Dear Andover families,
Thank you all for the care and compassion you have shown during these weeks of incredible challenge and uncertainty. So many people, from our campus community to our extended global Andover family, have been generous with their support and gracious with their flexibility during this unprecedented health emergency.
We appreciate that working and living in a closely-knit community inspires our responsibility to the greater public health to limit the transmission of COVID-19 and to mitigate the strain on our health care systems.
At the same time, there are critical systems required to remain operational in support of the Academy. We extend our deepest gratitude to colleagues from the Office of Physical Plant, Central Services, Public Safety Office, Addison Security, Comptroller’s Office, and others whom the Academy has asked to work on campus to ensure excellence in services. I know you join me in thanking them for their selfless dedication to our collective effort.
Today’s updates relate to our plans around spring term academics, student wellbeing, community health, and campus resource partners.
With the support of the Board of Trustees, today it was decided that students will return to campus on April 30, and classes will resume in person on May 1. We appreciate your understanding that all decisions remain fluid as the national response to virus incidence continues to evolve. We will make a final determination on April 6 whether it is prudent to proceed with the April 30 plan or make a decision to complete the term online rather than on campus.
A faculty professional development program is scheduled for March 24-27. Faculty will convene remotely to review goals and outcomes of classes, learn about synchronous and asynchronous remote teaching tools, collaborate with colleagues in virtual department meetings, and have opportunities to gain technology support before working with students on March 30.
Given the extraordinary circumstances faced by faculty and students this coming term, we have decided that grades will be issued as pass/fail. With guidance from our academic leaders, this term’s assessment structure is meant to reduce stress and allow us to focus on the learning experience as best as possible. In consultation with college and high school colleagues, our College Counseling Office has expressed confidence that colleges will look at this trimester in the context of the pandemic and review transcripts with great flexibility. There will undoubtedly be countless high schools in the same situation as Andover. The CCO will be poised to answer questions and support students as the spring unfolds.
Caring for Students and Community Health Update
We continue to reach out to individual families to ensure that every student is well cared for and has a safe place to go over these next several weeks. We recognize that, as we have asked students to return home as soon as possible (most are already home), there are a few for whom that is impossible. Students who are worried about where to go until April 30 should reach out to Linda Carter Griffith or Jenny Elliott. As concerns are brought to their attention, they will work with students and families on an individual basis to ensure that all students are well supported.
Please know that we were informed earlier today by NEPSAC officials that an individual attending the NEPSAC Girls’ ice hockey tournament at The Worcester Ice Center on Sunday, March 8, has tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, we recently became aware of one confirmed presumptive case of COVID-19 in the Town of Andover.
We understand that the Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) informed the individual at the tournament that their contact with others at the tournament on March 8 would be identified as low risk. DPH asked those who attended the event to self-monitor for symptoms and to practice social distancing. We have contacted our team coaches, players, and their parents, as well as any spectators who we are aware attended the game. We are sending this broader communication now to ensure we reach everyone.
During this time away from campus, we ask members of our community to continue to practice good hygiene, while also self-monitoring for symptoms such as high fever, shortness of breath, and body aches. If you experience symptoms associated with seasonal flu or COVID-19, please be in touch with your health care provider and local health officials to determine the best course of action.
Answering Your Questions
The Academy’s COVID-19 response team continues to convene daily to consider the latest global and local developments and their impact on our community. We have designated individual members of that team as resources for our Andover community. Please direct your questions and concerns as noted below at any time. You will also hear from your resource person(s) very soon with more detailed information. This list can also be found on our COVID-19 website
Our aim is to consider the latest information with thoughtfulness and care, and to anticipate challenges ahead, while protecting the health and wellbeing of our campus community. With every decision, we must also consider the broader implications of our actions on the greater public health. Let’s work together to help one another through these difficult times.
Jim Ventre ’79
Interim Head of School
Community Liaisons and Resource Partners
Families and students – Linda Carter Griffith
, Jenny Elliott
, Amy Patel
Staff and administrators – Ferd Alonso
, Amy Patel
, Chris Joel
, Leeann Bennett
Faculty – Clyfe Beckwith
, Jeff Domina
, Raj Mundra
Coaches and student-athletes – Lisa Joel
Seniors and uppers (college counseling) – Sean Logan
, Kassy Fritz
Newly admitted students and families – Jill Thompson
Alumni – Thom Lockerby
, Tracy Sweet
Town of Andover – Ferd Alonso
, Chris Joel