FAQs about Brewster’s Reopening and Updates on School Year 2020-21
These responses to Frequently Asked Questions reflect our current plans, processes, and protocols, and may be updated due to evolving guidance from federal, state, and local authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have archived questions that are outdated or pertain specifically to the reopening phase of our communications.
Is Brewster requiring all students to be vaccinated for COVID 19? UPDATED 6/15/2021
Yes. We ask that all students who are not currently vaccinated complete a COVID-19 vaccination series by August 15, 2021 to ensure they are fully vaccinated before registration on campus. Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to Magnus on the Parent Portal by August 25, 2021. This will be an important step toward what we all desire: getting back to some level of pre-pandemic operations. Any questions about this policy can be directed to Carrie MacDonald, BSN, RN, Director of Student Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Will there be any exemptions for student vaccinations? ADDED 6/15/2021
All request for exemptions will be considered on a case by case basis, and follow the guidelines set by the State of New Hampshire: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/immunization/exemptions.htm
Q. What vaccination should I get for my child? ADDED 6/15/2021
Right now, the only vaccine approved for children ages 12 to 17 is the Pfizer vaccine. This requires two shots. Students 18 and older may receive any of the available vaccines.
Q. Will there be an online option for those who do not want to be vaccinated? ADDED 6/15/2021
No. In the 2021-22 school year, Brewster will not be offering an online learning option.
Q. Are employees going to be required to have the vaccination this fall before school starts? ADDED 6/15/2021
At this time (June 2021), Brewster is strongly recommending that all employees receive a full vaccination, but it remains optional. This is subject to change.
Q. Is Brewster planning any other on-campus vaccine clinics in the fall? ADDED 6/15/2021
We do not have plans to do a mass clinic on campus at this time. We have a relationship with Huggins Hospital, right down the street from campus, to vaccinate the small number of international students we anticipate will be needing a vaccine. If the need for a larger number of vaccines or an eventual booster shot arises, we will pivot to ensure best coverage.
Will Brewster be providing a vaccination clinic for students? ADDED 4/16/21
Yes. The State of New Hampshire decided to allow non-resident students ages 16 or older to receive the vaccine in New Hampshire. Carrie MacDonald and the Health Center team worked quickly to assess how many age-eligible students wanted to be vaccinated on campus, and at the time of this writing, they are ordering the appropriate number of Pfizer vaccines for a clinic on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for people ages 16 and older at this time.)
How can I get my child home so that they can be vaccinated here? updated 4/16/2021
Yes, a student is allowed to leave campus for a COVID-19 vaccination. They will need to fill out this off-campus request form, and strictly follow the protocols below. There are three scenarios for a student leaving campus to be vaccinated. Please note which one your students falls under:
If a student travels by their own car with no other occupants and goes directly to and returns directly from a vaccination site on the same day, they are permitted to return to campus without engaging in testing or quarantine as part of the onboarding process.
If a student is driven by their parents to a vaccination site and can return on the same day, the student can return to campus without engaging in testing or quarantine. However, it is essential that all occupants of the car are masked for the duration of the trip and that the student rides in the back seat.
If a student rides in a plane, train, bus, car service, or other public transportation or has to spend a night away from campus in order to receive their vaccination, they must go through the Brewster onboarding process, which includes a 7 to 10 day quarantine in a local hotel (at the family’s expense) and two rounds of PCR tests. Alternatively, they can stay home between their two inoculations (attending classes via online learning), continue to remain at home for two weeks after their last inoculation, and then return to campus without additional quarantine or PCR testing.
Please note, that at the time of this writing, only the Pfizer vaccine was approved for children 16 and older. Students who are 18 and older may have the option of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, although the J&J vaccine is currently on pause. Remember that Pfizer and Moderna require two shots, so there is a stretch of time between inoculations when, if your student falls into Category 3 above, they will need to return under Brewster’s testing and quarantine onboarding process or remain at home and participate in online learning.
In all cases, evidence of the vaccine must be shared with the Health Center.
Once my student is fully vaccinated, how will their Brewster experience/expectation change? ADDED 4/1/2021
The only change will be that fully vaccinated students who have provided proof of their vaccination to Carrie MacDonald will no longer have to do weekly saliva testing. Other than that, the rules will stay the same for all students, whether they have been vaccinated or not. It is not feasible for faculty and staff to manage one set of rules for some students and another set for others. As more students become vaccinated, that may change in the fall. For now, we are asking all students to continue to follow the Brewster Covenant through the Spring trimester.
Can I return early from Spring Break? Added 3/22/21
No. We are prepared to receive all students back on Sunday, March 28. Managing dorm coverage for other comings and goings is not feasible. Students will be tested on March 29 and will leave quarantine on Wednesday evening if tests come by negative.
