Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hopkins School is tracking news and information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region. This is a quickly evolving situation; please check this page regularly for updates.

Hopkins Updates

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • April 15 Update

    Dear Hopkins Families,

    If there’s one thing we have learned through the course of this pandemic, it’s that we are dealing with a moving target. Accordingly, we at Hopkins are preparing for the unexpected—good and bad—and we are continually positioning ourselves to be nimble in our approach. The following information reflects our latest response to the many issues that we, and nearly every other educational institution, are grappling with during these challenging times.

    LAST DAYS OF CLASSES
    Seniors: May 15
    Grades 7-11: May 29
    The last day of classes for seniors will be May 15. In the days following the end of classes, advisers and our counseling staff are organizing online activities for seniors steeped in reflection and bonding. Information about these activities will be shared soon.
     
    For students in grade 7 through 11, the last day of classes will be May 29. 
     
    SENIOR SPRING CELEBRATIONS AND TRADITIONS
    To our seniors and their families, we are heartbroken that we cannot be together during your final semester at Hopkins. We want you to know that we are committed to honoring and celebrating the Class of 2020 in the most robust way possible. Senior Spring includes many traditions, from the lighthearted to the serious: College Decision Day, musical performances, the athletic banquet, Cum Laude, Prize Day, Field Day, Prom, Senior Project Fair, and Senior Picnic — just to name a few. A Senior Spring Committee is currently exploring if and how we can celebrate these traditions with you — either virtually or at a later point in time. 
     
    COMMENCEMENT 2020
    Our seniors deserve a proper celebration to commemorate their graduation, and I sincerely hope we will be able to come together on campus for an in-person ceremony. As of now, we are planning to reschedule Commencement for a date in early to mid August. This important celebration of our graduates can occur on a date during this time frame if such a gathering is advisable in terms of safety and allowed by state and local officials at that time. Our Senior Spring Committee is also in the continual process of exploring other options if a date in early to mid August becomes non-viable. Though we will not be able to come together for a Commencement ceremony in June, the members of the Class of 2020 will still officially become graduates on the original date of June 5.
     
    Additional information regarding commencement and the other spring events for seniors will be made available in the coming weeks. 
     
    AP WEEK AND FINAL EXAMS
    AP Exams will now be administered online from May 11-22. Please click here to view the schedule. If a student has a major conflict with one of these dates, email Elaine Plante at eplante@hopkins.edu as soon as possible. Makeup exam dates will be held from June 1-5. In late April, the College Board will be sending out information on how to access the tests on testing day, along with how-to videos. For more information regarding the AP tests, please visit apcoronavirusupdates.collegeboard.org.
     
    As a reminder, we will NOT be administering Term 2 exams this year. Students may have some type of cumulative test or project in their classes, but there will not be a dedicated exam week. More information regarding this decision, as well as information about academic and counseling support services and attendance, was shared in a March 27 letter from Lars Jorgensen, Dean of Students, and  Kristine Waters, Dean of Academics.
     
    Financial Considerations
    There are a number of important considerations, including the financial aspects of this significant transition. We recognize that costs associated with certain programs, such as dining service and athletics, will be different for the balance of the year. While we do not have all of the answers to questions regarding the financial implications of this transition, please know we are working on it, and we will communicate answers as soon as we have them.
     
    Lastly, I’d like to conclude on the power of our interconnectedness. This pandemic has forced us all to seek a new equilibrium as we recalibrate our priorities and expectations. Absent the familiar and meaningful connections we enjoyed on a daily basis at Hopkins, I hope that you and your family have been able to establish new daily routines and ways to stay connected with extended family and friends. Each day, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are: what affects one of us, affects all of us. Our shared responsibility to one another can lift us up in this time of need and provide opportunities to become our best selves.

    In that vein, I’d like to share with you #HopkinsSchoolHeroes, a way we are celebrating our community members who are fighting this pandemic — from medical professionals on the front lines to those at home sewing or collecting PPE to donate. The first story in this series was posted online this week and tells the story of Dr. Franklin Sylvester ’10 told by his sister, Janay Sylvester ’08. Stories in this series will be posted regularly in the days and weeks ahead. If you would like to nominate a member of our community to be featured, visit www.Hopkins.edu/Nominate.

    Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work together during this time of great uncertainty and constant change.

    Sincerely,
    Kai Bynum
    Head of School
  • April 1 Update

    Dear Hopkins Families,
     
    Let me begin by saying how much I miss all of you. Thankfully, the successful launch of our virtual campus is shifting us from our daily regimen of “social distancing” to a more manageable concept of “physical distancing.” Our brick and mortar buildings may be closed, but our school, our mission, and our relationships are very much alive and powerful as ever. No doubt, we are being challenged today in ways we never imagined even a month ago. I, however, am incredibly confident that we will navigate whatever lies ahead and support one another during this time of uncertainty. We are Hopkins, 360 years strong.

    To do all we can to maintain the health and safety of our Hopkins students, staff, and faculty, and to support the public health response of our community to this health crisis, Hopkins will be moving to remote learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Please know that this decision was not made lightly. It is a result of ongoing consultation with a group of Hopkins Trustees who are involved in the pandemic response at the state and local level. It is my hope that making this decision now, as many of our peer schools have done, will enable all of us to focus our energy on how to make the best of our current situation, and how to adapt our plans accordingly.

    I am grateful for our faculty and staff, who have worked tirelessly to prepare for the transition to our virtual campus and its successful launch last week. I encourage all of you to join me in thanking them. I commend them for their innovation, and I applaud our students for their ability to adapt.

    Candidly, we, along with every other school across the country, are steering through uncharted territory. In the coming days and weeks, issues may arise as teachers and students adapt to new methods of teaching and learning, but we will address them with flexibility and fairness. If your student is struggling with aspects of remote learning, it's important that they let teachers and advisers know as soon as possible. I promise that we will figure this out together.
     
    In a time when students must distance themselves physically from each other, it's more important than ever that they keep in touch with their school community in other ways. Hopkins is providing ways for students to do just that — from meeting with peers and staff for virtual academic support, to exercise classes on Instagram, to participating in our #HopAtHome challenge. We're looking for additional opportunities to host virtual events and activities, and when those plans are developed, we'll share that information.

    I know this decision sets off a series of questions such as teaching and learning expectations in this new environment, grading of school work, and retrieval of personal belongings from campus, just to name a few. There is also the question of how we plan to handle commencement. Please know that celebrating our seniors is at the forefront of my mind, and we'll find a way to honor the Class of 2020, even if that celebration takes a different form or happens at a different time. In short, we do not have all the answers yet, but our administrative team, department chairs, and head advisers are working hard to consider our options and figure out the best way to move forward. We will be in touch within the next week to outline our decisions related to our grading policy for this term, end-of-year events, and other relevant topics. These updates, along with the most up-to-date information regarding Hopkins and its response to the pandemic, can be found on our resource page at www.hopkins.edu/coronavirus-covid-19. I sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding during this rapidly evolving situation.

    We often point to the words above Baldwin Hall that read "for the breeding up of hopeful youths,” connoting both the promise and the expectation of future good. In the weeks ahead we must remain hopeful for our youths. While the world we knew a month ago may be distant, I believe a new, more empathetic and kinder world is emerging. Yes, we are being kept apart physically right now, but communities all over the world have been coming together through incredible acts of kindness and solidarity, and we will as well. I also believe we still have a bumpy road ahead of us in the short term, but I'm excited for the future good we can create together.

    Sincerely,
    Kai Bynum
    Head of School
  • March 19 Update

    Dear Families,

    In the overwhelming tidal wave of disruption and uncertainty we are all experiencing, I am certain about one thing: we will get through this because we are Hopkins.

    We are more than a school. We are a community brought together by the passion for learning, the commitment to helping one another, the courage to try, and the perseverance that is fueled by our collective sense of hope.

    As we are about to embark on virtual learning next week amongst the backdrop of incredible uncertainty of what lies ahead in the coming weeks and months, we are understandably anxious, and made more so by our necessary physical distancing. I know that the practice of social distancing may be difficult, especially considering that our students haven’t seen their friends in a week or more. However, creating and maintaining social distance will help “flatten the curve” of the outbreak, thus keeping the number of cases at a level that health care providers can manage. By complying with social distancing guidelines, we can do our very, very important part in slowing the spread of the pandemic.

