FAQs Regarding School Re-opening – Northern Academy
Please enable JS

Northern Academy of the Arts seeks to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. Please review the following FAQs for the latest information. We will share any updates with you over the coming months.

Returning to School in the Fall 2020

1. When will students return to campus?

New students will report to school and have orientation on September 1.

New boarding students can enter the dormitory starting from 1 PM on August 31; returning boarding students can return to the dormitory on September 1.

Other returning students will return to school to attend classes on September 2.

Homestay students will arrive at hosting families by September 1.

Classes will start on Wednesday September 2.

2. How will Northern Academy help students prepare for coming/returning to school?

We shall communicate detailed information about the drop-off process and health and safety requirements with student families through email, website posting, and online meetings.

3. How will classes be conducted in the fall?

All classes including all academic classes and most art classes (except a few as explained below) will be conducted in a hybrid-mode. The class will be taught in the classroom for onsite students, and also streamed live via virtual classroom for online students.

During the six weeks of 2020 Summer Camp, Northern Academy successfully utilized this hybrid-mode of teaching with academic, dance, fine arts, and music classes.

Physical education, dance tumbling, and music classes that require multiple audio channels will not be streamed online due to safety concerns and/or technical limitations.

A student may take classes onsite or online on any day upon the agreement of parents and the school. Attendance will be taken based on the presence onsite or online.

Students who are home due to sickness or in quarantine can still take classes online.

Health and Safety on Campus

4. Will students be screened prior to arriving on campus?

Yes. All students will be required to conduct a temperature check at home, and students or their parents/guardians are required to complete a screening questionnaire, every day prior to arriving on campus. Those with a temperature greater than 100.0°F, and other COVID-symptoms must stay home.

5. Will there also be on-campus screening?

Yes. There will be on-campus screening for boarding students. Prior to entering the dormitory for the first time, all students will be screened via screening survey. The survey also asks about whether or not the student has engaged in international travel, or travel from designated states with widespread community transmission of COVID-19, as identified through the New York State Travel Advisory.

6. Will there be on-campus viral testing if an individual screens positive on the screening survey.

The school will not be conducting COVID-19 tests. Anyone who screens positive to potential COVID-19 exposure will be asked to contact a healthcare provider for further evaluation, and testing if deemed necessary by the healthcare provider.

7. Will students be expected to quarantine for 14 days prior to arriving on campus?

Students who recently traveled from a designated high-risk area to New York are required to quarantine as prescribed by the DOH interim guidance on quarantine before they will be allowed to come to school. Students must not have developed any COVID-19 symptoms in order to be permitted onto campus after the quarantine period.

As of August 4, 2020, New York State requires anyone traveling from another U.S. state that has significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days when entering New York. (www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-individuals-traveling-new-york-additional-state-will-be-required)

Due to the rising COVID-19 cases internationally and because the CDC discontinued its screening guidance, the governor of New York issued an executive order on September 28, 2020 reminding international travelers of the ongoing mandatory quarantine requirement. Therefore, all students, parents, and visitors from level 2 and level 3 countries arriving at New York State airports will be required to fill out a health form and upon arriving on Northern’s campus or in a Homestay will be required to quarantine for 14 days and attend classes virtually. Thereafter, if no COVID symptoms develop, students will be permitted to attend classes in-person and must adhere to safety protocols (i.e. keep 6 feet distance, wear a face mask, wash hands often, and continue to monitor their health and look for symptoms).

Northern Academy will continue to monitor developments and will follow guidance on travel advisories, quarantine, and other requirements from global, national, and state health and government officials.

8. What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19 prior to the opening of school?

Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days prior to the opening of school must report the test result to the school nurse and local health department. The school will coordinate with the local health department to develop an appropriate plan for the student’s return to campus. While home, students will be able to participate in online instruction until they are able to come to campus.

9. Will employees be screened or tested for COVID-19?

All employees are required to complete a screening survey and conduct a temperature check at home prior to arriving on campus each day. Anyone who screens positive for symptoms will be asked to stay home.

10. What happens if a student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus?

If a student develops symptoms of COVID-19 illness while on campus, the school nurse will be notified. Designated personnel wearing appropriate PPE will safely move the student away from others to the nurse’s office. The student will remain there and be cared for by the school nurse or designated personnel until he/she can be picked up by a parent/guardian.

If the student has emergency warning signs such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to arouse, bluish lips or face, the nurse will call 911 and notify the operator that the student may have COVID-19.

11. Will masks be required in all settings or only settings where social distancing is not possible?

Masks are required for students whenever other people are present in the same space.

Teachers may wear face shields when they are 6 feet away from students, but are required to wear masks if they are within 6 feet from students.

12. Will students be provided with masks, and if so, what type of mask?

In accordance with New York State guidance, students are expected to wear their own masks to school everyday. If a student forgets to wear a mask or misplaces it during the day, he can get a replacement mask from the nurse’s office or at a PPE station on campus. The school will provide disposable surgical masks that cover the mouth and nose.

