Campus Reopening Update for Fall 2020 Scroll down to review information and updates regarding the upcoming school year at The Frederick Gunn School. Updated August 7, 2020.

A Message from Head of School Peter Becker

Dear Frederick Gunn School Community,

Last week we shared with you the exciting news that we have renamed our school in honor of Frederick Gunn. His fortitude and commitment to students is a model and guide to us today as we respond to the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 and its implications for school. This updated Campus Reopening Plan for Fall 2020 supersedes our July 8 presentation and offers a more detailed view of how we will return to campus safely, and how we are approaching academics, student life, athletics and co-curriculars as we begin the 2020-21 school year. We ask that you please review the update carefully as we have made some changes. Most notably, we have adjusted our pre-arrival testing requirements to give students and faculty more time to be tested and receive results. Our plans reflect the latest information from the State of Connecticut and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Both bodies are updating their guidance or requirements regularly and our plans will change accordingly, so please stay tuned for further updates and contact us with questions at answers@frederickgunn.org.

In addition to information about testing, the plan includes updated and augmented health and safety protocols, key dates in our annual schedule, information about how we have adapted our campus for in-classroom learning, and changes to our daily schedule and dress code. We have also included information about Gunn Global Online, grades, advising, the college process and standardized testing. We would ask that parents of students who are choosing remote learning for the fall term confirm this request by contacting us at admissions@frederickgunn.org by August 14.

We know the impact of COVID-19 continues to reverberate through communities near and far and we continue to monitor the response to the pandemic closely. Our particular focus is Connecticut, and Litchfield County, specifically. The rates of infection in Connecticut and here in Litchfield County are reported to be less than one percent among those tested. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said on Monday that “Connecticut is in a good place.” If we continue to follow state and federal guidelines and remain vigilant, we can avoid the surges seen in other states, he said, and that is our most direct path to a fully on-campus school at some point in the future.

Ultimately, we are all in this together and it will take all of us – students, faculty and families – working together to remain “in a good place.” That means following the rules out of both self-interest and care for one’s neighbor and the common good: universally wearing masks, maintaining a distance of six feet apart, avoiding crowded places, and practicing good hand hygiene. It also means remaining flexible if and when our plans change in response to the virus. If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that our plans will continue to evolve in response to recommendations from national, state and local authorities. We also know that after reviewing this update, you may still have questions about the upcoming academic year. We invite you to join us for a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, August 12, at 7 p.m. EDT via Zoom. This meeting will be recorded and available for anyone unable to join us at that time. Please submit questions ahead of time via this form. We will share our next update with you by August 19.

Thank you for your continuing support of our school and we look forward to seeing you next week.


Peter Becker, Head of School

Our Guiding Principles

Health and Safety

The health and safety of our students, employees and community remain our priority and our plans include measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and keep everyone safe. Our efforts are designed to lessen the probabilities of COVID-19 spread within our community, while at the same time developing comprehensive plans in the likely event that we do experience instances of the virus on our campus during the 2020-21 school year.

Our Mission

We continue to be guided by the vision of Frederick Gunn as we educate students for character and encourage them to become wise, active, engaged citizens in their communities and the world. We are energized by the anticipated return of students in the fall, yet we recognize that some students will not be able to join us on campus due to circumstances beyond their control. We are committed to providing these students with equal access to our curriculum, along with promoting a healthy balance of activity outside of the online learning environment.

A holistic residential learning model

We believe in a holistic learning model that ensures not only the intellectual growth but also the social, emotional, and physical well-being of our students and equips them to understand themselves as integrated humans with the support of caring, attentive, hope-filled faculty so that they can go out into the world and be a force for good. We are committed to delivering on this model for students whether they are on campus or off, as we did in the spring term.


Through the use of technology, we have been able to create a vibrant global community of learners and meet students wherever they are, whether they are participating in person or via distance learning, and offer experiences and opportunities that keep the community at the center of everything we do.

Program Plans


Our planning efforts have been carefully considered, and will continue to be, built around flexibility. We ask in advance that families join us in viewing the next academic year as an opportunity for extraordinary partnership with the school, while simultaneously embracing a flexible mindset. Best practice guidelines and executive orders from government leaders are changing on a constant basis, and while our planning has made its best efforts to account for this, the one certainty is that our best presented plans will require adjustments along the way. As a school, we have increasingly been energized by embracing flexible planning models and hope that our broad community can embrace this mindset as we all join together to forge ahead into the coming school year. We are excited about what will undoubtedly be a memorable year ahead.

