Coronavirus Updates

The Groton School campus is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This page is updated periodically with news and communications related to the virus' impact on the school community.

Groton School is planning to open with a hybrid model, welcoming all students to campus who can arrive safely and abide by both Groton School and state of Massachusetts protocols—while also providing virtual learning for those who cannot or choose not to return.
 

List of 10 items.

  • Arrival

    Students' arrival will be staggered, with the first group of students coming to campus on Monday, September 7.

    Monday, September 7All international students (new and returning) who have fulfilled the requirements of the state travel order and the school's testing policy may come to campus. New students may opt to arrive on September 12 with other new students. 
     
    Tuesday, September 8All domestic boarding students (new and returning) who are not from a state designated lower-risk by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health may arrive if they have fulfilled the requirements of the state travel order and the school's testing policy. New students may opt to arrive on September 12 with other new students.
     
    Thursday, September 10All returning domestic boarding students arriving from designated lower-risk states may come to campus if they have fulfilled the school's testing requirement. Families who have students in more than one group should arrive on the later date. 
     
    Saturday, September 12All day students may arrive if they have fulfilled the school's testing requirement. New domestic boarding students not subject to quarantine may arrive if they have fulfilled the school's testing requirement.

    Prior to arrival, students must satisfy the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requirement unless they are traveling from a designated lower-risk stateIn addition, they must fulfill the school’s requirement, which does not exclude lower-risk states.

    The Massachusetts travel order requires: Those who are not coming from designated lower-risk states must either quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival in Massachusetts or provide a negative result from a PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. A state travel form is also required.

    Groton School requires: All students—from everywhere including Massachusetts—must present negative results from a PCR test administered no more than seven days before arriving on campus for the start of school. If you cannot get a test on your own within that period, you must arrive in the area in time to take a pre-arrival test offered by the school.

    Visitors who are not arriving from a lower-risk state must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival. Please consult the state's order and its Guidance for Travelers for more information. 

    As state guidelines may change, please check the mass.gov website for up-to-date information before finalizing plans.

    Any student or parent/guardian who is experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19, who has had close contact with someone with symptoms, or who has the virus should not travel to school until they have been tested and received negative test results. 

    Families who live more than three hundred miles from school must identify a local host or guardian within driving distance of Groton who can pick up their child, if necessary, within 24 hours.
     
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  • Testing and Screening

    Groton School is partnering with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which will provide RT-PCR COVID-19 testing, process our tests, and guide our testing protocol.

    Students must satisfy the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requirement unless they are traveling from a designated lower-risk stateIn addition, they must fulfill the school’s requirement, which does not exclude lower-risk states. 
     
    The Massachusetts travel order requires: Those who are not coming from designated lower-risk states must either quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival in Massachusetts or provide a negative result from a PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. 

    Groton School requires
    : All students—from everywhere including Massachusetts—must present negative results from a PCR test administered no more than seven days before arriving on campus for the start of school. If you cannot get a test on your own within that period, you must arrive in the area in time to take a pre-arrival test offered by the school.

    We will offer drive-up testing on campus for students on September 3 and September 7. Regrettably, we cannot offer testing for parents or other family members. Students will be expected to leave campus immediately after the test and self-quarantine until the Health Center confirms that the results are negative.

    In addition to these pre-arrival tests, all students will be retested as soon as they arrive on campus at the start of school. Regular testing of faculty, staff, and on-campus faculty's family members began on August 31.
     
    Please consider the availability of testing and wait times for test results in your area as you plan your travel.

    The current testing plan, subject to change based on medical advice, will include weekly tests for three weeks and then bi-weekly tests throughout the term. This widespread surveillance testing is in addition to the testing of any students who experience symptoms. If any students test positive, the Health Center will take appropriate steps for isolation, treatment, and contact tracing.

    Students will be screened daily through temperature checks, verbal questioning, and self-reporting via an app. Any child with a suspected illness will be sent immediately to the Health Center for further evaluation.
  • Mask Requirements

    All students, faculty, and staff will be provided with face masks regularly, and they must wear them in any common spaces.

