COVID-19: Updates and Resources
The Latest News, Information, and Valuable Resources from Norfolk Academy
Norfolk Academy's highest priority is the health and safety of all our students, and we are closely monitoring developments about the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak and following guidelines from medical authorities. This page's goal is to provide the latest updates from our school, as well as academic and health-related resources valuable to our entire community.
Our Phased Reopening Plan came together through the guidance of a Task Force, comprising, among others, top medical and health experts. We believe that all of our initiatives constitute the most painstaking and methodical approaches to safety that we could develop, ones that we hope will bring an added measure of confidence and underscore our determination to use every resource and asset available to us to safeguard our children, faculty, staff, and community.
As we have looked to the start of school, we have come to understand, with guidance from leading medical authorities, that a baseline testing regimen, designed to screen out any positive cases, will provide us the best opportunity to open school with attention to our primary objective, the health and safety of our students, families, and employees. We have arranged for Mako Medical Laboratories, LLC, based in North Carolina, to provide molecular/PCR tests in either a gentle nasal swab or saliva test format.
Our first cohort of testing – children in Grades 1-3 and faculty and staff – will take place on campus Thursday, August 27 and Friday, August 28. Test results will be processed over the weekend, any positive cases notified and given notice of quarantining, with students in Grades 1-3 then ready to report to school on Monday, August 31, for their first day of school. On that same day, students in grades 4-12 will begin in a distance learning mode.
We will continue our comprehensive COVID-19 testing with the goal of reaching full on-campus attendance by September 21. The following phased COVID-19 testing schedule provides a model and timeline for how we plan to achieve full attendance. These plans are predicated on a low number of positive cases and continued improving trends in the local community. Please note that tests are provided at no additional cost to families.
- Faculty and staff will be tested Thursday, August 27.
- Students in grades 1-3: Testing Friday, August 28. In-person classes begin for these students on Monday, August 31.
- Students in grades 4-6: Testing Friday, September 4. In-person classes begin Tuesday, September 8.
- Middle School students (grades 7-9): Testing Friday, September 11. In-person classes begin Monday, September 14.
- Upper School students (grades 10-12): Testing Friday, September 18. In-person classes begin Monday, September 21.
Throughout the school year, families with children in grades that are holding on-campus classes will be able to opt for our upgraded Distance Learning Plan.
We ask that families sign our Acknowledgement of Community Responsibility before beginning classes on campus.
We continue to have confidence in our ability to manage on-campus instruction in a healthy and safe manner. We have taken extensive safety measures to protect students and staff. These measures include an expanded health clinic, daily temperature checks, and upgrades to our buildings. In addition, masks will be required, students will be spaced apart at a safe social distance, and we are adjusting schedules to reduce student travel during each day.
Please read Headmaster Dennis Manning's August 12 letter to families, which expands on our reopening. We will continue to send updates through emails, our social media channels, and this page, to keep you apprised of developments as conditions evolve.
- Athletics/Fine Arts: On September 21, we will begin socially distanced after-school team workouts and dance, drama, and musical activities.
- Athletics: Fall team training camps will run for three weeks: Monday/Wednesday/Friday for Upper School students; Tuesday/Thursday for Middle School. Winter team camps begin in mid-October, spring teams in late October. The Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools athletic conference, in which we compete, is scheduled to begin its 2020-21 calendar in mid-November. Please read Director of Athletics Chad Byler's letter to families for more details.
- Fine Arts: Dance and drama activities will be offered Monday/Wednesday/Friday for Upper School students; Tuesday/Thursday for Middle School. Strings will be Thursday for Upper School, Friday for Middle School.
The following resources are provided for the Zoom meetings for 1 - 3 grade parents on August 27 and 4 - 6 grade parents on September 3.
Norfolk Academy Counselors
As we experience the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in our daily lives, particularly through the move to distance learning and the requirements of social distancing, we are united as a Bulldog community in meeting this challenge. Yet we know that families are facing unexpected stress and anxiety as a result of this significant disruption, and our school counselors are available to help.
If you would like to schedule a phone call or a Zoom meeting with a counselor, please contact them by email and provide times that you would be available to meet. They are monitoring their email, and they will get back to you promptly.