July 9, 2020
Dear Andover families,
The school’s leadership is eager to share Andover’s plans for the fall term, and heartened by the opportunity to welcome students to campus in the safest manner possible. The trustees have asked Dr. Raynard Kington, our 16th head of school, to work with the senior administration on a plan that establishes the highest standards of opening campus safely, deliberately, and with a public health framework as our guide.
We greatly appreciate your continued patience and understanding. Families will hear directly from Raynard tomorrow, July 10, regarding Andover’s plans and program options for this coming academic year.
To ensure that families have extra time to review this material, a new July 24 commitment date—when tuition becomes due and deposits become non-refundable for the coming school year—replaces the previous commitment date of July 15.
I write today to explain some important principles articulated by the trustees for fulfilling our educational mission while meeting best practices from a health and safety standpoint.
In the midst of a profoundly changing public health landscape, the Andover experience—every school experience—will look and feel different from any previous year. Many families may choose to have their students remain home. Other students may be prevented from returning to campus or required to quarantine under state and federal travel restrictions.
As always, Andover will create a program that embraces all of our students. As such, we expect a significant component of the curriculum to remain online. Building on lessons learned from the spring term, our faculty engaged this summer in intensive professional development, which included a partnership with One Schoolhouse to design remote teaching and learning experiences of the highest caliber. Andover’s commitment to our community’s wellbeing, support for students, and an exceptional curriculum remains paramount.
In support of the reopening plan, the trustees have committed to a significant investment in testing capacity, dorm de-densification, and provision of adequate PPE and symptom and contact tracing capabilities. We are confident that the plan’s approach is appropriately positioned to protect the health and safety of the community. At the same time, the still unpredictable course of the virus demands that we remain nimble. We must be prepared to act quickly and in the best interest of our community should the pandemic worsen.
The announcement of Andover’s plans tomorrow will be followed by a Town Hall Q/A session on Monday, July 13 at 8 p.m. ET (details forthcoming). These efforts are part of an ongoing partnership with families to keep you informed throughout the remainder of the summer and fall.
Guiding our community with strategic focus and strong institutional knowledge, Interim Head of School Jim Ventre ’79 passed the leadership baton to Raynard on July 1. As Jim returns to the helm in admissions, I want to thank him for his tireless work ethic and ever-present compassion during this extraordinary year. At the same time, we are fortunate to welcome the former president of Grinnell College and a renowned public health expert to Andover at this momentous time.
Prior to Grinnell, Raynard served as both acting director and principal deputy director at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to the NIH, he was a division director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, Raynard has collaborated with college and university presidents and the medical community to establish best practices and to weigh scenarios for reopening campuses safely.
Andover has benefitted tremendously from Raynard’s expertise, and his guidance over these last several weeks has been instrumental to Andover’s planning for fall term and beyond.
Of course, we all hope for the best possible outcomes this fall. It’s invigorating to think about our students and faculty reengaging in the deliberate work of pairing knowledge with goodness. The very kind of expansive education that defines Andover is more important than ever against a backdrop of historic challenge and uncertainty in our world. We remain committed to supporting our exceptional students in these difficult times.
Amy Falls ’82, P’19, ’21
President, Board of Trustees