Boston College High School Reopening Plan - Fall 2020

*Important Guideline Update - January 8, 2021*

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made recent changes to their guidelines, particular in relation to quarantine. As a result, we have adjusted our internal protocols at BC High to reflect these guidelines as follows:

If you are identified as a close contact, you will still be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days. If you remain asymptomatic, you may take a PCR test starting on the 5th day of quarantine. Provided the test returns a negative result, this then permits you to exit strict quarantine after the 7th full day and return to socially distanced activities starting with day 8. This is entirely dependent on the fact that you are asymptomatic. You must continue to monitor yourself for any symptoms for the remaining 6 days and return to strict quarantine if even the mildest of symptoms develop.

Additionally, the 14 day quarantine without testing option has been shortened to 10 days if you are asymptomatic and able to monitor yourself for any symptoms for the remaining 4 days. You must return to strict quarantine if even the mildest of symptoms develop at any time in the 14 days. You are only able to return following consultation with our nurses. The recommendations for isolation for positive cases have not changed.

We have also adjusted the following BC High protocols to align with Massachusetts State travel restrictions:

If you travel out of state, the period of quarantine on your return is now 10 days, reduced from 14. The following BC High mandate remains in place should you wish to avoid quarantining following travel out of state: you will be required to provide evidence of a negative PCR test which was taken no earlier than 72 hours after your return to Massachusetts.

Our Ignatian Values:

One Community. One Mission.

As a Jesuit high school, there are two clear priorities of the BC High Connects program:

  1. to ensure that our students and adults stay connected as one BC High community, by prioritizing relationship and accompaniment, and
  2. to ensure continuity of learning and growth. The program will provide an authentic formation of the head, heart, and hands.

From his threadbare office in Rome during the 1540s, St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, loved to look up in wonder each night at the star-studded sky and contemplate the grandeur of the Creator and his creation. He also delighted in identifying and naming the various stars after his Jesuit companions and friends spread out on mission across the globe. Fr. Andrew Bullen, SJ beautifully captures this strong connection and love in the following:

“My companions move in the universe; the sky rings with their happiness; their deeds are the interchange of light. My companions are scattered all over the world, where each can see the sky: however apart, we are together.”

This ‘togetherness’, this glue of connection, is our Ignatian spirituality. The early Jesuits were a community in dispersion, but they remained connected. One community. One mission. It is this Christ-centered legacy which defines our school and one we constantly draw upon, particularly given our current context.

We are in "a time of great spiritual and intellectual challenge" (Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ), which can create great uncertainty. However, it has also created new opportunities to re-imagine how we engage with the world and how we help our students to do the same.


We are committed to reopening the school in September in person while prioritizing the safety of our community. This was also the strong sentiment shared in the survey we conducted among students, faculty and staff, and parents / guardians. Please see a link here to various responses from the survey, in addition to the below:

As a Jesuit school, relationships are at the heart of our education. We know that these relationships are best cultivated when we are onsite together, where our faculty and staff are positioned to truly accompany our students in their formation. Of course, our first priority is always the safety of all members of our community.

As a community, we must be willing to create a culture of responsibility and co-operation. No plan or protocol can totally guarantee the prevention of viral transmission or completely eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, but we are confident that our plan below, along with the acceptance of shared responsibility across our whole community will produce as safe and healthy a learning environment as possible.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines discuss three scenarios for September:

  1. In-person learning (all students return in person);
  2. Hybrid learning (students learn both in-person and remotely), and;
  3. Remote learning (learning takes place fully from home for all students).

Please click on this link to see the various guidelines released from DESE:

Based on the guidelines, we plan to open in September under a hybrid learning model, where we will have 50% of our students onsite on any given day. This will enable us to have the best possible scenario for in-person learning, while maximizing safety through complying with the guidelines. We will work off an alternating Week A / Week B rotating schedule where groups will be onsite for one week and Zoom in from home in the alternate week. These groups will be known as the Ignatius Cohort and Xavier Cohort.


Under our hybrid learning model, students onsite and offsite will engage with their learning in the classroom synchronously.

We have worked extensively to upgrade the technology in the classrooms for this new way of schooling. This includes the capacity to display students participating remotely on a screen at the back of classrooms, three different camera views, and ceiling microphones. We are evaluating the use of alternative spaces in the school for learning so we can safely accommodate up to 700 students onsite at any given time.

Over the course of the next academic year, we are cognizant that we may have to revert to fully online learning for a period of time. There is a schedule for if and when this situation arises; you will also find there the schedule for the hybrid and fully on site in-person models.

As always, the main priorities of each of these models is to keep our community safe and connected while we sustain relationships and ensure high standards of learning. We are confident that our new students will become immersed in our community as part of this process. The models are designed to ensure that this occurs. We are committed to reviewing our schedule regularly and will shift the models as we see fit within the guidelines. Our ability to do this will be determined by the capacity of our community to comply onsite.

Athletics and Co-Curriculars

Sports plan to return in the fall under the guidance of the MIAA. This is scheduled to start on September 14. We are also looking at options around a vibrant intramural program or onsite physical program for sports and activities characterized as low-risk, in compliance with current State guidelines.

All of our co-curricular activities will resume upon our return. Clubs will have opportunities to meet in-person and virtually.

Faith, Service, and Spirituality

As we discovered during our remote time this past spring, our morning prayers, weekly examens and spiritual offerings still have great power to bind the community together and create opportunities for us to know ourselves and each other in deep and meaningful ways.

