GLOSSARY OF TERMS
- Synchronous learning: A remote-learning environment in which a teacher and a group of students are engaging in learning at the same time
- Asynchronous learning: Students learn the same material at different times and locations. This could include pre-recorded videos or other learning materials.
- In-person learning: Students are physically present in the classroom
- Remote learning: Students are not physically present in the classroom. Learning could occur synchronously via video conferencing or asynchronously via videos, discussion boards or other learning materials.
- Isolation: The required sequestration of a student with a positive COVID-19 test. The student cannot have any physical contact with members of the Milton Academy community while in isolation.
- Quarantine: The separation of a student who has been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 from the remainder of the Milton Academy community.
- Symptomatic: An individual is considered symptomatic for COVID-19 when one or more of the following are present:
- Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
- Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
- Asymptomatic: No evidence of any common COVID-19 symptoms
- Close contact: Close contact is defined in accordance with regulations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For the Lower School and Middle School, Milton Academy considers any person in a student’s classroom cohort to be a close contact. In the Upper School, students who sit adjacent to each other are considered to be close contacts. In addition, any person who is within six feet of any other person for a cumulative period of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period of time is considered to be a close contact.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
PRIOR TO RETURN TO CAMPUS
Should students be tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus?
Milton Academy will provide on-campus onboard testing for all students before returning to campus following breaks. In addition and as part of their return-to-dormitories process, boarding students must also obtain a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus. Students and their families will receive specific instructions regarding testing protocols. Milton Academy is coordinating and paying for COVID-19 testing requested by the School. All students learning on campus will be required to follow the testing protocol.
What if a student tests positive before returning to campus?
If a student’s surveillance test is positive and the student is asymptomatic, the student will be asked to isolate at home for 10 days. If a student becomes symptomatic after a positive test, isolation is at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Isolation will be extended beyond 10 days if need be until symptoms are improving and the student has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. Medical clearance by the student’s healthcare provider will be required to return to campus. During the isolation period, the student will have access to our remote-learning program. The Health Center team will help coordinate the student’s safe return to campus.
Will students be required to quarantine before coming to campus?
All students need to comply with travel guidance provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, students who are returning to campus as boarders must comply with the quarantine and onboarding protocols established by Milton Academy, which includes a two-week quarantine prior to returning to the boarding program.
RETURN TO CAMPUS
Will students, faculty, and staff need to be tested for COVID-19 upon return to campus?
Yes. Milton Academy will provide onboard testing to screen members of the community prior to the return to campus after any prolonged absence, including holiday and spring breaks. All students, faculty, and staff who are on campus will be required to follow the school’s COVID-19 testing protocol, including testing prior to returning to campus, followed by regular surveillance testing as recommended by public health, government, and medical experts.
What kind of test are you administering?
Milton Academy has partnered with the Broad Institute to administer RT-PCR tests using a nasal swab.
How will test results be shared with parents?
Milton will notify parents directly as soon as possible if a student has tested positive through the school’s testing program.
How often will students be tested?
Students who feel well and are asymptomatic will be tested weekly for COVID-19 and more frequently if dictated by the prevalence of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, on Milton’s campus, or recommended by public health, government, and medical experts. Boarding students living in dormitories will be tested at least twice per week.
Symptomatic students will be required to be evaluated by their primary care physician as soon as possible. Contact tracing will be performed when any potential exposures occur.
What about students who have been in close contact with a student who has tested positive for COVID-19?
Asymptomatic students who have been in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined in spaces designated for this purpose until they are able to leave campus with a caretaker. Health Center staff (practicing physical distancing and wearing appropriate protective equipment) will remain with a student until the caretaker arrives. Families of any student considered a close contact will be notified directly as soon as possible when there is a positive case that affects their student. Students who have been identified as close contacts by Milton Academy will be asked to quarantine for 14 days and learn remotely during that time.
How does Milton Academy define close contact?
Close contact is defined in accordance with regulations set forth by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For the Lower School and Middle School, Milton Academy considers any person in a student’s classroom cohort to be a close contact. In the Upper School, students who sit adjacent to each other are considered to be close contacts. In addition, any person who is within six feet of any other person for a cumulative period of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period of time is considered to be a close contact.
ON-CAMPUS PREVENTION AND MITIGATION
How will students learn about health and safety protocols and what’s expected of them on campus during the pandemic?
Parents and students received Milton’s COVID-19 policy manual, which includes policies on social distancing (masks and physical distance), hygiene, cleaning, testing, and attestation of health. Parents and students have been asked to sign that they understand and agree to comply with Milton’s policies before they return to campus. Those who do not agree to comply or who do not comply will not be permitted to participate in on-campus learning.
In addition, students received training about illness prevention, new routines and protocols on campus, and our community responsibility to follow established policies. Members of the Health Center team, faculty, and staff played a role in this training.
Will social distancing be enforced?
Yes. Milton Academy’s approach will provide a dynamic learning environment while reducing the number of people on campus and limiting opportunities for potential exposure. Each division will implement age-appropriate modifications in accordance with state guidance, including new classroom layouts that place desks six feet apart as well as furniture and technology to facilitate physical separation and support remote learning. Where possible, we have instituted one-way traffic patterns within buildings and in stairwells, and pathways will be marked reminding our community members to maintain six feet of distance. Large assemblies and events will be conducted remotely. Students will eat in classrooms and/or in pre-assigned locations. Buses have introduced new protocols, including seat spacing, to meet all distancing requirements issued by the Commonwealth.
