Frequently Asked Questions
An Overview of the 2020-21 School Year
What will the 2020-21 academic year calendar look like?
Where can parents find handy links?
The Parents section of our website has lots of information for parents, with links to forms, calendars, and portals, and a more granular Frequently Asked Questions area with parent questions in mind.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
What testing protocols are in place?
As of August 1, 2020, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires travelers to fill out a Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless they are traveling from lower-risk states. As of January 20, the only lower-risk state is Hawaii. However, to make sure we add as many layers of protection as possible, Williston is exceeding the state requirements, and requiring Safer-at-Home Guidelines, a negative test before arriving on campus, and a test upon arriving on campus.
- Students residing outside of these states must complete a Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival.
- All students will be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR molecular test result, with the test having been taken up to 72 hours prior to their arrival to campus. Or students may used one of our on-campus test days (see our On Campus Testing Calendar).
- All students will also be required to answer our Risk Assessment Questions about their activities during the previous 72-hour period.
As students arrive on campus with staggered timing, they will be tested again. Click here for more on our testing expectations at the outset of the year.
How often are students being tested?
All students, faculty, and staff are tested each week while in-person classes are in session.
What happens if a student tests positive for the coronavirus?
If a student tests positive, that student will be kept separate from other members of the community in one of the Health & Wellness isolation apartments. Health and Wellness will make sure that the student is comfortable and has whatever personal items they need, and will be in touch by phone with the student’s parents. Day and boarding students who live within driving distance will need to be picked up and taken home as quickly as possible. Boarding students outside of driving distance who have tested positive will isolate in area reserved for COVID patients in Health & Wellness for a minimum of 10 days. If students feel well enough, they may continue their studies remotely during this time. Otherwise, we will work with the student/family to accommodate the student’s needs.
If someone on campus tests positive for the coronavirus, what steps will follow?
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). Just as a reminder, the best way to avoid having this happen is by following all protocols for social distancing. If students are following these protocols, there is far less risk of any exposure.
Anyone who may have been exposed will immediately be contacted, tested on campus (a rapid antigen test), and quarantined in their room. We will notify and reach out to parents as quickly as possible, and follow up personally with every family to ensure that all of their questions are answered after we safely locate and quarantine all of the students potentially impacted.
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. However, it is important to note that even if an exposed student tests negative, they must either leave campus to quarantine at home (day or boarding students within driving distance) or must quarantine on campus, and be symptom-free for 14 days. This is due to CDC guidelines, which state that a person exposed with close contact to someone with COVID-19 may develop the virus for up to 14 days after the time of exposure, so they must be presumed positive during this time period. During this time, students may continue their studies remotely. If after that time period, the student is symptom free, they may return to campus and will be tested again upon their return.
If Williston has a positive COVID case on campus, we will be emailing all students and parents within 24 hours. For privacy reasons, we will not be identifying the individual.
Finally, all students (and employees) will complete a self-attestation form daily through Veracross to evaluate and report any possible COVID symptoms. This form (which has five simple yes/no questions) must be completed each day for a student to attend classes. Students who answer yes to any question should stay in place in their dorm room or at home (if a day student), and a member of Health & Wellness Services will contact them quickly after submission to follow up.
How is the school making sure the Williston community adheres to the rules about safety?
Williston will expect all students, faculty, and staff on campus to follow safe habits and expectations, including testing, self reporting, screening, mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and tracing. The details of this can be found in the Williston Community Compact, which all members of our community (including parents) will agree to uphold. View the compact here.
What steps do students have to take before taking in-person classes at Williston?
To make sure we add as many layers of protection as possible, Williston is exceeding state requirements. We are using a three-step process, in which we strongly recommend two weeks of Safer-at-Home practices and require two negative tests prior to beginning school in person.
All students must be tested twice before starting the school year in person—once with a test taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival on campus, and once upon arrival to campus. Students who do not have two negative tests may not start the school year on campus and must start the school year remotely. Once they are able to produce two negative tests within a three-to-five-day period, they may return to campus. Here is more detail on our testing.