Returning to Campus

We ask that families closely follow our return-to-campus protocols as we work to provide a safe return to our community. Our move-in process is longer than usual this year as we strive to adhere to health and safety recommendations, such as limiting in-building density of people during this busy period of helping our students move into dorms. In order to lessen the density of people on campus, we will only allow one family member to accompany each student when arriving on campus and will limit their time on campus. We will also strictly monitor the wearing of masks and the practice of social distancing defined as maintaining at least six feet of separation whenever possible. Due to the unique challenges that our international students will face in returning to campus, we will allow them to return any day from September 8‒12. International students who are unable to arrive during those dates are asked to contact us at intsupport@frederickgunn.org so that we can develop an alternate plan for your family.

State of Connecticut Executive Order Regarding Travel: Pursuant to Governor Lamont's Executive Order No. 7III, anyone traveling into Connecticut from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average, are directed to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. The practical implication of this order is that any student traveling from states on the Travel Advisory List will be required to arrive in Connecticut 14 days prior to their move-in date and self-quarantine. The Travel Advisory List is updated every Tuesday, meaning that students expecting to arrive in the September 9‒11 time frame should be monitoring the August 25, September 1, and September 8 lists. A student arriving on September 8 should be monitoring the August 25 and September 1 Travel Advisory List. Anyone traveling from one of the identified states is mandated by the State of Connecticut to complete a travel health form upon arrival. Travelers can fill out the form online at this link.

Important Arrival Dates

September 8: Student leaders arrive

September 9: New 9th and 10th grade boarding students arrive

September 10: Returning 10th grade boarding students

September 10: New 11th, 12th and PG boarding students arrive

September 11: Returning 11th and 12th boarding students arrive

September 12: Day student registration and All-School Orientation begins

September 13: Virtual Convocation

September 14: Classes Begin

Pre-Scheduled Drop-Off of Dorm Belongings

In an effort to reduce the density of people on campus during our traditional move-in period, we are encouraging families interested in dropping off possessions before September 8 to schedule an appointment with our Dean of Students Office. Given the state’s travel restrictions, this option will only be available to families from states not on Connecticut’s Travel Advisory list. The Dean of Students Office will reach out to families next week with further details of the plan.

Practical Necessities

Each year we provide a list of practical necessities for our boarding students, and while this year is no different in terms of providing this list, we are asking boarding students to be mindful that challenges beyond the control of our school could result in all students departing campus on short notice. As a result, while we absolutely encourage students to bring personal items to campus that will help to provide a warm and comfortable dorm room environment, we also advise bringing fewer items than in a typical school year, both for ease of cleaning and in the event that we have to leave campus on short notice.


Establishing residential cohorts and day student cohorts will be a key element of our reopening strategy for the 2020-21 academic year. Using our 10 dormitories and three Day Student Villages (see below) as guides, we will have 18 different residential cohorts for our boarding students and three cohorts for our day students. Each cohort will share a common space on campus. Our hope is that as the year progresses, students within cohorts will be able to enjoy more freedom with regard to social distancing. However, to start the year, all individuals will distance and wear masks, regardless of their location. The cohort model will allow the school to contact trace quickly should there be a positive case on campus. For this system to be effective, students will not be permitted to visit other residential cohorts. We anticipate that meeting friends from other cohorts in outdoor spaces will become the norm and we feel lucky to have a beautiful campus to accommodate these types of interactions.

Dress Code

Please find the 2020-21 Dress Code here.


Student orientation will happen both online prior to returning to campus, and in person for those students that return to campus in September. A major focus of the orientation will be how to navigate the campus safely and within the new practices and policies established by the school around mask wearing, disinfecting spaces, and social distancing.


Annual Schedule

Our school year will be segmented into six modules, each covering approximately five weeks. This provides maximum flexibility in the event that the school or individuals are required to fully transition to our distance learning program at any point during the school year. Students who wish to transition from remote to in-person learning, or in-person to remote learning, can do so at the transition between units. Equally important, our annual schedule design has allowed us to maximize the number of days on campus and in the classroom.

Important Dates*

September 14 - October 16: Classes begin; Unit 1 on-campus classes and activities

October 18: Unit 1 ends and Unit 2 begins. Students may transition between remote and in-person learning on this date.

October 19 - November 20: Unit 2 on-campus classes and activities

November 30 – December 18: New Winterim Program, remote in 2020/21

January 4‒5: Students arrive in phases

January 6: Classes begin

March 5: Classes end

March 8‒28: Spring Break

March 29-30: Students arrive in phases

March 31: Classes begin

May 28: Last day of classes

May 30: Commencement

June 4: Academic year ends

*Dates are subject to change based on state regulations.