As a day student, do I need to get a PCR test to return after Spring Break? Added 3/22/21
Yes. Unless you are remaining on campus or are participating in on-campus activities daily, we ask that you get a PCR test on March 25 and submit the result via Magnus on the Portal. If you are committed to remaining at home over the Break, day students and boarding students who live close by may sign up to participate in the Monday saliva testing instead of getting a PCR. If a day student or nearby boarding student would like to utilize this option, they must email Bret Barnett by 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 21.
If I have had COVID in the past 90 days or am fully vaccinated, do I need to return on March 28 in anticipation of the testing? Added 3/22/21
No. If you have had COVID in the past 90 days or are fully vaccinated, according to CDC guidelines, you do not need to test. As such, you should plan to return to school on the evening of March 31. If this is not feasible, please return on March 28 and be prepared to quarantine with others on campus until the results of the pool are returned.
When should students return to campus in January?
As we did for the start of school, we will welcome students back to campus in two waves. Wave 1 students include any student who will be traveling by public transportation in order to return to campus. In addition, all boys and girls varsity hockey players will return in Wave 1. Wave 1 students will arrive between January 3-5 to begin on-campus quarantine. Wave 2 includes all other students.
Do students need to let Brewster know their arrival plans?
Yes, please fill out this arrival form so that we know when students are scheduled to arrive on campus and can appropriately coordinate student pickups from public transportation points (airports/bus terminals) and dormitory arrival times.
Who should we contact if we need transportation assistance from the airport or bus station?
Please reach out to Brewster’s Travel Coordinator, Peter Mann, at email@example.com for any necessary travel assistance.
Do students need to quarantine prior to returning to campus?
Yes, Wave 1 students are required to quarantine for seven days prior to arrival. Wave 1 students will quarantine for another seven days once they arrive on campus. After those seven days, they will be tested and may finish their quarantine once we receive negative test results.
Wave 2 students are required to complete a 14-day quarantine at home. Advisors will be checking in with Wave 2 students periodically throughout their at-home quarantine to ensure that they understand and are following protocols. Any students discovered not to be following quarantine protocols will need to extend their quarantine period until they complete a full 14-day quarantine before arriving at Brewster. Wave 2 students will be tested in the first few days of their on-campus quarantine, and ALL students (Wave 1 and Wave 2) will quarantine again until test results are returned (hopefully within 48 hours). This will ensure that if someone tests positive during the Wave 2 onboarding process, we can carefully limit those who might be considered close contacts.
Please note: For the home quarantine period, if parents and siblings are not quarantining, the student needs to wear a mask, physical distance, and not visit with friends or family during this period of time.
Do students need to be tested for COVID before returning to campus?
Yes, all students must submit evidence of a negative PCR COVID-19 test and the test must occur 7 to 10 days before their arrival in Wolfeboro. Check this chart for students’ return dates and their corresponding home testing windows:
Returning January 3, get your COVID test between December 24-27
Returning January 4, get your COVID test between December 25-28
Returning January 5, get your COVID test between December 26-29
Returning January 16, get your COVID test between January 6-9
Because most of these dates fall over a holiday, we strongly encourage families to reach out to doctors’ offices to make sure they can schedule a PCR test during the required time. Test results should be uploaded to Magnus through the Parent Portal. Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where do boarding students report upon arrival?
Upon arrival to campus, students will report directly to their dorms. Parents should drop students off and remain in their car. Parents should not enter the dorms at any time. Students’ key cards will be programmed to access the dorm, and students should go directly to their room upon arrival. Dorm parents will check on students and conduct health screening. For students who are changing rooms, their belongings will be moved to their new space and their new room key will be given to them by their dorm parent. Students will then be quarantined in their rooms and will receive instructions for their daily schedule during quarantine.
How will boarding students know if they have been recohorted to another dormitory or room?
Some students will need to change rooms due to necessary recohorting for winter sports and activities. Students who are moving rooms will be notified on or before December 21 by the director of residential life.
When and how will students onboarding to campus for the first time be notified of their dormitory assignment?
All students should complete the travel form to submit their arrival plans. Once that information has been shared, someone for Residential Life will reach out to share these details and answer any questions.
Has the Brewster Covenant been updated in any way given the rising number of cases?
The Brewster Covenant has not changed, but we will take measures to require strict adherence to the Covenant by all members of the Brewster community. We take Covenant violations very seriously, as the health of every member of our community is at stake. Students will receive a warning for an initial minor violation of the Covenant (some examples include: being in another student’s room without a mask on, clustering in the dining hall, not wearing a mask when within six feet of others, etc.). Repeated violations will be brought to the attention of the COVID task force and may result in a student returning home to complete their studies online.
Students who engage in major violations, including visitation within another dorm or activities that put themselves or others in serious jeopardy, will be sent home to complete their studies online. When a student is sent home as a result of these noted violations, Brewster will not offer tuition and fee reductions due to non-compliance with the Brewster Covenant.
What is the plan if a student is not comfortable returning to campus after the Winter 2020-21 break?
