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A Note About the Reopening of School

From the President’s Office at Oak Hill Academy

July 29, 2020

Michael D. Groves, Ph.D.

President, Oak Hill Academy

Hello students, families, and friends of Oak Hill Academy.

I invite you to join me, along with our Administrative Council, tomorrow night (7/30/20 @ 7:00 pm EST) for a Zoom conference call detailing our plans for the opening of school. This call should last about an hour.

Please read this message thoroughly in advance of our meeting. If you have additional questions, you can submit them via Zoom’s chat feature, or our administrative team will be available afterward via email.

I encourage you to download Zoom — if you haven’t already — prior to the session. It will work on a  smartphone, but I recommend using a laptop or iPad. Here’s a helpful tutorial: or

For the general principles guiding our decision-making, please refer to my statement of June 26, 2020.

Key Dates for Students & Parents


Saturday, August 22, 2020
Returning students arrive on campus
9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Sunday, August 23, 2020
New students arrive on campus — in time slots ordered by last name

Last name beginning in letters:


    • A – G: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
    • H – P: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
    • Q – Z: 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Enrollment / Move-in

Prior to Arrival on Campus

All students must be tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative result within 14 days of arrival on campus. Your local Public Health Department is your best option for securing a time-sensitive appointment for testing.

All students (and anyone accompanying a student to campus for enrollment) are asked to practice infection mitigation strategies for 14 days prior to arrival on campus. This includes:

    • Social distancing;
    • Wearing masks in public;
    • Attending/hosting no large gatherings;
    • Handwashing and good hygiene;
    • Avoiding unnecessary travel

All parents will be asked to sign an agreement committing to mitigation strategies and to allow OHA to administer tests for COVID-19. The agreement will be sent separately.  

Arrival on Campus

Upon arrival on campus, all students must report directly to the OHA Nurse’s Station to be screened and tested for COVID-19. (Note: Only two family members may accompany students to campus for move-in; masks are required for everyone on campus during enrollment — students, guests, OHA employees, etc.)

Once students are unpacked and settled in their rooms, parents and family members are encouraged to visit (and say their goodbyes) outside of buildings; tent space, pavilions, and deck areas will be available.

What to Bring to Campus

In addition to the customary items suggested for boarding school, students are asked to bring:


    • 10 cloth face masks
    • 1 fan (for air circulation and comfort in dorm room)
    • Hand sanitizer

OHA will be guided by the following Phases

Phase 1

From arrival on campus until testing results are returned and verified negative

  • Students shelter in place in individual rooms within dormitories
  • Meals will be provided to each dorm as a group
  • Orientation and academic instruction will be conducted remotely
  • All students wear masks inside dorms unless in their room alone
  • Social distancing throughout the dorm
  • Maximum of one person in bathroom, game room, or laundry room at a time
  • Any out-of-dorm activity must be approved by the Director of Student Affairs
  • Adults will be present in dormitories 24/7

Anticipated length of Phase 1: 2-3 days

Phase 2

From negative test result until successfully completing 14 day incubation period — and second round of testing returned and verified negative 

  • Students may move around campus
  • Students attend class in person
  • Meals eaten in the cafeteria in shifts
  • All students must wear a mask and practice social distancing unless in their rooms alone
  • No large gatherings
  • Students may use approved outdoor athletic facilities (complying with athletic competition guidelines) 

Anticipated length of Phase 2: 14 days

Phase 3

From successful completion of 14 day incubation period with a negative test result until 4 weeks after opening of school

  • Students wear masks indoors when there are 15+ people in a space (cafeteria, large classrooms, gym, etc.)
  • Students may be moved from individual rooms to shared rooms with a roommate
  • Approved off-campus trips begin

Anticipated length of Phase 3: 14 days

Phase 4

From 4 weeks after opening until end of semester

  • Limited large gatherings (all students and staff wear masks)
  • Disinfecting/sanitizing and handwashing around campus
  • Social distancing and mask-wearing eased among students
  • Staff continues wearing masks and practicing social distancing

Anticipated length of Phase 4: through the end of the semester

The Oak Hill "Bubble"

Our goal is to secure and maintain a family-like bubble, hence travel to and from campus throughout the first semester is necessarily restricted.

All student travel to and from campus will be managed on an individual basis through the office of our Director of Student Affairs.

A follow-up Zoom call is scheduled for Friday, August 7 @ 3:00 pm (EST).

I believe strongly that Oak Hill Academy is well-positioned to provide a secure, in-person learning environment for our students this year. In a time of uncertainty — particularly in the area of education — our school is ready to provide a stable community, with healthy face-to-face interactions among students.

We’re excited to get the year started and we look forward to working with you!

My best,
Michael D. Groves, Ph.D.