Planning for Fall 2020

Our work to develop an approach to reopening school has been prioritized along three main principles:

1. Place health and safety for all of our community members at the forefront of our decision-making
2. Research and develop a return to school that is face-to-face and in-person, if possible
3. Ensure that the academic experience, no matter the mode of delivery, lives up to our current standards of excellence in both instruction and engagement
To drive our decisions and planning, we’ve engaged Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc. (EHE), an environmental consulting firm currently working with more than 40 schools and colleges on the task and challenge of reopening in the fall. Subcommittees are researching specific areas of school life and building plans and proposals to feed up to a committee of senior administrators charged with knitting all of those proposals together into a final plan. That plan will be vetted by a Trustee COVID Committee for final approval before the fall.

Throughout our work, we are paying close attention to guidelines from the CDC, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Weston Board of Health to ensure that we are adhering to best practices as delineated by those entities.

Key Dates

July 7: First update letter to the community on plans and progress for reopening
July 20: Webinar Q&A with parents
July 31: Second update letter to the community on plans and progress for reopening
Week of August 10th: Third update letter with reopening plans solidified and detailed for the community
August 26 & 27: 9th Grade Orientation
August 28: 12th Grade Orientation
August 31: 10th Grade Orientation
September 1: 11th Grade Orientation
September 2: 6th & 7th Grade Orientation
September 3:
 8th Grade Orientation
September 8: First day of classes (Upper School) and Leadership Lab begins (Middle School)

Academic Life

List of 3 items.

  • Daily Schedule

    We are currently in the process of finalizing the daily schedule in a manner that balances health and safety within an effective learning environment. This schedule strives to have students fully on-campus whenever possible and is also designed so it can be used in a hybrid (some portion of students not on campus) and a fully remote manner. Details will be coming out soon.

    As the daily schedule gets finalized, the school calendar may be adjusted and any changes can be found here.
  • Hybrid and Remote Learning

    While we are planning on conducting in-person classes starting on September 8th, we are preparing to equip every classroom with Zoom capabilities. This will allow us to employ a hybrid-learning model that will enable classes to accommodate both remote and on-campus students. If, for example, a student needs to stay home because they are displaying cold symptoms, they will still be able to participate in classes remotely.
  • Summer Work for Students

    Upper School Summer Work
    Given the impacts of COVID-19 this past spring, our faculty felt the need this year to provide a single location as a reference for all of the summer work students at The Rivers School may be asked to complete. This document is designed to be the single reference for students and parents in sorting out what resources are available for them, and what work is expected of them, in preparing for the fall of 2020.

    Required Reading and Optional Math Work for Middle School Students
    As is the case every summer, we ask Middle Schoolers to read, in order to keep their minds active and agile, nurturing their comprehension skills, imagination, and curiosity. Details on Middle School summer reading (shared previously) can be found here.

    In addition, our math teachers recognize that summer practice can help solidify a student’s skillset and confidence going into a new year, especially after the challenges of this past spring. So our middle school math teachers have developed a set of optional summer practice problems, which is available here.

Health and Safety

List of 4 items.

  • Stay at Home if you are sick

    The best way to keep the Rivers Community healthy and safe is to stay home if you are not feeling well or have developed any symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle aches/pains, sore throat, headache, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), or a rash.
  • Testing

    It is possible that we will be conducting testing for our community, but we do not know yet if that will be the case. Our Health & Safety Team (including practicing clinicians who deal with testing on a day-to-day basis) will continue to update our Task Force on best practices and we will have a determination ready for September.
  • Health Safety

    Students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear masks throughout their day, as we have been advised that this is the best way to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. In addition, all community members will be required to complete a daily health attestation before coming to campus.
  • Hygiene

    Community members will continually be reminded about proper hygiene which includes the frequent washing of hands and use of hand sanitizer.

Student Life

List of 4 items.