Are masks required on campus?
Yes. All community members must wear masks in common areas on campus, including pathways between academic buildings. Masks are also worn in classrooms. Masks may be removed when people are eating or alone and inside of an office area or dorm bedroom. In addition, mask break areas and policies will be designated.
Will students be provided with masks?
Yes. Milton will provide fabric masks for students, but students are welcome to bring their own masks from home. Masks must be placed over the nose and mouth, secured under the chin, fit snugly against the sides of the face and allow for breathing easily. Masks should be changed daily. Milton will also provide translucent masks for children in grades K–3 and for modern language students to ensure the mouth is visible.
How will COVID-19 symptom monitoring work?
Students, faculty, and staff will monitor COVID-19 symptoms and complete a simple symptom and wellness check each day to help screen for possible illness. Parents of students under Grade 9 must complete the wellness check before 8 a.m. (or boards the bus, for students riding the bus). Students in Grade 9 or above must complete the wellness check before 8 a.m. (or boards the bus, for students riding the bus). The daily attestation, performed using the program WorkSafe, can be completed on a smartphone, iPad, or computer. If instructed to remain home upon completion of the symptom attestation, students, faculty and staff will be required to do so.
What plans are in place if a student becomes ill once on campus?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 or show any symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 as defined by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be isolated immediately—in a location designated by the School for this purpose, separate from students with routine health care needs—until they can be safely transported home or to a caregiver off campus. Caregivers of day students are expected to pick their children up immediately after they are contacted by Milton. Caregivers of boarders will be notified of illness by the School and will together determine the appropriate care for the student.
What can I do to protect myself from catching the virus?
Every member of our community has a responsibility to do their part to prevent the spread of this virus whether they are at or away from Milton. Wear your mask. Maintain six feet of distance. Do not attend large indoor gatherings. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. If you are not able to wash your hands using soap and water, use hand sanitizer. Clean and disinfect high touch areas, such as desks and tables, as requested.
What is the School doing to make sure campus buildings are safe?
Many changes—from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to bathrooms to cleaning improvements—have been made in recognition of COVID-19 health and safety needs. The health and safety of everyone on our campus is our first priority. As a result, the School has engaged external experts to ensure that the campus is physically prepared. Please see the Health & Safety section for more information.
ENROLLMENT AND FINANCIAL POLICIES
When is my enrollment contract binding?
A family is considered “re-committed” to paying tuition for the entire school year, per the contract signed during the 2020–2021 enrollment process, as of the end of day on Friday, August 14, 2020. If you have any questions about your child’s enrollment status, please contact the Dean of Enrollment, Paul Rebuck (email@example.com or 617-898-2232) by that date.
Do I need to inform the School if my student plans to learn remotely?
Yes. We ask that families who wish for their student to conduct all studies remotely, regardless of the School’s plans, please reach out to the Dean of Enrollment, Paul Rebuck (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-898-2232). Only the dean of enrollment can grant a change in enrollment status. Day students who have already received remote enrollment status for the fall will keep that status unless the dean of enrollment is advised otherwise; boarding students may indicate their enrollment intention for January through June 2021 by completing the Spring 2021 Boarding Survey by December 4, 2020. Please note that students with remote status may not be on campus at any time during the semester.
We understand that there may be unexpected points during the semester where a student may need to learn remotely for a period of time after being in-person. The School will be able to provide remote instruction to any student who is unexpectedly unable to come to school for a period of time. A change in enrollment status is not needed in these temporary cases and families should report the need to learn remotely directly to their division.
Questions about the remote learning program approach and content should be directed to the student’s principal.
Do I need to inform the School if my boarding student plans to attend as a day student?
Yes. Students originally enrolled as boarding students who would like to become temporary day students must request a change in enrollment status from Dean of Enrollment Paul Rebuck (email@example.com or 617-898-2232) or may indicate their intention for January through June 2021 by completing the Spring 2021 Boarding Survey by December 4, 2020. Boarding students who have already received temporary day enrollment status may similarly indicate their desire to maintain that status by completing the survey.
When are tuition payments due?
Day student first semester statements were released in July; payments were due by August 31, 2020. Boarding student first semester statements were released in early September; and payments were due by September 30, 2020. Second semester statements for all students will be released in mid-December 2020 and payments are due within 30 days (mid-January 2021).
The spring tuition charged will reflect each student’s enrollment status. Day students who have previously elected remote enrollment status will maintain that status unless the dean of enrollment is advised otherwise. Boarding students should indicate their intent to be remote, temporary day, or on-campus (or a mix of those) in their response to the Spring 2021 Boarding Survey by December 4, 2020.
In 2020–21, Upper School students will only be charged the technology fee. Activity and health fees will not be charged. (Middle and Lower School students are not charged fees.)
A family was considered “re-committed” to paying tuition for the entire school year, per the contract signed during the 2020–21 enrollment process, as of the end of day on Friday August 14, 2020. Before that date, only the new student tuition deposit was non-refundable.
Will Milton Academy make any changes to its tuition or fee rates due to changes in the school’s program due to COVID-19?
Yes. Please see the table below.
The remote tuition applies to students who are not on campus at any time during a given semester.