    While the overwhelming majority of our community will be fine through this pandemic, we must remain conscious that there are those in our community, and even in our immediate and extended families, who may not fare well if infected. To be clear, this is not a snow day. It’s not a vacation. It’s not a time for students to congregate with friends. This is a time for great responsibility. However, this is a time to connect with our families and achieve possibly even deeper forms of human connection. Incredibly, in many ways, this is a time when life is going to get simpler, even though we will now rely on numerous complex communication technologies that people who lived through previous pandemics couldn’t have fathomed.

    Even as we shelter at home, we are tapping into new—and old—ways to survive and thrive. We are going to keep learning from each other and growing together.

    I am optimistic, and I am hopeful, because we are Hopkins.

    Sincerely,
    Kai Bynum
    Head of School
  • March 12 Update

    Dear Families,
     
    Given the continued spread of COVID-19 and recognizing our role in mitigating the possible effects of the spread of the virus, Hopkins School has decided to delay the opening of campus to students through Sunday, April 12, and to implement a remote learning plan following spring break. Additionally, we are making several other changes to our program and calendar, which are detailed below. 
     
    Our approach is guided by three goals: (1) to protect the health of our students, faculty, staff, and neighbors; (2) to help slow the spread of the virus in Connecticut and the nation; (3) to ensure the continuity of our teaching and learning. We recognize the challenge that these changes present to our community. We know these decisions will cause disruption, but with the resilience and creativity of our community, we will continue to educate our students in Hopkins’ 360th academic year. 
     
    Our Plan for March 23 - April 12
    • Hopkins School will not resume normal operations at the close of our spring vacation. All campus activities and athletics will be suspended through April 12.

    • The campus will be open on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 from 8 am to 3 pm for faculty and staff and students to retrieve any items they may need. PLEASE NOTE: Community members who traveled to or through countries with a Level 3 or Level 2 CDC travel warning, or who have been on a cruise over break, may not come to campus on March 16 or 17. Additionally, community members should not return to campus on either day if they have had any symptoms of illness in the five days prior to March 16. After 3 pm on March 17, the campus will be closed to all students, parents and faculty through Sunday, April 12.

    • On Monday, March 23, faculty will work from home to prepare for remote learning. Students will also begin learning from home on March 23, and are expected to access the Virtual Campus Student Resources Group and review the Essential Student Skills section in preparation for the test of our virtual campus the following day (March 24).

    • On Tuesday, March 24, a test of our "virtual" school day for faculty and students will take place. All scheduled classes for that Grey Tuesday will meet via Zoom and at the normally scheduled times. The purpose of this day will be to test our ability to use Zoom to gather everyone together in virtual classrooms.

    • On Wednesday, March 25 and Thursday, March 26, faculty will continue to work from home on both technical and curricular matters, while students will have those two days off.

    • On Friday, March 27, classes will officially begin online and run through Thursday, April 9, 2020, following this virtual class schedule. All classes (blocks) will meet four times in those two weeks. Teachers may assign up to two hours of out-of-class-work per class meeting in grades in 9-12, and up to 1.5 hours out of out-of-class-work in grades 7 and 8. The scheduling of adviser meetings will be determined at a later date.

    • We are planning to hold our regularly scheduled parent conferences via Zoom or via telephone on Tuesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 8.

    Other Changes 
    • Celebrate Hopkins: Auction 2020, scheduled for April 18, has been postponed, with a later date to be determined.

    • Grandparents and Special Friends Day, scheduled for April 22, has been cancelled.

    • All field trips have been cancelled through the end of April.

    • All school-sponsored faculty travel has been cancelled for the remainder of the school year.
    In the midst of this very challenging situation, I recognize that there is enormous anxiety and concern about the weeks and months ahead. The choices before us are complex — precisely because whatever decisions we make affect so many people and so many activities. My colleagues and I remain determined to make careful, prudent, and thoughtful choices, and I have enormous faith in our community – in our resilience and willingness to do our part to keep others safe, and our ability to make the most of a very difficult situation.
     