  • Orientation

    Orientation Schedule: We will not be running any of our usual off-site orientation programs this fall. Instead, all orientation programs will take place on campus. The schedule is as follows:
    • 6th & 7th Grade—September 2
    • 8th Grade—September 3
    • 9th Grade—August 26 & 27
    • 10th Grade—August 31
    • 11th Grade—September 1
    • 12th Grade—August 28
    • Upper School Program: While we are still ironing out the details of the orientation program, our goal is to create a program that will give students the opportunity to get to know their teachers and coaches, bond with their advisors and classmates, learn about the Rivers culture, develop their understanding of the community’s expectations regarding citizenship and civic engagement, and discuss the realities of learning in a COVID world.
    • Middle School Program: The orientation program will look similar to the programs of past years with a goal of acclimating new and returning students to our campus. To ensure we are social distancing, we will be making use of the facilities at Camp Nonesuch as well as various other classroom and athletic spaces. More specific details about the program will be shared once they are finalized.
  • Lunch

    We are working with FLIK, our dining provider, to ensure that the safest cleaning and serving practices will be used. We anticipate that food service will be primarily “grab and go” options. For the foreseeable future we will not allow self-service buffet and salad stations.
  • Performing Arts/Clubs/Afternoon Activities

    Whether we are conducting school on campus or remotely, we do plan to offer students the opportunity to participate in music practices, club meetings, and other extracurricular activities in a manner that will be in keeping with all our health and safety protocols. Details about the logistics for holding these activities will be shared closer to the start of school.
  • Athletics

    Although the heads of the ISL schools have reported that the ISL will not be conducting a regular slate of games or hosting championship tournaments, we do plan to hold athletic practices. Plans for athletic practices are still being developed as we work within the parameters of state-issued guidelines to create the most flexible and meaningful options possible. We also are working internally and with ISL peer schools to develop meaningful competitive experiences for our fall student athletes, which will happen in a very different context than the typical ISL interscholastic experience. We will be updating the community as we go forward, but we may not have a full plan developed for afternoon sports until after we get back onto campus and get settled in other ways. At this time, we do not expect that lockers and showers will be available for student use, and we will not be holding any pre-season practices.

Campus Infrastructure

List of 4 items.

  • Safety Infrastructure

    To enhance safe movement around campus and promote 6-foot social distancing, we will create directional lanes and enforce one-way foot traffic along certain corridors. ​We also will create 6-foot distances between chairs in seating areas, and we will make use of plastic partitions where appropriate (e.g., sinks, servery, cafe, etc.).​
  • Cleaning Protocols

    We are committed to nightly cleaning and disinfection of the entire school as well as periodic cleaning and disinfection of High-Traffic Areas during school hours. High-Traffic Areas include door handles and hardware, railings and classroom tables/desks. In addition, we will clean and disinfect all restroom door handles, toilets, sinks and vanities multiple times per day. Classrooms will be stocked with cleaning supplies for teachers and students to clean/disinfect surfaces as desired.
  • Transportation

    We are working with Local Motion, our school bus provider, to make sure that appropriate social distancing is followed on daily bus and (as applicable) athletic-related transportation.
  • Ventilation

    EH&E (School Environmental Health Consultant) will be making an evaluation of our HVAC systems for the purpose of making sure that ventilation and filtration is adequate in each building. Protocols and changes (as necessary) will be developed upon receiving guidance.

External Operations

List of 2 items.

  • Visitors to campus

    While we will be discouraging visitors to campus, we will require all visitors to check in upon arrival and to follow all safety protocols, including requiring that they wear a mask, practice social distancing, and confirm that they are healthy and symptom free.
  • Admissions Events

    Currently we are anticipating all admissions events will be conducted virtually.

Questions Form

Have questions or concerns related to some aspect of the Reopening Plan for Fall 2020? If so, we'd appreciate if you would share them with us using this question form, which we've developed to help us be more efficiently responsive to your thoughts and concerns.

Committee on Reopening

List of 9 members.

