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. The goal of this page is to provide the latest updates from our school, as well as academic and health-related resources valuable to our entire community.
Our 2021-22 academic year began on campus on Wednesday, August 25. The start of the year will include Covid-19 testing and safety protocols outlined here. As with 2020-21, we will continue to follow the guidance of health experts, as well as our medical task forces that have been providing recommendations since the pandemic began. 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.
- Masking: We will comply with the state’s mask mandate, and all persons on campus will wear masks when indoors. Masks must fit well around the mouth and nose, and they should be cleaned or replaced regularly. Cloth neck gaiters may not be worn as masks. Masks will not be required when eating and drinking or while exercising. We will restart our Lower School swimming program, and during those classes students will be distanced but not masked.
- Testing: We will Covid test all students and adults on campus weekly during at least the first month of school. If we can establish a very low rate of positive results after the first few test runs, we will likely stop testing anyone who has shown proof of full vaccination; an exception will be students in the Lower School, whom we will test on a regular basis regardless of vaccine status and in a cadence our medical team recommends. We expect to administer weekly tests for a time but hope to achieve a track record of low positivity and no on-campus transmission that will allow us to shift to a less frequent cadence of testing.
- Large indoor gatherings: For at least the early part of the school year, we will not hold large indoor gatherings such as seated lunch or chapel. Once we have established a baseline of campus infection rates, we plan to return to modified group activities as we are able.
- Home monitoring and Covid Decision Tree: All adults and students should be evaluated each day before coming to campus. We have updated the Covid Decision Tree and will use that as a guide for positive cases.
- Classrooms: As was the case last year, we will keep windows open in classrooms to maintain airflow, and each classroom is equipped with a HEPA air purifier. MERV-13 filters, which capture more particles than standard filters, were installed on all rooftop HVAC units at the beginning of last year, and those are changed on the schedule recommended by the manufacturer. Finally, similar to last year, most instructional spaces will allow for distancing of four to six feet with no spacing less than three feet between students in a classroom in accordance with CDC recommendations.
- Buses: Tranquest will again provide our regular bus service as well as the six late routes for Middle and Upper School students participating in after-school activities. All riders will be masked on the buses, and Tranquest will maintain a seating chart for each route in the event that we need to perform contact tracing. We will continue to have several windows open on each bus to increase airflow. We will no longer require siblings to sit together. Our experience last year – confirmed by our contact-tracing data – showed that masking and ventilation on the bus prevented any transmission of the virus among riders.
- Vaccinations: According to the CDC and leading medical authorities, vaccinations are the best defense against the spread of COVID and also minimize the risk of hospitalization. We strongly encourage anyone eligible to get the vaccine as soon as possible. As of now, vaccines are available for individuals ages 12 and older. As mentioned above, we hope to end testing of our vaccinated population soon after school starts, and current CDC guidelines do not require quarantine for anyone who is vaccinated should they have contact with a positive case. We do not plan to offer distance learning this year, so vaccination is the best way to ensure that students do not miss class because of a quarantine.
- After-school activities: After-school athletics and fine arts offerings will again be available for Middle and Upper School students. Before and Aftercare will still be available for Lower School students, and we will reintroduce Enrichment Programs as well. Covid protocols of distancing and masking will be observed during all indoor activities.
- Athletics protocols: We encourage and welcome all Bulldog fans to campus to cheer on your favorite Norfolk Academy teams. For indoor events, all spectators are required to wear a two-ply mask, covering both the nose and the mouth. Please strive to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from non-household members. For outdoor events, we are mask-optional; all spectators have the option to wear a mask, but masking is not required. Please strive to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from non-household members.
- August 25: First day of school (8:15 a.m.)
- September 2: College Night for seniors and parents (7 p.m., virtual)
- September 6: No classes, Labor Day
- September 7: No classes, Rosh Hashanah
- September 9: Upper School Parents Night (6:30 p.m.)
- September 13: Middle School Parents Night (6:30 p.m.)
- September 14: Lower School Parents Night (6:30 p.m.)
- September 16: No classes, Yom Kippur
Norfolk Academy Counselors
As we experience the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in our daily lives, we are united as a Bulldog community in meeting this challenge. 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.