We remain committed to the position that students learn best when living and learning in a community of active and diverse thinkers and that students’ emotional wellbeing is impaired by prolonged social isolation. We now have the experience and preparation to manage and support the safe re-entry of students back to campus in January. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we would expect to welcome back enrolled students following the winter holiday break. For those whose approved circumstance prevents their return, please contact Susan Harrington, Chief Financial Officer.
What will the dining plan be during the on-campus quarantine period?
During the quarantine period, students will be sent to the dining hall by dorm, supervised to ensure strict six-foot distancing, to pick up food and return to their dorms to eat. This is a change from the food delivery model we used in August and will allow students more choice in their meals, while also reducing food waste.
What will the dining plan be for the rest of the winter? Updated 2/12
As we move into the winter season, there have been some notable changes to the dining plan. Students will pick up all three meals in the dining hall as usual and sit in the Estabrook, the Mezzanine of the Estabrook, and the Bobcat Den, sitting no more than four per table at designated tables with plexiglass dividers.
A third lunch block has been added to the winter academic schedule to further reduce numbers in the dining hall, and seating as designated above. Students will be encouraged not to linger over their meals, mask up as soon as they finish eating, and move onto their next activity. The dining hall staff will adjust its menu this winter to focus on bringing “fan favorite” foods into the menu rotation more frequently.
Will students be allowed to visit town this winter? Updated 2/12
Students will now be allowed to access town when the following conditions exist:
- There are no active cases on campus.
- There are less than 10 active cases in Wolfeboro.
When those conditions are met, students will be allowed to leave campus wearing masks at all times. They will be able to go into Wolfeboro establishments where employees are wearing masks. Eating and drinking must be done outside and socially distanced. Students will be asked to NOT eat and/or drink while walking. Any student in violation of these protocols will have their access suspended, and the school reserves the right to suspend all access if there is a large volume of student violations.
Will visitors be allowed on campus this winter? Updated 2/12
As of February 14, visitors (parents and immediate family members only) will be allowed to visit campus by completing the following visitor protocols:
- Fill out the Campus Visit Request Form at least one week in advance (in the parent portal - “Student Visitor Request Form” button).
- Submit a negative PCR test (each visitor) within seven days prior to the visit (sent to Caroline Chartier at email@example.com).
- Families must call the Dean on Duty (603-520-0238) upon arrival to the Visitor Parking Lot for a health screening and to obtain a visitor badge.
- Visits must be outside with no access to any building (except for the use of the bathroom facilities on the parking lot side of the Estabrook). Students are not allowed to be in a visitor’s vehicle but are allowed to walk downtown and eat outdoors with family members (if current conditions support).
- Parents may utilize the fire pits and chairs located in front of the Estabrook for their visit.
- Families can visit up to two times between February 14 and March 28 with a limit of 15 families per weekend.
Will there be any changes to expectations for day students this winter? Updated 2/12
In order to mitigate the increasing risk factors in commuting situations, you can expect some changes to existing protocols that will be communicated directly with day families. Of note, the social space designated in the Pinckney Boathouse will be closed during the winter. Day students will NOT be allowed to go to their assigned dormitory lounge areas until further notice. It is essential that day families communicate immediately with the school any positive cases/changes in their households.
What should we expect for winter athletics protocols?
We continue to work closely with Heads of School and Athletic Directors from lakes region peer schools in hopes that the state of the virus will allow limited athletic competitions this winter. When students return and are cleared from quarantine, they will begin practicing in what we call “red phase,” meaning only physically distanced skills and drills and masks will be required. We will then move to a yellow phase, where intrasquad scrimmages will be allowed. Once we progress to green phase, we will limit interscholastic games to competition with one school per week, with testing between contests.
What type of regular health screening is expected when campus reopens in January?
Each morning, Brewster staff conducts daily temperature checks using thermal screeners for all students, faculty, and staff working on campus. Students are asked a series of daily symptom screening questions and are expected to report any symptoms or changes in their health. Students with any signs of illness will be asked to work virtually for the day or report to the Health Center. Full disclosure of any sympton is essential in our efforts to effectively screen and respond accordingly. We encourage all community members to proactively share any concerns, however minor, regarding their current wellbeing.
How is Brewster managing for the mental and emotional health of students for the winter?
We recognize that the policies and protocols we need to enforce in light of the pandemic can create angst and anxiety for students, along with putting distance between and among community members. We also know that the short days and cold weather can mean that students don’t get enough time outdoors in the sunlight. This can all impact the mental and emotional health of students and adults alike. Additionally, we know that it will be a long stretch of time from January to May without any school breaks. We are paying careful attention to the needs of our students and will endeavor to increase communication connections through advisory and team time. We’ve adjusted the winter schedule to allow for sports to practice in the mornings while we have more daylight. We’ll utilize Head of School holidays liberally and as needed to provide breaks at key moments throughout the winter and spring. We’ll endeavor to offer more outdoor activities as weather permits. And we’ll work with student leaders to plan a range of safe offerings for students to connect virtually and in-person. Our adults are available anytime if students have concerns.