A thorough study of classrooms on campus has been conducted. In all classrooms, a combination of the following actions have been taken:

  • Spacing of seats with six feet of distance between them
  • Markings on the floor to keep seats in predetermined locations
  • Adjustments of ventilation systems and/or installation of window fans to increase airflow
  • Installation of physical barriers where six-foot spacing could not be maintained (science labs, e.g.)

In order to achieve the physical spacing requirements, the school converted several spaces into classrooms for use. Additionally, the school will be using a hybrid teaching approach, which allows students or faculty who cannot be physically present to still partake in classes. The school modified the daily schedule to extend the class day, spread out students across campus, and reduce crowding during transitions.

School Supplies

Students should have their own supplies such as pens, pencils, notebooks and calculators. Students will be asked not to share materials and should plan accordingly.

Daily Schedule

We created the daily schedule to support a stable learning rhythm, whether students are on campus or participating remotely. To maximize class time but minimize Zoom fatigue, each course will have three class meetings per week for a total of 180 minutes. This is significantly more than the 120 minutes of class time during the all-remote spring term. All courses will embrace a truly “hybrid” model, where alongside this in-person class time, students and teachers will engage in meaningful learning opportunities outside of the classroom, facilitated by our core technologies: Highlander Nation, Google Suite, and Zoom. All classes, including Advanced Placement, will meet or exceed their learning outcomes through this approach, and students will be supported by teachers, advisors, and our Center for Academic Excellence to fully utilize the hybrid model.

Daily Schedule

Saturday Classes

We will not have Saturday classes for the 2020-21 school year. We believe that Saturdays can offer important moments of extended rest for our students, all the more important as we prioritize health and well-being amidst the pandemic. While extended rest will be a feature of Saturdays on our campus, we will continue to develop programming initiatives and co-curricular activities on Saturdays in order to keep our community intellectually engaged and physically active. Though countercultural, we believe that Saturdays are a great day for students to learn, create, and play.

Gunn Global Online

For students who are not able to join us on our campus, we have built a fully hybrid approach to nearly all of our courses. (There are a handful of courses that require in-person participation, and we are offering alternatives to these courses for remote students who had opted into them. You will receive a separate communication from the Academic Office if you are one of these students.) As of the writing of this letter, we are currently in the process of building each student’s academic schedule such that the transition from remote to in-person is possible without the need for a separate schedule. While we have seen other schools move to a fully asynchronous experience for their remote students, we believe instead that keeping our classroom cultures and communities intact is the core goal of the 2020-21 academic year, even if these classroom communities require sophisticated technologies to “keep us together.” This instinct led to a strong spring 2020 semester, and we are building on that success in the 2020-21 academic year. If your student intends to participate in our Gunn Global Online program and has not notified the school, please let us know of this intention by emailing admissions@frederickgunn.org by August 14.

Delayed Returns to Campus

Recognizing travel and quarantine challenges that some students will confront when returning to campus, our academic program is built around a hybrid model that will allow for seamless transitions from online learning to in-person learning and vice versa. We understand that returning to in-person learning after the school year has begun may feel challenging, and we assure parents and students that our faculty are prepared for this and will work individually with each student in order to ensure a seamless transition.

Rejoining our Community After September 14

Students who are unable to return to campus by September 14 are asked to return at the beginning of a subsequent academic unit. This will optimize classroom preparation and will provide the most seamless transition for students. For the remainder of 2020, the preferred dates to rejoin are October 17‒18. Students requiring different dates and/or joining after October 18 should contact the Dean of Students Office to begin a conversation about their plans to return to campus.


We are excited to announce a three-week, mission-driven, online learning program following the Thanksgiving holiday. At this point, we anticipate that most students will not return to campus following the Thanksgiving break until January 3, 2021, allowing us to think creatively about our curriculum during this window of time. The concept of this three-week program is that students will be able to select from a variety of classes and learning approaches not offered in our traditional curriculum, allowing them to explore areas of interest beyond our standard offerings. Students will choose a Winterim offering in October.


Our traditional end-of-term exam period will be altered in the 2020-21 academic year as we anticipate being unable to assemble large numbers of students in single venues for final exams. Instead, end-of-term evaluations will be a weeklong period of exams and projects utilizing online platforms and small groups that are able to meet social distancing guidelines. Exam and project expectations are being established by department heads and teachers.