- All students will be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR molecular test result, with the test having been taken up to 72 hours prior to their arrival to campus. Families may elect to have testing with their own primary care physician (PCP) or use one of our on-campus test days, which we’re offering for your convenience or in the event that you are unable to secure a test from your PCP (see our On Campus Testing Calendar).
- Students unable to get a test before arriving will be tested immediately when they arrive to campus and will quarantine until a second negative test is confirmed after three to five days.
- As students arrive on campus with staggered timing (see our On Campus Testing Calendar and Staggered Return to Campus Dates, below), they will be tested again. We will test all students regularly and as needed at any time during the school year. Click here for more on our testing expectations.
- If, upon their arrival to campus, a student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be asked to leave with their parent or guardian and remain home until they meet the CDC guidelines for being COVID-19 free.
I’m coming from out of state to drop off my child. Do I need to be tested first or fill out any special paperwork?
Please note that the Massachusetts’ “transitory travel” exception applies to parents, guardians, or other people assisting a student coming to the Williston campus from a non-exempt area only if they immediately depart the campus and state. If a person is traveling from a non-exempt area and plans to stay overnight, then they are subject to Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order and are expected to either receive a negative test within 72 hours of coming into Massachusetts or quarantine for 14 days. Unfortunately, Williston cannot order or provide tests for parents, guardians or family members.
What restrictions are in place during periods when the school has a closed campus/closed weekends?
At various times during the year, Williston will have a “closed campus.” During this time, all boarding students must remain on campus (no weekend permissions will be granted), and all day students must continue to practice strict Safer-at-Home Guidelines. Once a student returns to in-person classes and being on campus, they must commit to engaging only in Williston-sponsored activities until that restriction is lifted by the school. That decision will be determined by the administration in coordination with state and local health department guidance after the first three weeks of classes. Any violation of this policy means we will expect that student to leave campus/take remote classes, and rejoin the campus only once they are able to have a negative test, quarantine at home, then produce a second negative test three to five days later. The second test may be conducted at Williston.
What physical adjustments have been made on campus to ensure spaces are safe?
Williston has made many physical adjustments to the campus to ensure greater safety. Changes include:
- Plexiglas shields in multiple locations, including at the Cage in the Sabina Cain Family Athletic Center, Clapp Memorial Library, the Stu-Bop and Campus Store in Reed Campus Center, Schoolhouse front desk, Birch Dining Common tables, and science labs in Scott Hall
- Reduced numbers of desks in classrooms for greater social distancing
- Use of additional large spaces on campus for teaching to reduce density
- Opening of additional dormitory spaces to increase the number of single dorm rooms to reduce density
- Signs posted on campus to reiterate messages of social distancing, mask wearing, and other principles of the Williston Compact
- Distinct entrances and exits to buildings and arrows to direct traffic within buildings
- Many increased locations for hand sanitizer dispensers across campus
- Additional picnic tables have been added to allow for outside dining
- Tents will be used at locations on campus to allow more activities to occur outdoors.
What specific measures are in place for ventilating buildings?
Williston has a variety of air conditioning and air circulation systems on campus and has taken steps to make sure each building is properly ventilated. Read more about specific updates to facilities and options for outdoor teaching.
What are Williston's requirements for wearing masks?
Members of the Williston community must commit to wearing a mask in all shared community spaces, including classrooms, hallways in academic and residential buildings, residential and recreational common areas, campus pathways, and during meetings or gatherings with students, faculty, or staff. Neck gaiters and bandanas do not meet the requirements for masks.
The CDC recommends people wear cloth masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks are the most important barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from spreading the virus.
Williston will provide each student with a mask at the start of school, and masks will be available for purchase at the Campus Store. Masks should be multi-layer fabric and should fit well around the mouth and nose. They should always be worn over the mouth and nose completely (not just over the mouth) and should be changed out daily or sooner if known to be contaminated. They should not be worn if wet—they should be changed out.