Students who are learning remotely for the first semester received their tuition credits by the end of October, reflecting the difference between the day rate billed previously and the remote rate listed above.
Boarding students who have indicated that they will be on campus for half of the period January through June will be charged 50 percent of the Upper School boarding tuition and 50 percent of the Upper School day or remote tuition for the second semester. These charges will be based on the response to the Spring 2021 Boarding Survey due December 4, 2020. If no response is received from a family by end of day December 4, families will be billed using the student’s first- semester enrollment status.
The school is committed to reviewing tuition in the future, should the number of days the School is open for in-person learning be significantly limited. Any changes are made thoughtfully and deliberately, and are subject to approval from the Board of Trustees.
Revisions to the School calendar, programs and services that are temporarily suspended during the course of the year, or additional days that individual students must spend online due to quarantine, etc. are unfortunately an outcome of the uncertainties and complexity related to COVID-19. All enrolled students will continue to advance through, and receive credit for, Milton Academy’s academic program despite these circumstances. Milton Academy faculty and staff continue to work, and the School continues to pay their salaries and maintain other financial commitments that enable delivery of our academic program and services. In addition, in order to prepare the campus for re-opening, the school has incurred significant costs, including the introduction of COVID-19 testing for every on-campus student; these have added several million dollars in expenses to the School’s budget.
If my family receives financial aid, how will that be adjusted?
The financial aid package will be adjusted to reflect the applicable tuition rate and fees for students changing enrollment status.
Whom do I contact with financial aid questions for this year, 2020–2021?
Please contact Chris Kane, our financial aid director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-898-2239. Please do not wait to be in touch even if your need is not yet clear.
How is the school supporting students who have additional needs due to remote learning?
The School has set aside funding to help support any students who may be affected by the need to conduct learning remotely. These include technology, internet, food, and other categories of support. Any family with these types of needs should please contact Chris Kane, our financial aid director, at email@example.com or 617-898-2239.
Will Milton Academy offer credits to bus fees for any days my child must learn remotely?
Yes, credits will be given for any bus days not used if the School must close, go fully remote, or not offer the opportunity to be on campus for more than 30 percent of planned school days. The amount credited will be the original bus fee less the fixed cost owed to our bus vendor which allows them to pay drivers. Credits will not be given for any other reason.
Families will not be charged for the bus until after the first day of their child’s bus service. All families who plan to use the bus are therefore encouraged to sign up for the bus as soon as possible. Bus sign-ups will be used to help the School to plan for sufficient bus capacity to meet COVID-19-related guidelines.
(The Lower School bus is operated privately, and Milton Academy is unable to answer questions about its pricing/costs.)
Will Milton Academy offer credits to music lesson fees for any days my child must learn remotely?
No. Music lessons will be charged in full to all families who sign up for the semester, regardless of whether those lessons occur in person or online, as Milton Academy is obligated to pay music teachers for reserving their time; it is the family’s responsibility to work with the teacher to ensure that all lessons are scheduled.
Is tuition insurance still in place for this year?
Yes. Student tuition insurance will be provided at no cost to all families who have enrolled at Milton Academy for 2020–2021.
Please note: Families should not consider tuition insurance as a way to postpone their decision on their student’s enrollment status. The policy covers only certain, unexpected withdrawal circumstances and requires that a certain number of program days be attended, whether remotely or in person. Rather, the policy should serve as a financial backstop for families (and the School) who encounter unforeseen circumstances in 2020–2021. As stated in the enrollment contract, if you need to withdraw your child, you will continue to be responsible for any tuition and fee amounts not covered by tuition insurance. Please review the Tuition Refund Plan for additional details; only materials produced by the insurer, not Milton Academy, should be relied upon for coverage information.
Please contact Giselle Sharpe in the Business Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-898-2281 with questions or whether your family wishes to opt out of student tuition insurance for any reason.
Is student health insurance still in place for this year?
As of November 2020, the insurance company has informed the School that covered expenses incurred anywhere in the world, including your home country, are eligible for reimbursement through August 19, 2021. Students do not need to be at school to be covered; your child(ren)’s coverage is active. Therefore, any families who purchased student health insurance to cover their child(ren) while at school can still use it. If you have questions, please contact Dawn Cruickshank in the Health and Counseling Center at email@example.com or 617-898-2451.
Is the Business Office open?
Business office staff continue to work, although the office is currently not open to visitors. For those who typically stop by with a payment, a mailbox has been installed immediately outside the business office entrance. You may drop any payments or other correspondence into this box, which is emptied each business day. In addition, the office will continue to return calls and emails in the order they are received, understanding that volumes remain much higher than usual.
Who should I contact if I have further questions?
Please reach out to the following individuals if you have any further questions:
- Enrollment decision questions for 2020–2021:
Dean of Enrollment Paul Rebuck, firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-898-2232
- Financial aid questions for 2020–2021:
Director of Financial Aid Chris Kane, email@example.com or 617-898-2239
- Student billing statements/tuition insurance:
Business Office Representative Giselle Sharpe firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-898-2281
- Student health insurance:
Health and Counseling Center Representative Dawn Cruickshank, email@example.com or 617-898-2451
How is Milton thinking about academics for 2020–2021?