    Virtually every space is considered a common space—including small study rooms, corridors, and restrooms. Mask-wearing will be the expected norm and strictly enforced.

    Students will not have to wear masks in their own dorm rooms but will need to wear them in dorm common spaces. 
  • Athletics/Afternoon Activities

    How many days a week will I have afternoon activities?
    Everyone will have activities five days a week. Some varsity athletes and students in theater will have a sixth day. All students will take two activities—one for three or four days a week and the other for two days a week.

    What will Athletics look like this fall?
    For four days of the week, we will provide our typical fall athletic offerings (cross country, field hockey, soccer, and volleyball), as well as the Groton Zebra Combine on the gridiron. These workouts and development, geared toward the varsity-level athlete, will run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. On Tuesday and Thursday, we will have practices with head coaches for winter or spring varsity programs. The Tuesday/Thursday program will be for spring sports the first five weeks of the term and for winter sports the second five weeks (if indoor play has been approved).

    If you do not have varsity aspirations this year for any of our fall sports, you will be able to sign up for an intramural level of a fall sport or one of many other afternoon activities.

    What is the Groton Zebra Combine?
    State regulations do not allow traditional football until further notice. We have created the Zebra Combine, which concentrates on many of the skills associated with the sport to help with player development.
     
    Can I still play my club sport?
    Not if you plan to be on campus. To minimize the risk to all members of our community, Groton students who wish to play club sports off campus or participate in jamborees or showcases, whether they are boarders or day students, must study virtually. This policy will apply not only to athletes, but also to students who wish to participate in drama, debate, music, or other events off campus.

    What intramural sports will be offered on campus this fall?

    For the JV- or thirds-level players, there will be field hockey, girls soccer, boys soccer,  tennis, rowing, cross country, Ultimate Frisbee, and Frisbee golf. 

    Will there be tryouts for varsity teams?
    Because we are not competing in interscholastic competition this fall, varsity rosters will be larger than normal. The teams will consist of those currently playing at the varsity level and those who aspire to play varsity at some point in their Groton career. Coaches may ask a student to participate in the intramural program instead of varsity only if they believe it is in the best interest of the student.

    I am new to the sport, but I am generally a varsity-level athlete; what should I do?
    Sign up for the varsity team. Because this season is more of a developmental year, this is the perfect time to join that program and learn.

    Can I sign up for a fall varsity sport as well as its intramural equivalent on Tuesday and Thursday? 
    No. Tuesday and Thursday intramurals are for students who would like to engage in a recreational activity without the pressure of varsity-level play. There are many other Tuesday/Thursday offerings from which to choose.

    Will we ever scrimmage/play games on campus?
    Yes, after we have the approval of our health authorities. At that point, teams will be allowed to begin scrimmage-like activity and eventually—if COVID protocols allow—progress to intra-squad games.

    I aspire to play collegiate athletics in my fall sport. What do I do?
    We understand that some students aspire to continue their athletic careers beyond Groton. Coaches will have the option to film certain practices, and students may use that film if needed. 

    Can I sign up for Conditioning five days a week?
    No. Students who sign up for Strength and Conditioning as their primary activity will need to sign up for a different activity on Tuesday and Thursday. If your primary activity is not Conditioning, you may sign up for Tuesday/Thursday Conditioning. Only Fifth and Sixth Formers may sign up for Conditioning. 

    If I sign up for Strength and Conditioning as my primary activity in the fall, can I continue that class in the winter?
    No, students will not be able to take the three-day-a-week Conditioning class for multiple terms. If students only condition on Tuesday and Thursday, they will be allowed to sign up for Conditioning as their primary activity in another term.

    Will dance still be offered?
    Yes, dance and folk dance will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

    What are the new afternoon activities?
    Yoga, Meditation, Open Studio, Literature and Photography, Outdoor Photography, Folk Dance, and Calligraphy. In addition, Jazz Band, Open Music and Choir, and Select Chamber Music will be offered in the afternoon. Debate and Outdoor Fab Lab are options as well.