We ask that all students have multiple masks so the masks can be worn and changed daily. For more information on masks, see this CDC webpage.
Masks are required at all times even while outdoors in downtown Easthampton, the mill area, the Manhan Rail Trail, and all city-owned parks and property. See this article on town requirements.
Who is allowed on campus?
Access to campus is very limited for those who do not live or work at Williston. Vendors are only allowed on campus if they follow protocols for wearing masks. Deliveries for various departments and students is centralized at different locations to minimize exposure and the number of individuals involved in the delivery of goods. Williston prohibits rental or outside use of our facilities this year—including use of our rink, pool, or field, the Bluefish Swimming Program, Easthampton community groups, summer camps. On-campus admission visits and tours may be scheduled and closely supervised at the discretion of the school and all current practices for masks and physical distancing will be required of interviewees. Parents or guardians wishing to visit with a child will need to make a formal request to the school’s Dean on Duty to do so and will need to show that they are COVID-free and are able to follow the school’s protocols for wearing masks and exercising physical distancing.
What cleaning protocols are in place?
We’ve increased the amount and frequency of cleaning and invested in new equipment designed to remove bacteria and germs.
- All dorm bathrooms will be cleaned three times a day. Showers will be cleaned using the Kaivac cleaning system. All dormitory common rooms will be cleaned daily using a Victory Gun sprayer.
- All other campus bathrooms will be cleaned two times a day.
- Locker Rooms will be fully cleaned each day using Kaivac cleaning system. The Fitness Center at the Sabina Cain Family Athletic Center will be cleaned after each use with a Victory Gun sprayer.
- All classrooms will be cleaned every night using a Victory Gun sprayer, and after each class by teachers. At the end of each class, teachers and students will use a disposable disinfectant towelette to wipe and surface they individually touched during the class period.
- Birch Dining Commons will be cleaned after each meal, using a Victory Gun sprayer. It will also be cleaned during meals by staff, as diners leave tables.
- In the Health and Wellness Services building, the bathrooms will be cleaned multiple times a day and the entire building will be treated using a Victory Gun sprayer daily.
Will contact-tracing be used on campus?
Yes, we will be adopting a contact-tracing phone application for students, faculty, and staff to use this fall. The app does not track individual locations, but instead, uses Bluetooth and wireless technologies to monitor proximity of individuals on campus. In the event we have a positive test, or someone who is symptomatic, we will use the app to help us determine who else needs to be tested and monitored. More information about the app can be found here. If you have other questions about this program, please contact David Koritkoski.
Are students able to walk to town to buy a coffee, a bagel, or a slice of pizza?
Yes, students must wear masks and maintain social distance, and can patronize local businesses following Massachusetts guidelines.
RESIDENTIAL AND CAMPUS LIFE
How will Williston ensure residential life is safe and rewarding for students?
Dormitory life is one of the hallmarks of the Williston Northampton School experience, but it also creates unique challenges in a pandemic. Working together and following new safety protocols, we are confident that we can preserve the rewards that come from residential living. To create more single dorm rooms and reduce student density in residence halls, we are expanding our available dorm room space through construction of the new Emily McFadon Vincent House and the reopening of other residential spaces, such as Hathaway House and Conant House, that were slated to close. We will have a variety of singles and doubles and will work with families to accommodate their preference to the best of our ability.
What dorm protocols will be put in place?
The following measures are meant to ensure students can live safely in the dorms:
- Masks must always be worn in hallways and common rooms.
- Students will be limited to their own floors in dormitories.
- Visitors to dormitories will be limited. No students other than dorm residents are allowed inside, and only two family members are allowed in the dorm at any one time at move-in. Parents and guardians must schedule any visits in advance.
- Lights-out times will be staggered to allow for bathroom use that follows CDC guidelines.