Learning in the Upper School is active and student-centered with varied opportunities for students to collaborate and demonstrate understanding. To ensure, to the best of our ability, the health and safety of our community, students returned in phases to a de-densified campus. Day student cohorts are made up of two groups, each on campus in alternating weeks. Boarding students are returning to our dormitories in phases beginning in January 2021 and will participate in in-person classes each week. Any student who wishes to remain fully remote may do so. Teachers redesigned courses to offer students learning experiences that take place both in synchronous class meetings and outside of those class meeting times, and with a focus on anti-racist curriculum development.
Why is the Upper School operating in a hybrid model?
In line with expert recommendations, we have chosen to de-densify our campus in order to maintain six feet of distance among students, faculty, and staff, in particular in classrooms, eating areas, hallways, and stairwells. To provide incremental space that will allow distancing and ensure proper air flow, we have repurposed areas as feasible, such as using the Athletic Convocation Center (ACC) for study and indoor eating space and turning a portion of the squash courts into classrooms. Consequently, day students have been grouped into two cohorts, each on campus in alternating weeks. We expect this model to continue through the 2020–21 academic year, although the makeup of the cohorts will change when we introduce boarding in January 2021.
Why are such a large number of faculty working remotely?
As with many organizations and institutions, we have purposefully provided faculty and staff the freedom to make their own health and safety-related decisions regarding in-person teaching during this uncertain time. Currently, roughly a third of the Upper School faculty are teaching remotely. Depending on each student’s class schedule, they may have more or less than a third of their classes being taught remotely.
Where can I find the academic calendar?
The 2020–2021 calendar—available at milton.edu—is subject to change. There will not be a designated exam week (in December or January) to allow teachers the greatest flexibility to assess students in various ways over the course of the first semester.
What does the daily schedule look like?
Classes take place from 8:05 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. (ET) in a structured, five-day model. The schedule permits most remote learners to participate in many of their class meetings during reasonable waking hours. Some classes may be recorded. Because some students may remain remote, full class meetings as well as flex periods will remain as part of our structure for the year.
When all students are learning remotely, each full course (including semester courses) will convene for two periods a week via Zoom, using the same meeting times that those classes would use on campus.
Please see the Upper School academic program page for sample schedules.
How will my child receive feedback this year?
Teachers will be regularly providing both summative and formative feedback. Grades will be given on a quarterly basis, as will individualized comments. Advisors will remain in close contact with their advisees and their teachers, and will be the primary contact point for families.
Can students elect to take courses fully remotely?
Yes. Any family may elect to have their child learn remotely. Any family wishing to discuss their student’s enrollment status should contact Dean of Enrollment Paul Rebuck (see Enrollment section above).
What should I do if I have concerns about my student’s access to technology?
We want to ensure that every student has access to the technology they need to be successful this year, in remote or hybrid form. Students are expected to have their computers and chargers with them for all classes, as well as a set of headphones. Remote learners will need access to their own device, and adequate internet access to participate in remote classes. Milton will work with families to help ensure that students’ technology needs are met. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s access to appropriate technology, please contact our Academy Technology Services department at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the Middle School’s guiding principles this year?
Our goal for the year is to continue to foster respect for self and others, appreciation of differences, and responsibility for one’s actions. Our grade-level teams will work together to create a community that supports our young adolescents as they experience significant intellectual, social, emotional and physical change. We value time for teachers to connect with students as well as collaborative opportunities for both teachers and students. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion work for all students and adults. We strive to meet the specific learning needs of each student and value the different perspectives and styles of all learners.
Changes this year, in response to the ongoing pandemic, will include more time in our advisory program; robust arts offerings for each grade; the opportunity for all students to be physically active in a PE program; a deliberate and intentional computer skills course for every student in the Middle School; and a 360 class for every student, which includes executive functioning and social-emotional courses. In addition, a particular focus will be placed on on cultural competency, developing co-curriculum, and evaluating our teaching practices from an anti-racist perspective.
What is a cohort model and what are its advantages?
The Middle School will divide students into small groups (cohorts of 10–15 students) that will remain with each other throughout the day in order to help mitigate any potential virus transmission. These cohorts will be composed of two advisory groups. Cohorts will be assigned a homeroom, and teachers will move between homerooms for all classes other than science and physical education. In addition to promoting student safety, these cohorts will provide stable, consistent peer support for students.
How will the Middle School help support my child after the experience of remote learning this past spring?
We recognize that the experience of shifting to remote learning this past spring was a significant transition for our Middle School students from both an academic and social-emotional perspective. Our 2020-21 program design and approach to instruction is grounded in the essential need to support students in navigating the many changes and challenges they have faced in recent months.
Our advisory program will provide students a consistent space to share their perspectives, questions, and concerns, and advisors will communicate regularly with families to discuss each student’s progress and experience.
Can students elect to take courses fully remotely?
Yes. Any family may elect to have their student take courses remotely. Every student will have the opportunity to be equally successful in class whether they are learning on campus or at home, remote or in person. Any family who wishes for their student to remain remote for the entire semester must contact the dean of enrollment (see Enrollment section above).
How will the Middle School transition to remote learning if necessary?
Given uncertainty around the pandemic, families should anticipate the need to make adjustments during the year. In the event that the Middle School moves to a fully remote model based on recommendations and official guidelines from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and/or health and safety experts, we will maintain the same schedule as in-person learning. By maintaining this schedule, students will remain in cohorts, which will allow us to have small classes for discussions and collaboration over Zoom.