13. How do physical distancing and the wearing of masks protect students?

The new coronavirus is a virus that lives in a person’s respiratory tract. It can be spread directly from human to human through respiratory droplets that are expelled from an infected individual through coughing, sneezing, talking or singing. Disposable masks block the wearer from transmitting their droplets to others. They are not as effective at preventing respiratory droplets from entering a wearer’s nose or mouth. Physical distancing keeps individuals far enough apart that respiratory droplets cannot easily travel from one individual to the next.

14. How will you educate students about new health and safety protocols?

Training and education are important components of our plan for limiting exposure to this virus. All community members will learn what is expected of them in order to maintain a safe community. It is likely that this will take place both prior to their coming to campus through Q&A forums, and then upon arrival to campus with in-person sessions.

15. If a student needs to quarantine, where will that happen?

Students who need quarantine will be asked to spend this 14-day time period either at home, at an off-campus site identified by the student family, or under the supervision of a responsible staff member in a designated quarantine site on campus. In case the student family has difficulty identifying a suitable off-campus site, we will partner with you to find a solution.

16. Will the school have a contact-tracing protocol?

Yes. The school will partner with state and local health departments for contact tracing protocols.

17. How will you enforce new health and safety protocols in common areas?

Health and safety protocols will be enforced through reminders, conversations and signage.

18. Will student clubs and activities still happen?

Yes. Clubs will offer a combination of in-person and virtual experiences so that membership and participation is available to all students, whether they are on campus or at home.

19. Will visitors be allowed on campus?

For now, and until such time as conditions permit visitors, the Academy is closed to non-community members, including parents and alumni, unless a special appointment is arranged.

20. What modifications has Northern made to classes to reduce capacity and increase health and safety?

Class sizes will be limited to ensure appropriate distance is maintained between students and faculty at all times.

21. Face covering is required for students and faculty in classroom at all times.

At the end of each class, students will clean/disinfect shared objects they just used, such as tables, chairs, and keyboards, before going to another classroom.

Break time between classes is extended to allow disinfecting and avoid congestion.

22. How will dance tumbling and practice be managed with masks and social distancing?

For Dance tumbling classes, based on the suggestion from medical professionals, instructors will wear a mask and gloves. For dance training or practice, students will be required to wear masks, but given additional breaks in the middle of classes so that they can catch their breath to avoid fatigue or other issues. Distancing will be maintained during the breaks, including stepping out of the studio into open space. Class sizes will be limited to provide each student with appropriate distancing in every studio.

23. Will students be required to do cleaning in school?

Students will be asked to clean the areas and objects that they used by themselves in class. For example, at the end of each class, students will clean/disinfect the shared objects they used by themselves, such as tables, chairs, keyboards.

24. How will the school cafeteria serve meals?

The school cafeteria will serve individually plated or pre-packaged meals. Students will have staggered meal times and keep 6 feet sitting space in the dining area. Students must wear a mask in the dining hall, except when they are seated and eating.

Residential Life

25. Will students need to wear masks and practice physical distancing in their dormitory?

Yes. Students and staff will be required to use acceptable face coverings in common areas and limit non-essential gatherings and activities. Those residing in the same dormitory room will be considered a residential cohort and therefore not required to wear masks or be limited to 6 feet distancing while they are in the dormitory room.

26. How will students be housed in dormitories?

Northern has two on-campus dormitory facilities, and will operate at reduced capacity. Dormitory rooms vary in size, with the largest being 4 students. Students on each floor will share dedicated bathrooms. Each floor will plan activities together and create small communities within each dormitory.

27. Can students visit students in other dormitory units or in another dormitory?

Within their dormitory, students will be able to interact with students on different floors as long as they follow safety protocols. To minimize risk, students will not be allowed to visit other dormitories until such time as health and safety conditions allow. There will be plenty of spaces on campus where students can gather with friends while following all safety protocols.

28. Will students be allowed to go into downtown Middletown? What about going to locations beyond the town of Middletown?

After students have completed all COVID-19 screening, they will be permitted to go into downtown Middletown, wearing a mask and complying with physical distancing requirements. Visiting home will be permitted, of course, once it is safe to allow.

At this time, we do not anticipate granting out-of-town requests for students to leave the town of Middletown for destinations or activities other than to travel home. Please note that we may make exceptions for students to participate in off-campus programs such as external dance competitions, if the state of New York allows for team sports activities.

29. How will the Academy handle move-in days?

Northern will deploy an orderly and socially distanced move-in process. All students moving in will be divided into groups of no more than 6 people, and assigned a specific move-in day and time window in order to modulate the flow of students into the dormitory.

Please contact dorm@northernacademy.org to schedule your move-in time.

30. What additional items will a boarding student need to bring to the dormitory?

Boarding students need to read the Boarding Student Handbook carefully and prepare the items on the Packing Checklist.

In addition, each boarding student should bring either 7 pieces of (washable) cloth face masks or 100 pieces of disposable face masks for the fall semester.

Students may choose to bring other personal protective items during the pandemic.

31. How will the dormitory handle sick students?

The nurse will be notified, and will follow a protocol to determine if the student needs to see a doctor for their symptoms, or be monitored in a separate room where the student will have minimal contact with other students.

In accordance with protocol, the school nurse will decide if the student can return to his/her own room or to class, or must be moved to an off-dormitory location for quarantine.