- Numerous hand-washing and sanitizing stations will be positioned throughout dorms.
- High-touch points will be cleaned regularly.
- Students will not be allowed to visit other students’ rooms. This will be adjusted to the current campus activity level if the community experiences no outbreaks on campus.
- Use of common areas and kitchen spaces will be limited initially.
- Dormitories will remain open during school breaks throughout the year, so that students who need to do so will be able to remain on campus because of travel limitations/restrictions and safety considerations.
- Because we will be sanitizing rooms more frequently, we are asking students to limit the number of items that they are bringing to campus and storing in their rooms. They may not bring any additional furniture into their dorm room, except for a personal desk chair. They may also bring a box fan.
- Boarding students are permitted to bring a compact refrigerator to school this year. Boarding students will be unable to use the common room refrigerators as they have in the past.
What measures are in place for safe dining?
The Birch Dining Commons and Reed Student Center have been reconfigured to minimize density. Community members will follow new guidelines for all meals.
- Breakfast will be for boarding students and faculty only. No day students or other guests.
- Lunch has been expanded to span three periods during the day and two different locations—the Dining Commons and a food trailer on the Reed Terrace.
- To reduce density at dinner, we will have two different eating times, with assigned locations for students and faculty. Dinner will also be for boarding students only, unless day students have a specific commitment in the evening.
- Middle School students will get their lunch each day at the food truck behind the Reed Center and will bring the food back to Whitaker-Bement Center.
- We have installed plexiglass shields on all table in the Dining Commons, and have added additional picnic tables and eating spaces outdoors.
Why won’t day students be able to eat breakfast or dinner on campus unless they have a commitment at school during that time?
The need to keep spaces de-densified means that, as we start the year, we must restrict access to locations such as the dining commons during high-use times of day. We do hope that these measures will be able to be relaxed as conditions change throughout the trimester.
How will community activities, such as Assembly and advisory meetings, work?
- There are no all-school, in-person assemblies. Large assembles and class meetings happen virtually. All assemblies are held in separate locations with advisors and their advisor groups.
- Advisory meetings are in person whenever possible. Students who are unable to come to campus will be expected to remain in consistent contact with their advisor through email and Zoom.
- There is no weekend travel of any kind for the first three weekends of the year.
- We will institute new, more limited, guidelines for food delivery to campus.
- We will issue new guidelines for students going into town.
I'm mailing boxes to campus. What address should I use?
Our new address for shipping items is:
Williston Northampton School
20 Greenwood Court
Easthampton, MA 01027
Our address for ordinary mail and the address to use to find directions to campus remains:
Williston Northampton School
19 Payson Avenue
Easthampton, MA 01027
More on visiting campus is here.
Is Williston facilitating both online and in-person learning?
Most students have returned to in-person classes on campus, but that some students are participating in our classes remotely. Williston has modified our learning model into a blended one for the 2020-21 academic year, combining the best of traditional classroom learning with the best of digital-course delivery. Our approach has been to de-densify in-person learning spaces to maintain both safe distancing, and robust, engaged learning. Face-to-face time is used to connect, listen, and promote conversation and community. Students who are engaging in class activities from a distance will be integrated into the face-to-face environment through collaborative technologies such as Zoom and OneNote.
What does the academic schedule look like?
While Classes are Meeting Online Only (December 1, 2020 to January 15, 2021)
The daily schedule for online classes, available here, includes a reduced number of class meetings per day. This schedule includes three 60-minute meetings per day (rather than four or five) and runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon, EST. Each class meets two times in a blue week and two times in a green week. Note that the second trimester is longer than the others to ensure that classes hold roughly the same number of sessions each term. See attendance expectations later in this FAQ document.