There will be three options for how core classes (including arts and physical education) will run remotely. While this may vary from subject-to-subject (and week-to-week) based on class needs, the weekly schedule will be determined in advance and shared with students and families. Please see the Middle School academic program page for additional information.
What should an ideal remote-learning study space look like?
A remote-learning study space could be the same as your child’s current study space or it could be completely different. Ask your child what their preference might be. Just as every student learns differently, every student might need different things out of their study space. A study space could be somewhere private like a bedroom or office, or could be less private like in the kitchen or family room. Above all, study spaces should be consistent, conducive to learning needs, and free from distractions. Make sure that your child has a clear and organized workspace and access to materials such as a power cord, pen/pencil, paper, and textbooks. A water bottle and snack are also good to have in a study space; whereas, cell phones and TV are not, as they can lead to distraction. However, these are great rewards to provide after work has been completed.
What support will be in place for my child with a documented learning disability?
Should our program transition to online learning, a learning specialist will work with each grade-level team to develop new helpful teaching strategies for each student. These strategies will be added to the Individualized Learning Guide (ILG) for each student and updates will be sent to both parents and teachers. One-on-one meetings with either the learning specialist or individual teachers may also be included as part of the approach.
Students should continue to advocate for themselves and are encouraged to meet individually with their teachers and be in touch with the learning specialist if specific questions come up. The learning specialist will offer an affinity space for students to meet online in order to talk about other supports as well. Teachers will continue to differentiate curricula in order to meet the needs of students, especially during remote learning. If you have further questions, please contact the Middle School Learning Specialist, Liz West.
How is the Lower School approaching teaching and learning this year?
We believe that what will be best for our students’ learning is to design classroom experiences that are responsive to their needs, development, and interests and to our current context, rather than attempting the closest resemblance to school as we have previously known it. We remain committed to the rich content and high expectations of first-rate academics, and we are using current research in the field to leverage our current limitations as unique opportunities for creativity and growth in the areas of teaching and learning and to design exciting programmatic offerings not previously offered.
Why do we feel it is important to keep Lower School students in ‘pods’?
To help mitigate any potential virus transmission from classroom to classroom, Lower School students and teachers will be limited to their classrooms. This means that teachers and students from one pod will not be permitted to interact with people from other pods.
Are specials teachers (music, art, physical education, music) teaching all Lower School students?
Specials teachers have traditionally taught all of our Lower School students. After consulting experts, we have decided that this approach would be untenable from a health and safety standpoint. We also know that elementary students benefit academically, socially, and emotionally from the presence—in all senses of the word—of our talented specials teachers in their learning journeys, a presence best achieved in person whenever possible. Given these challenging times and the heightened need to see and support each individual child whenever they are in our classrooms, we believe that our students will benefit profoundly from the consistent presence of two lead teachers in their school lives.
What about specials curriculum?
Research from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (with whom we are partnering) offers educators teaching strategies that will best serve our students within the unique challenges of the pandemic. While we will not attempt to replicate the entirety of our typical specials curriculum for this year, our dual-teacher teams for each class are working with our dean of teaching and learning to drive the design of interdisciplinary curricula that incorporate their own areas of expertise, elements of social studies, the arts, and physical fitness, as well as the interests of their students.
Are there enough specials teachers to be assigned to every Lower School classroom?
Drawing from our K–5 specialists and other talented educators in our community, we project we will have enough additional teachers to add to each of our 14 homerooms.
Can students elect to participate fully remotely?
Yes. Any family may elect to have their student take courses remotely. If you are interested in learning more about our concurrent learning option, please contact the dean of enrollment Paul Rebuck at email@example.com. See Enrollment section above for more information.
How will the Lower School transition to remote learning if necessary?
Learning from our spring remote learning experience, we are already planning for the possibility of remote learning. If students are, in fact, on campus for some period of time in the fall, they will learn skills and tools (learning platforms like Seesaw and Google Classroom, using their iPad in school and remotely, etc.) that make the transition to remote learning easier for them.
How have we enhanced our remote learning program?
After analyzing parent and faculty feedback and student work from the spring we have worked to expand communication and support for parents, streamlined the learning platforms that our families will use, engaged faculty in remote learning teacher training, and planned for additional student support. Grade-by-grade enhancements will include support from our new dean of teaching and learning.
What will lunch look like?
After careful consideration, we will be suspending food service until further notice. Students are asked to bring a nut-free lunch and snacks from home and will eat lunch outdoors under tents or in classrooms. Lunch periods will be supervised to ensure that social distancing expectations are met.
How does our pod system affect the after school program?
In order to preserve the integrity of our classroom pods, we are unable to offer our After School Program (ASP) at this time. To account for this change, our school day will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. for all Lower School students. We are currently considering additional coverage for families that have childcare needs after 3:45 p.m.
Will students wear masks in school?
All faculty, staff, and students are expected to wear masks on campus except during a mask break. Students are free to bring masks from home or use masks provided by the School.
What about recess and movement breaks?
With the physical and mental health of our students in mind, we will be modifying our daily schedule to provide students with increased movement breaks, scheduled mask breaks where students will take a break outside to safely remove masks, daily mindfulness, regular community connections, frequent hand washing breaks, and additional recess time. We are using research and practice from school systems around the world that promote play as essential to the school experience and incorporate outdoor breaks for students throughout the school day. We have the space and scheduling flexibility to give our students the breaks and opportunities for play and movement that are so essential to their well-being at this time.
