COVID-19 Updates

Frequently Asked Questions

Given all that is occurring and in consultation with trustees, we have decided to close the campus for the entire spring term. This decision considered recent guidance from the CDC about avoiding gatherings, the increasingly complicated logistics accompanying travel, and, again, most importantly, our urgent concern for the health of our school community. We will continue with online classes so as to assure students academic credit.

This schedule for online learning for all boarding and day students will continue for the entire spring term. While students will complete academic work remotely, Westminster School faculty are committed to providing a high-quality academic experience.

The information on this page is current as of May 8, 2020.

List of 7 items.

Current Community Update

UPDATE: May 8, 2020

A message from Bill Philip, Head of School, to the Westminster School community.

Previous Community Updates

List of 14 items.

  • May 7, 2020: Planning for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

    May 7, 2020
    Dear Parents and Guardians,
    As we look ahead to the 2020-2021 school year, I would like to share with you our planning process. To emerge from COVID-19 stronger than ever, our top priorities at Westminster School include:
    • Attending to the health and safety of our campus community. 
    • Attending to our commitment to excellent teaching and learning. 
    • Attending to our school’s defining culture that embraces our motto Grit & Grace as well as our core values of community, character, balance, and involvement. 
    Throughout this pandemic, our approach has emphasized the watchwords vigilant, sensible, calm, and balanced, as governed by the importance of pacing.  
    As you know, this spring, we transitioned successfully to a distance learning program, thanks to our experience with distance learning during recent summers and plenty of Grit & Grace among students, faculty, and staff. Our distance learning program emphasized classes with students and faculty interacting on a personal basis, not just exchanging assignments. We also successfully restored various elements of our community offerings, such as chapel, coffee houses, and advisory meetings, which remain so important to our school’s ethos.  
    Moving forward, all of us cannot wait to return to on-campus, in-person teaching and learning during the 2020-2021 school year! A committee of trustees and faculty continues to meet regularly to coordinate our planning and consider contingencies:
    Miles Bailey ’94, Dean of Admissions
    Steve Bailey ’89, P ’21, ’23, Trustee
    Renee Carrel ’84, P ’19, ’21, Trustee
    Julie Collins, Chief Financial Officer
    Ted Dardani P ’14, ’18, Trustee
    Mark de Kanter ’91, P ’19, ’22, Dean of Faculty
    Madeleine Ekholm P ’19, ’20, Trustee
    Moy Ogilvie Johnson ’86, Trustee, Vice Chair of the Board
    Tom McCargo ’82, P ’21, Trustee
    Mary Peck ’90, Trustee
    Bill Philip P ’06, ’09, Head of School
    Brad Raymond ’85, P ’19, ’20, Trustee, Board Chair
    Davis Smith, Medical Director
    Our hope is to start school as planned; however, we recognize that the day-to-day uncertainty accompanying our circumstances means that time and patience remain critical salves as we seek the best pathway forward. In that regard, we will continue to prepare a variety of contingencies as well as health protocols, designed by our Medical Director, Dr. Davis Smith, to support hosting on-campus, in-person teaching and learning. We will keep you informed as this planning advances.
    In the event that on-campus, in-person teaching and learning is delayed, we would return to distance learning, as enhanced by our experience this spring and the additional time to prepare afforded by the interval before the fall term. In any event, understanding that some students may face insurmountable travel logistics or even compromised personal medical circumstances, we would continue to support for a reasonable time simultaneous distance and on-campus, in-person teaching and learning.
    In the months between now and the fall, we remain hopeful that there will be meaningful advances in containing the coronavirus and in the robust availability of reliable and rapid testing.  Some reports are encouraging about possible progress on therapeutic treatments, even if the promise of a vaccine seems more distant. We look forward to learning more about these medical initiatives and the timing of their availability as information is disseminated.
    We deeply appreciate your understanding and flexibility in this extraordinary time, and, most importantly, we extend our best wishes for your good health and safety.
    With Grit & Grace,


    William V.N. Philip
    Head of School
  • April 23, 2020: A Video Message from Bill Philip

    A message from Bill Philip, Head of School, to the Westminster School community can be found here.

  • April 9, 2020: A Video Message from Bill Philip

    A message from Bill Philip, Head of School, to the Westminster School community.

