Fordham Preparatory School Fall 2020 - Reopening Plan

Our Ignatian Values

Fordham Prep has no higher priority than the health and safety of our community, which includes all students, faculty, and staff.

We prepare to begin the 2020-2021 academic year deeply rooted in Catholic and Jesuit values; our mission of faith, scholarship and service; and a tradition of nearly 180 years of providing an outstanding experience of college preparatory education. At the heart of this mission and experience is our focus on cura personalis, our Ignatian commitment to care for each student.

During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, the Fordham Prep community demonstrated extraordinary resiliency, flexibility, and care for each other and our neighbors, as well as a commitment to educational excellence.

When we open our doors, we fully expect our community to remain grounded in our values, true to our mission, and ready to meet and overcome new challenges that we may face.


Committed to the ideal of 'cura personalis', one of our core values, the health and safety of each member of the Fordham Prep community (students, faculty, and staff) is our top priority.

Our reopening plan embraces a hybrid instructional model of both in-person and remote learning experiences for students.

Families have the option to choose between the hybrid model or, if they prefer, a student may remain enrolled while engaging in full remote learning at home. Therefore, each student’s academic experience is tailored to his and his family’s individual needs. Parents/guardians will be required to select either option on a quarterly basis. This information will be collected via an online survey.

All students who have opted for the hybrid model and all faculty and staff are required to undergo a COVID-19 diagnostic test prior to the start of the year and return to campus. You should visit a primary care doctor or testing site to get a COVID-19 nasal swab test (PCR test). If asked the reason for the test, please inform the provider that your place of employment or school requires a negative test to demonstrate you are not actively carrying the virus. You can find more information about COVID-19 testing in New York City here. The deadline to submit your negative test result is Friday, August, 28, at 5:00 pm. Once you receive your test results, please scan a copy and email as an attachment to testing@fordhamprep.org.

Given our opening dates prior to Labor Day, any student, faculty or staff member currently in a state or country that requires quarantine by New York State, or if you will be traveling through one, you must start quarantine by two weeks before your arrival to school. A list of restricted states can be found on the current NYS COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Please plan accordingly.

In order to help mitigate viral spread, all students, faculty, and staff will be required to perform a health screening each day before their arrival. In addition, Fordham Prep will implement physical distancing throughout our campus wherever possible and require all students, faculty, and staff to wear face masks* at all times, except when eating lunch.

Fordham Prep’s reopening plan is based on the most recent guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). If and when conditions change and New York State releases new guidance, and as any further details of our plan become available, Fordham Prep will update our plan and communicate revisions to our community.

No plan or set of safety measures can guarantee absolute prevention of COVID-19 transmission or completely eliminate any risk of contracting the virus. However, we have invested significant resources to create a healthy and safe learning environment and our plan exceeds the recommendations of New York State. In developing our plan, we have consulted extensively with health specialists who have approved the plan’s protocols and practices.

Each August, students and parents/guardians are required to review and sign the Student and Parent Handbook. This year, the handbook will contain a section on expectations of the community during the pandemic. Complying with these expectations will be a requirement for students and adults to be able to come to campus. It includes specific points related to the safety and health requirements outlined in our Handbook. The deadline to complete this specific form related to health and safety is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 28. Only parents/guardians should complete this form.

We invite all members of the Fordham Prep community to embrace the Ignatian practice of flexibility during the course of the school year.

*Approved PPE includes cotton cloth and medical grade face masks. Gaiters and loose-fitting bandanas are not approved for use. While face shields may also be used, they cannot replace the requirement that each person wears a face mask.