What is the current plan to return boarding students to campus?
We will reopen all eight of our dormitories for a phased return of boarding students beginning on January 7. In order to best protect the students and adults on campus, we will maintain a de-densified campus and limit almost all of our dorm rooms to one student. We are therefore unable to accommodate all boarding students for the entire period between winter break and Graduation. However, all boarding students will have the opportunity to live in the dormitories for at least a portion of the time between winter break and Graduation.
Boarding students will return as follows:
- Class I and Class IV boarders will return to campus for the entire period between winter break and Graduation (except for spring break, when we currently anticipate asking boarders to leave campus).
- Class III boarders will return to campus between winter break and spring break.
- Class II boarders will return to campus between spring break and Graduation.
We will also continue to offer a fully remote learning program for any students who wish to remain off campus. Boarding students wishing to attend on-campus classes as temporary day students may do so.
If a significant number of boarders elect to stay remote or remain as temporary day students, we may have the ability to revisit some elements of this plan, including allowing some students to return to the dorms for longer periods of time.
Why aren’t all boarders able to return for the period between winter break and Graduation?
To best protect the health and safety of the Milton community, we are minimizing the number of double-occupancy rooms. As a result, the School does not have capacity to accommodate all boarders for the entire period. If many boarders elect to stay remote or remain as temporary day students, we may have flexibility to revisit some of our invitations.
Why have Class I and Class IV students been prioritized?
We give Class I students the opportunity to experience their final months as Milton students on campus. In addition, Class I students can provide invaluable leadership in the dorms. As a group, Class IV students are least likely to know one another or their fellow boarders, and to give these students the opportunity to forge tighter connections, we have given them priority, too.
Will I have a single or double room? Can I choose?
The vast majority of students will have single-occupancy rooms. To ensure that returning boarders can live in their assigned dorms, we will likely use some of our larger double-occupancy rooms where we can maintain eight feet or more of sleeping and working distance between students. Bunk beds will not be used. We cannot commit to honoring families’ preferences for single or double rooms.
When exactly will boarders return to campus? What are the onboarding requirements?
Boarders will return to campus in groups beginning on January 7 following a required 14-day quarantine at home. Boarders must also obtain a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus.
Upon return to campus, boarders will spend an additional period of time quarantining in their rooms (five days) and then their dorms (four days), for an on-campus quarantine period of nine days total, during which time they will learn remotely from their rooms. After three negative COVID-19 tests on campus, boarders will attend class in person beginning on Tuesday, January 19. Following the quarantine period, COVID-19 testing will be required at least twice per week for dorm community members (students, dorm staff, and their families).
What happens if a student needs to isolate (due to testing positive for COVID-19) or needs to quarantine (due to exposure to a COVID-positive individual)?
Students who need to quarantine will be asked to do so at home, if possible. Students who need to isolate will do so in the health center or at home, depending upon the circumstance. The newly renovated Faulkner Health Center is equipped with 11 rooms with private bathrooms and ventilation that can be used for isolation and quarantine purposes. Nurses will be in the health center 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A Boston Children’s Hospital physician will be on campus two days per week and also available daily for telehealth appointments and regular program consultation.
What if the School goes fully remote?
If a transition to remote learning is expected to be for two weeks or less, students will learn remotely from their dorm rooms unless there is a specific concern about transmission of the virus within the dorm. If a transition to remote learning is expected to exceed two weeks, students will leave the dorm and return home or their local place of residence for the remote learning period. All students, international and domestic, who return to campus as boarders are required to have on file with the Deans’ Office an emergency plan to be used in the case of campus closure or move to 100 percent remote learning for all students for an extended period of time. This pre-approved emergency plan must include the contact information of a caregiver in the U.S. with whom the student could stay. The plan must include the full name of the caregiver, their address, mobile phone number, and email address, as well as their relationship to the student, such as family member, family friend, etc. The School will not release students to adults under the age of 25 years old or to housing in which there is no adult.
What are the plans for spring break?
At this time, we do not plan to change the dates of spring break, March 12–29. We currently anticipate asking all boarders to leave campus for spring break. Possible ways to support boarding students unable to travel home remain under consideration. Class I, II, and IV boarders will return to campus after spring break with the same onboarding protocols used in January.
Will students be able to leave campus? Can families visit students on campus?
In general, no. The blue card system of permissions for off-campus movement will be replaced with a series of tight restrictions on boarder movement. Boarders may go off-campus only for activities supervised by Milton Academy personnel. They may not participate in other off-campus activities, including club sports, nor may they go home on weekends or to other students’ homes at any time. No visitors, including parents, will be permitted in the dorms and students may not leave with family members. Initially, families will not be permitted to visit students outside the dorms. We may relax this limitation if conditions permit.
Will students be able to move freely within and across dorms?
The students residing in a given dorm are the only students who may enter that dorm. Day students and students from other dorms may not enter. No boarders may visit faculty residences. Boarders may mix with other residents of their own dorms in common spaces (with masks, at six feet distance). Boarders across dorms can come together for supervised activities held outside of dorms on weeknights and weekends (with masks, at six feet distance). No visitors, including parents, will be permitted in the dorms.
What accommodations have been made to dorm spaces due to COVID?