  • Photo of Edward Parsons

    Mr. Edward Parsons 

    Head of School
    Middlebury College - BA
    Harvard Graduate School of Education - EdM
    Middlebury College - MA
  • Photo of John Bower

    Mr. John Bower 

    Head of Middle School, Middle School Coordinator of DEI, Music
    Haverford College - BA
  • Photo of James Long

    Mr. James Long 

    Assistant Head of School, Head of the Upper School
    Harvard Graduate School of Education - Ed.M.
    Bowdoin College - BA
  • Photo of Leslie Fraser

    Ms. Leslie Fraser 

    Upper School Dean of Faculty, Mathematics
    Boston University School of Law - JD
    Bucknell University - BS
  • Photo of Claudia Silva

    Ms. Claudia Silva 

    School Nurse
    Simmons College - BS
  • Photo of Ava Archibald

    Ms. Ava Archibald 

    Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    Taylor University - BA
    Harvard University Extension School - ALM
  • Photo of Thomas Bourdeau

    Mr. Thomas Bourdeau 

    Assistant Director of Finance and Operations, Varsity Football Coach
    Colby College - BA
    Boston College - MS
  • Photo of M. Kristen Kelleher

    Ms. M. Kristen Kelleher 

    Director of Advancement
    Boston University - MS
    Boston College - BA
    Thayer Academy
  • Photo of Jonathan Wasserman

    Mr. Jonathan Wasserman 88

    Director of Finance and Operations, Assistant Treasurer
    Brandeis University - MBA
    Brandeis University - BA

Prior Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Messages

List of 20 items.

  • End of Year Schedule (4/26/2020)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (4/23/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (4/21/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (4/16/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (4/13/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (4/9/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (4/6/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (4/2/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (3/30/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter (3/26/20)

  • Rivers Remote Program Extended to May 4 (3/25/20)

  • Weekly Parent Newsletter ( 3/25/2020)

  • COVID-19 Update: Rivers to Adopt Remote-Learning Plan (3/16/2020)

    Dear Rivers Community,

    In light of both local and national measures that have been implemented in recent days in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have made the decision that we will not reopen the campus for at least two weeks following spring break (3/24-4/3) and possibly longer, and will move to a remote-learning model for classes beginning Wednesday, 3/25.  We are taking these measures to increase the social distancing recommended by public health experts, as we continue to do our part to reduce risks to the Rivers community and to the larger community around us.

    Even before spring break, our faculty anticipated the possibility of “Remote Learning” and shifted into problem-solving mode. Teachers began to receive training for remote teaching and shared information with their students in case remote learning became a reality. Faculty training has been on-going during break, and we are prepared to teach remotely for all classes in both Middle and Upper Schools for as long as needed. We recognize that we will need to learn and adapt as we go, and are prepared to make adjustments as necessary along the way.

    Distance Learning Plan
    We have modified the opening of school in order to give us an extra day to prepare. We will be running an altered schedule to reflect the change in pedagogy. Our schedule for the first week back: 

    Tuesday, 3/24
    Faculty Professional Development Day (Online; no in-person faculty meeting on campus)

    Wednesday, 3/25
    Classes resume in online formats according to modified daily schedule for both MS/US

    Thursday-Friday, 3/26-27
    Classes run in online formats according to modified daily schedule for both MS/US

    Second Week (3/30-4/3)
    Classes will run a similarly modified schedule in a remote-learning format, which we will publish in a more complete communication later this week.

    As you can see, we have added one more day of professional development for the faculty so that we can ensure as smooth an opening as possible. The modified schedule, and a video walk-through of our goals, processes, and timelines are being prepared and will be coming to you this week in a much more detailed communication. For now, we wanted to be sure to pass along the basic information about the overall change in our return to school so that you and your children can begin to prepare for the changes coming our way.

    Request for Critical Information:
    I also write to urge you to fill out an online questionnaire (see link below). We are requesting information on two fronts. The questionnaire we’re asking you to fill out for your family is intended to help us both to protect the community in the weeks ahead and to ensure that we’re able to support students in their efforts to work from home while we’re away this first couple of weeks. In this questionnaire, we are asking for travel information so that we can know where families have traveled over the last several weeks. We’re also asking about internet access at home so that we can be sure to assist those whose access may be limited or non-existent. We will not share any of the information we collect, though we will have to follow up with families directly who have traveled to CDC-designated Level I-III countries across the world to discuss timing on your child’s return to school. We will also be following up with families who need better internet access for their children in the weeks ahead and will work with families to make our remote-learning platforms available for everyone.