  • April 2, 2020: Academic Updates

    Dear Westminster Community,
    We are closing out the first week of our online learning program. In conversations with many people in our community – whether via email, telephone, Zoom®, or from six feet away – I've learned many things, one of which is paramount: We are an incredibly caring and supportive community even in a time of significant stress. It has been very heartening.
    Please know that the faculty and staff here on campus miss your child. It has been engaging to see our students each day through the synchronous classes, but there is no replacement for their presence here. I look forward to the day when we can look back at these weeks of this "great experiment" as a moment when Martlets resolutely flew through a tough squall together.
    I write to provide more detail on the pieces of our academic program about which I know many of you have had questions. While I will try to provide some clarity in this letter, please contact me or your child's advisor at any time with questions you might have.
    All of our students will receive a Pass/Fail assessment of their work this spring. We will offer the opportunity to petition for a numerical grade, but approval for such a request is very unlikely. Several colleagues and I have investigated this issue extensively and found that the vast majority of high schools and colleges across the United States are adopting this Pass/Fail approach. However, should a student’s legitimate petition for a numerical grade for the spring term in any class (or all classes) be approved, we will have the ability to make that adjustment at the conclusion of the academic year. In addition, to denote the unusual circumstances of our program this spring, we will separate the Pass/Fail assessment from the fall and winter term average on transcripts, as will be expected by college admissions counselors. We will, as an outcome of these decisions, have to suspend the Gradus designations for the spring term.
    This year, Sixth Form diplomas will be awarded honors designations based upon the five-term cumulative average (Fifth Form and Fall/Winter of Sixth Form), rather than the usual six-term average. Diplomas, any year-end academic awards, and yearbooks will be mailed to Sixth Formers at the conclusion of the academic year. A committee, led by Sixth Form Dean Grant Gritzmacher, is developing multifaceted plans for meaningful opportunities to recognize the Class of 2020 at on-campus gatherings, once doing so is possible.
    Trying to execute an end-of-year cumulative exam period is not feasible or prudent in these circumstances. Hence, the academic year for all students will end on May 22, 2020, which was to have been the last day for classes on our academic calendar. Some teachers may deliver smaller cumulative assessments during regularly scheduled classes. In department meetings, my teaching colleagues are engaging in discussions related to appropriate assessment practices in an online format.
    Lastly, as Head of School Bill Philip expressed in his recent video message to the community, we have adjusted the weekly academic schedule. It was important to recognize the significant screen time our students were experiencing in this new setting for teaching and learning. So, we have reduced the frequency of synchronous class meetings to three 50-minute sessions each week. In addition, we added time for varied and engaging remote community “gatherings." We also moved the morning advisory meetings to lunchtime gatherings on two days each week. In keeping with the simplicity of beginning each class on the hour, we preserved the start and end times for each class but rearranged the sequence of classes through the week. Please see the revised schedule below. In addition, students will find this new schedule reflected on the portal, the school Google calendar, and the website before Monday's classes begin.
    While Character, Balance, and Involvement are ever-present and important aspects of our day-to-day lives through these uncertain times, Community remains central among our core values. Let us all support one another and the school as we wish the best for those we know and love.
    Willard M. Sistare
  • April 1, 2020: A Video Message from Bill Philip

    Dear Westminster School Community,
    I wanted to take a few moments to give you a quick update about our distance learning program. Please click here, or on the video image below, for a short message.

    William V.N. Philip
    Head of School
  • March 25, 2020: Welcome Back from Spring Vacation

    Dear Westminster School Community,
    Good morning! As Westminster begins distance learning today, I wanted to take a few moments to welcome each of you to the spring term. I also would like to remind everyone that in Westminster’s long history, many challenges have been confronted, and we will face this one with the Grit & Grace that makes our school community so special.
    Please click here, or on the video link below, for a short message.
    William V.N. Philip
    Head of School
  • March 24, 2020: Westminster Distance Learning Update