To improve air flow and filtering, HEPA filters have been placed in each dorm room, in hallways, and common spaces (where indicated by an independent consultant) for improved air flow and filtering. Common rooms will be de-densified. Bathrooms will be assigned by floor, and their maximum occupancy will be based on the number of fixtures and ability to distance while using them. Cleaning will continue daily as usual, with added attention to high-touch areas and bathrooms.
What will dining look like?
Meals will be open only to boarders. Boarders will eat dinner by dorm each night in de-densified settings. Both grab-and-go and distanced dine-in options will be provided for other meals. Snacks will also be provided during the day and at night.
What programming will be available to boarding students (co-curriculars, athletics, weekend programming)?
We plan to offer athletic and arts options in the afternoons. The pattern for a typical weekend is being determined, but we are making extra effort to ensure there is a range of safe activities for students, including opportunities for recreation.
Will day and boarding students be allowed to engage with one another?
Day and boarding students will mix on campus while supervised during the week (classes, athletics, school-sponsored activities) up until 6 p.m. Day students may not be on campus for evening or weekend activities, with the exception of athletic practices or games. Day students may not enter dorms. Boarders may not leave campus with day students.
Will temporary day students be able to remain as such? Will boarders be able to maintain their remote status?
Yes. Boarding students who wish to maintain their temporary day status or remain remote should use the Spring 2021 Boarding Decision Survey to indicate that preference no later than Friday, December 4. Any families who wish to change their enrollment status after Friday, December 4, should contact Dean of Enrollment Paul Rebuck at firstname.lastname@example.org. As in the fall, all boarding students will remain a part of the boarding program, whether they join us on campus, attend as temporary day students, or are learning remotely.
Will boarders who are remote be able to have any engagement with their dorm? If so, what will this look like?
Yes. House heads and student leaders will regularly coordinate dorm gatherings that include remote boarders and activities. Each House has a CampusGroup space and house heads and leaders will use that space to keep the community connected. Additionally, Tuesday community time will be regularly used by the houses to allow the entire dorm to gather and connect.
Will day students’ movement be restricted on campus?
Yes. Day students will have access to only those facilities designated for Upper School student use. They may not enter dorms. Additionally, day students will not be allowed to leave campus until the end of their last in-person commitment. Students in violation of this policy will shift to remote learning for a period of time, to be determined by the Deans’ Office.
If my day student will be remote, regardless of the school’s plans, who should I contact?
Families interested in having their day student learn remotely for the second semester should contact Dean of Enrollment Paul Rebuck immediately to discuss this option (see Enrollment section). Day students who have already received remote enrollment status for the fall will keep that status unless the dean of enrollment is advised otherwise.
STUDENT LIFE AND ATHLETICS
How will lunch be served?
After careful consideration, we have suspended Milton Academy’s food service for day (and temporary day) students, faculty and staff, including both the lunch program and snack bar, until further notice. In making this decision, the School reviewed dining guidelines issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Public Health requirements, and findings from a privately commissioned report on independent day school re-opening by Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&E). As part of that assessment, the School determined that to safely operate a dining program, it would need to remove all self-service lunch options (such as salad, sandwich, and pasta bars) and/or reconsider food service in ways that would significantly reduce choice, limit the time students would have to eat, and disrupt academic schedules while increasing virus-, dietary- and allergy-related risks.
All day students should bring a nut-free lunch and snacks from home each day, including any condiments, silverware, napkins, etc. This will ensure that all students know who prepared and packaged their food, how utensils or other complementary items were sourced, and that any dietary and allergy-related requirements are met. Students will eat outside under tents (for as long as weather permits) and/or in designated areas (Upper School) or classrooms (Middle and Lower School) that will allow distancing. Starting in January 2021, boarding students living in the dorms will be provided both grab-and-go and distanced dine-in options, depending on the meal, as well as snacks. These steps together will help the School minimize transmission risks associated with in-school dining. In addition, adults supervising lunch will be able to fully focus their efforts on lunch-time health and safety requirements, including distancing.
Any families with concerns about their ability to provide lunch to their child each day should contact Chris Kane, Director of Financial Aid, at email@example.com or 617-898-2239.
Will the snack bar be open?
No. The snack bar will also be closed until further notice. Similar to dining halls, the snack bar also presents congregation and other risks that the School seeks to minimize during the phase-in process. Families may wish to pack snacks in addition to lunches. The school intends to pilot an afternoon snack offering in December. Starting in January, boarders living on campus will be provided with a daytime and evening snack.
Can students order food from off campus and have it delivered?
Food cannot be delivered to campus until further notice.
Can students leave campus during lunch or after school?
Students are not permitted to leave campus during the day except with their parent or guardian. Day students are permitted to leave only after their last in-person academic obligation of the day. Students found in violation of this policy will shift to remote learning for a period of time to be determined by the Deans’ Office.
Will the bookstore be open?
The bookstore is open online for coursebooks and Milton Academy clothing and giftware. Information about opening and hours starting January 2021 will be announced prior to the beginning of the new year. Please call the bookstore manager, Kevin Mullins, at 617-898-4110 with any questions.
Will daily buses be in operation?
