(updated November 11, 2020)
Questions will be added and updated regularly. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, email Director of Upper School Kader Adjout.
For the latest Upper School information, visit the Upper School Expanded Learning page.
THE LOGISTICS (Winter term, groups, schedule)
Winter term starts November 30. Classes will continue to start at 9 a.m. in winter term.
Yes. Students may have a different group in winter term. Our schedule will remain the same for on-campus and online days. Therefore, if your student’s group shifts from fall to winter, that means they may be on campus different days after Thanksgiving Break. See the month-by-month breakdown here.
New groups will be announced within the first two weeks of November.
Yes, if that is what your family prefers, we will prioritize placing your children in the same group.
Yes, the Registrar sent a form for the students to complete that includes peer requests. Students received this form on October 20.
As soon as possible, but definitely before November 15. It is easier to accommodate requests to go from the hybrid program to fully remote rather than the reverse. We will use the fall information to create groups; however, if you were to change your mind, share this information with the Registrar’s Office so we can update our attendance.
We will keep this schedule as long as needed. We do not look at learning in terms of class time. We have reassessed our curricula to match the schedule. It is not about the breadth but about the depth.
Was there any thought into having Wednesday be the alternating day for Group 1 and 2? That way students both have 3 consecutive days in school without the weekend breaking it up.
Due to the different schedules on Monday and Wednesday, we could not make it work given the crossover teachers who teach both in Middle School and Upper School.
We will review the afternoon activities in advisory in the next few weeks. Students who have not made a choice yet will be able to do so. Students who want to change afternoon activity will also be able to do that.
Assuming we are on campus in late January, we plan to offer the PSAT for juniors on campus on January 26. 10th graders will be able to take the PSAT at Beaver in October of their junior year. Feel free to reach out to Danielle da Silva, Director of College Counseling, who can provide additional details.
Each school approaches teaching and learning in a way that works for them and they work with the space they have. At the moment, the hybrid model is the one that makes the most sense, pedagogically and health-wise.
TRAVEL & BREAKS
Has there been discussions around extending breaks or having school start remote after break as many families might be traveling or visiting with family?
We are discussing all of the potential scenarios. Our plan right now is to keep with our current schedule for breaks and ask that families consider that schedule as they make their plans.
The EIL is not scheduling games or tournaments for the fall sports season. Cross-country has been able to compete using technology and maximizing safety.
We are following all local and state guidelines, as well as, consulting with health officials regarding planning for our winter athletic season. We want our kids to play. We will do everything we can to create opportunities for this to happen while reducing risk for COVID-19. NEPSAC and all leagues are currently having conversations about the winter season. More details will be determined soon. For all the latest US Athletics, check out the Athletics page.
Besides Performing Arts events, students will also have the opportunity to showcase work they have done throughout the term in different classes. For some it may be a summative (end-of-term) piece of work, for others it may be something they did throughout the term. You can see all the performances that we have planned here.
Students have shared the following points on which we are working and planning to implement as soon as next week:
- Long blocks feel challenging and too long. We have shared clear expectations and best practices with teachers on how to best use the long block. Those include synchronous and asynchronous times, small and large-group discussions; project time; and breaks.
- Optional x-block. Starting next week
- Less screen time. This will be the case with our tweaks of the long blocks and the optional x-block
We are working with the Student Life + Equity Team as well as Mr. Liebowitz, the Grade Team Leader, and the class reps to plan senior-specific events. The Halloween Parade happening next week is one of them. There are other events that we typically host to celebrate seniors throughout the year and those will be maintained even if we need to tweak them as we adjust to the health situation.
We are planning programming activities to make sure kids connect and build a community.
This is slower than usual, for sure. Now that class reps have been elected, they will be part of the planning process and the designing of these activities. More grade-level meetings and events will happen. Student Council has also started its Color War challenges.
SYMPTOMS & TESTING
Yes. Please complete the form by 8:30 a.m. for Upper School. Completing the form at those designated times saves us a tremendous amount of time following up with you or your students each morning. The Daily Attestation helps you screen your student for symptoms each day.
