At Deerfield, our community’s health and wellness are top priorities. In recent weeks, Head of School Dr. John P.N. Austin and members of Senior Staff have been monitoring updates, best practices, and recommendations from the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, among other organizations, regarding COVID-19. They have also been working to support our students and families who have been impacted by unexpected disruptions as they navigate this time of uncertainty and rapid change. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this disease.
As of April 1:
- All on-campus events, including athletics practices and competitions, canceled from now until May 21; this year’s Reunions postponed to next year.
Families: please check your email and this webpage regularly for Deerfield Academy COVID-19-related updates.
Employees: please continue to check your email regularly and visit this webpage for current information.
- April 3: An Announcement on Reunions from Dr. Austin
- March 31: To Students and Families from Dr. Austin
- March 26: To Students from Dr. Austin
- March 25: To Alumni from Dr. Austin
- March 20: Planning for Online Learning
- March 18: To Employees from Dr. Austin
- March 14: An Update for Employees from Dr. Austin
- March 13: A Brief Update from Dr. Austin
- March 12: Spring Vacation Extended, Online Classes
- March 7: American South and Athletics Travel Canceled
- March 2: International School-Sponsored Travel Canceled
- February 27: Spring Vacation Travel Plans
- February 4: An Update from Dr. Benson
- February 2: An Update and Reflections from Dr. Austin
- February 1: To Our Families in China and Hong Kong
- January 30: Planning for Long Winter Weekend and Spring Vacation
- January 23: A Message from Dr. Benson
WHAT IS COVID-19?
A virus strain (previously referred to as “coronavirus”) that has only spread in people since December 2019 and has the potential to cause severe respiratory illness (pneumonia) in some people.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days after exposure or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus, and include:
- Difficulty breathing
HOW CAN THE TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19 BE PREVENTED?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If water and soap are not available, use hand sanitizer that is 60% rubbing alcohol;
- Avoid touching your face—eyes, nose, mouth—with unwashed hands;
- Avoid contact with people who are sick;
- Stay home if you are sick (and avoid close contact with others);
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing; cough or sneeze into your elbow.
Check for the latest COVID-19 Travel Alerts and follow the CDC’s Travelers’ Health guidance.
FAQs for Current Students and Families
For Spring Term Academics FAQs please click here.
The D.S. Chen Health and Wellness Center is effectively closed. Our Office Manager Carol Rogalski will be answering the phone and administrative questions during usual business hours (M-F; 8 am-4:30 pm). We are asking all students to transition their care to local providers at home and will not see employees for acute care issues. Dr. Benson, Dr. Relin and other clinical providers at the Chen Center are happy to speak with families and home provider as needed to provide an effective transition of care.
If you are ill or have an acute medical issue, please call your primary care provider’s office for advice. If there is an emergency, please call 911 (and if you are an employee who lives on campus, call Security 413-772-9880).
Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to ship anything to you other than your laptop and charger, which you will need for online learning. The entire Athletics Complex (including locker rooms) is currently closed, as are classroom buildings and dorms, in an effort to reduce the number of spaces our facilities staff need to clean and sanitize on an ongoing basis. The only exception (other than your laptop and/or charger) are some prescription medications, and Ms. Gardner from the health center has reached out to those students and their families for whom this applies. If you have any questions or concerns regarding prescription medication and have not heard from Ms. Gardner, please email or call the Chen Center at 413-774-1600.
If your child has the international student insurance plan (also known as United Healthcare Student Resources plan) your child has insurance anywhere in the world except for their home country until July 1, 2020. This coverage is not affected by whether the school is in session or being taught remotely. This insurance plan will cover any health issues related to COVID-19.
The health center’s Office Manager, Ms. Carol Rogalski (email@example.com) will email all families and students covered by the international insurance plan a copy of their insurance card by the end of the day on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. If you have not received your insurance card by that time please reach out to Ms. Rogalski directly.
Please also feel free to reach out to Ms. Rogalski at the health center if you have any questions regarding the international student insurance plan.
Seniors who will continue on to universities in the US will need a new form I-20 from the university they enroll with. Later in April, Ms. Dolan will reach out to international seniors to confirm their destinations then transfer their student visas on June 1. This is not a change in the normal procedure.
Students who cannot leave the US over summer break will be continuously covered by their transferred visas and will not fall out of active status. If your home address is different from your summer address, be sure to provide the correct address to your university so they can mail you a new form I-20 with your continued program dates.
Unfortunately, current local, state, and federal restrictions have forced us to shut down most of campus. We will happily ship students’ computers and chargers so they can access online learning, but at present, these restrictions prevent us from permitting students into their dorms and from sending along less essential items; we’ve had many, many requests, and we’d like to be as fair and consistent as possible.