Yes. As in prior years, the School has contracted with Local Motion to meet our day-student transportation needs for grades 6 through 12. This year, we offer five routes to support expected volumes while adhering to state, independent expert, and bus company COVID-19-related social distancing requirements. While all stops available will remain the same as last year, the exact times and specific route sequences are subject to change prior to and during the year based on volumes, COVID-19 bus capacity guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and independent experts, and Local Motion’s guidelines. More information is available at www.milton.edu/bus.
Students must follow all directions of the bus driver as well as guidelines issued by the School. In particular, all COVID-related guidelines announced related to seating, distancing, mask wearing, etc. must be followed. Any student who does not follow the guidelines will no longer be allowed to ride the bus.
Will there be interscholastic athletics this year?
The Independent School League will not offer the traditional full slate of league games this fall or winter, nor will it confer league championships or awards. Milton nevertheless remains committed to providing athletic experiences, including, as safety guidelines permit, practices, physical training, intramural activities, and physical education classes. Day students who have been cleared by testing are able to participate in practice during their on-campus and remote weeks. Additional details about specific teams, including practice schedules, will continue to be shared by coaches.
Will any visitors be allowed to campus?
No. The health and safety of our community members, and the health and safety of anyone who may visit campus, is our top priority. As such, we will not be allowing visitors to campus for the foreseeable future, with the exception of necessary vendors and contractors who will follow applicable health and safety protocols. Rentals of spaces on Milton Academy’s campus that would cause gatherings (including athletic rentals) have been suspended. We will continue to monitor the situation to determine when it is safe to allow for visitors to Milton’s campus.
How will Milton provide counseling and mental wellness programs?
Milton recognizes that caring for students’ emotional wellness is critical. School counselors will meet with students as needed. In addition, our counselors will continue to help connect families to appropriate support. Particular attention will be paid to opportunities for physical, wellness, and mindfulness activities. For more information, please contact counseling director Lisa Morin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will the College Counseling Office work with students this fall?
The College Counseling Office held virtual one-on-one meetings with students this past spring and will continue to do so throughout the 2020–21 academic year. Understandably, the focus of that fall work will center on Class I students.
How will students and families find out about changes to the college admissions process?
The College Counseling Office will continue to monitor changes to college admission procedures and work closely with college and university colleagues to adjust its student guidance accordingly. Please know the office will communicate regularly with students and families, most often through Schoology posts and periodic letters home; these communications will contain updated information on or important changes to the college admissions process.
What is the counseling process for Class I students this year? Will the College Counseling Office be available to help students through the college application and admissions process?
Yes. Students looking for assistance should feel free to email their college counselors at any time during the 2020–2021 academic year.
CAMPUS BUILDINGS AND OPERATIONS
May I visit campus?
No. The health and safety of our community members, and the health and safety of anyone who may visit campus, is our top priority. As such, we will not be allowing visitors to campus for the foreseeable future, with the exception of necessary vendors and contractors who will follow applicable health and safety protocols. Rentals of spaces on Milton Academy’s campus that would cause gatherings (including athletic rentals) have been suspended. We will continue to monitor the situation to determine when it is safe to allow for visitors to Milton’s campus. At this time, visitors to the Admission Office and other School departments will not be permitted. Our admission team is excited to connect remotely with prospective students for tours and interviews. Please visit the School’s Admission webpage or contact email@example.com for more information.
How has Milton Academy changed its operations in response to COVID-19?
We have been working diligently to address the current and prospective needs of all our community members under COVID-19. All work schedules and protocols for employees and contractors have been adjusted and social distancing is in place. COVID-19-work safety training has been delivered to all employees currently working on campus. We continue to modify these protocols as new circumstances and directives emerge.
How has Milton Academy prepared its buildings for the 2020–21 school year?
Many changes—from HVAC to bathrooms to cleaning—have been made in recognition of COVID-19 health and safety needs. The health and safety of everyone on our campus is our first priority. As a result, the school has engaged external experts to ensure that the campus is physically prepared. Please see the Health & Safety section for more information.
Can Milton Academy still receive mail?
Yes. While our mailroom continues to receive and process mail and deliveries, we are doing so with revised protocols to protect staff health and safety, which includes eliminating in-person pick-ups. Social distancing protocols are in place. To protect the safety of our staff, we will continue to evaluate hours of operation given local conditions as well as state and local government guidance.
How can I best help Milton Academy during this time?
As Milton Academy upholds its mission during these unprecedented times, we continue to pay employees and maintain other financial commitments that enable delivery of our academic program and services. In addition, the School has significantly increased its expenditures to prepare for re-opening (see “Enrollment & Financial Policies” below for more information). Contributions to Milton Academy through the Milton Fund are incredibly valuable, as they provide a meaningful portion of our annual operating budget. Milton Fund donations this year will not only help us meet the changing needs of teaching and learning in this environment, which require significant investments in technology and classrooms, but will also help fund new costs related to community health and safety such as testing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and HVAC modifications.
How has Milton Academy supported the surrounding community?
Milton Academy has maintained its strong working relationship with the Town of Milton. To date, the School has made multiple donations in support of the surrounding community, including:
- Personal protective equipment (goggles/gloves/lab coats/masks) and hand sanitizer to hospitals and the Milton Department of Health
- Food to the Milton Food Bank and other local organizations
- Supplies to the Milton Police Department
In addition, Milton Academy has been in close contact with the Town to offer assistance to the emergency management committee in multiple ways. Our outdoor fields and track continue to serve as recreation areas for Town residents outside of school hours (school is in session between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.).