COVID-19

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic forced Vermont Academy (VA) to take action to help alleviate the spread of the virus and preserve the health and safety of the VA community. Everyone rose to the challenge with character, resilience, and grace.

We are keenly aware that COVID-19 is still present in our global community and we face the continued need to implement policies and procedures that protect our community -- students, faculty, staff, and our families who live on campus and around us.

Please note: Students exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19 will be tested using our BD Veritor rapid antigen test at the family's expense.

We implore all members of the community to follow CDC guidelines, including the proper wearing of masks (preferably surgical-style paper masks) in identified areas. Please be conscious of when and where you are eating/drinking in public while traveling and do your best to limit unnecessary exposure to others. 

The following plan details reflect the thoughtful work of the COVID Task Force, the continuous monitoring of federal and state guidelines, collaboration with the Northern New England boarding schools, and consultation with medical experts. Though the plans presented here represent our most up-to-date thinking about the coming year, we will remain flexible in our approach and our response. Our plan begins with an investment in stringent health and safety protocols, but allows us to adapt to changing conditions in order to provide a continuous and meaningful educational experience for all students.


We've included information about COVID-19 vaccination expectations and stateside guardianship needs below. Detailed, up-to-date CDC information about COVID-19 can be found at the bottom of this page.

Please email additional questions and concerns to the following people:

COVID-19 Vaccination Expectations

COVID-19 vaccines are required for all Vermont Academy students with limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons. Students are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final vaccine in the series. Booster vaccines are strongly encouraged for all eligible vaccinated students.

Information about COVID-19 vaccine requirements and exemptions can be found with other health forms in the student's Magnus health record.

Vaccine, testing and/or general medical questions can be addressed to Health Services staff using the nurse@vermontacademy.org email address.

Health & Wellness

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  • Are COVID-19 vaccinations required?

    COVID-19 vaccines are required for all Vermont Academy students with limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons. Students are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final vaccine in the series. Booster vaccines are strongly encouraged for all eligible vaccinated students.
     
  • Will there be testing?

    Students exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with COVID-19 will be tested using our BD Veritor rapid antigen test at the family's expense.
  • What happens if a student or faculty on campus tests positive?

    Once an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will begin a minimum of a full five days of isolation. Isolation will be five days from the day of the test or onset of symptoms.

    Campus residents will be isolated in identified quarantine housing. As per the handbook, parents within 250 miles of campus are responsible for retrieving any student with an infectious disease and caring for them at home.

    If the individual is not exhibiting any symptoms of illness and has been fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication then they may re-enter the VA community on day 6. If the symptoms are not improving, the individual will remain in isolation for a full ten days. 

    Individuals who return to the community after five days of isolation must remain strictly masked within the community for up to five additional days, but may re-enter activities, classes, and life on campus. CDC guidelines and research shows that in the vast majority of cases individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 but who are asymptomatic or have symptoms that are improving are no longer shedding the virus after five days. 

    Per Vermont Agency of Education guidelines, we are no longer contact tracing in-school close contacts but will continue to enforce masking and other mitigation strategies as well as monitor all students for emerging symptoms of disease.
  • How will students learn about the health and safety protocols and what’s expected of them on campus during the pandemic?

    Over the summer and again shortly after they arrive on campus, all students and families will receive important education and training about illness prevention, new routines and protocols on campus, and the imperative for all of us to help protect each other by taking steps to prevent disease transmission.
  • How will students be expected to modify their behavior on campus to help promote a healthy campus and minimize risk of infection to themselves and others?

    In accordance with public health guidelines about preventing transmission of the virus causing COVID-19, students will be expected to follow three basic principles: physical distancing and mask wearing when directed and hand washing/sanitizing.

    Students will need to wear masks when sick or when in densely populated areas like: 
    • Shepardson Center Dining Hall
    • Horowitz Performing Arts HallWilliams Gymnasium and Michael Choukas Jr. Skating Rink when indoor sporting events are taking place.

  • What cleaning measures will be implemented on campus?

    VA already thoroughly cleans shared spaces daily, including door handles and light switches. Housekeeping staff have been trained in specific COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection routines that include more frequent cleaning of high-use areas. Commonly touched surfaces in classrooms, bathrooms and other common areas will be wiped down between uses.

Life on Campus

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  • How will dorms be arranged on campus?

    Dorms will be arranged into smaller “family units” by floor, wing, or suite. Students in a family unit will be permitted to have closer contact with one another while in their area of the house. Masks should still be worn when directed. Students in a family unit will also share a bathroom. Furniture has been arranged to maximize social distancing and students will not be allowed to rearrange the furniture as they have in the past. This small group approach to residential life will reduce campus contacts while supporting community building.
  • How will classrooms and shared spaces be arranged?