While Classes are Meeting In-person/Hybrid
We have modified our daily schedule (view it here) to address a variety of new priorities for hybrid learning. We have developed an innovative new rotation to our class schedule to ensure that all students, either in person or online, can maximize their synchronous engagement with teachers and peers. You will notice that all blocks, A through G, meet for meet for two 45-minute and four 75-minute periods each cycle (or six blocks per cycle). These blocks have been balanced between morning and afternoon (EDT) to ensure that students in different times zones still have equitable access to synchronous activities. This new schedule also includes fewer transitions and contact groups each day, increased time between classes to implement cleaning and passing protocols, and a re-structured lunch period to allow for smaller groups to access dining services. We have also made the decision to continue to offer yearlong courses, because this offers the strongest pedagogical structure for academic continuity, particularly in courses that build from year to year, such as math and language.
How does Williston implement hybrid learning?
Williston faculty received extra training and are practiced new classroom strategies that allow all students—in person and remote—to engage with the teacher and with one another. For example, teachers use OneNote as their white board, so that all students can see the teacher’s notes as they are updated live. Teachers also include students in the classroom on Zoom calls when group work is used. Other class periods are recorded (as appropriate to the content and activities of the meeting) and shared with students at a distance. We are confident that our technological ecosystem and our faculty’s longstanding experience with Microsoft Surfaces in the classroom offer a rigorous and supportive learning environment for all students.
What classroom protocols are in place?
- All classrooms have been prepared for physical distancing with roughly 6 feet of space separating all individuals, and from the teacher to the nearest student.
- We have opened up new classroom areas for larger meeting spaces, for example, on the main gym floor and wrestling room of the Sabina Cain Family Athletic Center and in the Dodge Room, dance studio, and Grubbs Gallery in Reed Student Center.
- We have introduced new cleaning protocols for classrooms with deep cleaning each evening, but also increased passing time (15 minutes) between classes to accommodate cleaning between each class and to allow an orderly transition from one class to another, with social distancing guidelines in place.
- All students and teachers must wear masks during classes, and in hallways and other interior spaces as they travel between classes.
What attendance and engagement requirements apply to students?
The school continues to value full engagement from our students, all of whom, whether participating in person or remotely, are asked to fulfill the school’s expectations regarding attendance. Attendance expectations are as follows:
While Classes are Meeting In-person/Hybrid
- Online students are required to attend all synchronous classes that meet between the hours beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 11:15 p.m. in their local time zone.
- Online students are required to review materials provided by teachers for classes that are outside of the time zone requirement. This could include watching recordings of class (if applicable), homework assignments, or other asynchronous engagement as determined by the teacher.
While Classes are Meeting Online Only (December 1, 2020 to January 15, 2021)
The daily schedule that will be in effect during our online learning weeks is available here. Given the small number of class meetings that take place each day, we will expect all students, regardless of time zone, to attend all blocks for which they are scheduled. Please note that extra help blocks (8-9 p.m. EST) do not generally require attendance (though in some individual circumstances, a student may be asked by a teacher to meet during these times to make up work, clear up questions, etc.) If your time zone presents a significant hardship for your student, please reach out to their advisor.
How will students be graded in the 2020-21 school year?
The school will return to using its typical numeric grading system, which will include the publishing of interim grade reports and the recording of formal numerical grades at the conclusion of each trimester. The Academic Office will consider any special circumstances that might arise, related either to the coronavirus, or to particular issues of attendance or academic performance that might emerge as a result of the remote learning system. Families with concerns about their personal circumstances and the grading structure should contact Greg Tuleja in the Academic Office. The office also retains its usual ability to shift students to a Pass/Fail system if they are unable to meet the outlined attendance requirements, either in person or online.
What technology options are available for students learning remotely?
All students will be provided a Microsoft Surface that can be used to remotely access all class materials through Zoom, OneNote, OneDrive, and Veracross. Surfaces will be shipped to students who are not able to join us in early September. E-book options will be offered where available from the publisher.
What platform is being used for online learning? Is my child be able to access all of the materials? What if there are technology or Internet connectivity issues?