Will a student be allowed to take weekends?
All student travel will be limited to emergency purposes (see Travel Section for definition), and any travel requests must be submitted to the school at least two weeks before the proposed travel date on the travel form. Brewster reserves the right to deny any request for travel that does not classify as an emergency or essential in order to limit the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus within our community. We ask that you please partner with us and encourage students to remain on campus and limit any unnecessary travel. For details on quarantining procedures following approved travel off campus go to the Travel Section FAQ’s.
How do students request permission to leave campus this winter?
As in the fall, all departures must be approved by the travel committee and students should expect to quarantine off campus upon return and provide necessary testing at home and on campus. All expenses related to re-onboarding are the responsibility of the family. Also, if a student chooses to move to online learning at any point during a trimester, they may not be allowed to return to campus until the start of the next trimester as it is disruptive and challenging for faculty to manage students moving in and out of online learning.
Are students permitted to leave campus for college visits this year? Updated 2/25
Brewster encourages students to take full advantage of virtual tours and other online offerings by colleges and universities to explore their campuses and programs remotely during the enrollment cycle. Due to Brewster’s current restrictions for off-campus trips, any student who wishes to visit a college in person during our school year must consult with Brewster’s College Counseling Office. If their travel is deemed necessary, students/families will then need to complete the off-campus request form on the Parent Portal, with two weeks notice. Please keep in mind that if approved, all off-campus travel requires onboarding and quarantine (including additional costs to the family) when the student returns to Brewster. The off-campus request form includes an overview of the onboarding requirements for the return to campus, including necessary costs that families will need to be prepared to cover. Students will be expected to attend classes virtually. We ask that you plan your visits between March 15 and April 11, if possible, allowing time for the appropriate quarantine and onboarding mentioned above—and in order to avoid missing participation in Interim Studies.
For graduating students who are committed through early decision, students who applied early action and know the college they plan to attend, or any member of the junior class who would like to go on an in-person campus visit: We ask that you plan your in-person school visit in the summer months.
What is Brewster’s stance on the vaccine? Will all students and employees be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 once the vaccine is available?
At this time, vaccines will be strongly encouraged for both adults and students; those who don’t get a vaccine will need to continue to follow social distancing protocols and wear masks at all times.
What on-going level of testing will happen after students return to campus?
All students, along with all faculty and staff working on campus, will be tested for COVID on a weekly basis once the quarantine period ends for students returning in January. We will be conducting the pooled saliva testing for this regular assessment.
What is the status of the COVID-19 virus in Wolfeboro?
Thankfully, cases of COVID-19 in Wolfeboro have remained moderately low but have increased thirtyfold since the opening of school. As of early December, Wolfeboro has had 77 cumulative positive test results, according to New Hampshire DHHS. Given this noted increase, we have adjusted our posture accordingly in our own monitoring and screening process on campus as we reopen in January to remain actively responsive to our changing local environment.
Is there a possibility that the school might consider any sort of off-campus spring break?
Until a vaccine distribution plan is solidified or the state of the virus changes significantly, we are working to minimize the number of times that students depart and arrive on campus. For that reason, we instituted an extended winter break, and we have eliminated all shorter breaks, including the fall long weekend, the winter long weekend and the March break. In order to help students remain engaged throughout the longer winter term, we have adapted Interim Studies to include two week-long Interim Studies periods in February and April. We have also altered the daily schedule to allow for some morning athletic and enrichment offerings to bring some variation to the day and will continue to look for opportunities to include Head of School Holidays and special team coordinated activities. If there is any need to re-examine the schedule plan, we will communicate any changes to students and families with as much advance notice as possible.
Will there be All-School meetings during the winter?
This winter, we will not be hosting All-School meetings on Sunday evenings. Morning Meetings will return to the academic schedule including feature speakers, student content, and community announcements. A few special All-School gatherings are planned and will be announced in advance so that schedule adjustments are understood by all.
What if a student is returning after January 16, 2021?
Students who decide to return to campus late and do not onboard with Wave 1 (January 3- 5) or Wave 2 (January 16), are required to follow the return-to-campus protocol established for student travelers. All costs associated with this protocol are to be covered by the student's family. They include:
1. A PCR test administered on campus ($400)
2. A stay at a local hotel until the results of the COVID-19 test are known. ($75 per night)
Will there be changes to Interim Studies due to COVID-19?
Yes, our Interim Studies program will run with some limitations in scope to the experiences offered. As in the past, decisions on program participation will be based upon seniority to the extent possible, along with considerations. All experiences will follow the same strict health guidelines that we are following elsewhere in the community.
We will be running two Interim Studies experiences this year. The first will be February 22-26, 2021. The second is April 12-16, 2021. Students will have the opportunity to participate in two separate experiences, or choose a single experience that runs throughout the duration of both weeks. All students were asked to submit their choices before the winter break in November.