    Classrooms and a variety of other shared spaces will be open to students on campus as the year begins, with appropriate density and physical distancing expectations in place. Students may be able to use Shepardson Center, Fuller Hall, the Center for Learning, and the Athletic Center, but new protocols will be in place to ensure health and safety and time for enhanced cleaning. Other common spaces will be evaluated and reconfigured as needed for appropriate use (e.g. lowering density) in alignment with health and safety guidelines.
  • What will academics look like?

    Our educational approach will provide for the safest in-person environment we can while still delivering our mission. The academic schedule will be developed into a flexible model that can respond to personal and world events and will offer students the opportunity to attend classes in-person. Guided by the feedback from and experiences of students, faculty, and families, we are in the process of finalizing the academic daily schedule.
  • What will athletics look like?

    To ensure that our campus stays healthy and safe, we have agreed to some important guidelines with the other schools in the Lakes Region League. Most importantly:
    All spectators in our gym or at our rink must wear masks and must be vaccinated against COVID-19. 
    Our rink and gym often experience large crowds of students, parents, and visitors. We have to be considerate of everyone and acknowledge risks.

    Here are the other guidelines we have agreed to with Lakes Region schools:

    Vermont Academy and The Lakes Region Schools will only compete against schools in which greater than 90% of the student body is fully vaccinated. Vermont Academy players and coaches are completely vaccinated, and our entire community is tested every Thursday. 
     
    Unvaccinated Athletes and Coaches
    • Vermont Academy and the Lakes Region Schools will compete against unvaccinated athletes and coaches, however, they are required to have a negative Covid-19 PCR test in the week preceding the contest (ideally within 72 hours.)
    Masks for Vaccinated Athletes and Coaches
    • Vermont Academy and the Lakes Region Schools will compete against vaccinated athletes and coaches without a mask required; however, masks must be worn by visiting athletes and coaches at all times while indoors at visiting schools while not in actual competition.
    • Those that are actively playing, coaching, and reffing can be maskless. All others, including those seated on the bench, need to be masked.
    • Vermont Academy is prepared to defer to our opponents if our opponents require mask wearing during competition.  
    Spectators and Locker Rooms
    • Vermont Academy and the Lakes Region Schools will allow spectators indoors to watch competitions. The expectation is that those spectators are vaccinated. There will be two clear sections: one for spectators and another for the Vermont Academy students and staff.
    • Vermont Academy and the Lakes Region Schools require spectators to wear masks at all times indoors. Spectators are responsible for bringing their own. Vermont Academy will not provide masks. If a spectator does not have a mask, the person will be denied admittance.
    • Vermont Academy and the Lakes Region Schools request that spectators who are not feeling well do not attend games.
    • Vermont Academy and the Lakes Region Schools will allow players to use locker rooms, adhering to the mask-wearing policies specified above.
  • What about the arts?

    Creative ways to learn and perform all art forms are being explored. Performance ensembles and classes will be limited in size and physical barriers when needed will be used to allow for appropriate protection of our students.
  • Can boarding students travel off campus?

    Any boarding student who needs to leave campus must request permission through the Office of Student Life, which will assess the request for both necessity and risk in conjunction with the Health Center. This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis, taking into account the prevalence of COVID-19 in our surrounding communities and at the student’s destination. If deemed necessary, they will be subject to quarantine and additional testing.
  • Can students visit colleges?

    College Counseling has already started working with students regarding the college search process, which will be different this year. Students have been encouraged to visit as many colleges as possible this summer. We are strongly encouraging students to take part in the virtual events that colleges are holding once classes begin.

Day Students

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The Important Role of Families

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  • How can families remain involved in the VA community?

    We are aware of the trust families place in us for the care of their students. As partners, we will work closely with families, recognizing the unique challenges and circumstances each has in dealing with COVID-19. We also ask for the ongoing patience and understanding of our families as we adapt to a continually changing landscape.

    Our Community Health Commitment outlines the expectations and responsibilities of our community members. There may be times when we call upon families to adhere to additional measures that help limit exposure and transmission so that together we can mitigate future outbreaks. We anticipate potential adjustments to our policy throughout the year due to changes in the COVID-19 outbreak.

    As always, we thank you for your commitment to your student’s health and holistic development, our entire student and adult community, and Vermont Academy.

Stateside Guardians for International Students

We are strongly recommending that families of all international students designate or retain a stateside guardian for this upcoming school year.

Stateside guardians help ensure student health and safety and facilitate student transportation while school is not in session or in the event of travel needs that fall outside of the school’s purview.

Guardianship will offer complete wraparound support and safety for our international students. Families can designate a trusted family member or friend who lives stateside or retain a guardian through a service. We recommend that the guardian lives within driving distance of Vermont Academy. For the 2022-23 school year, a stateside guardian will be required for enrollment. 

If you have specific questions about retaining a guardian or about selection of someone specific, please feel contact our Assistant Head of School for Student Life Mr. Brian Gilloran.

Education for Life - One Student at a Time

Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.