UPDATE (3/20/20): Given Williston’s commitment to the safety of our community and our desire to support public health efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, we have decided we will not hold in-person classes for the remainder of the spring term.

 Students will have an extended break through Wednesday, March 25. Meanwhile, faculty members will gather virtually on Monday, March 23, and receive training on remote learning options. Remote learning will begin for students and faculty on Thursday, March 26, and continue through the close of the trimester. Please read our March 20 communication.

As a global educational institution, Williston is taking proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our community. Head of School Robert Hill and members of our senior administrative team are coordinating the school’s response. We continue to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely while adhering to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), and U.S. Department of State. We are also working to support our students and families who have been impacted by unexpected disruptions as they navigate this time of uncertainty.

This page will be continually updated as the situation evolves.

Frequently Asked Questions

WILLISTON CAMPUS

  • Is the Williston campus closed?

    The Williston campus is closed to students, visitors, events, athletic contests, informal gatherings, and use by non-school groups (e.g. Bluefish Swimming, Helping Hands). At this time, the campus will remain open for administrative and office staff so that we can support the organization of the online distance learning plans and activities.

  • Why has Williston chosen to teach virtual classes for the remainder of the trimester?

    The health and well-being of our community is our highest priority. In an effort to protect our students and adults and to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the burden on medical facilities, we have decided to cancel in-person classes for the remainder of the year. We will keep students and families abreast of any and all new developments and decisions regarding a possible late-summer graduation ceremony.

  • How will on-campus events be handled during this time?

    It is with great concern for the health and wellness of our community that we have made the decision to cancel on-campus activities and events, including admitted student events,  Grandparents’ Day, and end of year festivities such as prom and Commencement. We are beyond disappointed that we are unable to offer these programs and understand that this is a huge blow to all students, and especially to the class of 2020; however, social distancing and avoidance of unnecessary travel are important in the context of this global health crisis. As such, canceling is a proactive measure that supports the well-being of all those in our community. We will continue to monitor other upcoming events and update the community on our plans for implementation or cancellation. Please note: The Admission Office plans to provide robust virtual content for admitted families during this critical period of time.

  • What if my student cannot return home due to travel restrictions during the distance learning period. Can he or she stay on campus?

    Students who cannot return home will need to be in the care of their off-campus emergency guardian or make arrangements with other family or friends. Unfortunately, we cannot house students on campus due to the limitations placed on us by the public health authorities. We encourage families to consider activating their networks and firm up plans for ongoing supervision of their students while we are using a distance learning model. We acknowledge that this will cause distress and disruption for international families, and we stand ready to assist families as they consider their options and make appropriate plans.

    Students and families are welcome to contact Dean of Students Kathy Noble or Director of International Programs Meg Valine. Mrs. Valine will also keep international students apprised of any necessary information regarding visa and I-20 status. No student’s immigration status is currently in jeopardy.

    Note: If you are an international student who departed campus without your passport and I-20, please contact Meg Valine immediately, and she will ensure that you receive it. She can re-sign any I-20s as necessary now for the next 12 months, so students should not have to reapply for a visa through their embassy.

  • Given the uncertainty, can students retrieve their personal belongings from their campus dorm room?

    Please see more details on how to retrieve student belongings in the section below.

  • What if students left their textbooks at school? Will they need them for online learning?

    Students who have left academic materials (like books) on campus will be instructed by their teachers on how to access any materials necessary for the course. We will be figuring out solutions for those who do not have their books and materials at home.

  • Given that there will not be students living in the dormitories the rest of the year, will the school be issuing a refund for boarding students for room and board for the portion of the year students are not living in dormitories?

    Williston intends to extend a refund for a prorated amount of room and board, calculated from all actual savings the school realizes from not having students in the dormitories during the third trimester. At this point, it is premature to determine how much that credit will be, but once the review of all these financial savings is completed in late May, a credit will be applied to the students’ FACTS account either in late May or early June.

DISTANCE LEARNING

  • What will students need to participate in distance learning?

    Students will need their Surface computers, a reliable Internet connection, and time to attend classes and complete assignments. If your family is unable to accommodate a remote learning environment for your child, please contact Kathy Noble, our Dean of Students, at knoble@williston.com, or Laura Vachet, Director of Learning Support, at lvachet@williston.com, who will work with the Academic Office to ensure that all students have access to the resources that they need.

  • How will students access online learning for their courses?

    Students will be contacted by faculty with specific instructions on a course-by-course basis. Faculty will contact students via their Williston email address.

  • What will the daily remote learning schedule look like?

    We are still working out the details of the daily schedule, especially for students in a different time zone. We’ll send updates as we work through these details.

  • What are the expectations of students during the online learning periods?

    Students are required to be fully engaged in their coursework by:

    • Participating in online courses in the times and manner specified
    • Completing all assignments and projects on time
    • Responding to emails and other communications from faculty, advisors, and other members of Williston’s community
    • Maintain all standards of academic integrity as specified in the Student Handbook

  • How will teachers support students during this challenging time of change and transition?

