Keeping Cushing Healthy 2020-2021


We developed guidelines for the resumption of classes and other activities in a manner that puts the health and safety of our community at the forefront and is consistent with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ "Four-Phase Approach" to reopening. Please see details below.

Latest Updates

September, 17, 2020



From the CDC

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

Children and COVID

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

COVID and School and Camp Activities

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

Food for Thought

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • How our brains numb us to COVID-19’s risks — and what we can do about it.

    How our brains numb us to COVID-19’s risks — and what we can do about it. Elizabeth Svoboda. August 22, 2020. The Washington Post.

    We are all experiencing exposure therapy as relates to COVID-19. The more we are exposed to it, the less threatening it seems, the more we are desensitized and the less likely we are to take seriously the mitigants that reduce the chance of spread. Extrapolating this article to school communities, we might make two hypotheses: 1) Getting nervous employees back on campus may reduce their trepidation and 2) all community members are less likely to take distancing and masking measures seriously the longer they are together without serious negative impact.



Frequently Asked Questions

Academics

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • How has Cushing adjusted its calendar for COVID-19?

    The fall term runs from August 24 through November 20. Winterim will have the flexibility of taking place remotely or in person for students, and will consist of three, three-week windows that will lead up to Spring Break. The spring semester will run from March 8 through June 9, with graduation on June 5.
  • What does the daily schedule look like?

    While there are many familiar features in our daily schedule, there are also modifications that allow for longer passing time as well as a net increase in the length and number of lunch blocks. The new daily schedule maintains its signature single and double-letter structure: single-letter periods meet synchronously eight times for forty-minutes each over a two-week interval, along with one additional asynchronous forty-minute class; double-letter periods meet three times synchronously for seventy-minutes per week, with an additional forty-minute asynchronous class. We have preserved the element of asynchronous classes in recognition of the ways in which they can be used to enhance learning outcomes.
  • What is Winterim?

    During peak flu season, Cushing Academy will offer mandatory learning experiences structured around three three-week windows that will lead up to Spring Break. As the bridge between the fall and spring semesters, Winterim will deepen skills and supplement learning experiences from the fall across all disciplines. Additionally, Winterim will provide exciting new opportunities to explore interdisciplinary seminars fostering greater student engagement, interpersonal growth, and agency. When the second semester begins, we will finish the year with fourteen weeks of on-campus learning. Our focus has remained on optimizing the allocation of time spent on campus, maximizing breaks from campus for rejuvenation and the allowance of safe returns, and again, supporting the continuity of learning. We will design Winterim with the flexibility of being mainly remote with flexibility for on-campus participation as the public health situation and medical advice warrants.
  • How is Cushing limiting class sizes and ensuing physical distancing as outlined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for classroom instruction and also in administrative areas?

    We are limiting the number of people in each classroom by following Massachusetts guidelines and measuring the distance between desks. We are also increasing passing times to allow for fewer students in the hallways. Lastly, some students are attending school via online instruction.
  • What is online learning like for those unable to be on campus?

    We have new cameras in classrooms to allow students who attend classes online to fully participate in learning and feel that they are more directly involved in the classroom experience. We are also recording and posting all live classes. Additionally, we have scheduled international (and west coast) students to attend classes during periods that are most realistic.
  • How is Cushing preparing for the transition to remote learning should that be mandated by state and local governments?

    If a transition to fully remote learning is necessary, classes should be able to continue without significant disruption due to the nature of our new daily schedule.

Arts

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Are some courses and offerings in the arts affected by restrictions?

    The Cushing experience includes participation in a number of arts offerings both in and outside the classroom. We have created guidelines for how students can continue to engage with the performing and studio arts during this atypical time.
     
    Some Visual Arts classes such as Ceramics, Metalsmithing, and Fused/Stained Glass cannot be taken concurrently or remotely. We do offer Remote Art as an asynchronous class. Other Visual Arts classes are offered concurrently.

Athletics

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • What will athletics look like for the 2020-2021 school year?

    Cushing Academy is following the guidelines and restrictions put in place by local and state governments as well as those by the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). If it is safe and recommended by governing organizations that interscholastic sports continue, then Cushing Academy will allow its teams to participate in athletic competitions.

    Currently, Cushing is providing a full athletic program on campus including practices, physical training (with our partner, Power Source), and other offerings including sports psychology, college recruitment, as well as general opportunities for fitness, health, and wellness.

    Fall teams are on the fields, court, and trails engaging in physically-distanced practices. We continue to monitor the current health situation under the advice of our medical team in case we have the opportunity to make an official decision about participating in competitive athletics.

    In addition, NEPSAC has approved out-of-season coaches to work with their teams if schools are non-competitive this fall. At this time, winter and spring sports are working on skill-building and strength and conditioning, also while staying physically distanced. The winter and spring athletics schedules remain tentatively scheduled.  
  • What will winter and spring sports look like?

    We are prepared for the winter athletics program to operate during Winterim (if allowed by the State of Massachusetts and other governing agencies). We do not have any details on the spring athletics season yet and hope that it will operate normally by that point as we return for the spring semester in March.

Campus Life

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • How large are Waddles and how do they work?

    A Waddle is a small cohort of students and faculty grouped together in order to limit the risk of viral spread. Waddles are grouped according to their living space (floor/area of a dorm, day students). Students are "waddled" to accommodate the highest-risk activities that require mask removal, such as eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene practices, though students are expected to maintain practices of mask-wearing and physical distancing at all other times. Waddles may vary in size from 8 to 16 students. While we hope that students will come to think of their Waddle as their family, a Waddle is not the same as creating a "family bubble." 
  • Are face coverings required?