    Dear Westminster Community,
    In the face of such uncertain circumstances, the degree to which the Westminster community remains so very close in spirit is remarkable. Yes, we are moving into a period of physical separation, but the ability to communicate warm and uplifting sentiments has not been diminished. My colleagues and I have received many communications that have been very supportive and positive. Let us all work hard to sustain that particular strength of ours in the many weeks ahead.
    This letter serves to provide you with information regarding some of the more significant decisions that we have made regarding our academic program for the spring term. First, however, allow me to express my gratitude and admiration for the hard work, clear thinking, and substantial time commitment exhibited by my colleagues in these past days. Classroom teachers have participated in two full-faculty meetings, attended several virtual department meetings, and spent many hours of their vacation working on redesigning their respective curricula to deliver the best possible program of study for our students in this new online format.
    After extensive conversation and investigation, we have decided to evaluate our students' performances during the spring term on a pass/fail basis. Given the varied effect of many anxious days ahead, the uncertainties and complexities of a new method of curricular delivery, and the anticipated adjustments to the planned program, we feel that a more subjective final evaluation of student performance through this term is warranted. Students will continue to be assessed with numerical grades on individual formative and summative assessments. In addition, if a student wishes to be evaluated with a numerical grade at the end of the term, we are making that option available through a simple petition process. Details of the mechanism for such a term-end assessment selection will be forthcoming.
    Student transcripts for the 2019-2020 academic year will be modified to reflect the unusual nature of this spring term. In addition, an explanatory addendum will be added to the school profile that accompanies Westminster transcripts as they are sent to prospective colleges. Rest assured that virtually all high schools across the country will be making similar decisions. In addition, please know that colleges and universities will be discussing ways to adjust their own approach to the application process.
    With these modifications in our grading plan and the adjustments to student transcripts, we will be making a change in the determination of honors diplomas for the Class of 2020. Details regarding this change will be shared as we resolve those issues.
    Lastly, the College Board has made substantial modifications to the AP testing process. We will be communicating those changes to our students through their respective AP teachers. In addition, the standardized testing dates posted by both the College Board and the ACT Board have been modified and are subject to further change. Currently, no standardized tests will be offered until this summer.
    We have worked hard to provide a strong academic plan for moving through this time of international uncertainty. Please understand that all aspects of our program have been adjusted with our students' best interests at the forefront of any discussions. While we will work hard to create certainty and constancy in the day-to-day delivery of our online curriculum, we will continuously evaluate how our systems are working and then may have to make adjustments accordingly.

    Willard M. Sistare
  • March 18, 2020 Update: Spring Vacation Health Advisory #4

    Dear Westminster School Community,
    By far most importantly, I hope that everyone is healthy and safe in these turbulent times.  That so much continues to evolve moment to moment, makes it feel especially challenging for everyone to remain vigilant, balanced, sensible and calm.  Pacing is another watchword that seems appropriate to keep in mind, too.  All of us are trying to process a lot of information, while simultaneously adjusting to significant changes in our habits of life.  We need some time and space, which is why pacing is so important.  To that end and in an effort to consolidate all the information regarding Westminster, we have built a dedicated web page where you will find school-related information about the COVID-19 situation.

    Given all that is occurring and in consultation with trustees, we have decided to close the campus for the entire spring term.  This decision considered recent guidance from the CDC about avoiding gatherings of more than 50 people for at least the next eight weeks (subsequently in federal guidelines to groups of 10), the increasingly complicated logistics accompanying travel, and, again, most importantly, our urgent concern for the health of our school community.  We will continue with online classes so as to assure students academic credit.  However, other than brief campus visits to collect belongings, which should be coordinated with advisors, students and their families must not return to campus this spring.  The only exception is for students with extraordinary logistical or personal circumstances that demonstrate a compelling justification for temporary residency on campus, such as international students who reside overseas.  These students must complete the petition process through Nancy Spencer.

    Plenty more information from campus will follow as we move forward, including plans about the deserved recognition for the achievements of the Class of 2020, in lieu of a formal commencement, and plans for prorated reimbursements, such as on expenses not incurred.  Again, we appeal for your patience as we sort through these, among many other complicated topics.  For instance, we must also prioritize our commitment to sustaining employment through this school year of the faculty and staff who devote their lives to teaching, coaching and advising students, and also those who support our programs in critical ways, whether in the health center, as office assistants, as custodians or as grounds personnel.  All of us have a lot to process; again, pacing is essential.  We will attend to these important matters, but not all of them right away or at once.