    This is an unprecedented and unexpected situation for students and teachers. Williston faculty will strive to find creative and flexible ways to keep students academically engaged while they are away from us. This is important for their continued academic development, but also for their sense of stability in this uncertain time. Williston will be offering training to faculty prior to the start of virtual classes to plan and generate a combination of lessons and assignments for each online course. These lessons will likely be a combination of asynchronous work (tasks that students do individually, such as watching videos and reading), synchronous work (live meetings, such as a videoconference or discussion), and homework.

    Teachers will send parents an overview of the course expectations at the beginning of the online experience. They will also survey students about their time zones prior to attempting to require any synchronous activities. If a student is unable to attend a synchronous activity because of their location, the teacher will provide recordings and other support materials for that student.

    Williston also expects your student’s advisor to be in touch frequently. We recognize that students may have anxiety, questions, or fears about this unsettling time. We anticipate that advisors will continue to have regularly scheduled videoconference calls and check-in times each week, and be accessible to students and families.

  • How can parents support their child?

    Williston will do all we can to continue to support your child. We will no longer, however, have as much influence on a student’s environment and schedule. Parents can support your child by offering access to a quiet place to focus and work, and by monitoring their social and emotional health. Please continue to actively communicate with faculty and administrators at the school with your questions and concerns.

  • What platform will be used for online learning? Will 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 will be posted in OneNote, Veracross, or Office365. 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 support@williston.com or by phone at (413) 529-3338. When planning their course content, teachers will keep in mind 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.

  • If a student is struggling with online coursework, what should they do?

    Students who are struggling with the transition to online coursework should first reach out to their teachers or seek assistance from advisors. Students with accommodations questions or who require support for learning disabilities may contact Laura Vachet, Director of Academic Support for guidance.

  • What if students left their textbooks at school? Will they need them for online learning?

    Students who have left academic materials (like books) on campus will be instructed by their teachers on how to access any materials necessary for the course. We will be figuring out solutions for those who do not have their books and materials at home.

  • If students left their calculators at school, what should they do?

    Students will not be required to purchase a new calculator. There are many great online and app-based options for scientific and graphing calculators. Click here to learn about recommended options.

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. If you have a question about your documents, please contact Mrs. Valine at mvaline@williston.com.

  • 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 temporarily engage in distance-learning, either from within the U.S. or 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. More information can be found here.

  • 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.

CENTER FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS

  • When will the Academic Strategies Tutorial resume?

    Academic Strategies Tutorial class will resume for T3 when online classes begin on March 26. Teachers will contact their students in advance to make arrangements for 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.

  • When will the Laboratory for Academic Success Program resume?

    Laboratory for Academic Success will NOT commence until classes resume on campus next fall. Parents will not be charged for this support program until we return to on-campus operation.

  • If a student is struggling with online coursework, what should they do?

    Students who are struggling with the transition to online coursework should first reach out to their teachers or seek assistance from advisors. Students with accommodations questions or who require support for learning disabilities may contact Laura Vachet, Director of Academic Support for guidance.

STANDARDIZED TESTING AND COLLEGE SEARCH

  • Will the ACT be held this year?

    As of March 17, 2020, the ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date. Find more information at this website.

  • Will the March and May SAT be held?

    The College Board is canceling the May 2, 2020, SAT and SAT Subject Test administration. Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled for March 28) are also canceled. Students who already registered for May, whose March test centers were closed, or who do not receive March scores because of any irregularities will receive refunds. In the coming days, College Board will share additional information and details directly with registered students and test centers.

    College Board will provide future additional SAT testing opportunities for students as soon as possible in place of canceled administrations. Their message says they will be as flexible as possible to give students the best chance to show their skills and stay on the path to college.

    It has not yet canceled the June 6, 2020, SAT and SAT Subject Test administration and will continue to assess its status. College Board is also exploring the possibility of adding an international SAT administration later this school year.

    Find more information at this website.

  • What information should students have on Advanced Placement exams?

    As of March 20, the AP Program is developing resources to help schools support student learning during school closures, as well as a solution that will allow students to test at home, as AP tests will not be administered in person this spring. Testing will occur over two dates, to allow for flexibility for students. To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March. Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked this year to earn.

    Portfolio deadlines have been extended to May 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET for AP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, Computer Science Principles, Drawing, Research, and Seminar courses.

    More details will be announced on April 3. Find more information at this website, and contact Testing Coordinator Shannon KaneLong with questions.

  • What about the college process?

    Our College Counseling staff continues to be ready and willing to support our students and their college search. We expect ongoing and sustained online individual and group correspondence with college counselors, and will do all we can to support your college-bound student during this unpredictable time.

CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

  • What will happen with co-curricular commitments like athletics, performing arts, and afternoon activities?

    All afternoon programs and on-campus events are canceled for the remainder of the trimester. During the distance learning period, our co-curricular program will be suspended. We will not host practices, rehearsals, or activity classes. Mark Conroy, Director of Athletics, is working with our various athletic leagues and peer schools on spring season competitions and plans. Coaches for spring teams will be contacting students with ways to engage and stay healthy and prepared for next year’s season. Likewise, those who oversee other afternoon activities such as theater and dance will explore and communicate opportunities for alternative engagement with these activities.