We expect all material to be accessible online via their Surface. Content created by the teacher is posted in OneNote, Veracross, or OneDrive. Most synchronous sessions take place on Zoom. We are not currently aware of any country-specific accessibility issues, but if students or families have specific concerns, please contact Technology via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (413) 529-3338. Teachers are aware that some online content on select platforms (YouTube, Google, etc.) is not readily accessible everywhere.
We understand that all of our students, whether they are participating within the U.S. or abroad, may occasionally experience Internet connectivity issues depending on their individual circumstance. Students should report such issues to their teacher and/or advisor, and Williston will provide whatever remote tech support and advice we possibly can.
ATHLETICS AND AFTERNOON PROGRAM
What does Williston's Afternoon Program look like this winter?
Here is what we know at the moment about the winter athletic program. Like all things, a lot can change over the next two months but we thought this would be helpful information to share.
Length of season: We will start on Monday, January 18, and extend six weeks until the end of February.
The prospect of playing contests this winter: The plan is take the same approach as we did this fall:
- Lower level teams will not be playing contests.
- We hope that varsity teams will play contests on the weekends following our Wednesday testing, starting on January 23. Our opponents will be a small cohort of relatively local schools within the state (Berkshire, WMA, Cushing, Deerfield, Worcester, etc.). We do expect to be able to compete in virtual swim meets!
Varsity experience: Practice five to six days a week for 90 minutes. Coaches will provide opportunities for film/exposure for college aspiring athletes whenever possible. All varsity teams will have two strength sessions a week with Coach Blayne Lapan.
Lower level experience: Practice three to five days a week for one hour during Monday to Saturday. Emphasis will be on skill development, creating internal competition (intramural) when possible, fitness, etc. Younger teams will practice three to four times a week while older teams practice five times a week.
Saturday/late practices: The biggest challenge this winter will be that the vast majority of our program will take place indoors. As has always been the case in the winter, we will have a rotating schedule with practices taking place in the afternoon and early evening. We also expect that many teams will regularly practice on Saturdays.
“Out of season” training: while we do expect to be able to offer some level of “out of season” training in a small handful of sports, it is clear that we will not be able to offer what we did this past fall. This primarily due to facilities.
Strength programs: for our varsity athletes, primarily in the eleventh and twelfth grade, we will be providing an offering that combines three strength workouts a week with two other workouts outside of our fitness facility. All students will have the opportunity to work with our strength coach if they wish.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT INFORMATION
What documents should my student have?
All students should have their complete set of travel documents: passport(s), I-20, permanent resident card. Director of International Programs Meg Valine has re-signed students’ I-20s prior to break and has been sending out those left on campus so they are in students’ possession. New I-20’s were issued by the School and sent via email in July. Returning students with questions should contact Meg Valine at email@example.com. New students and families with questions should contact Kathie Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's the best way to stay informed about updates for international student families?
The best way to receive updated information is to check this website, as we will post updates here as soon as more are available. Please also check the following for information about international documents and maintaining status as a Williston Northampton School student: Study in the States.
Can international students participate in online classes from outside the U.S. and still maintain the requirements of their F-1 student visas?
Yes, based on information from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), students on F-1 visas can engage in distance-learning outside the country, in light of COVID-19. SEVP expects to provide updated guidance as additional information concerning the scope and length of this situation becomes clearer.
Will students be able to return to the United States if they are continuing their studies outside of the country as a result of COVID-19?
Students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for admission into the United States. However, because of the changing array of travel restrictions, international students on F-1 visas should refer to their local embassy’s website through the U. S. Department of State for any updates about visa issuance. Also, the Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites both provide information about current travel restrictions to the United States. Additional information regarding changes for international students as well as studying at an American independent school can be found at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
Additional information regarding changes for international students as well as studying at an American independent school can be found at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
Students returning to campus in the fall should check with their local embassies for any updated travel regulations. We anticipate health screenings at ports of entry in the U.S.
Students traveling to campus must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form.
If travel is restricted, will boarding students be offered online schooling or deferred admission until January?
