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Campus Reopening Update

Monday, June 29, 2020

Dear Friends,

Thanks to the hundreds of families who participated in our two ‘State of the School’ sessions, one for returning families and one for new families. This past Friday marked an especially important juncture for all of us as Montgomery County moved from the yellow phase to the green phase. Above all, I hope you and your families are well.

Everyone at GA continues to work hard to ensure that all necessary steps are in place for as smooth a return to school as possible this fall. We plan to open on schedule during the week of August 31 and with everyone in the buildings. Today I’m pleased to provide you with many pertinent updates. First, however, I’d like to share with you the overarching principles which are guiding our work.

We will be prepared:

  1. To fulfill our mission;
  2. To support a healthy community;
  3. To follow or exceed state and county guidelines;
  4. To have as many students on campus as possible;
  5. To teach our curriculum;
  6. To creatively reimagine schedules and spaces in all three divisions;
  7. To provide opportunities for meaningful social connection among students;
  8. To support a thriving athletic and extracurricular program in all phases;
  9. To foster and support necessary professional development for employees;
  10. To remain a financially sustainable school.

Without a doubt we will need to develop an array of solutions in order to be prepared under any circumstances to achieve these goals. Over the next 10 weeks before school starts, we imagine that the course of the virus and the requirements and recommendations from state and county governments will continue to evolve, and I assure you we are compiling a multi-tiered, proactive plan for any eventuality. We are following not just the guidelines of the state and county, but we have invested significant time researching best practices published by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Centers for Disease Control, and numerous other professional organizations working in specific areas of school life (such as athletics and arts). As you read the updates below, I ask you to keep two points in mind: First, these decisions are based on current guidance. Second, it is imperative for you to remember that we are a community of 1,500 students and employees on campus each day. While your child may not be at great risk of contracting the virus, other children and many adults on our campus and in our homes are compromised in ways that require us to consider the ‘common good’ of all when making changes or implementing restrictions.

Of course I wish from the bottom of my heart that I were writing to you instead about all of the curricular innovations planned for the 2020-21 school year. While these are indeed happening, our priority right now has to be to address the health crisis facing our region and country. Remember that this is just one update in a series of updates; as we learn more and make further decisions, I promise to write again. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any urgent questions regarding next year or if there is anything your family needs. Stay tuned for our next Zoom State of the School presentation in a few weeks when I will provide the latest news and answer questions compiled from the community.

My best always to you and yours,


Rich Schellhas
Head of School
Germantown Academy