With construction projects underway around nearly every corner on campus—new turf on Sawyer Field, a new complex of ten tennis courts at Galbraith, a new entryway to Memorial Hall, and many other important infrastructure projects—we are eagerly looking forward to the start of a new school year. We’re planning for the safe reopening of the Williston Northampton School and a return to as normal a school year as we possibly can have. As has always been the case, however, the safety of our students and our employees is our highest priority. Please scroll down to read our opening-of-school procedures in the Frequently Asked Questions section.
All members of the school community will need to abide by the rules of the 2021-22 Williston Compact.
Important Information on Vaccines
Williston Northampton School will require all students and faculty to be fully vaccinated by August 23. This means that a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, must be administered by this day.
If you have not already uploaded your student’s vaccination documentation, you must upload it as soon as possible, along with your Magnus Health forms. (You can upload it as part of the immunization tab within Magnus or can email it directly to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Any family seeking a medical or religious exemption to vaccination must contact Health & Wellness as soon as possible (please see FAQ, below).
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I see data on COVID-19 testing at Williston?
For this information, please visit our COVID-19 Dashboard.
What happens if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
Any member of the community (vaccinated or unvaccinated) who tests positive will need to stay separate from the community for ten days after a positive test. Students who live within driving distance should be picked up as quickly as is reasonable and will isolate at home. Boarding students outside of driving distance will isolate in one of our dedicated campus spaces, under the care of our Health and Wellness staff.
As soon as a student tests positive, we will immediately begin the contact tracing process to identify anyone who has been in close contact per CDC guidelines (which means having been within 6 feet of a person with COVID for longer than 15 minutes during the previous 48 hours). Anyone who may have been exposed will immediately be contacted and antigen tested on campus.
- If an exposed student tests positive, then that student is now considered a positive COVID case, and the above steps outlined above about leaving campus/isolating/contact tracing will apply.
- If an exposed vaccinated student tests negative, then that student should monitor for symptoms and wear a mask indoors (everywhere but in their dorm room) for 14 days, or until a second negative test after 5 days.
- If an exposed unvaccinated student tests negative, then that student will need to quarantine for one week—or have a second negative test after 5 days.
If students feel well enough, they will continue their studies utilizing OneNote on their Surfaces, and will also have the opportunity for extra help sessions with their teachers. If they do not feel well, we will work with each family individually to determine a plan.
What are the masking procedures?
- We will begin the year with all students and employees wearing proper face masks over the mouth and nose indoors in all non-residential campus buildings (with limited exceptions, cited below). Masking applies to busses, vans, and other forms of school-provided transportation.
- Boarding students and dorm parents do not need to mask in the dorms in which they reside. Until we establish our “bubble,” we ask that students do not visit dorms other than their own, and after that restriction is lifted, all students and employees should wear a mask when visiting dorms they do not reside in.
- All community members will wear proper face masks when traveling from campus and inside/in close spaces, including excursions to Easthampton, Northampton, field trips, trips home on weekends, or anytime they are around gatherings of people whose vaccination status is unknown.
- All athletes will wear masks in the locker rooms, fitness center, training room, or as specified by an adult. Athletes during practices should expect not to wear masks, unless conditions change. We will treat teams as “pods,” just as we will treat dormitories as pods.
- Any unvaccinated student or adult must always be masked while indoors, except in their own dorm room. Unvaccinated people remain the most at risk for contracting the highly infectious Delta variant. Unvaccinated students or adults will also, as was shared in an earlier letter, need to have weekly antigen test(s).
Are there any COVID-related restrictions for day students?
Fully vaccinated day students may participate in non-Williston activities, and will be able to resume normal campus activities, such as use of the library, eating dinner on campus, and so on.
What are the COVID-related protocols for visitors to campus?
Williston is continually evaluating our COVID-19 policies, so we can ensure the safest possible environment for all our students. Based on the most current information about the potential for unvaccinated carriers of the Delta variant to spread the virus, we have decide to add an extra layer of protection by adjusting our policies for all visitors to campus, including parents, alumni, and admission visitors. (Please see our FAQ for more detailed guidelines about spectators for athletic events.)