    There will be more detailed information forthcoming before the end of the week. I’m sure there are many questions, and we are working to develop a communication that will get at most, if not all, of them. We stand ready to answer those we haven’t covered, and I thank you for your patience as we develop our communication in the coming days.

    These are extraordinary times for all of us. I’ve been bolstered by the support of the community throughout the emerging health crisis as it has unfolded, and appreciate the typical Rivers “can-do” response to the challenge, including our extraordinary faculty’s determination to roll up their sleeves and develop the best possible learning experience in this new, exciting format. The change won’t be without its challenges, but we’re eager to roll it out, and will continue our efforts to maintain the academic continuity of the student experience as we work through the challenges as they come.

    More to come soon.  Stay healthy and, for now, isolate as much as you can. With luck and the right practices in place, we’ll be back together relatively soon!


    Ned Parsons
    Head of School
  • COVID-19: Update on Athletics and Rentals (3/11/2020)

    Dear Rivers Community,
    Given the ever-changing landscape of the advance of the COVID-19 virus in our local area, we have decided to cancel all activities scheduled for The Rivers School campus from March 12 through March 22, 2020. This means that all pre-season practices scheduled for the week of March 16 are canceled, as are all Rivers School Conservatory (RSC) music programs and lessons. In addition, all outside rentals of our facilities will be canceled from March 12 through April 1.
    We take this step not in reaction to any change in the status of the campus currently, as we are now on break, but to help in slowing the spread of the virus by maintaining as much separation as possible for our community in the weeks ahead. In doing so, we are following recommendations by the governor and the health authorities, who have asked that large gatherings be avoided as much as possible.
    The ISL Heads of School and Athletic Directors are in communication about spring sports and will be keeping an eye on the start of the season and how to provide the best experience for the athletes while still maintaining appropriate protocols for community health. That conversation, like so much of what we’re working through in this situation, is ongoing and fluid, and we will be updating as we go.
    We ask that no captains’ practices be held as substitutes for the pre-season cancellations, and that students do not come to campus to use the athletic facilities until further notice. From March 12 to 22, we will effectively be shutting down the campus and its facilities for student use, and we encourage our student-athletes to refrain from large gatherings in the spirit of contributing to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the larger community.
    Thank you for your consideration in adhering to these guidelines over the next 10 days.
    We will continue to update the community as the situation evolves.
    Ned Parsons
    Head of School
  • Introduction to Rivers Remote Website (3/20/20)

    Dear Rivers Students and Families,
    I hope you are all doing well today and are getting excited about returning to school next week—virtually.

    As I mentioned to you all in earlier communications, we have developed for our students a series of resources to assist everyone in getting set up and situated in our Rivers remote-learning program—or Rivers Remote, as we are now calling it. Our faculty and administrators have been hard at work for the last several weeks developing their skills and the platforms our students will be accessing in the weeks ahead. Hopefully, any questions you may have about this new model of teaching can be answered on the new Rivers Remote website we’ve created. I encourage everyone to spend some time before the start of school familiarizing yourself with the content on this site.

    A few things to keep in mind as you dive into the resources provided on this site:

    • As I mentioned in my video to everyone, our primary goals in setting up our remote-learning spaces are two-fold: First, to ensure that our connections to one another—the core of our community—-remain central to everything we do; and, second, to ensure continuity and engagement in the learning experience for everyone. We’ve built our schedule and program in the remote space with these goals in mind, and we will continue to reassess as we get started and see how this is all working.

    • While we are not on campus together, school is, nonetheless, in session beginning Wednesday, March 25. We will be expecting students to be on time for classes, to be dressed appropriately, to participate, and to continue to be responsible community members within each “classroom” in which they work.

    • Parents can be helpful in making this approach successful by making sure that students have an appropriate workspace set up in the house, and by helping to create the routine children need to maintain focus and to learn effectively.