The ability to provide the essential safety protocols and the pandemic reality will remain the leading determining factors as to the viability of offerings. Specific safety measures and protocols will include
- No public transportation/travel
- Any off-campus experiences will be restricted in exposure to other people. Any non-Brewster contact will be limited to experts and guides who have passed a COVID test prior to interaction with our students, or who may work with students remotely.
- Dedicated Brewster housing (no mingling with outside groups)
- Potentially smaller groups
- Must be able to comply with the Brewster Covenant
- Travel Task Force authorization
Additional safety measures may be added specific to the project/experience, and we ask that all families understand that our first priority is to keep our community safe. As such, all experiences are subject to change and/or cancellation at any time if we feel that we will not be able to safely run the experience as the launch day gets closer.
Interim Studies FAQs
Q. When can parents and students expect to know which Interim Studies experience they were placed in
Placement letters will be emailed to families on Friday, December 18.
Q. How will students not on campus engage in their Interim Studies experience?
For students who are learning remotely through Brewster Online for the Winter trimester, a faculty member will work with them remotely on a guided project they will complete from home.
Q. What are the deadlines for Interim Studies participation?
Signed waivers are due January 18. Please complete the waivers found on your placement letter, (waivers may also be found on the Portal on Friday, December 18), no later than January 18. A waiver needs to be signed for each experience for students to be able to participate.
Q. Where can I get more information?
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Director of Interim Studies, Sarah Hunt, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- General Questions
- Academic Program
- Residential Life
- Student Life
- Campus Safety and Operations
- Health and Medical Planning
- Travel and Campus Visitors
- Updates and Communication Plan
How do parents share their concerns or questions about how Brewster is keeping the community safe during the pandemic?
From Head of School Craig Gemmell to every faculty and staff member, Brewster counts on open dialog with parents to ensure the best possible experience for the children in our care. If at any time you have a COVID-related concern, you can contact any member of the Strategy Team.
As always, if you have a concern or questions about your child’s academics, please reach out to their advisor. And the Parent Portal is the best place to check in for news, events, or other important information.
Should we expect any additional changes to the 2020-21 school calendar, and how would changes be communicated?
Given the possible changes due to an evolving COVID status on campus or in Wolfeboro, we may be faced with the need to alter the school calendar accordingly. If we do make any changes, we would do our best to provide ample notification so that families can best accommodate the travel and return of their child(ren).
What is the onboarding process for a student transitioning to campus after the school year has commenced?
Any student who arrives on campus for the first time must go through the proper protocols including: 14-day quarantine at home followed by a negative COVID test result if student is arriving by private car or a school-arranged, local 14-day quarantine for students arriving via public transportation, providing a negative COVID test result prior to arrival, and another COVID test on campus before being cleared to enter the community.
What kind of social distancing guidelines and expectations are in place for students on campus?
As students live and learn together on campus, they are expected to follow the Brewster Covenant: Our COVID Code of Conduct. This means adhering to prescribed testing, quarantine requirements, and routine screenings; participating in any training offered to understand Brewster’s safety precautions; wearing a mask at all times unless in one’s own dorm room; maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others indoors and outdoors; practicing good hygiene with handwashing and not touching one’s face; keeping our spaces clean; reporting all symptoms of COVID-19 to a designated health professional at Brewster; limiting non-essential travel to reduce exposure; wearing a mask and practicing social distancing when in town; and not eating inside restaurants in town. Employees must also follow these protocols. Protocols may be updated at any time. Visitors will not be allowed in student dorm rooms at any time. Day students assigned to dorms are now allowed (January) in the lounge area only and must wear a mask.
How is the quality of the overall student experience being maintained on campus?
It is our strong belief that the quality of the student experience is rooted in the on-campus experience with faculty, staff, and peers who directly support student growth and achievement. Students are continuing to learn within teams, enjoying a highly customized educational approach, employing technology in new and innovative ways, enjoying afternoon programs and athletics, exploring the natural beauty of the local region through weekend activities, and they are doing so within a safe community of diverse thinkers—all hallmarks of a Brewster education. Adaptations have been made in order to make these activities as safe as possible and to implement most program scenarios within the changing conditions of COVID-19.
How has the community been trained to support the health and safety of our students and community?
Faculty and staff received training in the policies, protocols, and expectations we established to keep our students and community safe. Students also received guidance and training, including basics such as proper hand washing, six-foot social distancing, and mask wearing as well as more specific expectations regarding on-campus conduct and policies. Faculty, coaches, advisors, community life parents, and other adults regularly guide students to ensure that they comply with expectations to keep the community safe. The Reopen Campus Strategy Team has transitioned to a COVID Response and Management Team that meets several times each week to review policies and procedures in order to ensure that necessary decisions and adjustments are made in real-time.
What is the status of the COVID-19 virus in Wolfeboro?
Thankfully, cases of COVID-19 in Wolfeboro have remained moderately low but have increased thirtyfold since the opening of school. As of early December, Wolfeboro has had 77 cumulative positive test results, according to New Hampshire DHHS. Given this noted increase, we have adjusted our posture accordingly in our own monitoring and screening process on campus as we reopen in January to remain actively responsive to our changing local environment.