The COVID-19 steering committee will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and local, state, and federal agencies to determine the most appropriate way to reunite students with their belongings. This will take some time, and we appreciate your patience.
If restrictions loosen in the near future, we may be able to allow seniors and families who live within driving distance to return to campus on a staggered schedule to retrieve their things. If current restrictions remain in place through the end of the academic year, we may need to pack and ship seniors’ belongings to their home addresses. With this possibility in mind, the Student Life Office is working closely with members of the Physical Plant staff and local moving companies.
We’re acutely aware of the disappointment our seniors will feel at the possibility of postponing these important activities. As Dr. Austin noted in his letter, “When we can gather, we will,” and we will seek to include each of these events in our planning for your return to campus.
For Returning Students:
Unfortunately, current local, state, and federal restrictions have forced us to shut down most of campus. We will happily ship students’ computers and chargers so they can access online learning, but at present, these restrictions prevent us from permitting students into their dorms and from sending along less essential items. We’ve had many, many requests, and we’d like to be as fair and consistent as possible.
The COVID-19 steering committee will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and local, state, and federal agencies to determine the most appropriate way to reunite students with their belongings. This may take some time, and we appreciate your patience.
If restrictions loosen in the near future, we may be able to allow returning students and families who live within driving distance to return to campus on a staggered schedule to retrieve these items. If current restrictions remain in place, we may need to pack and then store or ship students’ belongings to their home addresses. With this possibility in mind, the Student Life Office is working closely with members of the Physical Plant staff and local storage and moving companies.
The DC/AHC process will begin on April 15 and will last until April 24. During that time, students may fill out an application. A DC/AHC selection committee will read through all of the applications and make a decision in mid-May. More information for tenth- and eleventh-graders will be available on April 3. Additional questions should go to Ms. Melvoin.
Proctor interviews (on Zoom) will begin the week of April 6 and will wrap up no later than April 17. Mr. Bicknell will send along that schedule by April 3. Once the interviews wrap up, the Proctor Selection Committee will meet a few times in mid/late April and decisions will be shared by the end of the month. Additional questions should go to Mr. Bicknell.
The Student Life Office usually holds its housing “lottery” for returning students in May. Rising tenth-graders, juniors, and seniors come to the Student Life Office and pull their tiles at designated times over the course of one week. Obviously, with students off campus, we won’t be able to do that this year. Instead, students will email their housing preference forms to the Student Life Office, and we’ll use a randomizing software to assign students housing lottery numbers. The process will then unfold in its usual manner.
In mid-April, Ms. Creagh will email all returning students with further information. That email will include a link to online housing preference forms; please direct any housing questions to Ms. Creagh.
For All Students:
We will! The fall and winter sections have been completed, and our editors are working hard to brainstorm creative ideas to populate our spring term pages. Please stay tuned for communications and calls-to-action for your own remote yearbook contributions in the near future.
Deerfield yearbooks are typically printed and distributed in November, so the 2020 book will be finished during the next academic year, distributed on campus, and mailed to members of the Class of 2020 in November (of 2020).
For all other yearbook questions, please reach out to advisors Haley O’Neil and Amy Lareau via email.
The Student Life Office asks that all students return their keys to the Physical Plant Office at the following address:
Attn: Amanda Dawicki
Physical Plant Office
7 Boyden Lane
Deerfield MA 01342
Student keys must be mailed in a padded or Tyvek-like envelope (most Post Offices have them in stock) to lessen the risk of the key ripping out of an ordinary envelope. Any students who left their keys in their rooms should notify the Student Life Office.
Those tasked with packing students’ belongings may take photos or a video of the room and share it with occupants so they can determine what belongs to whom. Alternatively, that person may Zoom or Facetime with occupants in real time to determine what belongs to whom. Further details on this process will be forthcoming.
College Advising and Testing:
The college advising staff is still available to continue to give all of the college advice we would have done in person! Like classes at Deerfield, the college advising office will be moving to work with you virtually for the near future. We are happy to set up phone calls, skype meetings, or use other online platforms to keep our advising of your college process up to date – both juniors and seniors. We’ll send out instructions on how to set up meetings after spring break. For example, for the canceled spring family weekend, we’ll send out an email to junior parents inviting them to set up Skype meetings with us but will now have the flexibility to spread that out over more than just two days.
FAQs for Employees
Wash your hands often with with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based gel.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cover your mouth by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your inner elbow—NOT YOUR HANDS.
Call your primary care provider if you are sick and practice social distancing.
Stop the spread of germs
Help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like the flu and COVID-19