To the LA Community:
I reach out in the midst of this most unusual summer wishing well-being and healthy, sound conditions to all of our families, wherever they may be in the global reach of the wider LA family.
Even as our preparations have increased in intensity and depth of detail, the prospect of gathering our community in the fall continually fills us with a sense of hope, possibility, and responsibility. In that spirit, I write to provide both an update and a framework and schedule for further communication and guidance from LA between now and the opening of school.
The essential parameters for reopening that we described in our June 24th letter are still in place, and they can be found here. Since that communication, several important developments beyond our own planning have emerged. First, as you can read in the letter from ISL Heads of School , the league has unanimously determined that we will not have a conventional competitive sports season and schedule in the fall. This will be no surprise to many, but it does make concrete the degree to which normal daily and weekly patterns and routines will be disrupted in the short term.
With that determination in place, we have greater clarity into the factors that will influence daily and weekly schedules and operations. In addition, state guidance for social distancing and other elements of school operations provides a design from which we can fine-tune scheduling and sectioning. Lastly, additional clarity that has developed around quarantine protocols for those traveling from out-of-state will allow us to finalize our model for opening of school.
In sum, all of these elements call for a carefully paced and designed reentry plan that will allow us to:
  • Progressively increase our capacity, programs and activities while carefully phasing and monitoring campus density, and
  • Train and develop habits and practices that will promote smooth operation and patterns of behavior that will maintain community health
With this healthy, safe, and community-building orientation guiding our opening, here are the additional details you can expect to receive in the coming weeks from Lawrence Academy, with further brief notes and comments following below:
  1. Detailed Return-to-School and Opening Schedule
  2. Daily and Weekly Class and Program Schedule for the fall term
  3. Community Health Compact agreements for community habits and behaviors
I. Return-to-School and Opening Schedule : As the school and families finalize plans for the weeks leading to the opening of school, the full grade-by-grade, international, domestic boarding, and day sequence for registration and return to school will be delivered no later than August 1st. Following are some important qualifications:

  • As already communicated to international families, September 1st will be the earliest date on which we will be able to accommodate students on campus who must maintain a 14-day travel quarantine. This option exists only for international families with no other alternative for travel quarantine. Please note, for those international students who cannot arrive by that date, the second on-campus quarantine period will begin on September 15th.
  • All domestic boarding students who live outside of New England, NY and NJ, are required to quarantine off-campus within Massachusetts for 14 days prior to arrival on campus, following Massachusetts state guidance. (See additional note below for New England, NY, and NJ residents)
  • While return and registration for all 9th grade day and boarding students will remain on September 5th, please note that entry and registration for all 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students, both new and returning and boarding and day, will be adjusted and phased over a longer period of time to allow for a gradual increase in the number of students on campus. We will provide specific grade-by-grade and cohort-by-cohort definition of return dates no later than August 1st to facilitate planning.
  • In all of the above scenarios, remote learning will be an option for students when they are not able to be on campus during this phased process and for students who are unable to return to campus or who need to maintain travel-based quarantine.
We want to draw special attention to the following for all families due to the implications on late summer travel and planning: in addition to our own schedule and strategy for return, families must be aware that the school will require ALL community members (including day families and boarding families within the state) to comply with the Massachusetts recommendation for a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone who travels outside of New England, NY or NJ upon return to Massachusetts. No students will be allowed to return to campus in-person until the completion of the full self-quarantine if they have traveled outside of the exclusion area during the 14 days before their arrival on campus.
II. Daily and Weekly Class and Program Schedule: Our daily schedule will be significantly modified from the model we used last spring—bearing a stronger resemblance to last year’s fall and winter schedule. Nevertheless, as we announced in our previous communication, we do anticipate structures and periods that will feature remote learning for all, including the period between Thanksgiving and the resumption of classes in January. We will publish this detailed schedule as well before August 1st.
III. Community Health Compact: It will be crucial that we uphold and reinforce the individual and collective habits that will protect the health of our entire community, including faculty, staff, families, and our neighboring areas within and beyond the town of Groton. To that end, we will ask all families to review and provide confirmation that they understand the guidelines we are promoting and the agreements we are establishing. These agreements will run the full range from face coverings to social distancing to on-and off-campus patterns and habits. These agreements will be an extension of the traditional sense of discipline with which we operate on campus and as a community: we are interdependent and accountable to each other not just in a moral and behavioral sense but in the maintenance of fundamental health. As such, an elevated and firmly promoted understanding of our mutual accountability will be essential. The Community Health Compact will be distributed in mid-August and will be updated as conditions and recommendations change during the year.
There are many other details of campus life that we will be articulating beyond these base frameworks and communications. Meanwhile, we thank you for your attention and understanding as we navigate these uncertain times, aiming for a safe return to the community we love. We look forward to our next contacts, and we welcome questions and concerns that arise as we communicate details in the coming weeks.
Dan Scheibe
Head of School
Lawrence Academy