If the student reports allergy-like symptoms, what are students supposed to do if they say 'yes' to any of the symptoms on the attestation?
The daily attestation is really intended to screen for COVID symptoms and not symptoms that can be attributed to something else, like allergies. This is indicated on several of the questions. The questions are looking to screen for the presence of those symptoms that morning. If anyone is concerned about a symptom, they can always contact the health office to discuss further. If a student is home, yet feeling well enough to attend classes, they are welcome to sign-on remotely to participate in class.
If a child had a mild headache one day (or another symptom compatible with COVID-19 and many other ailments) and stayed home on an on-campus day: (1) would the child know how to attend classes remotely that day? (2) Would a negative Covid-19 test or a different diagnosis from a physician be needed to return to school?
- Students are always instructed to go to their class Canvas page at the start of each class to join the class Meet/Zoom and see the agenda for the day.
- Yes. In the event that a student stays home due to experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, a negative test or a different diagnosis from a physician is needed to return to school.
Hopefully, we open for more people on campus, but at this time, we need to see how this stage works since it will inform what we do next and how we do it.
Is there a plan to get to students on campus 4 to 5 days per week—if circumstances warrant—in early spring?
Yes, the hope is to have more kids on campus every day. We need to be sure that we can do it not just from a safety and logistical standpoint, but in a way that preserves the Beaver educational experience, which is not a traditional lecture-based model. We are having more time with this phase because we will have two breaks and we need to see how things work out then. Also, we have reached the max number of days with the pendulum: 3 days on campus and 2 days at home.
Starting October 5, we will run this rotation for three to four weeks.
Every student in each division will have two days on campus and three days online. During Stage 2, we will be carefully monitoring how an additional 60 students on campus is impacting traffic flow in the hallways, common space use, and interactions.
If after three weeks to four weeks our health metrics are good, Stage 3 is next!
The On Campus Experience
This will depend on where we are on the pendulum swing. The most current rotation and schedule information can be found on the Upper School Expanded Learning Experience webpage.
We chose this pendulum approach because we believe it is a flexible approach to adapt to any health situations and requirements. No matter what the situation is, we have a schedule that will remain consistent. We hope to build on more on-campus days as the situation evolves and it is safe to do so.
When should this be completed?
Please complete the daily attestation form in Magnus each morning.
- Middle School by 7:30 a.m.
- Upper School by 8:30 a.m.
This should be done prior to your child’s departure for school, or before their school day begins online (the latter being a way for us to keep a general read on the health of our full community each day). The form includes a symptom checklist and taking your child’s temperature at home. Based on the responses to the symptom check-list, you will receive a message signaling whether or not you should be sending your child to school. Parents can download the Magnus app (Magnus Mobile v2) or log into the Magnus Health system. See sample symptom questions.
Your child needs to bring two (2) masks. Click here to read about the acceptable types of masks.
Hand sanitizer and wipes will be available throughout the building and in classrooms.
Additional things to consider:
- Laptop chargers
- Refillable water bottle
- Sunscreen and bug spray for when students are outside
Students should arrive on campus by 8:50 a.m. If your child does not have an afternoon activity (waiver), they need to be picked up at the end of the academic day. Afternoon Activities end at 4:30 p.m. For Athletics, please pick students up by 4:45 p.m. All students should leave campus by 5 p.m.
Students will need to carry their personal belongings with them; they will not be able to leave their belongings in spaces around campus.
Classrooms will be set up to ensure at least 6-foot physical distancing between students. There will be a maximum of nine students per classroom. We also are using our outdoor spaces for classes.
Students will continue to do collaborative work; this is at the core of what we do. Most of it will be done (as it is usually the case) on Google documents and other collaborative tech tools. Brainstorming and other short classroom group activities will continue too. Students will use markers that will be given to them. Again, collaborative tech tools will also be used for these activities.
