with classmates, out-of-class collaboration, or intentional application of learning to broader challenges. One of our students' primary frustrations last spring was the increased amount of what many of them saw as "busy work." We hope that we will all be better able to support meaningful asynchronous learning that engages boys to think creatively and analytically in December if we weave this kind of learning into our courses from the start of classes in the fall.  
     
    Reducing the class meetings per week opens up time for the faculty to manage the substantial work involved to enhance and standardize our courses on Canvas, engage our students for the one asynchronous meeting per week, and reach out directly to online learners.  
     
    We have built the schedule in anticipation of the transition to December’s online learning, but also constructed it in a way that would allow us to move back to Woodberry’s regular schedule, including a resumption of Saturday classes, later in the school year if health conditions improve. 

    There are no major academic changes as we move forward, though we will return to our normal system of dismissing classes at the bell. Please remember the expectations around Canvas that were outlined during opening faculty meetings.

    Because we must wear masks AND remain distanced indoors, please leave desks spaced the way they were set up in August.

    Some faculty would like to use minibuses for short (less than 15 minutes) on-campus trips.  Please follow these rules:
    • Masks on
    • Windows down
    • No talking
    • No lingering on the bus
    • Spread out to at least 6 feet apart as soon as you’re off the bus
    • Sit in the same seat on the return trip
    • Wipe down your seat when you return
    • Wash your hands when you return


  • Arts

    Just as we plan to offer our full academic curriculum in other subjects, music ensembles and other courses will be available next year. The music faculty continue to monitor guidelines from national and international music organizations. “Best practices” may be a moving target and evolve as the year goes along, but our faculty will help every student continue his musical education.
     
    Our drama and visual arts offerings are less impacted by COVID-19, though there will certainly be some changes. We look forward to another year of outstanding artistic achievements from students in all facets of the arts programs at Woodberry.

    Each part of the Arts Department is in a slightly different place due to widely varying risks, but all art/music/drama classes are being offered this year. Here’s a rundown of the current status.

    Visual arts: Classes are meeting. Studios are open to art students and to boys who have permission from Mr. Erickson to pursue independent work. 

    Drama: The fall play will be A Separate Peace. Details to come on the performances.

    Music: Rehearsals are complicated by social distancing rules and because singing or playing any instrument that produces aerosols (woodwinds, brass, bagpipes) is very high risk. The department is ordering special safety equipment to allow indoor practices. 

    For now groups are rehearsing by section (i.e. all violas on one day, all violins another day) and, when possible, outdoors. Students can practice their instrument alone in a practice room if they follow the sign-in and cleaning rules that have been posted.




     
  • Athletics

    For the rest of the fall we hope to run the following Afternoon Activities and Intramurals
    • Fall Afternoon Activities
      • Varsity Cross Country - Meets begin early October. 
      • Varsity Soccer - Practicing as an academy. Games TBD.
      • Varsity Football - Practicing as an academy. Games TBD
      • Mountain Biking running as an activity
      • Fall Golf - Will host at least 4 matches at WFS
      • Fall Tennis
      • Fall Swimming
      • WFS Outdoors
      • Athletic Development
      • PE
      • Senior Golf
      • Main Stage play and tech crew
    • Intramurals - 3rd and 4th Form
      • Two 4-week "seasons" with both flag football and soccer as games played by all with masks.
      • 3rd and 4th form may opt for the Main Stage, WFS Outdoors, or be allowed to participate in the Varsity Sport Academies or Varsity Teams 
      • Greg Jacobs will be the commissioner of the 3rd and 4th form intramural league and will divide coaches among teams.  
    • Varsity Athletic Academies
      • Varsity teams that are not run in the fall as normal, as well as some winter and spring teams, will have the opportunity to work as a team for four weeks.
      • Two four week sessions will be run concurrently with the Intramural and Afternoon Activities
      • Varsity Fall Coaches will run these academies and will be asked to help with intramurals when their four-week session is over
    Glover Center
    • Masks must be worn
    • Please do not bring in your own equipment
    • No HIT in the space; lifting only
    The Barbee Center Fitness Area (on the infield of the track) will open to Students, Staff, and Faculty after all boys are on campus and have removed their stored belongings.

    Dick Gymnasium
    • Open to boys for shooting. No more than two to a basket, and no games (either 1v1 or full-court)
    Squash Pavillion
    Area open to Campus Families is limited to the cardio machines, weight area, and front 3 squash courts
    Students, staff, and faculty have access to back 6 courts and storage area
    1 player per court until further notice


  • Library Access and Use


    With a focus on curating quality educational resources to help support instruction, prioritizing our student and faculty learning experiences, and championing equity, diversity, and digital citizenship, the WHW Jr. Library plays an integral role in supporting our colleagues, students, and families. We will continue to do this in the 2020-2021 school year; however, library services and resources will look and feel a bit differently in order to follow best practices during the COVID pandemic. The information below is a preliminary snapshot to provide essential information as we move into the school year. More details will be forthcoming.