Masses will be offered for the school community through creative and innovative means. This will ensure both a sacramental presence that is alive within the community and also allowing for the students and adults to gather in and through Christ.

Retreat and other spiritual programs will resume on campus and online for all grades. Some of the retreats that we currently offer off-campus will continue with adjustments being made to ensure student and adult safety in those contexts. We remain committed to offering the students diverse and wonderful experiences of God at work in their lives and in the world.

Although direct service may look and feel different for many of the students who engage in it, this aspect of our Jesuit education is central to how we form our students as men for and with others. By combining some traditional service opportunities along with newly developed, imaginative programming, we will ensure that students can serve the many communities that comprise our school, our city and the world and thus grow in kinship with those on the margins.

Safety Protocols

Face Coverings

All persons who are inside BC High will be required to wear masks at all times. We will give two reusable masks to each student at the beginning of the school year. Masks should be grey only, cover the nose and chin, have ear straps, and be 2-ply as a minimum requirement. We will have a plan for mask breaks throughout the day.

Social Distancing

Students will sit six feet apart in classrooms. Hallways will be marked with signage directing individuals to maintain social distancing in a one way system.

Sanitizing & Cleaning

Hand sanitizer will be made available throughout the BC High buildings, including classrooms. Disinfecting wipes will be available in every classroom and we are developing protocols and procedures for that. Custodial crews will clean more frequently. Daily sanitizing protocols have been enhanced.

Daily Health Screening

Students, faculty and staff are required to conduct daily health screenings, and report if they are feeling ill before arriving on campus. For a printable version of the checklist, please click here.

Contact Tracing

Contact Tracing will be a major point of focus, as we will work meticulously to avoid another school closure by quickly identifying individuals who may have come in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. We will have certified contact tracers on staff to serve the community.

Plexiglass Dividers

Plexiglass dividers are being installed at all tables in the Commons and Cadigan Gym for lunch, as well as in office spaces, Corcoran Library, and at the teacher desk in every classroom.

Stay at Home if Symptoms Present

Critical to maintaining the health of our community is all members’ commitment to stay at home if ill, even if symptoms are mild. For a list of symptoms see below:

No Lockers

Lockers will not be utilized, to avoid groups congregating. Students will need to carry backpacks.

Nursing Space

In addition to our current nurse’s office, we have created a separate space to provide room for potential isolation.


Campus will be limited to faculty, staff, students, and essential guests (deliveries, service vendors, etc.). Parents will be able to come onsite as invited by the school, or when it is absolutely necessary and communicated to the school in advance.


Unfortunately, we do not have direct oversight over public transport. We will reinforce with our students the need to comply with safety protocols. Our Office of Student Affairs will continue to be our primary liaison with transport authorities. Where possible, carpooling is recommended. We also recommend that masks be worn when carpooling.

Upcoming Key Dates

  • September 3 Orientation – 9th grade, high school transfer students (all grades)
  • September 8 Orientation & Mass of the Holy Spirit – 7th grade, 8th grade transfer students, and 12th grade
  • September 9 Orientation & Mass of the Holy Spirit – 9th grade (Day 2)
  • September 10 Orientation & Mass of the Holy Spirit – Arrupe Division Ignatius Cohort and 10th grade
  • September 11 Orientation & Mass of the Holy Spirit – Arrupe Division Xavier Cohort and 11th grade
  • September 14 First day of classes (Ignatius Cohort onsite, Xavier Cohort online)
  • September 24 Back to School Night (High School)
  • October 1 Back to School Night (Arrupe)
  • November 23 Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • November 24 Parent-Teacher Conferences


Can I choose not to send my son/s back to school in person?

We understand from survey feedback and direct contact that some parents are not comfortable with their sons’ return to school under any scenario. Students are not required to return in person and will be able to learn fully from home. Notification should be sent directly to the Academic Vice-Principal, Ms. Kim Smith (ksmith@bchigh.edu) for High School students and Mr. Bob Hamblet (hamblet@bchigh.edu), Vice-Principal of Arrupe Division for Arrupe students.

When will the composition of the Ignatius and Xavier cohorts be determined?

We are aiming to have these details to you by Friday, August 14, so you know which cohort your son/s belong to. Siblings will be grouped together.

Why week rotation of cohorts rather than by day or every two days?

We were give clear scientific advice that at this point the safest option was to rotate the cohorts by weeks. This allowed each cohort to effectively have a nine day period off campus between their time on site. This is the safest option in terms of infection control, monitoring, and tracing.

How will food service work?

Students will order their lunch via an app and will pick it up on a ‘grab and go’ model. The normal menu options will be available. Eating spaces will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular schedule and tables are separated six feet apart with four students at each round table, separated by plexiglass.

Will there be Hyde Center trips in the 2020/21 academic year?

At the moment there is no plans to conduct any Hyde Center trips over the course of the 2020/21 academic year. We will shift if the situation improves dramatically.

What if we are traveling from interstate in the weeks preceding the start of the school year?

You will be expected to follow State guidelines. Therefore, if you return to Massachusetts from another state considered ‘at risk’ as per directions from the State, then you will need to quarantine for 14 days before coming onsite at BC High.


What is the response if there is a case of COVID-19 in the building?

Please see the chart below for the decision making process and response for a case of COVID-19 in the building.