    As we promised, Monday afternoon, you received from Bill Sistare, Director of Studies, and Mark de Kanter ‘91, Dean of Faculty, information about our distance learning program which will begin next week.  Mr. Sistare and Mr. de Kanter, along with Department Heads and department colleagues, have collaborated impressively to prepare this modified academic program.  In fact, we held our first online full faculty meeting last week and another is scheduled for this week.  My colleagues’ selfless commitment to accommodate our changing circumstances should offer you considerable reassurance that we will navigate this situation successfully together.

    With regard to athletics, Director of Athletics Tim Joncas ’00 has already shared with you that the Founders League agreed unanimously to cancel this spring’s season.  Because athletics are such an important component of our program and really important to many of our students, I feel so badly for all of our teams and all of our athletes who had eagerly been anticipating this spring’s season.  This decision follows upon similar decisions by intercollegiate and professional leagues, but that perspective does not diminish what we will miss.  

    As I emphasized in my last spring advisory, I feel especially sad for the Sixth Formers who were anticipating their spring term together here on Williams Hill.  My colleagues and I relish the keen sense of accomplishment that permeates the spring term of the Sixth Form year. We also feel disappointed for all students who will be unable to pursue a host of school activities that they were looking forward to this spring.

    I remain so grateful for your understanding, especially considering the disruption that everyone is managing in all aspects of their lives.  To emphasize, we always move forward best together.  As we adopt practices of social distancing and are not physically together, my colleagues join me in affirming that our students and their families remain very much on our minds and in our hearts.

    With lots of Grit & abiding Grace,
    William V.N. Philip
    Head of School
  • March 16, 2020: Westminster Plans for Online Learning

    Dear Westminster Community,

    As was shared in our March 12 spring vacation health advisory, Westminster School is developing an academic plan for the spring trimester that will involve distance learning for at least two weeks, and longer for those students with extenuating circumstances. As a school that puts a primacy on relationships, our goal is to create an online learning format that captures the experience of interaction that our students normally enjoy in the classroom and around campus. With that in mind, we have spent considerable time discussing the platform, program, and protocols that will allow our students to have that high-caliber experience.

    Classes will be offered using the Zoom for Education platform. Zoom offers many interactive features for online video conferencing. Our faculty, most of whom have experience with video meetings in some capacity – some extensively through instruction in our online orientation and WISE programs – are already training in the technical aspects of using Zoom. Through the use of the Zoom platform itself, we have initiated faculty discussions about the optimization of an online medium. Soon, all of our students will have Zoom accounts and will be receiving an invitation to connect through their westminstertools account.

    Since adoption of online technology will require collective standards of use, we plan to deliver an orientation meeting for all classes on Thursday, March 26 and Friday, March 27. These scheduled meetings will ensure that faculty can review with students the expectations for the ensuing week of online classes. This will include the materials students will need to have available and the revised academic schedule.
    Students who are unable to retrieve academic materials from their dorm rooms before March 26 should contact advisors who will package materials to be shipped. Teachers will provide curricular materials for electronic distribution to their students. While ensuring that students have all that they need, teachers will also be using time during the week of March 23 to finalize their curricular adjustments.

    As of Monday, March 30, classes will be held according to the following schedule. Please note that our school calendar and the BBK12 calendar will soon reflect that schedule. While we are uncertain at this time whether we will have on-campus classes and extracurricular activities after April 6, we will continue with the aforementioned schedule through the balance of the spring trimester to accommodate students who must complete their 2019–2020 academic work online.

    The expectation will be that all students in the Atlantic, Eastern, and Central time zones will be able to attend all classes synchronously (at the time they are scheduled) and that they will communicate with the teacher and dean when they cannot. Students in other time zones will be expected to participate synchronously between the local hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. For any classes that are scheduled to meet outside of that local time frame, students can either opt to participate synchronously or view a recording (asynchronous learning) of the class. All classes will be recorded and made available to all members of the class within a reasonable time.

    We have put together a list of best practices for online learning that we would like all students to read now. Teachers and advisors will review this list of best practices with students. Please note that we have scheduled advisory time every morning to ensure that advisors stay abreast of how their advisees are managing this new medium.