We will dedicate some time during the day for office hours and extra help. During our 100-minute blocks, teachers will also have feedback and question time for students.
- For more information about transportation click here.
- If you would like to purchase a monthly T-pass, complete this form.
All questions about transportation can be directed to Kellie Sullivan at email@example.com.
All students riding public transportation and carpooling with other families should practice social distancing, wear masks, and comply with hand hygiene practices as recommended by state guidance and as required by Beaver’s policies.
Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks
Yes, there will be breakfast, but it will look a little different and no eating will be allowed in the dining room. All breakfast will be grab-n-go and include things like individual yogurt cups, oatmeal packets, individual cereal bowls, individual milk cartons, and fruit cups. Everything will be disposable.
No, food deliveries are not allowed.
Snacks will be provided to each advisory in a snack tote (3 snacks per day per student).
As in previous years, our Director of Dining Service will speak directly with families about students’ dietary needs and you are encouraged to reach out directly firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Online Experience
Throughout September, students will all be online from Monday through Wednesday. Groups 1 and 2 will rotate on campus on Thursdays and Fridays. The schedule and rotation for specific dates and weeks can be found on the Upper School Expanded Learning Experience.
When online, students will log into Google Meet (accessed through Canvas) to join their classes and other programming throughout the day. They will follow their regular schedule.
When online, students can access their teachers via email or Canvas and ask to meet via Google Meet.
Online students will follow the same program as hybrid ones. All collaborative work will be done through Google documents and other collaborative tech tools.
Can a student participate in classes online if they need to stay home the day(s) their Group is on campus?
The 90-minute classes will be broken down into smaller sections, depending on the plan for the class and the type of work students will do. Teachers are preparing their curricula to adapt better to simultaneous teaching. Online students may be asked to do asynchronous (offline), collaborative work, in the same way that students work in groups while on campus. We are not a school where teachers lecture; we engage students in inquiry-based learning activities in which they do the research and make sense of the material. Respecting students’ wellbeing by being mindful of their screen time will be key to ensure that kids are engaged and learning.
If starting online, a student will have to stay online for the remainder of the term. When the winter term starts, the student may choose to do hybrid and attend our programming on campus.
What will the school year look like for my student if we choose to attend online while other students attend class in person?
The school year will look the same as if the student was on campus. They will attend all their classes and programming simultaneously with on-campus students. Teachers will also be mindful of screen time and will allow students to alternate synchronous and asynchronous work.
Can you give an example of how collaboration works when some of the class is in person and some of it is remote?
We are working on designing best practices for the classroom. We will continue to improve on what we did in the spring and use our Beaver approach to teaching in the classroom in general. We will continue doing project-based learning and collaborative work. We will approach every class as a single entity. A mix of synchronous and asynchronous work during long blocks, using break-out rooms, and keeping students not on their screen for the whole time. A long block will allow teachers to use their time as an X-block and to dedicate time to specific students. Students will continue to collaborate with each other, whether online or on campus. This is what they always do at Beaver and being online will not change that.
We used this opportunity to be more Beaver-like by doing long blocks to delve deeper into the material. Two long blocks will allow time to delve deeper into the material, do more group work, and avoid too many transitions throughout the day. It will also limit the amount of homework every day to two classes instead of four. This was overwhelmingly mentioned in the spring feedback as something that would really be helpful to students.
There are no Beaver students at NuVu this fall. In the winter, NuVu plans to start remote for the first three weeks (until the December break) and then shift to on-site for the rest of the year.
Will seniors have as much access to their college counselors in the fall as they are working to complete their college application?
As much as possible, we are trying to group siblings so they are in the same group, but this is not something we can ensure because of the schedules, course requests, and class sizes.
Groups will change in the winter and spring term.
We are designing community-building and grade-specific activities to maintain a culture within each grade. Our orientation plan and programming scheduling include times with advisory, grades, and led by adults with the goal to build community and support students’ emotional wellbeing. Our philosophy is that all classes and activities are approached as one; meaning that students online and students on campus will connect with each other because they are part of a single class, club, or programming activity. In class, students will be asked to collaborate and present their work across groups so that they can connect with each other (and socialize); hear the diverse voices in the class; and also view their class or club as one entity.