Building on the decision to maintain the core features of our grading system in the spring term, we will continue to adhere to the guiding principles of our grading philosophy in the 2020-21 academic year. Grades are a means of communication between teachers, students, and other educational institutions, the purpose of which is to increase the learning experience of students themselves, their growth, and their achievement. Although we will divide our annual academic schedule into six modules in order to preserve planning flexibility, grades will be converted into our normal trimester transcript presentation. This will importantly provide seamless information to colleges considering our students at all points in the future.

Center for Academic Excellence

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Center for Academic Excellence for the 2020-21 academic year. Building on the strength of our Academic Support Program, CAE supports three areas of our academic program:

  1. Our Academic Support Program (an extra fee model of one-on-one support with our Learning Specialists) will be available as usual this academic year. Our Learning Specialists will be available in person and virtually, and as we do every year, we will custom build these schedules so that they provide the best support for each individual student.
  2. Our new Director of CAE will be supporting faculty in the work of hybrid learning through iterative adult learning cycles throughout the year. We know that supporting the growth and learning of our students includes investing in our own growth and learning as educators, and we are excited to be bringing expertise in house to support this work
  3. Throughout the year, we will be continuing to build and iterate on programs available as a free and open offering to all students. These include our Freshman Study Skills Program early in the year, our student-to-student tutoring program, and drop-in offerings for writing and math support.


Students will formally meet with advisors twice per week, providing regular adult mentoring designed to help students navigate the vicissitudes of the upcoming year, set and track holistic goals, mature as self-directed learners in our hybrid learning environment and to promote regular physical activity. The Frederick Gunn Toolkit serves as an example of the types of conversations advisors will engage in with their advisees. While the academic progress of students is paramount, we know that a life well-lived is more complicated than just that. As always, advisors will work with students to search for a broad definition of success and equip them with the skills and mindsets to thrive at and after The Frederick Gunn School. In many ways, our advisory program will be as it always is, yet in other ways it will be adjusted to meet the current moment – notably working with students to develop strong time management skills as they navigate a new academic schedule model that requires more work outside of the traditional classroom.

College Counseling

As with our academic classes, the College Counseling Office will utilize a hybrid approach in working with our students as they navigate the college admission and application process. We are committed to providing the same level of support and resources as if we were all on campus together. As it did last spring, our work with students will include both seminar-style presentations and one-on-one counseling time. We are also exploring additional opportunities to help students engage in the college process in meaningful ways. Any questions can be directed to cco@frederickgunn.org.

Standardized Testing

In the interest of safeguarding the health and well-being of our school community, we will offer two (2) SAT and two (2) ACT test administrations that will be limited to only our students. The school will offer two school-day SAT test administrations on September 23 and October 14. The school will also offer on-campus ACT tests on September 19 and October 24 as an unlisted test center.

Student Life


We know that Frederick Gunn considered “play” essential to the development of character. We also know that play can take many forms, whether it’s a pick-up baseball game on the Quad, or a highly anticipated league playoff. Returning, in part, to the less structured forms that play took in Mr. Gunn’s era, when students enjoyed exploring the nearby “woods and waters,” or sledding down the steepest hill, might serve us all well. At the same time, we know that many of our students are engaged in the serious pursuit of co-curricular activities, including those who participate in our fall play and winter musical and programs such as Artistry and Technique. We believe the Co-Curricular Plan we have developed for this academic year speaks to both: it is true to our values and history as a school, and serves our most ambitious athletes and artists well. We have incredible coaches, teachers, and facilities, including a new fitness center, new classrooms and practice spaces for the visual and performing arts, and our 415-seat Tisch Family Auditorium, as well as the expertise of strength-and-conditioning trainers right here on campus. The 998-acre Steep Rock nature preserve, established by Ehrick Rossiter, a student of Mr. Gunn’s, is a short walk from our front gate, and our brand new, state-of-the-art Arts and Community Center is located at the heart of our campus. Through our commitment to the growth and development of our students as athletes, artists, or outdoors enthusiasts, we will continue to challenge them to take risks, step outside of their comfort zones and discover new pursuits and passions.

Interscholastic Fall Sports

Consistent with most other boarding schools, our fall teams will be unable to compete against other schools through at least the month of September. We are in an ongoing dialogue with other area boarding schools about the prospect of playing a limited schedule of games in October and November. We are committed to offering a robust co-curricular program that includes many opportunities to take advantage of the incredible beauty of our area in ways that we have practiced since Frederick Gunn first led students along paths adjacent to campus. Student-athletes focused on particular sports will have the opportunity to develop skills and experience in those sports. We are committed to providing student-athletes with the following: 1) ongoing work with varsity coaches to develop skills; 2) exposure to our strength and conditioning program; 3) access to our newly introduced Emerson Fitness Center; and 4) guidance navigating the recruiting process for student-athletes with aspirations to compete at the collegiate level.