    Please contact your child’s advisor with any questions regarding the information in this letter or with questions concerning your child’s experiences in the first days of implementation. We all appreciate your patience as we develop this plan for sustaining your child’s learning experience.

    We understand that this situation will be unique for students and families, as it is for faculty, but we anticipate that all will handle the inevitable challenges with both grit and grace.

    Mark de Kanter
    Dean of Faculty
    Bill Sistare
    Director of Studies
  • March 16, 2020: Spring Term Athletics Update

    Dear Westminster School Community,
    The heads of school at Founders League schools met this afternoon via phone. Given the current situation that all Founders League schools are trying to manage regarding COVID-19, the decision was made to cancel the spring season regardless of when, or if, students return to campus this spring. This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, knowing how important interscholastic competition is for students and coaches.  However, the safety of students and faculty is paramount, and to keep everyone safe this was the only logical decision for the remainder of the spring.
    During these challenging times, we continue to focus on the health and well-being of all members of our Westminster community. Should you have any questions, please contact me at
    Tim Joncas ’00
    Director of Athletics
  • March 14, 2020 Update: Best Practices for Prevention and Self Care

    The current coronavirus outbreak is having a major impact on all our lives. Things are changing quickly and the pace of change is overwhelming at times. We are all trying to figure out what we can safely continue to do and what activities we should avoid. Given the unusual circumstances that many of us live where we work, and that our community is a close one, we need to be especially attentive to best practices for prevention, self care, and communication.
    Things we can do to protect ourselves

    Here are CDC guidelines to prevent illness:

    Here is similar guidance structured as how to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the workplace, school, and home:
    For people that have been traveling
    Please monitor CDC travel advisories which have recently expanded dramatically.
    If your travel during spring break put you at risk for exposure, please contact your primary care provider to discuss this.  

    If you think, or learn, that you fall under a category of people that qualifies for testing or isolation, please notify Carol and me.

    If you get sick
    Staying home when sick will be very important. Please notify HR if you are ill, and especially if you have symptoms worrisome for COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath).

    Managing the anxiety produced by this situation
    Below is a helpful resource:

    Lots of information, I know. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.

    Davis Smith
    Director of Health Services
  • March 12, 2020 Update: Spring Vacation Health Advisory #3

    Dear Westminster School Community,  

    The challenge of the COVID-19 crisis continues to escalate. As we meet and plan here on Williams Hill, we seek always to remain vigilant, balanced, sensible, and calm. We understand that reliable communication with our school community is critical. Please know how much I appreciate your attention to our updates as we seek to navigate this quickly evolving, complex situation.

    Since my last spring health advisory, among many other developments, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, the Governor of Connecticut declared a state of emergency and urged Connecticut businesses to halt out-of-state travel. Colleges and universities are advising students to return home and will turn to online learning for the spring term.  Both the Ivy League and NESCAC have cancelled their entire spring athletic seasons. Peer boarding and day schools, too, have posted spring term plans for online learning.

    Given the unpredictable nature of this crisis, the decisions we must make are unprecedented, and we are grateful for your ongoing understanding and support. To guide our decision-making, we have set as our major priorities: to promote a healthy school community, to support a high-quality spring term academic program, and, as appropriate, to appreciate individual circumstances in our school community.  

    In evaluating various scenarios for the spring term, we have considered:

    • The difficulty of managing social distancing, the critical strategy for mitigating the spread of this novel coronavirus, on a campus designed to bring people together.

    • The many challenges and dilemmas of caring for and returning home anyone who is or might be contagious and who could risk others in our campus community, given the increasing proscriptions that accompany travel.

    • The need to attend to the health of faculty and staff who live on campus and must maintain essential school operations.

    • The potential catastrophe that could develop if the campus returned to normal operations and suddenly became a “hot spot” and had to close abruptly with all of the enormous logistical and medical consequences that would entail.
    As a result and with regret, we will begin the spring term with online learning, initially for two weeks, which may be extended depending upon how this situation develops. Fortunately, current students at Westminster participated in our new student online orientation, so they are familiar with this environment for teaching and learning. That is not to suggest that the transition to online learning might not include some “bumps,” but based upon our many summers of providing online orientations as well as online classes, we are confident that we can accomplish this transition successfully and still provide a high-quality academic experience.  