- Fall & Winter Plays (acting, tech, costumes)
- Spring Musical (acting, tech, costumes)
- Fall Band
- Dance (Winter)
- Visual Art Workshop
For Athletics, students will have the opportunity to participate in fitness activities posted on the Beaver Vimeo channel, which you can find here. Additionally, Fall teams will have Google Meets once or twice a week as directed by their coach.
Afternoon activities will start at 3:30 and will end at 4:30 pm.
Due to the nature of the virus and its potential lasting health effects on the cardiopulmonary system, any student with a prior confirmed diagnosis (positive test) for COVID-19 is required to undergo an assessment with their physician prior to returning to participation in sports or fitness activities. Any ongoing symptoms related to COVID-19 should be further examined, including the presence of chest pain or shortness of breath with exertion, heart palpitations, excessive fatigue, or decreased exercise tolerance.
Written medical clearance is required prior to participation in sports. This clearance is separate from the physical exam submitted to the health office annually, and is required only of students who have had a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and want to continue to participate in fitness activities and sports at school.
To date, we have not had any reported positive cases in our student community. In consideration of keeping our information current, please complete this Athletics and Fitness Attestation form.
At a minimum, in order to be cleared to play after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, please submit the following to the Athletic Trainer:
- Written clearance by a physician and documentation that a screening has occurred with a detailed history and normal exam, including a normal ECG screening.
- Any other pertinent information and documentation that applies.
Yes. Team sports will practice on the days their academic groups are on campus. These practices will consist of social distant and safe skill-building sessions. Additionally, teams will meet online when kids are not on campus. Any progression to contact and competitions will be directed by the state and local authorities, and school leadership.
Theater faculty has chosen the 20-21 Season and is moving forward with designing and planning for virtual performances this fall. As the year progresses, we will decide whether performances should be continued in a virtual environment or, if state guidelines allow, to switch to a different mode such as a live-streamed or outdoor performance depending on the needs of the production. Similarly, the music concerts will be virtual in the fall and may shift as new guidelines become available.
Rehearsals will adhere to the safety protocols outlined in all other classes at Beaver including class sizes, masks, limited sharing of equipment, and social distancing.
Precautions and Protocols
Each student should bring two masks to school each day. Mask wearing will be required. We will build in mask breaks but everyone will know they HAVE to wear a mask when at school. If they forget their mask, we will have surgical masks available as a back-up. Students will also receive a Beaver branded mask at orientation they can choose to wear.
Click here to read about the acceptable types of masks.
Beaver will be cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and communal spaces multiple times daily.
In classrooms that are shared throughout the day, cleaning and disinfecting of desks and chairs will occur between classes and before and after eating, if food is eaten in the classroom.
High touch surfaces, including toilets and sinks, will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and after periods of heavy use. We will provide sufficient supplies—soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and tissues—and replace them as necessary.
- All classrooms/offices will have a portable HEPA air purifier (sized to the room) in addition to the filter in the HVAC system.
- Masks are the most important.
- Experts say windows should be open, even a crack.
- Doors should remain open.
- We have de-densified each space (less furniture and half the bodies in each room). This helps greatly with air quality.
More information is available in our Healthy Policies, Practices, and Protocols document.
On August 20, the Governor announced a mobile response team effort that will be deployed to any school (public or private) if the following minimal conditions apply:
- Two or more students/staff within the classroom group develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and transmission/exposure occurred in the classroom;
- More than 3 percent of the cohort/grade (at least 3 individuals) develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and transmission/exposure occurred in the school;
- More than 3 percent of the school develops COVID-19 within 14 days, and there is evidence of transmission within the school;
- Three or more staff within the same school develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and there is evidence of transmission among the staff; or
- Two or more students on the same bus develop COVID-19 within 14 days.