    • We have created new schedules for Middle and Upper Schools, so please look closely at those. You’ll see that we have added extra advisory time in both divisions and an altered pattern to our days in the new setup that is designed to help us all make the most of our work and downtime.

    • We have included a Frequently Asked Questions section that we hope will answer most of the questions that come to you, as well as contact information for additional questions that come up along the way. We understand that this transition might bring some challenges as we get started, so please use these contacts for more information where you need to.

    • You’ll note on the site we’ve created that our counseling department has set up protocols so that they can be available to students as needed, as will our teachers, advisors, and administrators. 
    • We ask for everyone’s patience and flexibility as we get this new system up and running. We’ve been practicing and training for it, but there are bound to be places where our best efforts don’t fully work as we intended. Our promise to you is that we will continue to assess and adjust as we go to make this work, and we’ll be offering plenty of opportunities for student feedback through advisories so that we can develop the learning spaces in the most productive way.

    • We ask also for everyone to remember that many of our faculty members are parents of young children who are at home and in need of care. That means you might expect some informality in the learning environment from time to time as children come into the picture or are in need of attention. Our teachers will be working to minimize those interruptions, but we know they will occur and ask your patience with them as our teachers navigate these dual demands on their attention. By the time this is all over with, it’s highly likely that you’ll know the names of all of your teachers’ pets!
    I know there is a lot of information to absorb in these plans, particularly for those families with students in both Divisions, so I encourage you to process it at your own pace. We’re excited about the prospects for remote learning and very much looking forward to everything we’ll learn through the process we’re now stepping into. Please know that we will do everything we can to ensure that everyone is connected, on pace, and fully able to participate as we want them to. 

    Communication will be important in these next few weeks, so please continue to stay in touch as the need arises. 

    Here we go! 


    Ned Parsons
    Head of School
  • Update for Rivers Community on COVID-19 (3/10/2020)

    Dear Rivers Community,

    We have been informed by a local community Board of Health that a Rivers parent has been diagnosed with a presumptive case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

    We want to share what we know at this point:
    • The child of the parent noted above, an Upper School student, is healthy and not exhibiting symptoms.
    • The student and parent are following the quarantine protocol from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) until cleared to return to school and will be well through that protocol before March 24.
    • As with any communicable disease, cities and schools are required to follow the direction from the MDPH, and that is what we’re doing in this and every instance we may encounter.
    • At this time, there is no further action required on the situation with the Rivers parent or our student, according to the authorities, and we are in close contact with the family.
    Every afternoon during spring break, our crisis team has met to review the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the MDPH. Those meetings will continue up to our return to classes. We will continue to provide updates to our community as events unfold, but please know that you can certainly contact the school if you have questions or concerns. For now, here are some updates:
    • We have made the determination not to run our planned spring break athletic trips to Florida and South Carolina and a Middle School trip to Quebec in April. Though we had no specific reasons to believe those areas are riskier than being here in Massachusetts, the risks associated with travel and visits to high-traffic areas was more risk for us to sponsor than we felt appropriate for our students and faculty chaperones.
    • For the past month, we have been spending extra time cleaning the entire school, including both aggressive surface cleaning and disinfecting as well as a deep cleaning process where we sprayed an aerosol disinfectant in all campus indoor spaces. We are planning on doing this deep clean again around the time students return from break. Some of you have written to me about practices we might implement around cleaning desks and other surfaces before each class begins, and we are considering the viability of that practice. We’ll be working more with the students upon our return on how to keep themselves safer through simple means, but will also be considering whether we can implement new practices that might prove helpful.
    • The faculty spent some time before vacation training in the technology that would enable online learning to take place, given that we might have to close school at some point upon our return. While we certainly hope we won’t have to do that, the chance certainly exists, and we don’t want school to stop if we can help it. We’ll be communicating with students if we get to that point.
    • We have been in constant touch with the Weston Board of Health and have been regularly monitoring MDPH and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and reports. We will continue to follow their direction and guidance. If you have traveled internationally, you may be subject to quarantine and should review the guidelines, which can be found at this link
    For the time being, we are anticipating a full return to classes after break and are planning on running our receptions for admitted students and the revisit days as well. That may change as the month wears on, but we’re holding steady for now and watching developments carefully, even as we begin considering options for “Plan B” should we later decide not to run those programs.
    Please know that in every decision we’re making throughout this process, we are being guided by local and state health authorities, who, though taxed, have been helpful thus far. With the reality that the virus is making its way into our community, the authorities will continue to help guide our response and will, in many situations, actually be the ones delivering information to the community, as per regulations. Their authority extends to the decision to close school, which is more likely to be theirs than ours, depending on how this continues to evolve.
    Finally, I want to remind us all about the values of respect and care that guide this amazing school community, and to encourage us to be mindful of the confidentiality of others, to refrain from spreading rumor or gossip, and to hold our sense of community above our capacity for irrational fear. These kinds of health scares can tear at community bonds if we let them, and we’re confident that the Rivers community is above allowing that to happen.
    Ned Parsons
    Head of School
  • Middle School Quebec Trip Canceled (3/10/2020)