    Are there ways to enjoy the outdoors and nature? 
    Outdoor opportunities that fulfill the afternoon requirement include Conservation Corps (field walks and trail maintenance), fishing, mountain biking, and birdwatching.

    I signed up for an activity and I realize I do not like it. Can I switch mid-season?
    We want all Groton students to enjoy their afternoon experience; however, this is an unusual term for all of us. Because of our hygienic and COVID-19 safety protocols, students will not be able to switch afternoon activities after the academic drop-add period at the start of the term. 

    Will there be athletic laundry?
    Yes. Washing clothes daily is critical. Each student will be given laundry bags to keep a rotation of clean practice clothing available. Every day, students will be responsible for dropping off and picking up their laundry at designated areas outside the Athletic Center.

    Will I be allowed in the Athletic Center?
    Only day students and Athletic Department staff are allowed in the Athletic Center, to gain access to the locker rooms. No showering is permitted. Mr. Harper will have a fitness tent set up outside, and Ms. Wall will have a sports medicine tent outside—both behind the athletic center.
  • Dormitories

    For the beginning of the school year and perhaps longer, students will have access to only their own dorms, and many activities, such as dining, will be organized by dorm group to reduce student interaction.

    Nightly check-in with faculty on duty will occur one-on-one or in small groups, avoiding handshaking and other physical contact. 

    Protocols for day students are being developed and will be shared in the coming weeks. To reduce density in dorms as much as possible, day students will not be affiliated with or have access to dormitories at the start of the year. They will nevertheless fully participate in academic, co-curricular, and afternoon programs, and will have spaces on campus to store belongings and gather.
     
  • Reducing Density

    Reducing the density of shared spaces will facilitate successful social distancing. In classrooms, we will maintain at least six feet between students and will limit classes to ten unless spaces allow for adequate distancing with more students.

    Traffic patterns will be established to help maintain physical distancing in corridors and other well-trafficked areas.


    By repurposing two faculty residences as dormitories, we have eliminated triples.

    Dining times will be staggered, and students will likely be assigned to eat in particular groups at designated times. The Dining Hall will be reconfigured to allow for distancing, and grab-and-go options will be available to further reduce density.

    Additional spaces will be designated for gathering, including tents on the Circle, where students can eat or spend time during free periods.

    Chapel capacity will be limited and services streamed to alternate areas. In those areas, and in the Chapel itself, social distancing will be enforced.
  • Academic Schedule

    See the academic schedule here. Students will take only five classes per term during the 2020–21 school year. This is a one-year, temporary response to COVID-19 to keep workloads manageable, and graduation requirements will be adjusted accordingly. This less-is-more approach will allow us to pivot more easily to all-virtual learning, should that become necessary.

    Campus will be closed from Thanksgiving until January, and classes during the first half of December will be virtual for all students.

    Fall Long Weekend is canceled. Virtual parent conferences will replace Parents Weekend.

  • Leaving Campus

    Boarding students will not be permitted to leave campus, with limited exceptions for medical appointments, approved by the Health Center, or family emergencies, approved by the Deans' Office.

    Boarders will not be allowed to attend off-campus activities, such as club sports, and the same guidelines will apply to day students unless they opt to study remotely.
  • Visiting Campus (Please Don’t)

    Visitors to campus will be strictly limited until further notice. The Admission Office will conduct only virtual tours and interviews, and college representatives will visit virtually. Any visitors deemed essential will be required to follow safety protocols.

    Parents Weekend will be postponed, with virtual parent conferences available in the fall as needed. 

    Sports will be intramurals until contact with other schools is safe, and outside spectators will not be permitted.
  • Admission Information

    Groton's Admission Office is holding virtual tours and interviews. Inquiries are welcome. Please see the Virtual Revisit page for information on how to experience the school until it is safe to visit.