Boarding school COVID discussion 2022

Suggesting a thread for ongoing important COVID discussion, and moving the discussion out of Miscellaneous Ramblings (which we all appreciate being lighter and focusing on favorite cocktails).


For those current students and parents at BS’s, please share how your school (named if possible) has/and currently is handling COVID. Of particular interest would be cancellation of activities, sports, live classes, experiential learning. Also curious if any schools require boosters for students. TY


Vaccinations and booster required for all eligible school members

First week of January classes is online, with those flying in arriving as scheduled, and those driving, arriving a week later, in time for in person classes to start. (Hoping this plan sticks)

All extracurriculars canceled for the first week. Spectators still allowed, if masked, once games resume.

Masks required indoors, including athletes: must be N95, KN95, or double surgery.

Meals offered in the dining hall or as grab and go.

Surveillance testing 2x a week for the entire school. Those who have recently recovered from covid are exempt from surveillance testing for 90 days.

If you really want to participate in the general CC COVID discussion, you need to go to the main Parent Cafe and catch up on the Inside Medicine…COVID 19 Medical News and Vaccine Reluctance threads. There have been several back-and-forths there regarding the definition of “mild” COVID. Clinically, it appears that “mild” means “does not require hospitalization,” which can include the very rough illness that @one1ofeach referenced.

From the NIH:

Some don’t consider nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea “mild” for any illness, but as long as hospitalization is not required, these symptoms do not meet the clinical definition of severe COVID. It is correct, though, that most BS students who contract Omicron will experience “mild” COVID, though the range of symptoms may vary.

I think it was a good idea to separate this conversation from Miscellaneous Ramblings to keep focused here on how COVID is being handled at the various schools.

(Now I can go back to MR and talk about why I’m glad the holidays over as I didn’t get a pony again this Christmas.)

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Testing was required prior to arrival. Pooled saliva testing was conducted on Monday and Wednesday, and will be performed twice weekly at least through January if not the entire term. Classes and activities during this first week are virtual, and socializing is only allowed outside. Meals are grab-and-go. Students are not allowed to leave campus. Eligible students were encouraged to get boosters over break and a clinic was held yesterday.

Classes, activities, and off-campus privileges are set to return to normal next week.

This is more or less the same structure at PA except no pooled saliva testing…it’s individual. I’d ask - are day students allowed on campus for outside socializing at PEA? For this first week they are not at PA.

All students were required to take rapid tests on Dec 27th and Jan 2nd and submit the results to the school. Students (with negative covid tests) were welcomed back on campus on Monday 3rd, and rapid tested again before being allowed into dorms. Additional testing is scheduled for Saturday 8th.

In-person classes started Tuesday morning. Everyone on campus needs to be masked in all indoor areas. One of my kid’s classes is virtual but that seems to be the exception. Day students are on campus as usual.

I’m not sure what’s happening with dining and sit-down meals. I do know that the all-school assembly, which happens every Wednesday was canceled yesterday.

Co-curricular activities seem to be continuing as normal. Some (but not all) athletic competition is canceled for Saturday and Wednesday 12th. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the remaining matches slowly get switched over to canceled as the true picture of covid on campus emerges.

The great ‘unmasking’ was due to happen on Saturday after the latest round of testing, but based on what I’m hearing about covid on campus, that’ll probably get delayed too.

The NIH has defined asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe and critical groups, primarily for treatment purposes. Asymptomatic, mild and moderate groups may be treated outside of the hospital, depending on many other factors, such as age, comorbidities, resources for care and monitoring at home, etc. So, mild COVID is not any case of COVID that does not require hospitalization. At least according to the NIH.

The assertion that “mild” COVID includes “severe flu like symptoms” is what I would say is not true in clinical practice or observation, though I must admit that flu has not been defined into discrete groups by any particular entity. Yes - flu symptoms include those listed by @one1ofeach ; however, “severe flu like symptoms” are above and beyond those, and in clinical practice consist of flu complications. Sorry if it seems I’m splitting hairs there, but it really conveys a different clinical scenario.

Never the less, I don’t dispute @one1ofeach 's personal observations, but the description of “severe flu” symptoms does suggest moderate COVID cases, as nearly all “severe flu” patients have lower respiratory symptoms.

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Within 72 hours prior to arrival and at arrival, testing was performed. Classes are remote through the end of the week. Several positive cases, with most NOT students, but actually faculty and other adults. Students must wear N95 masks or double mask. Day students allowed. Boarding students are not allowed off campus. Sports and afternoon activities cancelled through end of the week. Notification of ongoing measures and changes is frequent.

I really appreciate the detailed info about the plans at everyone’s schools. TY!


Negative PCR 3-5 days before arrival Tuesday. Arrival testing Tuesday & Wednesday and another round for tomorrow. Campus closed - no leaves and no visitors for 2 weeks. No socializing indoors this week.

PCR tests 3 days prior to return, rapid and PCR on arrival (unless you’ve tested positive over break and then it’s just the rapid on arrival)
-only grab and go food
-mask everywhere except in room with only roommate
-cancelled chapel this week, will be only two forms at a time with more space between seats going forward
-games cancelled this weekend
-regular testing going forward
-no visitors in any campus building
-no leaving campus for 10 days including town
-winter break cancelled

The head of school wrote an email today saying that they don’t intend to bubble and acknowledge the presence of COVID and they just don’t want to overwhelm the infirmary. I appreciate this sentiment as the winter is already hard and to take away all the perks/freedoms creates an environment that is taxing to the kids mental health.

DD has been back 2 days, one of her best friends tested positive for flu today.

They can, in theory. But it doesn’t make sense for most people.

Adding to Deerfield - my kiddo was contact traced twice in the first 2 days (the other two kids at a table in a class). Those contact traced have to mask everywhere for 10 days except outside and in their own dorm room but as long as symptom free can go to meals and eat in the dining hall unmasked. They have to test on day 3 and 5 after exposure. I am not too worried, as they were all masked and the two at her table probably contracted it while traveling. I suspect that masking will continue beyond Saturday for all.

Email about contact tracing- if you were exposed you may continue EC’s, and if a swimmer may remove mask to get in water, if in band may remove mask to play instrument.

To phrase it more succinctly: don’t discuss it on this thread. Leave this thread for the discussion intended - the pandemic in the context of secondary schools.

Posts not in compliance are subject to removal.

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I’m applying to boarding schools right now and they seem extremely serious about COVID compared to my current public school which just announced today that they would stop all contact tracing and testing, and students and faculty will need to attend school if they are asymptomatic, even if they have tested positive for COVID. My school’s policy is ridiculous.

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Is my school the only school that has had masks indoors, except while eating, the whole year? I’m very confused, have most boarding schools had no masks indoors?

Deerfield has been maskless unless unvaxxed (legit medical exemptions and very few)

we are the same but i guess the pennsylvania state mandate makes us ineligible to eliminate masks.