    Dear Parents of Quebec Trip Students,

    As the information on the COVID-19 virus continues to proliferate, we’ve been keeping a careful eye on what we can find out about recent outbreaks and the continued spread of the virus. This has been a rapidly evolving situation, and one we’ve been monitoring closely.

    Today, I’m writing to let you know that we have decided to cancel the April 17-20 Middle School Quebec Trip out of an abundance of caution. This decision is consistent with state officials recommending that international trips be canceled at this time. As you may have heard, we have also canceled Upper School spring break athletic trips. This decision is based as much on what we know as what we cannot know right now, as well as the sense we have that travel right now increases the risks the virus poses to all of us. In the end, we understand that cases in our area tell us that we may not be entirely free from worry no matter where we are in the US, but we don’t feel that potentially increased risk to be something we would willingly step into in the current uncertain environment.

    This news may be disappointing for the students, but these are unprecedented times, and we’re doing what we can to put community health and safety first in our decision making.

    It is our intention to refund the cost of the trip to each family, and we are currently working with the travel provider we partnered with for the Quebec trip to determine exact details.

    We thank you for your understanding and patience as we work with local health authorities to follow appropriate guidelines and protocols to manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the best way possible. We continue to monitor the situation daily and will be keeping an eye on the recommendations coming to us from the CDC and the local board of health.


    Ned Parsons
    Head of School
  • Spring Athletics Trips Canceled (3/9/2020)

    Dear Parents of Spring Sport Athletes,

    As the information on the COVID-19 virus continues to proliferate, we’ve been keeping a careful eye on what we can find out about recent outbreaks and the continued spread of the virus. This has been a rapidly evolving situation and one we’ve been monitoring closely.

    Today, I’m writing to let you know that we have decided to cancel our spring break athletic trips out of an abundance of caution. This decision is based as much on what we know as what we cannot know right now, as well as the sense we have that travel right now, even domestically, increases the risks the virus poses to all of us. In the end, we do understand that cases in our area tell us that we may not be entirely free from worry no matter where we are in the US, but we don’t feel that potentially increased risk to be something we would willingly step into in the current unsure environment.

    This news may be disappointing for the athletes, and we’re sorry to interrupt their—and your—plans for the break this way. These are unprecedented times, and we’re doing what we can to put community health and safety first in our decision making.

    It is our intention to refund the cost of the trip to each family and we are currently working with the travel providers we partnered with on these trips to determine exact details.

    We thank you for your understanding and patience as we work with local health authorities to follow appropriate guidelines and protocols to manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the best way possible. We continue to monitor the situation daily and will be keeping an eye on the recommendations coming to us from the CDC and the local board of health.

    Ned Parsons
    Head of School
  • Coronavirus and Flu Prevention Updates (3/1/2020)

    Dear Rivers Community,

    As you know, the situation with the coronavirus is evolving every day, and we continue to monitor the latest news as we think about steps we may need to take to keep our community as safe as possible. Fortunately, we in Massachusetts still remain at low risk for contracting the virus, but eventually, that may change. 