    For now, students must remain off campus. However, on an individual basis, we will consider petitions received by Friday, March 20 at 9 a.m. from students with extraordinary logistical or personal circumstances that demonstrate a compelling justification for temporary residency on campus, such as international students who reside overseas. The students approved to return to campus will be involved in our online learning program, too. While they will have limited extracurricular activities, modest campus support services, and reduced dining arrangements, the school is committed to caring for these students in the best way possible. A questionnaire and the petition may be requested by contacting Associate Head of School Nancy Spencer. If we arrive at a point when students would be invited to return to campus more generally, our Health Center, led by Medical Director Dr. Davis Smith, would provide health assessment protocols for all students.

    On Monday, March 16, Mark de Kanter ’91, Dean of Faculty, and Bill Sistare, Director of Studies, will provide more information regarding our plans for online learning. Students who need to obtain academic materials left on campus before spring break or who wish to collect any or all of their personal belongings should make an appointment with their advisor, Form Dean (Grant Gritzmacher, Lee Huguley, Paul Kendall, or A-men Rasheed), or Director of Student Life Tony Griffith. For students with homes a long distance from campus, we can box up academic materials and ship them home. Also, for students living a long distance from campus, we will sustain our online program throughout the entire spring term, because we understand the uncertainty and expense that accompany travel arrangements. This commitment stands even if we are able to return to a full on-campus program. We would not expect those students to make multiple long trips back and forth between home and campus.

    We are acutely aware how unsettling this disruption is for everyone who cherishes our school community and especially for Sixth Formers, who deservedly anticipated a wonderfully fulfilling spring term, whether in the classroom, on our teams, in the arts, or in service. We also understand that you will have questions, and we hope that you will understand that, at this point, we will not have answers to all of your questions. Again, this situation is evolving on a daily basis. Regardless, as questions arise, please contact your advisor or any of the individuals listed below:

    Now in my 37th year at Westminster School, I have relished each spring term — the renewal, the accomplishment, the affirmation, the tears, and the joy. Even if for only two weeks, this spring term will be different. We fervently hope that we will be able to welcome our students back to campus in the weeks ahead.

    Accepting that there is much about this situation that we cannot control, we must not forget that our school community has always extended well beyond the confines of Williams Hill. Even while scattered far and wide, Martlets Fly Together and Soar Together!


    William V.N. Philip
    Head of School
  • March 10, 2020 Update: Spring Vacation Health Advisory #2

    Dear Westminster School Community,
    I hope that everyone is well in these turbulent times.
    As you are aware, at the end of last week, students left for their much-anticipated spring vacation. Previously, on Wednesday of last week, First Girls' Hockey traveled to Noble and Greenough School as the eighth seed in the New England Championship Tournament, losing a hard-fought game to No.1 Nobles. The evening after, the spring term concluded with successful performances by our bands, dancers, and vocalists at the winter term performing arts concert. The breadth of student talent in our school community is so impressive.
    Meanwhile, we are continuing to do our best to address the COVID-19 situation as it relates to Westminster School. In that regard, I am consulting with these colleagues on a regular basis:
    • Miles Bailey, Dean of Admissions
    • Julie Collins, CFO
    • Mark de Kanter, Dean of Faculty 
    • Jeff Kennard, Director of Marketing and Communications
    • Carol Kirsch, Assistant Business Manager and Director of Human Resources
    • Shannon O'Shaughnessy, Director of Advancement Operations
    • Dr. Davis Smith, Medical Director
    • Nancy Spencer, Associate Head of School
    Dr. Smith plans to post another notice to the school community on Friday, March 20 in advance of the return from spring vacation. Among other topics, Dr. Smith's March 20 update will remind students and their families about criteria for return to campus.  
    You will recall as well from a previous update that we worked closely with the students and their families with homes located in areas where there are travel advisories to coordinate alternate vacation arrangements.
    Over the vacation, our custodial staff will conduct a deep cleaning of surfaces in all community spaces on campus.  
    We are in the process of developing plans to reopen school on an appropriately modified basis for healthy students, faculty, and staff following spring vacation. However, plans for the spring term could change, given the considerable uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus and that there are almost two weeks remaining in the spring vacation. Regardless, as we gain more clarity, we will share our plans with you.
    With respect to Admitted Student Day, considering the logistical challenges that accompany our current circumstances, we will not offer on-site programs for prospective students and their families. Instead, we will host a virtual admitted student day in addition to a variety of ongoing social media initiatives for admitted students.
    We are also postponing plans for hosting some other campus events this spring, such as Reunion Weekend. As we move forward, we will assess whether we must adjust plans for Commencement.  
    We continue to monitor developments from the CDC as well as local, state, and federal agencies, as well as peer schools.  
    To emphasize, we are in the midst of a quickly evolving situation, so all that I share above is "as of this moment" and may change quickly. Throughout, in these and all decisions, we seek an approach which is at once vigilant, balanced, sensible, and calm. We have navigated challenging times before, and I am confident that together we will do so again on this occasion.
    With appreciation for your ongoing support, my best wishes, and plenty of Grit & Grace,
    William V.N. Philip
    Head of School
  • February 25, 2020 Update: Spring Vacation Health Advisory #1