    In closing, I would like to thank all who have been working incredibly hard over the last few weeks, and who will keep working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible. I am convinced that the Hopkins community will come through this stronger than ever, and we look forward to having everyone back on the Hill as soon as possible.

    We will continue to monitor the situation and will advise the community of any additional steps that may be taken after April 9, 2020. This letter, along with our other communications and updates regarding COVID-19, can be accessed at www.hopkins.edu/coronavirus-covid-19. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ellie Stewart in the Head of School’s office at estewart@hopkins.edu.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Kai Bynum
    Head of School
     
  • March 6 Update

    Dear Families,
     
    The news and information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is quickly evolving, and we at Hopkins are monitoring it closely. We are continuing our goal of sharing what we know, what we are doing and planning, and how families can help. Our top priority in determining our actions is the safety of our students and our employees. We also want to avoid creating unnecessary panic over the situation. We want to stress that Hopkins does not have a current concern of an active exposure.
     
    Below you will find a list of steps that we are proactively taking. Some of these measures are new and some have already been communicated. 
     
    How we are responding
     
    • We have established a Hopkins Covid-19 Resource Page to post updates and all Hopkins-related decisions related to coronavirus.

    • All school-sponsored spring break travel has been cancelled. International trip leaders and the Athletics Department have communicated details about each particular trip cancellation directly with families. We have also cancelled a Concert Choir trip to the Baltic region in June. While we are extremely disappointed that we cannot continue with these trips as planned, we (along with our peers schools who are taking similar actions) strongly believe this is the right decision given the current circumstances.

    • The School is in the process of implementing a remote learning plan in the event it becomes necessary to close the campus. Currently, we plan to return to campus for a normal school day on Monday, March 23. On Tuesday, March 24, we will run a “virtual school day” to practice our procedures for online classes and identify where more support is needed. This means that students should plan to be home on March 24 with access to an internet-connected device so they can participate in classes through Zoom video conferencing. More information for students about Zoom and how this will work on March 24 will be sent over the course of the break. On March 25, we plan to resume classes on campus as a regular school day.

      To be clear, we do not know if or when we would need to utilize remote learning, but testing our capability for working online will still be a valuable exercise. If we do have an extended closure, our goal is to continue to engage our students in learning and in creating connections with each other. It is important to note that online teaching and learning will not look or feel the same as classroom teaching.

    • We are working closely with key vendors on safety protocols. The School’s contracted custodial company has been directed to perform deep sanitization regularly of all surfaces on campus. Flik, our food service provider, is implementing their corporate coronavirus plan of action and procedures which include enhanced measures in the servery and dining room focused on food safety.

    How families can help
     
    • Most importantly, if your child is sick, keep them home and seek medical attention. Our students’ well-being is our primary concern.

    • If you or a member of your household has traveled abroad in the last several weeks or will be traveling internationally during the month of March, please complete this travel form if you have not done so already.

    • We ask that members of our community who plan to travel to refer to the CDC’s list of travel warnings. Any student or faculty/staff member who travels to a "Warning Level 3" area will be subject upon their return to a 14-day period of self-quarantine away from school. If your child will be traveling to an "Alert–Level 2" country, we suggest that you reevaluate your plans in the event that country is elevated to Level 3 status at a later time, and keep in mind that students returning from these countries may be subject to a period of self-quarantine, as well.

    • The School requires that immediate notification be made to Don Bagnall, Director of Medical Services at Hopkins, in the event that any member of our community, someone in the same household as a member of our community, or anyone else with whom a member of our community has been in close contact is subject to a federal isolation or quarantine order.

    This is, of course, a rapidly evolving situation, and our community will need to be patient, resilient and resourceful as we determine our course forward. Hopkins is a special community where we take seriously our responsibilities to one another and to the broader world. I appreciate your support and cooperation as we work together to keep our community safe.

    Sincerely,
    Kai Bynum
    Head of School
  • February 28 Update

    Dear Hopkins community,

    The School has been monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) closely since early January through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and various state and local health and education agencies. Each of these agencies has provided progressively more guidance for schools as they have learned more about the virus and its impact.