Academic Program

The Hybrid Model

  • Weekly/Cyclical Schedule - As we have in the past, Fordham Prep will continue to utilize a 6-day cycle in our class schedule (A through F days). Students who choose the hybrid model will attend in-person classes on the Rose Hill campus 4 out of 6 days each cycle (on average 3 or 4 days per week). On the other cycle days, students will learn remotely through structured assignments, learning activities, and projects. Each grade will be divided into three groups for in-person classes on a rotating basis during our six day cycle of instruction.
  • On Campus Experience - Students will attend in-person classes with their teachers and peers for a vast majority of their time on campus. In order to keep classrooms within the required limits of physical distancing, small groups of less than 10 students in a few of our larger class sections will participate in their class from remote locations (e.g., the Leonard Theatre or the library) through video conferencing. We will take care to rotate these “overflow pods” each day so as to maximize each student’s experience of live, in-person instructional time with his teachers and peers.
  • Distance Learning - Last spring, Fordham Prep’s faculty, students, and parents collaborated to develop a successful distance learning experience. Relying on research, best practices, and feedback from our faculty, students, and parents, we have enhanced our strategies and methods of distance learning in order to improve our hybrid model. Since March, 70 members of faculty have participated in specialized professional development programs such as those offered through the Global Online Academy.
  • 100% Coverage of Instructional Time - Our hybrid schedule maintains 100% of instructional time that students would have had in their traditional schedule.
  • Course Offerings - Our schedule also allows time and space for counseling classes, service, ministry leadership team, etc. We plan to offer physical education, vocal, and instrumental music courses in a manner which complies with New York state recommendations. Consultation period will take place online.
“We think Fordham Prep is doing an outstanding job making the online learning happen so effectively.” - current Fordham Prep parent

Academic Program

Daily Schedule

The school day will consist of four 80 minute periods with the flexibility for 40 minute periods to facilitate classes such as counseling and mentoring.
  • Student Arrival and Departure - Students are not required to arrive at school until their first scheduled class but must first clear their health screening and swipe their ID card to indicate they have arrived. Students who do not have a scheduled class during the last period may leave early provided they sign out in the Attendance Office. At the conclusion of the last period, students will immediately exit the building unless officially supervised school activities are scheduled.
  • Class Schedule - Each school day consists of four 80 minute blocks with flexibility for classes that are both 40 and 80 minutes in length. Passing time between periods has been lengthened to accommodate students maintaining physical distance as they move between classes.
Students will engage in remote learning two out of every six day cycle.

Each Morning

Health Screenings

  • Online Platform - To support our screening process, Fordham Prep has adopted VitalCheck, a tested software solution utilized by major corporations and universities, including Fordham University. The VitalCheck platform and our health screening protocol fully comply with HIPPA and FERPA privacy laws and protections.
  • Daily Questionnaire - Every morning at home, each parent/guardian (on behalf of their son) and each faculty and staff member will receive a link via text message or email from VitalCheck. The link opens an online health screening questionnaire. In addition to answering questions about their health and well-being, each person is required to perform and record a temperature check. Anyone reporting a temperature of 100.0°F or greater or specific symptoms must stay at home. Parents are required to call the attendance office to report the student absence. Faculty/staff members must notify their supervisor.
  • Access to the Rose Hill Campus and the Prep - Upon successful completion of the questionnaire, the individual will receive an online confirmation code required for access to the Rose Hill Campus and Fordham Prep’s building. Each person must display this code to public safety officers at the University entry gates and when entering the Prep building. Students will also be required to present their Fordham Prep ID. Any individual who does not have a valid confirmation code will be refused access to the Rose Hill Campus and the Prep’s building. Upon entry to Fordham Prep, staff members will perform random temperature checks. Any individual who registers a temperature of 100.0°F or higher, will not be permitted to attend school that day.

Each Morning


Fordham Prep will open to students at 7:30 am. Students will not be permitted to enter the building before that time. After check-in, students will be allowed to gather with their classmates in one of four assigned supervised locations around the building. While they will be required to both wear masks and practice physical distance, we encourage them to spend time with their classmates. The Warning Bell will ring at 8:25 am. The Attendance Bell will ring at 8:30 am.