    NOTE: The WHW Jr. Library plan for services and resources during COVID is meant to be flexible and should change fluidly as new data is provided. While arranged in three phases, these phases are not absolute and services will scale within each phase. Phase 1 = no physical access, Phase 2 = limited access (our current library status), Phase 3 = full access restored. Books will circulate through all phases. 

    Phase Two
    • The physical library space is open: we offer contactless checkout and welcome faculty, limited independent student users, and classes by prescheduled reservation only, subject to density limitations (seating has been removed from the library, and the remaining chairs have been arranged a minimum of six feet apart).
    • There will be no physical class reserve shelves created or maintained. Options for electronic reserve shelves are available.
    • Users are expected to wipe down shared computer keyboards, mice, and surrounding table surfaces as well as any shared common equipment such as the copier with provided antiseptic wipes after each use. 
    • Magazines and Newspapers are not on display and any shared office supplies or materials require sanitization after use.

    Phase Three
    • Drop-in student entry to the library will be restored.
    • Drop-in use by classes will be permitted.
  • Online Learning and Delayed Return

    As described in the Academics section, all courses for next year are being designed so they can be taken in-person or online. They are also built so that a boy can be online for a few weeks and then join the classroom cohort without being behind. This will be useful in cases where a student is delayed in his journey to campus due to travel restrictions, visa issues, or pre-existing health conditions. This setup should also allow a boy who has started in person to work online for a few weeks if he is infected or quarantined.
     
    We want our students to be back on campus, and we know that’s what most boys and parents want, too. We are preparing to deliver the Woodberry experience in-person for nearly the entire year and for nearly all boys. But if your son cannot reach campus at the start of the school year, we are committed to supporting his academic experience until he is able to come to campus. 
     
  • Residential Life

    Because weekends and other trips off campus will be extremely limited, we are developing new activities on campus. These will include food truck visits on weekends, events at Robertson Lake, cookouts, competitions, and more. We plan to make greater use of our 1,200-acre campus than ever before. 
     
    The completion of the Walker Building project will also give us full access to Tiger Square as well as to a new outdoor programs space next to the building. 
     
    The dining hall will serve students, faculty, staff, and faculty families in the 2020-2021 school year, but meal times and operations will look and feel different in order to follow best practices during the pandemic. Students, faculty, staff, and families each have different needs and expectations during the three meal times. 

    STUDENTS 
    • No seated meals.
    • Dining hall staff will serve you food on the main line. The line will offer two options of entrees as well as an assortment of pre-plated and wrapped salads and pre-filled drinks. 
    • Boys will eat with members of their cohort but will not have assigned tables.
    • Students are scheduled in two different eating groups and eat at assigned tables indoors, by cohort. Times will be posted at dining hall and be listed on the visualizer.
    • Boys may eat outdoors across cohorts but must be socially distanced.

    FACULTY
    • Can pick up from the main line or from the parking lot door. Faculty may eat in the tent or outdoors on the patio. 
    • Duty teams will help supervise the dining hall to ensure boys eat by cohort.  

    STAFF
    • Lunch will be picked up from the parking lot entrance and taken by department to an agreed upon distribution point. 
    • Staff will continue to provide their own breakfast until further notice.
    • Departments will need to submit their lunch counts one week in advance and be prepared to pick up and distribute their meals as may be appropriate.
    • When it is appropriate for staff to eat dinner, they should pre-order dinners a week in advance and pick up their own dinners at the parking lot entrance.

    FAMILIES
    • All families should pre-order lunch and dinner one week in advance.
    • Families will pick up all pre-ordered lunch and dinners at the parking lot entrance. 
    • Families will provide their own breakfast until further notice.

    Key Rules for our Residential Community
    Here are some key rules and reminders for boys around campus:
    1. Boys may visit other rooms; masks and distancing are required for everyone when visiting with each other. No more than two times the occupancy in a room. 
    2. Common rooms are open; wear a mask and observe occupancy limits. 
    3. All boys may shower on their dorm (stay masked; observe bathroom occupancy limit). 
    4. No trips to Orange. Haircuts available on campus; work with your advisor if you want to get a food pickup from town.  
    5. Testing: We will begin testing a random sample of the community each week to monitor for possible cases.  

    Advisee Groups: We’re working to establish dedicated advisory time in the schedule. You are welcome to meet with and host your advisees now at a time that works for you, with a preference for outdoor meetings. If you prefer not to meet with advisees in person, Zoom is probably your best option.

    Chapel: Now being held in groups of 50-60 on Sunday afternoon/evening. Boys attend by cohort and sit socially distanced. The weekend duty team assists with attendance.
    • .

Woodberry Forest admits students of any race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, and national or ethnic origin to all of the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religious belief, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other school-administered programs. The school is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students.