3-2-1 Co-Curricular Plan

The school will continue to offer our traditional co-curricular activities, as being part of a team on the stage, field, or classroom is central to our experience here at The Frederick Gunn School. Experience in athletics, art, music, and the outdoors are vital to our mission and to each student’s development, well-being, and connections to each other.

In order to preserve the fall co-curricular experience while allowing students the ability to explore a variety of activities, we will be following what we are calling the 3-2-1 plan. This will require students to choose one fall co-curricular that they will participate in three days per week and select a secondary winter or spring co-curricular that they will participate in two days per week. Non-interscholastic activities will still be offered and students will be able to choose from an array of co-curricular activities such as Outdoor Stewardship, Mind and Body, IDEAS Lab, Theater Arts, Music, Dance, Media Club, and Model UN. The additional one day in the schedule will allow for intramural games for students participating on fall sports teams and will also importantly allow for a pivot to interscholastic games if conditions allow in October and November.

Off-Campus Club Teams

Boarding and day students may not participate in club teams off campus during the month of September as we work to reopen our campus. The school will re-evaluate this position as the month of September unfolds and we assess the relative spread of the virus in the area. We regret restricting our athletes and are confident that our resources on campus can support their needs in this unusual period for student-athletes.

Mental Health

As always, yet with elevated importance as our students navigate the global pandemic, our Director of Counseling, Dr. Brian Konik, will be available for students. Off-campus counselors will also be available for telehealth services.

Dining Hall

Community members will eat in assigned dining periods for all meals, utilizing our traditional dining hall along with other areas of campus. There will also be grab-and-go meal options throughout the day in order to accommodate reduced seating capacity in the dining hall. The daily schedule has been adjusted to allow for these changes.

Day Students

Day students will join the rest of the community to take in-person classes and to participate in our co-curricular offerings. Like boarding students, day students will be assigned to cohorts, of which more details are provided below. All students, day and boarding, will have some specific adjustments to daily routines on campus. Most notably for day students, while they will be given dorm affiliations as usual, they will not be able to enter dorms for the foreseeable future. Boarding students will experience a similar adjustment in our residential program as they will not be able to visit dorms other than their own. All of these measures are designed to manage the density of students in our buildings, specifically as we comply with social distancing guidelines.

Day Student Villages

We are working to ensure that day students feel as integrated to our community as ever through our Day Student Village model, which, when combined with dorm-organized residential life programs, advisor groups, co-curriculars, and School Meeting, will provide a fully integrated experience for our day students. This has long been a hallmark of our school and we remain committed to it in an ongoing manner.

Student Center Village

This space will be dedicated to freshman and sophomore day students, providing 32 individual cubicle spaces for as long as necessary in the 2020-21 academic year, each with plenty of power sources, comfortable furnishings and a place to store belongings. Two non-gendered changing rooms will be available, along with bathrooms in the Hall of Flags.

Library Village

Day students from the junior class, along with a few members of the sophomore class, will have 30 individual cubicle spaces available for as long as necessary in the 2020-21 academic year. Each space will have plenty of power sources, comfortable furnishings and a place to store belongings. Changing areas will be available in the first-floor bathrooms.

TPACC Village

The Lemcke Community Room will serve as a dedicated space for all of our senior day students for as long as necessary in the 2020-21 academic year. Each student will have cubicle space with plenty of power sources, comfortable furnishings and a place to store belongings. Changing areas will be available in the community area bathrooms.

Evening Classes

We are offering one evening class block per day in order to help our students located in distant time zones so that they have more synchronous classroom experiences. This is an example of our families helping fellow students, yet in some instances this will result in day students being assigned to evening classes. In such circumstances, a day student may choose to take the class remotely, rather than staying late on campus.

Study Hall

We recognize that managing the density of students in our traditional study spaces will be a greater challenge for our campus in the evening, when outdoor spaces are a less optimal gathering option. As a result, we will encourage day students to study at home outside of classroom hours as much as possible. This is an unfortunate departure from our norm, when we encourage day students to join the evening study halls on campus. We sincerely hope to return to our traditional study hall practices as soon as possible. In the event that a day student is unable to leave campus at the end of the academic day, we will work with families to provide an evening study hall option.


Day students are encouraged to partake in as many meals as possible on campus each week, recognizing that some meal options will be grab-and-go for all members of our community as we work to minimize the density of people in our dining hall.

Health and Safety

Medical Team Call

During the week of August 17, we will host a Town Hall Meeting with the medical experts that we have been working with to create our reopening plan. This Town Hall Meeting will be open to all families, faculty and staff, with details to follow next week.