    Yes, faculty, staff, and students are expected to wear masks at all times on campus—unless alone in a dorm room or office or while eating—to help protect against the spread of the virus.
  • Can students leave campus? What about downtown Ashburnham?

    At this time, students may not leave campus to go home or other locations to prioritize the health and safety of our community. We may loosen or reverse this decision depending on the progress of the public health situation and with advice from our medical experts. 
     
    As for going to downtown Ashburnham, students may be permitted to go into downtown Ashburnham wearing a mask and complying with all physical distancing requirements once the Cushing COVID-19 Advisory Level (CCAL) reaches Yellow (Limited).

Day Students

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

Enrollment and Tuition

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Can students choose to be fully remote for the fall, and potentially Winterim and Spring semester?

    Remote learning is offered for international students unable to travel to campus or for students who may be considered vulnerable due to health and safety as it relates to COVID-19. Please complete this form to request remote learning.
  • Why isn’t tuition reduced for students doing the Winterim off-campus?

    The blend of in-person, hybrid, remote, and online instruction that will be offered during the 2020-21 school year does not reduce the quality and value of a Cushing Academy education.

    With remote and online teaching, faculty and instructors are still able to provide regular instruction and interact daily with Cushing students, and can also employ methods of assessment and regular feedback.

    We are also prioritizing the health and safety of our campus by allowing for the de-densifying of campus during flu season by completing a full semester before Thanksgiving and beginning the spring semester in March and finishing in June. This time period will be bridged with additional time for learning and to give students the opportunity to explore meaningful topics that they would not normally have the opportunity to explore.

Health & Wellness

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • What guidance did Cushing follow in determining how to safely open this fall?

    Guidance focused on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Massachusetts guidelines, which are updated frequently and as needed. All boarding and independent schools are making their own decisions based on local conditions and state guidance, and plans vary. To ensure the safety of our campus and the local community, we have a measured and appropriate response to the situation in order to provide a safe educational and physical environment for our students, faculty, and staff—and meet or exceed the professional guidelines recommended.
  • Are face coverings required?

    Yes, faculty, staff, and students are expected to wear masks at all times on campus—unless alone in a dorm room or office or while eating—to help protect against the spread of the virus.
  • What will happen if a student tests positive for COVID-19 while on campus?

    Any student diagnosed with COVID-19 will be cared for by our medical staff in an isolation unit on campus, and we will expect that student to leave campus within 24 hours to recover from home. If needed, they can be transported to Heywood Hospital (6 miles from campus) for treatment. Following any COVID-19 diagnosis, the health team will immediately start the process of contact tracing and create a list of close contacts in conjunction with the Department of Health. We will then follow state guidelines as needed for isolation and quarantine.

Student Life

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • I'm mailing boxes to campus. What address should I use?

    Student’s Name
    39 School Street        
    Ashburnham, MA 01430
  • Will Cushing disinfect dormitories daily?

    To help mitigate the spread of COVID, Cushing is sanitizing and disinfecting its dormitory bathrooms, hallways, and common spaces daily. Hand sanitizer stations have also been installed at most doorways as well.
  • Can my child leave campus?

    At this time, Cushing’s medical team is discouraging any travel to Ashburnham or any weekend travel off campus. As the public health situation changes and at the recommendation at our medical team, Cushing will review this expectation.
  • How did Cushing’s dining services adjust due to COVID-19?

    Cushing has implemented a number of changes to the dining experience on campus: 
    • Grab-and-Go options provided
    • Expanded dining spaces, both outdoors and in the Student Commons
    • New and extended dining hours and serving times to allow for 6’ physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning and disinfecting processes 
    • Installation of additional hand washing stations in the dining facilities
  • What is the likelihood of fall sports taking place?

    Cushing Academy is following the guidelines and restrictions put in place by local and state governments as well as those by the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). If it is safe and recommended by governing organizations that interscholastic sports continue, then Cushing Academy will allow its teams to participate in athletic competitions.

    Currently, Cushing Academy is providing a full athletic program on campus including practices, physical training (with our partner, Power Source), and other offerings including sports psychology, college recruitment, as well as general opportunities for fitness, health, and wellness.

    Fall teams are on the fields, court, and trails engaging in physically-distanced practices. We continue to monitor the current health situation under the advice of our medical team in case we have the opportunity to make an official decision about participating in competitive athletics.





2020-2021 Academic Year Calendar

List of 8 events.

Webinars

September, 17, 2020

August 18, 2020

August 6, 2020

July 30, 2020

July 14, 2020


Webinar for Students: New Academic Schedule and Activity Updates
We apologize for the occasional poor audio quality of this recording.

June 25, 2020

June 11, 2020

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May 21, 2020






Senior Steering Committee

Joseph Marzilli
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Randy Bertin
Head of School

Associate Head of School for Enrollment

Paul Silva
Chief Financial Officer

Dr. Tina Hermos, MD
Assistant Professor, Pediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Affiliated with UMass Memorial Medical Center

Dr. Anne Hoen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Epidemiology, of Biomedical Data Science, and of Microbiology & Immunology
Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

Dr. Michael Mutchler P '15, '16
Family Medicine, Adolescent Medicine
Heywood Hospital
Cushing Academy Medical Director since 1996

Bill Rouse
Senior Advisor
AUXS






Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430
978-827-7000
admissions@cushing.org

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.

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