Welcome Back!

The new school year is upon us, and despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, we are excited to announce that we do plan to bring students back to campus for in-person learning during the fall term. Over the course of the summer, faculty, staff, and administrators have worked hard to create a high-quality learning experience that will be both rewarding and safe. We also are prepared to be flexible, so that if we need to quickly change from an in-person learning experience to either a hybrid or remote learning experience, we will be able to do that. This page contains lots of information about our plans for how we will do school this year. In addition to browsing through this page, we encourage you to click on the banner below to read our comprehensive “Fall Reopening of School Plan” and also glance through the COVID Handbook Supplement we have prepared. We hope the information here will answer most of your questions, but if you have more, we encourage you to submit them using this special Questions Feedback Form we have set up. Welcome back to Rivers!

The COVID-19 Handbook Supplement outlines important health and safety protocols that the school has implemented for the 2020-21 school year. The handbook will be updated on an as-needed basis to reflect changing conditions and changing guidelines established by state and national agencies.

Academic Life

List of 6 items.

  • Daily Schedule

    We have created weekly schedules for this year that are different from years past in important ways that are connected to the need to confront the unique challenges that we face in delivering this curriculum during a pandemic. To learn about the schedule changes and the rationale for making those changes, click here to watch a video by Assistant Dean of Faculty Dr. Christopher Dalton.

    To access copies of this year’s weekly schedules, click on these links:

    Middle School Daily Schedule

    Upper School Daily Schedule
  • Individual Class Schedules

    Individual class schedules for each student have been posted to RiversNet (aka, Podium). To watch a video about how to login to RiversNet to access your class schedule, click here.
  • School Calendar

    The constantly changing situation created by the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on our event planning capabilities. To keep abreast of changes to school events, be sure to check our online school calendar on a regular basis.
  • Hybrid and Remote Learning

    Although we currently plan to bring students back to campus for in-person learning during the fall semester, we are aware that there may be times when we will have to change course and adopt either a remote or hybrid mode of learning. To learn more about these different modes of learning and how the school has prepared itself for all contingencies, please refer to the Fall Reopening of School Plan.
  • Book Ordering

    To access book lists for your courses and to purchase your books for the fall term, go to the Rivers Bookstore, hosted at Follett: https://www.bkstr.com/riversstore/home
  • 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.

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 19 frequently asked questions.

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, Director of Middle School Chorus
    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 Assistant 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
    Brandeis University - MBA
    Brandeis University - BA

NBC news reporter Brian Shactman interviews Head of School Ned Parsons about the challenges of conducting school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.