    What we do know is that the virus continues to spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just recently raised South Korea’s risk level rating to a “Level 3,” the same as China’s; Japan, Italy, and Iran are now designated as “Level 2” risk countries. In accordance with the CDC’s latest policies, travelers coming into the U.S. from these areas are now being screened upon arrival. Those who are ill or who have come in from a “Level 3” country are being quarantined at their point of entry. Even those without symptoms who are coming in from high-risk areas are being asked to stay at home for 14 days as a precaution.

    In light of these developments, we have already made the decision to cancel our spring break trips that had been scheduled to go to Germany and France. While this was a difficult decision to make, we felt we had no choice given the rapidly evolving situation and the many variables—both known and unknown. 

    As you make your own travel plans for spring break, we would encourage you to pay close attention to the recommendations being made by the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) and to heed whatever travel advice they offer. 

    In order to do everything we can do to protect our community, we are currently preparing a form that we will send out to all parents and faculty members before students return from spring break asking you to let us know if anyone in your family traveled out of the country during their vacation. Collecting this information will help us identify potential risks as the risk level designations of countries continue to change.

    As the situation evolves, we may find there are other precautionary and safety measures we will need to adopt. For example, we are already talking to our faculty about creating a distance-learning plan in the event that we are required to close the school for an extended period of time. We will share information about those plans and other policy changes as it becomes necessary. 

    In the meantime, we ask that you encourage your children to be diligent in adopting these preventive habits and practices that School Nurse Claudia Silva outlined in a previous email. These habits include washing your hands often, coughing into your sleeve, avoiding sharing water bottles and utensils with others, and staying home when you are sick. These habits and practices will not only help in combating the spread of the coronavirus but will help in combating the spread of the regular flu.

    Below are links to a variety of useful websites that will help you keep abreast of the latest news related to the coronavirus and provide you with more detailed information about how best to protect yourself and your family from the flu.


    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to figure out how best to navigate this difficult situation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any concerns or questions you may have.


    Ned Parsons
    Head of School

    Claudia Silva, BSN, RN
    School Nurse 
  • Health & Wellness: Monitoring the Coronavirus (2/12/2020)

    Dear Rivers families,

    While cold and flu season is never easy, this year it has been made a little more stressful with the emergence of the coronavirus. As you know, the virus originated in Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei and has begun to spread outward. Fortunately, it does not yet represent a significant threat to those of us in the U.S., but we want you to know that we are taking preliminary steps to prepare ourselves should the situation become more dangerous.

    We have been in touch with our local health department to seek their advice, and we are diligently following news updates and guidelines provided by The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.  We have also assembled a team of people here on campus who are monitoring the situation and discussing what policies and preventive measures we might need to take as we think about things like campus visitors and travel-abroad programs. We also plan to talk to our students to make sure they are able to separate fact from fiction during this time when information about the virus is still evolving.

    One of our main goals will be to ease concerns and prevent the spread of hype and hysteria. At this point, health officials are suggesting there is little we need to do beyond diligently practicing the kind of habits we would normally take to prevent the spread of colds and flu. Our School Nurse Claudia Silva outlined these preventive practices in this email she sent out a couple weeks ago. These habits include washing your hands often, coughing into your sleeve, avoiding sharing water bottles and utensils with others, and staying home when you are sick. The coronavirus notwithstanding, this is proving to be a tough flu season, and the more we can keep the flu isolated away from campus, the better for all of us. If your child does get sick, we ask that you please notify the school nurse so that we can better monitor the health of our student body.

    In addition, if you plan to travel outside the country, you’ll want to check the travel advisories provided by the US. Department of State and follow whatever recommendations they may have. If you are entertaining visitors from outside the country, you’ll want to make yourself aware of what exposure they may have had to areas where the coronavirus is active.

    Please know that we will continue to monitor the information coming from the CDC and local health authorities, and we will implement additional precautionary measures as warranted by changing conditions.

    As always, please feel free to contact either me or Ms. Silva if you have questions or concerns.  

    Thank you,

    Ned Parsons
    Head of School

    Claudia Silva, BSN, RN
    School Nurse