With regards to testing ahead of the school year kicking off, we did consider an initial test very seriously, below are a few of the reasons we are holding off testing the entire community at the start of the year.
We have produced a plan in which we have confidence because it involves a slow and staggered start along with an expanded orientation program to:
- Reinforce excellent hygiene habits
- Address less healthy patterns of behavior and reorient to better ones
- Prioritize adjustments to hybrid learning and early in-person contact with teachers
- Go SLOWLY at the beginning, measuring along the way
Comprehensive testing might reinforce a feeling of safety and false sense of security among students. This could then run counter to our efforts toward community commitment to relatedness and health as well as the importance of ongoing healthy habits using the protocols that have been shown to keep people healthy.
Our communication around symptom development, positive test results, and then subsequent contact tracing and testing will give us a good window into our volume of asymptomatic cases. That will tell us whether we should deploy a more comprehensive testing plan before moving the pendulum further toward on campus time.
When a student is sent home from school for possible COVID-19 symptoms, a letter notifying any close contacts will be sent. Once testing is complete, we will send out another communication regarding the results and advising close contacts on next steps. When we learn that a student tests positive: All close contacts should be tested but must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive, regardless of test result. After further consultation with the medical community, we are updating this guidance as the virus can cause illness from 2-14 days after exposure and even asymptomatic individuals can transmit the virus. Going forward, even if an individual identified as a close contact receives a negative test result, they must continue to self-quarantine for the full 14 days as the virus may take up to 14 days to cause illness.
At this time, unless we can confirm a symptom is directly related to other causes—allergies, migraines, etc.—we can not rule out COVID-19 on symptoms alone.
If a student or staff member has COVID-19-like symptoms, they must stay home.
A student may not return to campus if experiencing symptoms. Any student that presents with symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus will be directed to consult with their PCP and it will be requested that they get tested.
If a student is asked to stay home because of mild symptoms, but feels better in a day or two, can they return to school?
As of August 31, if a student or staff member has COVID-19-like symptoms, they may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have an improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
If a student or staff member presents COVID-19-like symptoms and chooses not to be tested, they may return to school 10 days from start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever-reducing medication.
We’re trusting our community to consider the impact of their activities and how it may affect everyone in the community.
We are expecting members of the community to follow all local and state travel guidelines. Here is the current Massachusetts Travel Order.
Beaver is not requiring any restriction of student or family activity outside of our program. We are asking that every member of our community considers the impact that their activity may have on the health and safety of members of the Beaver community. With that, we expect that all families will follow the recommended prevention practices.
The flu vaccine is required for all Massachusetts School Students enrolled in K-12. Students must get their flu shot by 12.31.20. Read the full guideline here.
Under what circumstances or criteria would BVR choose to open fully in person or close completely to all students and faculty?
The Core Leadership Team will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments closely through the CDC, state, and local authorities, as well as consulting with our internal panel of experts, and shift the pendulum accordingly.
We’ll share this information as soon as we can.
Throughout this next month, we will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments closely through the CDC, state, and local authorities, as well as consulting with our internal panel of experts. It is important for our full community to keep in mind that this is a rapidly developing and shifting situation.
Ongoing Institutional Priorities
We are keeping well-being at the center of all that we do to support our students. We will continue to work with the understanding that there needs to be tiers to our prevention and intervention work. We will continue to offer various types of health and wellness information and programming to our students, we will intervene as early as possible when any member of our community needs additional support and we will conduct outreach and provide many engagement opportunities to those members of our community with known emotional risk factors.
Paced and varied resources will be shared with students (as well as faculty and parents) throughout the year. The counseling staff will be accessible to students both on campus as well as virtually for individual sessions and group sessions as is appropriate and we will be very clear with students about the multiple ways they can access any of the counselors. Additionally, we will continue to provide referrals for providers in the greater community as needed.
As always, we invite you to be in communication with your student’s advisor or the counseling staff directly at any time throughout the year.