Williston will be ready to welcome students to campus whenever they are able to arrive safely from their home countries whether it be in September, November, or later in the academic year. We are going to be prepared to be teaching school here on campus in the fall, but we will also be prepared have online classes if necessary for students who are either unable to get to campus or who need to leave campus at any point during the year.
CENTER FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS
How does Academic Strategies Tutorial (AST) work this fall?
Academic Strategies Tutorial class is operating in its usual capacity this fall. As with all classes, we are following protocols for safe distancing and use technology and other strategies to provide in-person instruction and support.
When will the Laboratory for Academic Success (LAS) program run?
Laboratory for Academic Success runs this fall during evening study hall. Protocols will be followed for safe distancing and in-person support.
What will AST and LAS look like during the online instructional period?
AST classes will transition to one-on-one online consultation and support. Our focus will be meeting individual needs regarding time management during this less structured teaching period. In addition, we will be assisting students with assignment preparation and guidance. These consultations will be very important for providing accountability and helping students meet deadlines and course expectations. LAS will not meet during the online instructional period and parents will not be charged for this support program until we return to on-campus operation. More information about pro-rated fees for LAS will follow.
What are the differences between AST and LAS, and how do I register for these support programs?
AST and LAS are the two main academic support programs offered through the Center for Academic Success and you can read more about both programs here. Both of these support services have an additional fee.
If you would like your student to enroll in either or both of these programs, please register here.
Will there be any extra support for juniors and seniors this year as they prepare for the college application process?
We know that many parents of our rising seniors are concerned about what all of this uncertainty means for their child’s college admissions process, and we plan to do all we can to help students and families navigate this.
College Counseling has been sending out weekly emails with important updates on what students need to be doing towards their college process. Topics have addressed virtual college visits, teacher recommendations and writing the college essay. Virtual college fairs will run throughout the fall.
In addition, we encourage students and families to reach out to their college counselor at any time with questions or to request an appointment by Zoom.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
What are some good mental health resources for students and families during this pandemic?
While social distancing is a critical step towards combating this virus and caring for the most vulnerable members of our community, it is also inevitably challenging our ability to maintain our sense of balance, and we are all tasked with finding new ways to manage difficult thoughts and emotions.
Here are some links with useful information for parents and students:
- COVID 19 is Hitting Teens Especially Hard
- Coping and Managing Stress and Anxiety
- Teens and COVID 19: Challenges and Opportunities During the Outbreak
- Resilience Expert Offers Three Ways to Tap into the Wisdom of the Body
- Building Resilience in the Face of COVID 19
- Coronavirus and Mental Health: Your Wellbeing Can be Someone Else’s Survival
- A Re-Frame on Going Viral: A Poet’s Perspective
As a reminder, the Counseling Department continues to be available to students and/or parents and guardians. Please reach out if you are concerned about your child’s emotional or mental health. We will work together to address these concerns, and if necessary, get them connected to providers in your area. Please email Sara Schieffelin or call her at (413) 529-3674 and leave a message.
Finally, if you or someone you know needs immediate mental health support, please:
- Call 911 or the equivalent emergency line in your country.
- Call the Disaster Distress Helpline through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA offers crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to disasters and infectious disease outbreaks. Call (800) 985-5990 or textTalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
- Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255.
- Text the Crisis Text Line: text Talk or HOME to 741741.
Communication Updates from Williston
- September 25, 2020, Follow-up on COVID-19 Update from Williston
- September 25, 2020, COVID-19 Update from Williston
- August 26, 2020, letter to families on opening of school
- August 21, 2020, Summer Update
- August 14, 2020, Summer Update
- July 18, 2020, Summer Update
- July 7, 2020, letter to families on opening of school
- July 2, 2020, Summer Update
- June 19, 2020, Summer Update
- June 9, 2020, letter to families on opening of school
- May 14, 2020, letter on refunds
- May 12, 2020, update for returning families
- May 12, 2020, update for new families