    Dear Westminster School Community,

    Please carefully read the entirety of this message which addresses spring vacation travel, especially in light of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

    We wish to acknowledge the uncertainty, stress, and worry being experienced by the members of our community from China and other places experiencing profound disruption of normal life activities due to this outbreak. We have seen many instances of our community making extra effort to understand the situation and support those affected, and we are heartened by this.

    Our goal is to work together to optimize the health and well-being of our school community, especially in the context of our campus. We recognize that we may ask you to prioritize the health of the school community over what is familiar or convenient for you. We thank you in advance for recognizing your responsibility to the greater community.

    Situation on campus
    • There are no active concerns regarding COVID-19 on our campus or in our area.
    Situation in the United States
    • Per CDC:  “While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat.”
    Global situation
    • CDC has also posted travel advisories. 
      • China and South Korea – Level 3 (Avoid nonessential travel)
      • Iran, Italy and Japan – Level 2 (Certain people should consider postponing travel)
      • Hong Kong – Level 1 (Travelers should be aware of risks)
    • Guidance and restrictions are changing quickly.
    Planning for international travel
    • We ask all students to make themselves aware of their family’s international travel plans and to communicate these plans to their advisor.
    • We are also asking all faculty and staff to communicate their international travel plans to us.
    • In view of current restrictions, no students will travel to China at this time.
    • In keeping with the CDC Level 3 advisory, we recommend against travel to South Korea.
    • We recommend that students and families consider NOT traveling to areas experiencing sustained community transmission of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  
      • At the time of this writing, this includes Iran, Italy and Japan.
    • It is possible that major changes will occur during our spring vacation and these may have implications regarding suitability of individual students to return to campus.
    Planning for travel back to campus
    • DO NOT return to campus without Health Center approval if you have had a fever and respiratory symptoms in the 5 days prior to planned return to campus.
    • DO NOT return to campus without Health Center approval if you have had close contact with a COVID-19 patient in the 14 days prior to planned return to campus.
    • DO NOT return to campus without Health Center approval if you have had close contact with a person under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to planned return to campus.
    • The family of any student who meets any of the above conditions MUST contact the Health Center by calling (860) 408-3080 to discuss their situation.  
    • We will continue to follow guidance and send periodic updates as the situation evolves.  
    • We anticipate a final communication regarding return from spring vacation on 
March 20, 2020.
    After return to campus
    • Any student who learns, after returning, that they had a significant contact with a COVID-19 patient or a person under investigation for COVID-19 while off campus should immediately notify the Health Center.
    • All families should have contingency plans in place for removal of their student from campus within 12 hours.  
      • Time away from campus will be as per public health guidance, likely a minimum of 14 days.
    You can learn more about the 2019-nCoV outbreak at the CDC and W.H.O. web pages. Check them carefully prior to making any travel plans.

    We are confident that, working together, we can navigate this situation with Grit & Grace.

    Thank you for your attention to these matters,
    William V.N. Philip
    Head of School
                 Davis Smith MD
    Director of Health Services

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Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students
Westminster admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School; and Westminster does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered program.
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