All visitors, including parents, must follow the guidelines below when coming to campus:
• If you are vaccinated, you must carry proof of vaccination (vaccine card, photocopy, or a photo of your card) with you while on campus and you must wear a mask any time you are indoors.
• If you are not vaccinated, you must have a negative PCR test within 72 hours before you arrive on campus, carry that test result with you, wear a mask both indoors and outdoors, and limit your time in indoor spaces.
• ALL visitors to campus must fill out the following short survey before coming to campus.
Are there fall athletic competitions?
We continue to have conversations about athletic competitions with our peer schools—all of whom are also figuring out their protocols. We anticipate that we will have a traditional fall schedule of games at all levels against peer schools that have similar vaccination policies in place, and will send further updates as the school year draws closer. At this time, schools are asking that all team members are either vaccinated or undergo COVID testing prior to competitions.
What are the policies for visitors to athletic events this fall?
We are excited to be having athletic contests again this fall, and have been working closely with other peer schools to develop our policies. At this time, we are asking all spectators to follow these rules:
• If you are vaccinated, you may attend outdoor athletic events this fall unmasked. Any spectator at an indoor athletic event must be masked.
• If you are not vaccinated, you must wear a mask at both indoor and outdoor athletic events. Additionally, we ask that all unvaccinated spectators take a PCR test within 72 hours before your arrival to campus to make sure you do not have the COVID-19 virus. This is an important step to keeping our campus safe, and we ask that any spectator respect and fully comply with this rule.
Please know that these policies may change as virus conditions change, and we will continue to update this page as they do.
Are boarding students able to leave for the weekend?
Yes, with weekend permissions, all boarding students, regardless of vaccination status, will be able to leave on weekends for outside sports leagues, college visits, or trips home. Unvaccinated students will be tested twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Will campus be open for boarding students during school breaks?
Please note that the campus is fully closed during November, Winter, and March breaks, and during those times, students are not allowed to stay on campus. International students should have received an email earlier this summer about opportunities for students living abroad who will be unable to travel home for school breaks. Students may stay in the dorms for one night after the break begins to catch early morning flights.
What should I do if I don't have access to the vaccine?
If your child is unable to get vaccinated before returning (for example, due to vaccine restrictions in your area or country), Health & Wellness will work with your child to ensure a safe return to campus, through a process that includes testing, quarantining if needed, access to vaccinations, and wearing masks when outside of their dorm rooms until they are fully vaccinated. If your child will be arriving on campus unvaccinated, it is essential that you notify Health & Wellness Director Amber Mish immediately, so we can schedule vaccines and testing, and keep both your child and the community safe.
What if my child requests documented religious or medical exemption to the vaccine?
Students who are not vaccinated due to a documented religious or medical exemption will be required to wear masks over the nose and mouth when they are indoors and will be required to take part in twice-weekly COVID-19 tests. It is important to note that unvaccinated students may have more limited ability to participate in certain aspects of campus life. We will continue to explore this subject, but want to be transparent about the additional rules that may apply for unvaccinated students. If you anticipate applying for a documented medical or religious exemption, it is essential that you email Director of Health and Wellness Amber Mish.
What policies are in place for arrival and Welcome Days?
- All students must have a negative PCR test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival. PCR testing is widely available at local pharmacies and information is available on state websites. As soon as you have your PCR results, please email them to PCR@williston.com or have them available during registration.
- We highly recommend that all students voluntarily get tested 10 days before campus arrival in addition to the mandatory 72-hour test time-frame above. If a student were to test positive, such an early test result would allow for CDC-mandated isolation for an on-time start of school.
- All students will be antigen tested upon their arrival to campus.
- The school will administer a school-wide “repopulation” PCR test (for employees and students), or possibly more than one test, in the opening week or weeks of school to ensure that we begin with a virus-free bubble.