  • Freshman - Leonard Theatre
  • Sophomores - Higgins & Intramural Gyms
  • Juniors – Library & Modern Language Classrooms
  • Seniors - Commons

Campus Visitors

In general, visitors will not be permitted on the Rose Hill Campus or in the school building. All faculty and staff will be asked to conduct meetings (including those with parents) through video conference. In the case when it is absolutely necessary for visitors to enter the building, before their arrival, they will be required to complete a health screening protocol which includes a temperature check.

Health and Safety


All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before and after meals and after using the restroom. In addition, they will be required to keep physically distant (6 feet) from each other at all times whenever possible and to wear face masks at all times, except during lunch. In accordance with Fordham University policy, masks are required for all members of the Fordham Prep community while traveling on the Rose Hill Campus. Signage throughout the campus will remind the community about hygiene and physical distance.

Health and Safety


  • Campus Cleaning - Fordham Prep has supplemented our staff’s regular cleaning services with an outside contractor that has expertise in disinfection practices and specialized products. During the school day, enhanced cleaning will take place in high traffic areas such as the Leonard Theatre, the Commons, the lobby, and restrooms. All procedures and cleaning products meet CDC standards and guidelines. At the beginning of each class period, teachers will supervise students in disinfecting their desks or personal learning space.
  • Personal Hygiene Resources - Sanitizing dispensers have been installed in each room in the building. In addition, there are multiple stand-alone dispensers located throughout the building.
  • Physical Environment - Floor markings in classrooms and around the building will indicate proper physical distancing and pedestrian traffic directions to decrease congestion in corridors and stairwells. Classrooms have been modified and reconfigured to ensure proper physical distancing. It is likely that some classes and activities will be held outdoors, and we are exploring the possibility of installing a tent on our property.
  • Air Ventilation Enhancements - Our HVAC system has been cleaned and disinfected by an outside vendor. All filters were replaced per NYSDOH recommendations. We will also increase the frequency in which new, fresh air is ingested into the HVAC system.

Health and Safety


*Fordham Prep will follow protocols recommended by public health officials as it relates to confirmed incidents of COVID-19 in the school building.*
  • Healthcare Staffing - Fordham Prep will increase its nursing staff with additional healthcare professionals who will be present each school day.
  • On Campus Illness - If a student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day, he will be brought to a dedicated health suite (separate from the Nurse’s Office) and supervised by an adult. The student must remain in the health suite until he is picked up by an authorized adult. Ill students will not be allowed to travel home on their own.
  • In the Event of Illness - Students and faculty/staff will not be allowed to return to school until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related illnesses which include three days with no fever, an illustration that symptoms have been improved, and ten (10) days elapsed since the symptoms first appeared.
  • Testing Positive for COVID-19 - Students and faculty/staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to return to school with written medical clearance, two negative tests for COVID-19, and three straight days without a fever of over 100 degrees. Due to HIPAA and FERPA laws we are not able to release the name of any student or faculty/staff member who tests positive for COVID-19. Several members of the faculty and staff have completed a training program through The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and will serve as contact tracers for the Fordham Prep community.

Social and Emotional Support

It is vital during these challenging times for us to continue to support our students both inside and outside the classroom. We are committed to meeting our students where they are. Our school and college counselors as well as our clinicians are available to our students at all times both in-person and using online tools.
  • Counseling Services - Counseling services will be available to all students through our Counseling Department. Students will have access to all school and college counselors, the school psychologist, social worker, and the ADAPP counselor, and they will continue to meet in groups in counseling classes during both in-person or remote learning.
  • Mental Health - We encourage students and their parents to practice good mental health habits during this challenging and stressful time and to reach out to our counselors, clinicians, or any other Prep faculty or staff if they require assistance.

Food Service

Our food service vendor, Aladdin, will continue to provide lunch each school day in a “grab and go” format. There will be no open food distribution or buffet style serving. Lunch will take place in physically distanced dining areas. As always, students may bring in their own lunch from home, but there will be no microwaves available. Seniors will not be permitted to leave the Prep campus during their lunch and free periods. Breakfast will not be available.