Four-Level Approach

The school will use a four-level approach to guide health and safety protocols as of August 24, when faculty begin to return to campus. The school will assume a Level 2 assessment as of August 24 based on the current assumption that there are no COVID-19 cases on campus, while simultaneously assuming increased transmission within the local area. As of this writing, this is a conservative assumption given that current transmission of the virus in our local area is low. Additional details of our approach will be provided in our update on August 19.

Pre-arrival Testing

Our pre-arrival testing requirement has been adjusted since our last Campus Reopening Update. Students, faculty and staff will continue to be required to have a negative COVID-19 PCR test before returning to campus. The policy adjustment is that students and faculty now must have this COVID-19 PCR test within 10 days of returning to campus. (Previously, the expectation was to have this test within four days of returning to campus.) This is an adjustment recognizing that a longer window of time will be required for students and faculty to be tested and to receive results. Test results must be emailed to our Health and Wellness team at healthdept@frederickgunn.org prior to arrival. Students traveling from outside the United States will be subject to the same requirements. Assistance can be provided by contacting intsupport@frederickgunn.org.

Testing sites in Connecticut can be found at this link. In consideration of the safety of our community, we will not allow students on campus without proof of a negative PCR test that was performed within 10 days of returning to campus. We will not be able to make exceptions to this policy under any circumstance and appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

Pre-arrival Quarantine

Our pre-arrival quarantine remains the same as presented in our most recent Campus Reopening Update. We will follow the guidelines set forth by federal, state and local authorities. State of Connecticut quarantine guidelines are changing daily for domestic families residing outside of the state. Federal guidelines continue to evolve for international families as well. Students required by federal or state law to quarantine prior to returning to campus will need to make arrangements to do so. As noted below for international students, the school can provide guidance to families as needed. Please contact intsupport@frederickgunn.org with questions.

Pre-arrival Quiet Period

We ask that all families and all school employees adhere to a 14-day quiet period prior to returning to campus. Specifically, we ask that all individuals planning to join our campus in the fall be prudent and discerning in their travel and social interactions in the 14 days prior to returning to campus in an effort to minimize potential exposure to symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 individuals.

Post-arrival Mandatory Testing

All students, faculty and staff will have a COVID-19 PCR test on September 21. These tests will be mandatory and are intentionally scheduled within approximately 14 days of repopulating the campus in an effort to rule out false negatives in the screening round of testing prior to returning to campus. The test will be administered on campus by Hartford HealthCare and billed to families.

Continuous Testing Program

Based on state mandates and following the return of students and faculty to our community, we will require random COVID-19 PCR testing of approximately 5‒10% of community members every week. We expect this testing to be performed on campus and billed to families. Subsequent to our most recent Campus Reopening Plan, we have established that one member of each residential cohort will be tested every week as a way of monitoring the health of the community in an ongoing manner. In addition, members of the day student population and both on and off-campus employees will be tested. This random sampling of the population and targeted testing of residential cohorts each week will achieve the goal of testing a broad spectrum of the community over the course of any given month.

Daily Symptom Checks

All students, faculty, and staff will be asked to self-check for symptoms daily and seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms. This will be done by use of an online app via the school’s REACH program. Any student who is symptomatic will be instructed about next steps and the Health Center will follow-up. Any adult who is symptomatic will be instructed to self-isolate until they can be tested.

Isolation Plan

Ten bedrooms in Memorial Dorm have been designated for immediate isolation of any community member who tests positive for COVID-19. The dorm is located on the floor above the school’s Health Center. The dorm has its own bathroom that will only be used for those in isolation. In the event that additional isolation space is needed, the school has beds and isolation screens that can be deployed in any number of areas to increase capacity. Isolation rooms are not quarantine spaces and community members testing positive for COVID-19 will be expected to be picked up by a parent or guardian within 12 hours, as communicated previously.

Guardian Requirements

We will require that all students identify a guardian available to pick them up within 12 hours of testing positive for COVID-19. We recognize that this will be difficult for some families, particularly our international students and those living domestically but far from school, and we have been actively evaluating local companies equipped to provide guardian services at a fee. Our preferred provider for such services is Student Health Advocates. Additional information about these services can be found at this link and a video presentation of these services can be watched here. Please complete your guardian form via this link.

We are also working with Frederick Gunn School families who are willing to host a student for pre-arrival or in-school quarantine and/or who tests positive for COVID-19 and cannot return home easily. Thank you to those families who have volunteered already. It is a great service to fellow families. Please contact intsupport@frederickgunn.org if you are interested in being a host and thank you for your willingness to care for another family’s child in this unusual time.

