February 17, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am writing to update everyone regarding Spring Break options for students from Mainland China and Hong Kong who are interested in remaining on campus during that period of time. As a school that "exists for students," we truly want to provide a safe alternative for members of our student community who cannot travel to their homes during spring break due to travel restrictions, bans, or other factors resulting from this  World Health Organization Public Health Emergency of International Concern . Our thoughts are not only with the students in our community here in Ashburnham, but also with alumni, parents, and other members of Penguin Nation in Mainland China and Hong Kong, and other areas that are impacted by the Novel Coronavirus.

Over the last two weeks, I have received several questions from our families in Greater China regarding spring break and travel plans outside of the U.S. in light of the coronavirus, especially Spring Break travel plans to Mainland China and Hong Kong.

As of this writing, the only restrictions for (re)entry to the U.S. pertain to those non-immigrants (including J-1, J-2, F-1, F-2) who have recently spent time in Mainland China. Reportedly, this  White House Policy  will be reviewed and potentially expanded in 15-day intervals.

Because of the unpredictability of this situation, we cannot anticipate what will happen between now and Spring Break , nor can we anticipate further travel-related restrictions that may be imposed by the United States or by another country’s government. I realize this leaves many of our families in situations of not knowing what to do while Cushing's dormitories are closed during Spring Break. As I have reported previously, we have met with our students from Greater China to let them know that we would have an option for them on campus. Below are the details of this option:

  • For March 2020 Cushing will offer an "Alternative Spring Break Experience" for students from Mainland China and Hong Kong, as these are areas under State Department travel advisories because of the coronavirus. 
  • This Alternative Spring Break is available only to Cushing students and will include time on campus, day trips, community service, and other components to make this experience relaxing and enriching. All offered activities will be required parts of the program. 
  • All meals will be mandatory and family-style. 
  • Health services will be available during the day, and nurses will be on call throughout the evening for emergencies.
  • Similar to the schedule on weekends, we will have times for lights out, check-ins, and limited wi-fi access. 
  • To enroll in the program, a student must participate in the program for the entire time period. We are not allowing students to participate in shortened portions of the Alternative Spring Break
  • The cost of this 16-day stay, including meals, lodging, supervision, and activities, will be USD 4,400.00. To secure your child's space, please email Josh Doyon, Director of Student Affairs (jodoyon@cushing.org), with confirmation of student attendance, and submit a non-refundable payment. Both items must be completed by Monday, February 24th.
  • If students are interested in alternative options that are off-campus, Commonwealth Student Services of Boston is also offering alternative Spring Break options which include skiing and trips to Boston, Newport, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and several destinations in California. Interested families should contact Commonwealth Student Services of Boston by email (dkorb@cssob.com) or by WeChat (CSSofBoston). 

For all other Cushing students, please be sure to provide the Office of Student Affairs your travel plans via REACH by March 3, 2020. This will allow us to better monitor this situation and make decisions and updates as needed.Thank you again for your understanding, and do not hesitate to let me know if you have additional questions. 

All my best,
Randy R. Bertin, Ed.D.
Head of School
Cushing Academy
39 School Street
Ashburnham, MA 01430