Transportation and Commuting

As the greater New York City area enters the final reopening phases, we expect public officials to ensure riders that using public transportation (Metro North, subways, public buses) is safe and healthy. Students and families should be familiar with the state-issued public transit guidance and continually monitor it for any further requirements on trains, subways, and buses including the wearing of face masks and physical distancing.

Campus Life

Participation in Campus Ministry programs, Mass, Retreats, Christian Service, clubs, and Global Education is a vital aspect of the Fordham Prep experience and is a key factor in helping students form community and develop their social and spiritual lives.

During the initial stages of the pandemic in the spring, our community was able to utilize technology to celebrate the Mass together, organize service projects, and perform together in artistic endeavors. This was due in great part to the dedication and ingenuity of our faculty and staff.

We will continue to offer our students opportunities to participate in daily prayer and spiritual formation as well as co-curricular programs and activities while ensuring everyone’s safety. We look forward to sharing these plans with you in the coming weeks.


The State of New York has delayed the beginning of all fall sports seasons to September 21. The Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA), Catholic High School Football League (CHSFL), and other sports not governed by these leagues will all follow state guidelines. We will share more information about our plans for fall sports in the coming weeks.

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, July 28, 7:00 pm - Zoom meeting on Reopening Plan with Fr. Devron, SJ, and Dr. Petriello '98
  • Wednesday, July 29, 7:00 pm - Zoom meeting on Reopening Plan with Fr. Devron, SJ, and Dr. Petriello '98
  • Friday, August 14 - Class schedule and book list available
  • Monday, August 24 - COVID-19 test result due to Fordham Prep (for students in the hybrid program and faculty/staff)
  • Tuesday, August 25 - Freshman Orientation and Community Building (Blanco, Bratt, Calamari, DiGiorno, Distinti, Fedak)
  • Wednesday, August 26 - Freshman Orientation and Community Building (Gelpi, Gilligan, Gonzalez, Groepler, Hemsley, Lorenz)
  • Thursday, August 27 - Freshman Orientation and Community Building (McLaughlin, McNamara, Newell, Pigott, Viele, Ward)
  • Tuesday, September 1 - Transfer Student Orientation
  • Wednesday, September 2 - Student Orientation (Freshmen AM / Sophomores PM)
  • Thursday, September 3 - Student Orientation (Juniors AM / Seniors PM)
  • Tuesday, September 8 - First Day of Classes

*Mentor group/homeroom assignments for all students will be communicated with your class schedule on August 14.*

For any questions on the information contained in the plan, please contact Fordham Prep's principal, Dr. Joseph Petriello '98, at petrielloj@fordhamprep.org.

A Prayer During COVID-19

by Megan Sheehan, Marquette University

Dear Lord, As the coronavirus (COVID-19) affects our world, we continue to pray. We invite you into our hearts, Lord - hearts that have so much on them now. Amidst our fear, disappointment, confusion, uncertainty, grief, anger, frustration and more. We invite you in, Lord. We know you are bigger.

May we be given a peace and understanding of cancellations and social distancing rules. May we act with humility to not just preserve our own safety and health, but to look beyond ourselves and think of how our actions will affect others. May we be alert to the ways we may help those around us, and give us the grace to step forward without hesitation to be men and women for and with others, for Your greater glory.

Come to our aid, Lord. Open our ears to hear your voice in these troubled times, may we listen and be prudent and may we draw ever closer to you. Amen.

Ronald Castillo '96, APRN, is one of many Prep alumni, parents, and friends who are living out the call to be "men and women for others" on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Created with images by Kelly Sikkema - "Ear thermometer taking the temperature of a young boy" • Anshu A - "untitled image" • Kelly Sikkema - "Container of cleaning / sanitizing wipes"