Graduation has come and gone. Now, we are working diligently to prepare for the 2020-21 school year and a return to on-campus learning.

With this hopeful objective in front of us, we are fortunate that the State of Connecticut is progressing methodically through a science-based, phase-by-phase plan. As a result, statewide pandemic numbers are moving in the right direction. Moreover, Franklin Academy enjoys some critical advantages. We are better able to implement and monitor safety protocols because of single-occupancy dorm rooms, small classes, spread-out facilities, and an ongoing self-care curriculum. Adjustments to our daily schedule will pace students and teachers through fall and spring semesters that replace our five-week “quints.” Consequently, we will lessen vacation travel between school and home.

Of course, we will continuously monitor health conditions. Especially important is the testing of teachers and students upon arrival to campus. We will also retest at appropriate intervals. Social distancing will be mandatory. Face masks will be required and frequent handwashing encouraged. Hand sanitizers will be available everywhere and cleaning protocols intensified. Additionally, there will be signage to reinforce safe behaviors and one-way foot traffic. Should any teachers and students become ill, containment protocols will be followed. This includes quarantine space on campus to prevent the spread of disease. If a second wave of the pandemic combines with the onset of flu season to threaten public health, our plan will include shutdown procedures and a return to Cyber Franklin.

Here are some important dates as you plan for your student’s summer and coming school year. Our Cyber Franklin summer program has three 2-week sessions: June 22 – July 3, July 6 – July 17, and July 20 – 31. I am delighted that thirty students have already signed up for the first summer session. We will make a final decision by August 14 whether statewide conditions permit a safe opening on campus in September. Faculty resume their work on August 24 and will be engaging students in virtual orientation activities beginning on August 31.

A return to East Haddam, if greenlighted, starts with FLI seniors and postgraduates on September 10. Students on Teams D, B, and C follow on September 11, 12, and 13, respectively. Classes begin on September 14. Thanksgiving break commences on November 20. Virtual Winter Intersession follows on December 2 and ends December 18 with the start of the holiday break. Second-semester classes resume January 11, whether on campus or virtually. We will celebrate graduation on June 5.

In the final analysis, our coronavirus response must be flexible and adaptable for everyone to remain safe and healthy. Indeed, we anticipate that many students will return to campus while some remain home to continue their high school education through Cyber Franklin. Please know that I will use the Headmaster’s Blog throughout the summer to provide ongoing updates about our plans and progress. Stay healthy and well.