STUDENT BELONGINGS

  • I’m a boarding student. Now that we are not returning to campus for in-person classes, what do I do?

    • The answer to this depends on where you are. If you can return to campus in the next few days, click HERE to schedule your arrival time to clean out your room OR you can check your Veracross Portal for “Dorm Check-Out.” When you follow this link, you will be asked to sign up for a 1-hour time slot to get you into your room. Only three families will be permitted to sign up for each one-hour slot per dormitory.
    • If you are not able to come to campus in the next few days, see other information below.

  • I’m a day student and have items in my locker in Reed or the Sabina Cain Family Athletic Center, how do I get these items?

    • The campus is only open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 21 to March 23. You must come to campus to retrieve or return items during that time period. Other than these specific times, the campus will be closed.
    • We expect your visit to campus to be very quick and only directed towards collecting or returning personal items. Please observe all social distancing protocols and return home as quickly as possible.

  • What is Williston doing about social distancing protocols while students are returning to campus?

    • We are following state guidelines and are asking students and families to remain at least 6 feet away from other people while on campus.
    • We will only allow a limited number of families into the dorms/Cain Athletic Center at any given time. Please be patient and understand that we all need to be mindful of contact between people who are traveling from many different areas.

    Families are asked to remain in their vehicles as much as possible while on campus. Students and families are asked not to congregate together. We understand this is difficult, and students will want to say their goodbyes, but we must urge against any close contact while on campus.

  • I have Williston property that I need to return (i.e. athletic equipment, cameras, library books, etc.). How do I do that?

    The Sabina Cain Family Athletic Center will be open for you to return items from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 21 to March 23. Please practice social distancing while in the Athletic Center and stay at least 6 feet away from other students and families.

    If you have library books or other items to return, please leave them with an adult in the dorm (boarders) or in the Deans Office (day students), and we will see that they are returned to their proper place.

  • When can I come to campus to clear out my room?

    • Dorms will be open for students and their families to come to campus to pack belongings on March 21 to March 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You MUST sign up for a time slot, prior to arrival, to gain access to the dorms.
    • Dorms will only be open for students and their parents at these times. Please DO NOT come to campus outside of scheduled hours. More dates and times for clearing rooms will follow.
    • When you arrive on campus, please go directly to the dormitory Common Room to check-in. We will be following state-mandated social distancing protocols during this time. Families must register ahead of time. Students will be able to access their room using their Sammy Card; please don’t forget to bring it with you!

  • What if I can’t come to campus on March 21, March 22, or March 23?

    For those unable to come to campus on March 21 to March 23, we would ask families to be patient while the ongoing situation evolves. More details about additional dates to clean out will be forthcoming, but the campus will remain CLOSED outside of posted dates. If you have specific questions, please email David Koritkoski (dkoritkoski@williston.com) or Jenna Motyka (jmotyka@williston.com).

  • What if I will be unable to return to campus before the end of the school year?

    • We recognize that coming to campus will be challenging for some students, especially our international students who have returned home. If you are unable to come during scheduled times, please contact Mr. Koritkoski in the Deans Office (dkoritkoski@williston.com) to coordinate alternate plans.
    • At this time, we are hoping that all domestic boarders will come to campus prior to the official close of school.

    If necessary, we can arrange for an advisor, or another trusted adult, to help you pack up your room and prepare for shipping or storage.

  • What is the absolute last day I can come to campus to clear my room?

    • Depending on circumstances in April and May, our plan is to have all dorm rooms cleared of student items by May 22, 2020.
    • If, after May 22, items are still in student rooms, we will pack items and arrange for shipping/storage. This will result in a cost to families.

  • Can I store my packed items for the summer at Williston?

    We contract Boomerang Storage for Summer Storage and shipping needs. Follow this link for more specific information. If you choose to use this option, please sign up on their website and provide the necessary details. If you are storing items with Boomerang, or if you are using them to ship your items, boxes are available at no cost.

  • How do I get boxes from Boomerang?

    Boomerang boxes are available from the Deans Office. Once you have signed up for their service, please contact Ms. Motyka or Mr. Koritkoski to get your boxes. If you do not contact us ahead of time, we may not be able to guarantee boxes for you.

  • Are boxes available for students not using Boomerang?

    No. Unfortunately, the school only has boxes available for those using Boomerang services. If you are not planning to use Boomerang, please come to campus with whatever items you need in order to clear out your room.

  • What do I do once my room is cleared out?

    Once you have completely emptied your room, cleaned it, and returned it to the condition it was in when you arrived, please contact your dorm head or the dean on duty so you can get checked out and arrange for your room deposit to be returned. Student “check-out sheets” will be available when you arrive. It is critical that these forms are filled out, please do not leave campus without checking-out with a dorm parent.

  • What do I do if I have packages waiting for me at school?

    All packages that have already been delivered to campus have been returned to the sender.

    The school will refuse delivery for all future packages delivered to students.

OTHER RESOURCES

COVID-19 Resources

Williston’s senior administrative staff are monitoring several key, reliable sources of information about COVID-19:

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC):

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

World Health Organization (WHO)

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center