Contact Tracing

Based on CDC guidelines, State of Connecticut recommendations, and best practices from Johns Hopkins Contact Tracing, contract tracing of those in close contact with a person testing positive for COVID-19 is essential in helping to reduce further transmission of the virus. As a result, we will have a contact tracing team in place by the start of the school year. All members of this team will have completed the contact tracing program offered by Johns Hopkins University. Contact tracing will be initiated for all persons that have had contact with an infected individual for greater than 15 minutes at a distance of less than six feet, irrespective of whether masks are worn. These persons will be quarantined for 14 days. To prevent potential spread of illness and to limit those that may need to be quarantined, we will continue to stress the importance of maintaining a six-foot distance from all other individuals.

Notifying our Community for a Positive COVID-19 Case

The Health Center will immediately notify a student’s parents/guardians when a positive COVID-19 test is recorded. Our contact tracing team will immediately begin its procedures, including notifying students who have potentially been exposed. The entire school community will also be notified along with the appropriate government agencies, strictly following HIPAA Privacy Rules.

Masks Guidelines

All members of our community will be required to follow school and state mask guidelines at all times on campus. Community members will be required to wear masks inside buildings, and outside whenever physical distancing of six feet is not possible. Teachers who can maintain greater than a six-foot distance with students and determine that removing their face mask is critical for instruction, can consider removing their face mask in the classroom. Any person entering the Health Center will be required to wear a mask. Masks will be required within cohorts for the initial 14-day period, until PCR testing has shown evidence of no positive COVID-19 cases. Masks will not be required in the students’ individual rooms, but will be required in the corridor and bathrooms until evidence of negative PCR test results are received. Each student will be required to bring at least 10 masks to campus that comply with CDC guidelines. Masks will be available for purchase at the School Store. All protocols are subject to change with state and local conditions and as health guidelines evolve.


We also expect that all students will be required to bring a digital thermometer to campus in order to monitor daily symptoms.

Daily Health Center Access

Our Health Center has been reconfigured to provide daily access to students who are not presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, yet are in need of accessing the facility for any reason. These visitors will be routed through a waiting area that is separate from the waiting area for any person presenting with potential COVID-19 symptoms.

Laundry Service

We strongly encourage families to consider using the laundry service offered by E&R. Clean clothes, particularly masks, will be more important than ever as our community comes back together. Furthermore, reducing the density of students in laundry rooms is an important aspect of planning. Information about laundry service can be found here.

Dining Hall

The school’s food service provider, FLIK, has standards for disinfecting surfaces, pre-shift health screenings, PPE use, and social distancing. The school has reviewed those protocols and confirmed they meet or exceed state and federal standards.


Hand sanitizing stations are available at the entrance to all academic buildings, dormitories and the dining hall. Hand sanitizer pump bottles are also located in each classroom. Cleaning supplies are being placed in all classrooms, bathrooms, and other shared spaces, with posted instructions about appropriate use. All individuals will be reminded via our orientation and regular communications about the importance of frequent hand washing. Public spaces, corridors, office spaces and bathrooms are cleaned in accordance with the state’s general guidelines for businesses. Additionally, offices will be provided spray disinfectant and paper towels for cleaning needs that may arise during the day. Lastly, the school has made an additional investment in Viking Pure equipment in order to provide the ability to clean with electrostatic sprayers, which is particularly helpful in our daily regime to clean important inside spaces around campus.

Cleaning Supplies

We strongly recommend that boarding students bring cleaning supplies for use in their rooms. We also recommend that day students bring cleaning supplies for their cubicle spaces.

Social Contract

The Frederick Gunn School has been a place of moral character education for over 170 years and we look forward to starting our 171th year on campus this fall. To do this safely, it will take a shared commitment from each and every one of us to reduce the risk to those on campus, in our neighboring communities, and the state of Connecticut. We ask that each student and employee complete our Social Contract via this link.

Shutdown Overview

School Initiated Action

The following conditions could result in a shutdown being initiated by the school:

  1. A number of positive cases within the student population that exceeds the isolation or health care capacity of the school.
  2. A number of positive cases in the employee population that puts the student population at significantly elevated risk.
  3. A significant increase in the number of cases in Litchfield County or the Town of Washington such that continued operation of the school is not prudent.

The decision to shut the school down would be made by the Head of School in consultation with the school Medical Director and applicable state and regional Health Department officials.

Government Initiated Action

The school will follow the guidance of the Governor and the Connecticut Department of Public Health if they determine that a statewide shutdown is required and that schools, public and private, are required or recommended to resume remote-only operations.