What exactly does it mean to quarantine a student on campus? Will they be in their dorm room with a roommate or in a different location? Will they be able to go to class or will they need to attend classes online?
Quarantine may be necessary at several points and for several reasons throughout the year. During onboarding following breaks or approved off-campus travel, students may be asked to quarantine for a period of time. Depending upon the details of the onboarding situation, students might quarantine in their dorm rooms, or they may be asked to quarantine at an off-campus location under faculty supervision until they are cleared to move into their dorm rooms.
A student may also be required to quarantine by the Department of Health and Human Services if they have been deemed a close contact of another person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Again, the details of the student’s living situation will determine whether the student may quarantine in his/her dorm room or if they need to quarantine at a designated health center on campus. In some cases, students may decide to quarantine at home if they are able to safely travel without utilizing public transportation.
Finally, a student may be asked to quarantine if he or she is exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19. In this case, a student would likely remain in the health center pending testing.
Students would be placed into isolation (versus quarantine) only if they test positive for the COVID-19 virus. Isolation would be managed through the Health Center or students would return home. See DHHS reference sheet for quarantine definitions and details.
Students who are in quarantine and/or isolation will participate in Brewster Online to continue with their academic commitments.
What does the daily expectation look like for students?
Students receive daily morning health screenings that typically take place entering the Academic building. Classroom layouts are fixed with proper six-foot distancing between desks and masks are required in all spaces at all times. Some facilities have been modified to accommodate classroom space in order to allow for proper spacing. Served lunches have been staggered and students are encouraged to take their meals to the designated eating areas or back to their rooms. Afternoon athletics and enrichment programs are scheduled during the week with the proper safety protocols applied. From 5 to 7 p.m. dinner is served at the Estabrook with study halls taking place in residence halls and the Academic building from Monday through Friday.
How has the school managed the academic day to incorporate social distancing expectations for students?
All classrooms have been adapted to accommodate the proper spacing of six feet between students and faculty members. In some areas of the Academic building the flow of students is designated by directional arrows to ensure safe distancing. Some classes have moved to rooms that can accommodate the number of students within the six foot spacing requirements. Dining times have been adapted to plan for both student and staffing needs.
Will there be any changes to the college process and/or standardized testing?
The college process remains an integral part of the academic program this year. Brewster’s college counselors are meeting with students individually while employing safe social distancing measures. We have become a closed testing site which allows us to conduct SAT, ACT, and the at-home TOEFL test on campus for Brewster students only.
Is the Instructional Support program still a part of a student’s curriculum?
Yes, students who are enrolled in Instructional Support continue to receive high-quality instruction with adaptations to meeting spaces to ensure safe social distancing. The success of our spring remote learning program allowed us to develop an even better understanding of how to support students at a distance, and provides us with valuable insight applicable at all levels of instruction.
Will Brewster continue to provide the Social and Emotional Learning program?
Yes, social and emotional learning courses will remain required components of the curriculum for all grade levels. The impact of a global pandemic has highlighted the need for a curriculum that supports the development of the emotional skill sets required to face daily challenges and greater disorder in our student’s lives. We are proud to stand behind a 10-year commitment to this program at Brewster Academy.
Will Brewster offer Global Programs in 2020-21?
At this time, we have canceled the fall and spring trimester experiences in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and the winter trimester in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. We have provided an online opportunity for members of the freshman class to participate virtually in some program aspects of the Cadiz, Spain program.
What changes have been made to the dorm experience to reinforce social distancing?
For 2020-21, all students are allowed to have mini refrigerators in dorm rooms in order to allow for food storage, thereby lessening some impact on numbers in the dining halls if students choose to have meals in their rooms. Dorm meetings will happen outdoors, when possible, or with safe social distancing and/or virtually for the year. Dorm activities will be coordinated to take advantage of the outdoor opportunities as much as possible. Day students assigned to dorms are now allowed (January) in the lounge area only and must wear a mask.
What is the cleaning plan for residence halls? What will students be responsible for?
Students are not required to clean the bathrooms or common rooms, but cleaning supplies and PPE (masks and gloves) will be available if a student would like to clean the bathroom before and/or after use. The housekeeping staff has increased the cleaning schedule in all areas of heavier use like bathrooms and common areas. Students are expected, as always, to keep their dorm room tidy, maintain traditional dorm duties, and will be advised on increased cleaning guidance in light of COVID-19.
Is a mini-fridge required?
No, a mini-fridge is not a requirement. It is on our "what to bring" list because we chose to lift the prohibition on mini-fridges to ensure that those students who would feel better staying away from the dining hall would have this option. Brewster will continue to provide a large dorm refrigerator for students to use in the common area.
What kind of afternoon activities will be available?
