Update on Reopening Plans (August 4)

Dear Families,

As you can imagine, there has been quite a lot of activity on campus to create plans for reopening school in September. We are working each day to ensure that we can provide a safe and healthy school to which our students can return. We are relying on expert opinion and guidance as we work through this, and we always welcome input and questions from the Cape Cod Academy community. To facilitate input, we have created an email to make it convenient for you to share your ideas or your concerns. Please feel free to contact us at Reopening2020@capecodacademy.org.

Providing appropriate social distancing and protecting the health and well-being of all members of our community remain our top priority. We are confident that with deliberate planning, and using our entire campus, we can provide the same outstanding educational experience for our students that we always have while still meeting the state mandates and safety protocols.  

As explained in the reopening Zoom meetings during July, it is our intention to open school on September 8. In our planning, we considered the information disseminated by the Department Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as a resource. They have assembled a wealth of health and educational resources that are guiding schools across the state. Even though we are an independent school, we are following their safety and health recommendations in our reopening decisions. There are several detailed documents regarding facility preparation and proper protocols in the event of illness, which you can view on the DESE website. 

Cape Cod Academy is creating three separate plans so we are ready for all possible scenarios: a plan for complete in-person instruction, a plan for remote learning, and a hybrid model. Our school's task force members are busy finalizing those plans. It is our full intention to conduct in-person education for all grades five days a week. We understand that there may be some families, who for medical or other reasons, need to attend classes virtually. If you have such a need, please communicate directly with Lisa Kowaleski (lkowaleski@capecodacademy.org) to create a plan. 

The following details are provided to help you anticipate, prepare, and understand the reentry to campus. Please note that there are still some procedural decisions that we are discussing; we will share details regarding those as soon as we have them solidified.


Personal Protective Equipment
  • Cape Cod Academy will require all students (grades K-12) and adults to wear a proper face covering, unless there is a medical reason that prevents this. An acceptable face covering (mask or buff) must have two layers of fabric. Single layer masks/buffs are not sufficiently thick enough to provide coverage. If a member of our community chooses to wear reusable masks or buffs, they must be washed daily.
  • As outlined in the guidance for reopening schools, Cape Cod Academy will have a supply of disposable masks on hand for students and employees who forget to bring a mask on a given day.
  • Cape Cod Academy will also have gloves available.  

Health Screening
  • All students and staff will complete a health survey prior to September 8. This health survey (which will be posted on the school’s website) must be completed and submitted to the Nurse’s Office by September 4. Questions include: 
    • Have you traveled outside of New England in the past 14 days?
    • Do you have a fever, or have you felt feverish recently?
    • Do you have a cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing?
    • Do you have chills, muscle aches, or any other flu like symptoms?
    • Have you had a recent onset of a headache or sore throat?
    • Any recent loss of taste or smell?
    • Any recent GI upset?
  • Anyone who has traveled outside of the New England area will be expected to self-quarantine for two weeks as per the Massachusetts mandate. 
  • We ask everyone to limit travel and interaction with others outside of the Cape Cod Academy community for the two weeks prior to September 8. 

Daily Screening
  • Any person who is not feeling well is asked to stay home from school. 
  • Every person will undergo a daily health screening prior to entering the buildings on campus.
  • All students and staff will answer five questions about current health conditions:
    • Do you have a fever, or have you felt feverish recently?
    • Do you have a cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing?
    • Do you have chills, muscle aches, or any other flu-like symptoms?
    • Do you have any recent onset of headache or sore throat?
    • Any recent loss of taste or smell?
  • Our administrative team is developing a system to efficiently collect this health information.

  • We have determined the maximum occupancy for classrooms according to the 6’ separation recommendation provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For some middle and upper school sections, classes will meet in a larger space to accommodate proper distancing. 
  • We evaluated the size and layout of the lower school classrooms. We are repurposing some classrooms in order to accommodate proper spacing. 
  • Initially, lower school specialists will travel to grade-level classrooms to minimize traffic through the hallways.
  • We have evaluated the locations of middle and upper school classrooms in order to create “clusters” of classes, meaning that students move minimally if at all, in order to provide the safest environment.
  • All seats will be facing the same direction and students will have assigned seating in each room to facilitate proper distancing and contract tracing (if it becomes necessary).

Outdoor Space
  • Each lower school teacher will have a designated space outside of the lower school building to take the students out at any time.  
  • Middle and upper school teachers will also have designated spaces outside to take their classes at any time.
  • Currently, we can provide cover to some of the outside spaces, in the form of tents and tarps. We are also inventorying Cape Cod Academy’s resources in order to create viable spaces for outdoor classrooms that meet specific needs.
  • Barnstable Police is providing guidance to determine specific communication requirements to maintain student safety during outdoor classes.

Transitions Between Classes
  • We have measured and analyzed the space within different hallways, and we have planned traffic flow to alleviate congestion. This includes creating one-way hallways and stairways, as well as “in” doors and “out” doors.
  • We will use the multiple outside doorways to allow students to move outside between classes; this will serve as both a mask break and to assist with hallway traffic management.
  • Initially, lockers will be used only for personal belongings and lunches. Middle and upper school students will have a short access period to the locker area and then move on to their advisory period for check in. 

  • The HVAC setup is different throughout various areas of the school; improvements are being made on a room-by-room basis.  
  • When needed, upgraded filters will be installed on HVAC systems.
  • Fans will be provided in each classroom to improve air circulation.

  • Whenever students transition between classrooms or learning spaces, desks and applicable surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned.  
  • Hand washing/sanitizing stations will be located in each classroom and at building entrances.

Protocols for Suspected COVID-19
  • State and local heath officials have issued guidelines to respond to sick or symptomatic members of the community. Our response will mirror their recommendations to accommodate our unique K-12 environment.
  • These protocols include actions related to the following scenarios:
    • Positive test for COVID-19 from a student or staff 
    • Positive test for COVID-19 from a close contact of student or staff 
    • Student is symptomatic at home
    • Student is symptomatic at school
    • Staff is symptomatic at home
    • Staff is symptomatic at school
Since solutions and best practices appear to be fluid, some specific details included in this communication may change prior September 8. Again, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions at Reopening2020@capecodacademy.org.

Jeffrey Thompson Ian Carr P'27, P32 
Headmaster School Reopening Coordinator
Cape Cod Academy is one of the only independent, co-educational, college preparatory schools serving students from kindergarten to grade 12 on Cape Cod.