    As this situation continues to evolve quickly, we understand that our families may be concerned. As such, we wanted to let you know about the steps and extra precautions the School is taking, and how you can play an important role in keeping our community members safe and well.
     
    • If you or a member of your household will be traveling internationally during the month of March, please complete this travel form. Additionally, we ask that members of our community who plan to travel to refer to the CDC’s list of travel warnings. Any student or faculty/staff member who travels to a "Warning Level 3" area will be subject upon their return to a 14-day period of self-isolation away from school. If your child will be traveling to an "Alert–Level 2" country, we suggest that you reevaluate your plans in the event that country is elevated to Level 3 status at a later time, and keep in mind that students returning from these countries may be subject to a period of self-isolation, as well.

    • We have cancelled the international global education trips to China and France, which were scheduled during spring break. At this time, domestic trips during spring break (the athletic team trips to Orlando) will continue as scheduled.
    • We have formed a committee of Hopkins administrators, faculty, and staff to monitor new developments and reevaluate our steps and actions daily.
    • We are working diligently to help contain viral illnesses by regularly deep cleaning our campus and by encouraging frequent and thorough hand washing. At this time, the flu is still a greater risk to our community, and basic hygiene practices remain at the core of any strategy to prevent infectious disease. 

    As this situation unfolds, we will all need to be measured and flexible in our continued response to developments. As always, the safety of our community is our top priority, and we will continue to update you with any new developments.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ellie Stewart in the Head of School’s office at estewart@hopkins.edu.

    Sincerely,
    Kai Bynum
    Head of School
  • January 30 Update

    Dear Hopkins Families,

    You have no doubt seen the recent news about the outbreak of an illness called novel coronavirus, largely concentrated in China. We write to share an update on how Hopkins is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and to assure you that we are doing all we can to ensure the health of our community. 

    First and foremost, please know that both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are monitoring the situation closely and currently assess a low level of risk to the general American public at this time. While the numbers of those impacted are high in China, please remember that this is still considered to be a relatively isolated illness. As of this writing, five cases have been confirmed in the United States. As we learn more about the coronavirus, it is also important to note that the Center for Disease Control reports that every state has seen seasonal flu, the Type A and Type B viruses.

    Here at Hopkins, we have taken or are currently taking the following steps to help those on our campus remain healthy:

    • We are closely following developments in various media, professional journals, and health organizations. Our Director of Medical Services, Don Bagnall, LAT, is in regular communication with Hopkins consulting physicians and with other medical experts. We are also being advised by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS).
    • We have cancelled a global program trip to Yali-Peicui School in Changsha, China this March.

    • Our medical services staff continues to remind students, faculty and staff of the practical measures to help community health: hand washing, avoid sharing personal items such as water bottles, avoid touching the mouth and nose with hands, and promptly visiting the Athletic Training Room/Sports Medicine for symptoms of the flu.
    • Our janitorial crew uses, as always, cleaners and disinfectants designed to eradicate a wide variety of viruses, including flu.
    • Our food service provider, Flik, is, as always, working closely with the School to ensure food safety.

    Additionally, if your child is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches fatigue, cold symptoms and possible nausea/vomiting, please keep your child home and have them evaluated by your family physician. If it is determined that they have the flu, please notify the School, keep them home and ask the physician to provide a note/date for return to campus.

    Please note that this is a fluid, evolving situation. We will continue to monitor reports and provide updates as necessary. 
    Sincerely,

    Kai Bynum, Head of School
    Don Bagnall, LAT, Director of Medical Services

Event Changes & Cancellations

Closures:
  • Hopkins has moved to remote learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Read the April 1 update above for more information.

Cancelled:
  • All March Spring Break Trips (China, France and Florida)
  • June Concert Choir Trip to Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania)
  • Grandparents and Special Friends Day on April 22
  • All field trips through the end of April
  • All school-sponsored faculty travel through the remainder of the school year
  • Hopkins Golf Tournament on May 29
  • Alumni Weekend 2020 on May 29 & 30
Postponed:
  • Celebrate Hopkins! Auction 2020, scheduled for April 18, has been postponed, with a later date to be determined.