Students have a range of afternoon activities available to choose from, including athletics, enrichments, arts, community service, and robotics. Coaches and program leaders have deployed a phased rollout approach and a variety of safety precautions have been adapted for each offering.
What will weekend activities look like?
Students will be able to participate in weekend activities with the expectation that they will adhere to the Brewster Covenant at all times. Activities will include thoughtfully coordinated off-campus trips, if campus is not restricted, that allow for social distancing and take advantage of our spectacular natural region, as well as a robust variety of on-campus activities to provide students with the much-needed break from studies and time to relax with peers and faculty.
Will all clubs be able to meet and run like normal?
Clubs and organizations are running with social distancing protocols in place as well as some virtual coordination to engage all students who are interested in participating. Some service opportunities and events have been modified as required and some have been postponed until it is safe to resume.
Are students able to order in food from local restaurants?
Yes, contactless food delivery to dorms is allowed. Students are required to go outside to get their order from the driver and will have to utilize PPE. Brewster has worked with the local restaurants that deliver directly on practices that will minimize risk to our community, including practices that have become the norm during COVID-19. Brewster reserves the right to suspend any food delivery If there is a spike in cases in our greater community, or if delivery presents an additional risk to campus.
How will classrooms be arranged to be responsive to physical distancing requirements?
Larger classes may be broken into sections or moved to different locations where students will be spread out in order to ensure that safe social distancing is implemented. Students will be seated with at least six feet between one another. Faculty will teach within their assigned cohort as much as possible. When teaching a group that is not within their assigned cohort, faculty will either teach virtually, or a class location will be established that provides ample distance between the faculty and students.
How will Brewster manage the dining plan?
Students may pick up food in the servery and sit at designated seating (by tables of four with plexiglass partitions) in the established eating areas in the Estabrook. When weather permits (fall/spring) an outside tent space is also available. Self-service dining has been eliminated; meals are served by a member of dining services so that students do not need to share the same serving utensils. Strict cleaning protocols are followed, according to public health guidance. Students are allowed to have refrigerators in their dorm rooms in order to stock breakfast and lunch items if they wish to reduce visits to the dining hall. See added section for January 2021 for changes to winter dining plan.
Are students required to wear masks at all times? Faculty/staff/visitors?
Yes, students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear cloth face coverings at all times while in buildings and public spaces. Note that bandana and gaiter-style face coverings are not allowed per to CDC recommendations. Face coverings must conform to the face, and cover the mouth and nose. Students may remove face coverings within their dorm rooms. They have also been reminded to throw cloth masks into their laundry so they have a clean mask every day.
What is Brewster’s cleaning plan?
Brewster is adhering to strict cleaning regimens as dictated by public health guidelines. Schedules are managed to allow for cleaning between groups as needed. The school has purchased specialized equipment designed to disinfect public spaces.
Have all Brewster employees returned to work?
In order to minimize the number of unnecessary interactions on campus, non student-facing staff members who are able to continue to work from home have been encouraged to do so.
What level of testing will be required when students return in January and how frequent will testing take place?
When students return from winter break, there will be a new round of quarantine and testing protocols as the community did at the beginning of the school year. Following the completion of this onboarding process, all students, along with all faculty and staff working on campus, will be tested for COVID on a weekly basis. We will be conducting the pooled saliva testing for this regular assessment.
What type of regular screening is expected?
Each morning, Brewster staff conducts daily temperature checks using thermal screeners for all students, faculty, and staff working on campus. Students are asked a series of daily symptom screening questions and are expected to report any symptoms or changes in their health.Students with any signs of illness will be asked to work virtually for the day or report to the Health Center. Full disclosure of any symptom is essential in our efforts to effectively screen and respond accordingly. We encourage all community members to proactively share any concerns, however minor, regarding their current wellbeing.
What happens if my child is ill and cannot attend classes?
Student wellness is monitored daily. Students who are ill, displaying any symptoms consistent with identified symptoms of COVID-19, or express concerns that they may be ill are asked to refrain from attending classes and activities and are assessed to determine the best placement, either in the Health Center, overflow spaces, or their dorm room. Students who cannot attend class in person can attend class virtually. As maintaining the health and well-being of all is paramount, should illness persist, students will be encouraged to return home or to the residence of a designated family member/guardian until they are fully recovered and test results come back negative. A limited number of spaces will be designated on campus for this purpose should families not be able to designate a guardian within driving distance of campus.
Where on campus will sick students be isolated?
In addition to the existing Student Health Center, we have added a secondary Health Center on campus in Cate House for students who need to be quarantined and cannot return home. Students who need to quarantine and who live within driving distance of campus will be encouraged to quarantine and recover at home if possible. Huggins Hospital is located less than one mile from campus and is prepared to support students who are seriously ill.
If a student shows any signs of illness, or expresses concerns of symptoms, they will be asked to work virtually for the day or report to the Health Center. All symptoms will be taken seriously and evaluated carefully.
Is the school in consultation with health professionals on the protocols for student support?