Shut Down Protocol

In the event of a shut down, the following steps would be taken:

  1. Students and families would be contacted with news of the shut down.
  2. A schedule for picking up students would be established such that population density on campus is kept low. This schedule could extend over several days.
  3. Parents/guardians would pick up students with limited interaction with faculty.
  4. The school would maintain regular contact with students and families via electronic channels.
  5. Depending on the duration of shut down, the school would likely require an additional round of screening testing prior to repopulating campus.

Plan for continuation of instruction if a shutdown occurs

The school is planning on a hybrid teaching model that allows for uninterrupted teaching in the event that some or all students are off campus.


This plan is subject to change based upon further guidance, evolving public health recommendations and/or changes in circumstances that may occur prior to the commencement of the school year.

International Student Considerations

How can international families get questions answered?

Please contact intsupport@frederickgunn.org with any questions.

Supporting Online Learning Students

We understand that some international students will face unique challenges traveling to the U.S. It is with this in mind that we are expanding our daily academic schedule to better support students in distant time zones.

Extended Breaks

Recognizing the unique travel challenges of our international students, we will offer on-campus room and board during extended breaks during the 2020-21 academic year. This service will be offered for a modest fee that simply allows the school to cover its expenses for this service. Families anticipating an interest in this offering should contact intsupport@frederickgunn.org. In the event that the school or state requires a shutdown for reasons of public health, the expectation is that all students will leave campus.

Guardian Services

Recent conversations with international families have reflected a strong interest in the school helping to find local solutions that can offer guardian services in the event that a student contracts COVID-19 while living on campus. Our preferred provider for such services is Student Health Advocates. Additional information about these services is available through this link.

International Student Fees

In the event that your student is unable to arrive on campus as a result of a campus closure, travel, or visa restrictions, or if your student is immunocompromised, The Frederick Gunn School will discount the international fee on a pro-rata basis up to 30%.

Current Safety in the United States

Understandably, some international students are asking about the safety profile of the United States in light of recent news reports. It is undeniable that our country confronts many challenges, such as ebbs and flows related to the COVID-19 outbreak, race relations and presidential politics. We understand the images seen on media outlets may be unsettling, yet in Litchfield County, things are peaceful and mostly normal. Further to the point, should an international student arrive at an airport in New York City, Boston, or any other port of entry, the experience will be just as it always has been, other than many people wearing masks in the interest of public health. If families have specific safety concerns, please share them with intsupport@frederickgunn.org.

Tuition Considerations

In the event that your student is unable to arrive on campus due to government travel restrictions, is unable to obtain a valid student visa, or is immunocompromised, is sick, or The Frederick Gunn School is not able to deliver in-person classes, the school will offer classes via our Gunn Global Online platform. At the completion of 15 consecutive academic days of online learning, not including the Winterim, The Frederick Gunn School will discount the net tuition of your student on a pro-rata basis. The pro-rata discount for a boarding student will be 12% and for a day student will be 5%. The annual discount for a boarding student not on financial aid calculates to $7,750, and $2,500 for a day student. Please contact Chris Cowell at cowellc@frederickgunn.org with specific questions about this.

Past Communications regarding Planning

Reopening Update: July 8, 2020 - sent to all parents

Fall Planning Update: June 24, 2020 - sent to all parents

Fall 2020 Planning Process: June 2, 2020 - sent to all parents

Update on Fall 2020 Planning: May 18, 2020 - sent to all parents

Fall 2020 Planning Updates: May 4, 2020- sent to all parents

The Planning Process: Our Team Approach

The Frederick Gunn School’s planning process has been informed by three primary inputs: 1) internal leaders largely focused on program considerations; 2) internal and external health care experts connected to health and safety considerations and 3) collaboration with other boarding schools, the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, and the State of Connecticut on a regular basis.

Team Leaders

Peter Becker, Head of School

Seth Low, Associate Head of School


Kristi Beck, M.D., Medical Director

Mary Ewing, R.N., Director of Nursing

Michel Williams, Director of Safety and Security and COVID-19 Coordinator


Emily Gum, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning

Michael Marich, Director of Athletics

Ron Castonguay, Director of the Arts

Department Chairs


Ashley LeBlanc, Dean of Students

Jim Balben, Director of Residential Life

Lauren Lord, Assistant Dean of Students


Amy Paulekas, Director of Studies


Ed Surjan, Educational Technology and Library Director


Mark Showalter, Director of Facilities


Christopher Cowell, Chief Financial Officer & Business Manager


Doug Day, Director of Marketing & Communications