Yes, we have established open lines of communication with the director and medical team at Huggins Hospital, the local hospital located less than one mile from campus. Additionally, we continue to seek counsel from several qualified members of our parent and alumni communities, as well as medical guidance offered to schools within the Independent Schools of Northern New England cohort.
Will there be flu shots offered to students, and what is the school’s position on getting one?
It has never been more important to protect yourself against the flu, and Brewster strongly encourages all members of the community to get the flu shot this year. Student Health Center Director Carrie MacDonald reminds us all that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the flu vaccination as an important intervention to protect children and reduce the burden of respiratory illnesses during the COVID pandemic.
Brewster held its on-campus Student Flu Clinic on October 7. Parents were advised to log into their child’s Magnus account to be sure they are signed up to receive the vaccine. Flu shots are also available at the Wolfeboro Walgreens.
Brewster employees were also encouraged to receive the flu vaccine, and a separate on-campus clinic was held for them. They have been encouraged to attend the annual flu clinic at nearby Huggins Hospital if they were unable to get their shot at Brewster.
Must travel be reported to Brewster?
Yes, all student travel requests must be submitted to the school at least two weeks before the proposed travel date on this travel form. Brewster reserves the right to deny any request for travel that does not classify as an emergency or essential in order to limit the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus within our community.
What will be considered essential travel or an emergency consideration? "
“Essential travel,” following return to campus in January, will be considered if it equates to an emergency situation; for example, due to a critical medical, family, or community situation that would demand a student’s return home for attention.
How is travel defined?
Brewster Academy classifies “travel” as any transportation by public conveyance, plane, train, bus, Uber, Lyft, taxi, or by private car to a destination outside of Wolfeboro that is not coordinated through a school-sanctioned activity.
Once the school year has commenced, are boarding students permitted to travel home on weekends?
Boarding students are not permitted to travel to and from the campus over the weekends without prior school approval of emergency travel. Stronger restrictions on travel during the winter season, commencing January 2021, will be enforced (see that section for clarity). Students will have to undergo the testing and quarantine regimen that has been established by Brewster upon return to campus.
What is the testing and quarantine expectation for a student returning to campus after approved off-campus travel?
Quarantine expectations are directed by the guidelines established by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. These determinations are made based on these guidelines along with individual circumstance and are coordinated by the Travel Committee including the following;
return with a negative COVID-19 test result taken within seven days of return,
quarantine at the Lake Wentworth Inn for seven days and undergo a second round of testing after day seven.
Please note: The cost of COVID testing and hotel stay must be covered by the family. Depending upon the destination, length of stay, and purpose of travel, a more robust quarantine may be required.
Are day students permitted to travel to and from campus freely during the academic day?
No. Once day students arrive for their academic day, they will be asked to remain on campus until they are returning home for the day.
Will Brewster allow other (non-family) visitors to campus?
Brewster will limit campus visitors to mission-specific and essential needs. Approved visitors must be coordinated in advance and screened for symptoms upon arrival. All visitors must wear cloth face coverings and practice social distancing while on campus. Necessary PPE will be supplied by the school to all essential visitors to campus. All essential visitors will be greeted upon arrival by their employee host at which time they will be provided PPE and briefed on the school’s visitor policy. Any visitor who chooses not to comply with campus policy will be denied entry to school buildings and be asked to depart from campus. Also, the campus is closed to local residents who, before the pandemic, may have visited campus for a run or a walk.
Will Brewster offer any on-campus events during the school year?
At this time, Brewster has postponed all on-campus events that included visitors through the winter including the Bobcat Open Golf Tournament, Grandparents' Day, and Fall Family Weekend. (When possible, we are creating virtual versions of these experiences.) We hope to be able to reschedule some of these highly anticipated events for a later date, when it is safe to hold large group gatherings. Meanwhile, we will look for creative ways to foster connections and build community.
How is the cost of Brewster Online determined?
The fee structure for this is determined by many factors including the time of the year and extenuating circumstances. To best understand how this would apply to your/your child’s situation, please contact our Chief Financial Officer, Susan Harrington at email@example.com.
How will we hear about any updates on campus through the school year?
The Parent and Student Portals are the prime source for any Brewster news, forms, updates, etc. Also, the school regularly updates these Frequently Asked Questions and archives those that are outdated. Campus News (Brewster’s e-newsletter) is emailed on a regular basis and includes reminders and notifications of new and adjusted information. Direct communication through email is used when information is considered to be critical and more immediate.
Reopening Campus Strategy Team
This team has been assembled to engage in a comprehensive and careful scenario-planning process to identify and understand all dimensions of the 2020-2021 school year program within the context of ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 and in support of Brewster’s mission.
This team is committed to understand and anticipate the known and unknown, to build a coherent strategic planning framework to make decisions rapidly as clarity emerges, and to engage constituents across the organization to shape Brewster’s path and planning accordingly.
The Strategy Team is informed by policies and procedures that are being developed by eight subgroups that are listed here.