We believe that our on-campus boarding school experience offers the best possible strategy to achieve our mission.
South Kent School prepares young men to succeed in college and thrive, as thoughtful and engaged citizens, in a rapidly changing and intensely competitive world.
Opening the SKS Campus for the 2020-2021 School Year
South Kent School reiterates its unconditional commitment to resuming on-campus activities as soon as possible, and we are hard at work making sure that we are meeting all of the State guidelines so that as soon as we are legally able to open, we will. It is not yet clear the exact ways that we will reopen, but to provide comfort, confidence and support to both students and faculty, school will begin no later than September 8, 2020 in whatever form or modality allowed by law. South Kent School has many advantages that other schools and programs cannot provide. Our small size enables us to pivot quickly to new health protocols and offer the best programs possible. Our athletic facilities are on campus and open year-round, giving our athletes the best possible access to these facilities. Small by design, our community and advising system provide a highly supportive environment for our students, regardless of the circumstances.
Planning for operating on campus for 160 days
Under normal circumstances, we strive to provide our students at least 160 learning days during the academic year. Doing so requires the School to make commitments to our faculty, staff, and service providers in advance of the school year. Even if we are required to reopen remotely on September 8, South Kent School remains committed to providing at least 160 learning days for the 2020-2021 academic year.
We will achieve this pliancy by using an “accordion calendar,” retaining flexibility for all vacations and non-traditional school days (Saturdays and Sundays) throughout this period. If the State of Connecticut requires us to delay our on-campus opening, close for a period and all students are required to leave campus, or if we are otherwise forced to suspend operations on campus we will make up those lost days or weeks by shortening traditional vacations and/or lengthening the school year.
“Gapping” these periods with on-line education may be necessary in providing South Kent quality continuous education, but these distance learning days would not count towards the 160 day total for on-campus learning and we will provide these at no extra cost, wanting to offer the most robust and coherent education for your sons that we possibly can. We believe we could make such adjustments with at least two weeks of notice beforehand. Such a flexible calendar keeps us from trying blindly to guess the future or establish plans and practices that would almost certainly have to change as the dangers of the pandemic ebb and flow in the coming months.
If we cannot get in the 160 days of on-campus learning for the 2020-2021 academic year, then for regular expenses, primarily from food, energy, and services costs for the number of days short of 160 that we cannot operate on campus. Should we get in our 160 days and be forced to teach remotely for any additional days there will be no extra charge for the additional days above 160. (See * examples below.)
Enrollment Deposit & Tuition Payment - Provisions due to COVID-19
The Enrollment Deposit remains due upon signing, in accordance with the Enrollment Commitment for 2020-2021. Annual Tuition also remains due in accordance with the Payment Plan selected. All Credits due shall be adjusted to account for Financial Aid. Families without Financial Aid shall receive 100% of the appropriate Boarding or Day Credit for any unearned On-Campus Portion of Annual Tuition should the School not be able to provide 160 days of on-campus learning. (See *examples below.) Voluntary withdrawal before the final day of classes will not entitle families to any kind of refund, rebate or credit by the School.
State of Connecticut Guidelines for Reopening
Governor Ned Lamont commissioned a task force to set guidelines for the reopening of educational institutions. The second line of the committee’s report states that “These guidelines are also relevant to boarding schools, since they face issues very similar to residential colleges.”
The report, which has been accepted by the Governor, outlines the standards and conditions that must be met by each institution in order to open. Relevant to South Kent’s opening in the fall, we will have to meet the following conditions:
- The prevalence of the disease must be low enough to safely resume campus operations. ... For residential undergraduate programs, public health experts recommend a sustained low and non-increasing rate of new hospitalizations in the state and in the community surrounding each college; this standard should be clearly articulated by the State.
- The State must ensure that colleges and universities have adequate supplies of viral diagnostic tests and adequate financial support to obtain, administer, and process them. Nonresidential institutions must test symptomatic students, faculty, and staff; residential institutions must also test students upon arrival, and at appropriate intervals thereafter in accordance with prevailing public health guidance. The allocation of tests to colleges and universities by the State is an essential prerequisite for reopening.
- The State should enable institutions to have adequate capacity for contact tracing.
- The State should provide specific public health guidelines for colleges and universities, covering the wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and the density of dormitories, dining halls, and classrooms.
- The State should ensure that adequate supplies of PPE and face masks will be available to colleges and universities.
- Adequate surge capacity must be available in nearby health care facilities and hospitals.
- The State should provide a safe harbor from liability for those institutions that undertake the planning efforts we outline in this report.
Reopening plans to be developed by each institution:
- A plan for repopulation of the campus
- A plan for monitoring health conditions to detect infection
- A plan for containment to prevent spread of the disease when detected
- A plan for shutdown in the event it becomes necessary
Meeting the State Guidelines
South Kent School is working diligently to be prepared for whatever comes our way, though we remain vigilant and practical in how we perform this work. We have always had a remarkable ability to be flexible, nimble and tenacious, and the current COVID-19 epidemic provides another opportunity for us to shine. We WILL provide the best academic, athletic and community life education available anywhere in the world, regardless of the obstacles we face.
Lawrence A. Smith ’73
Head of School
*Example A: Should we provide only 145 days of on campus learning, 15 days less than 160:
- a full pay boarding student would receive 100% of the costs per student per day for unused regular expenses, primarily from food, energy, and services costs. If we were to apply this figure today, - these exact numbers will probably not be accurate at the end of the next school year - it would be $38.00/day x 15 days = $570.
- a boarding student who is receiving 40% financial aid would receive 60% of the costs per student per day for unused regular expenses, primarily from food, energy, and services costs. If we were to apply this figure today - these exact numbers will probably not be accurate at the end of the next school year - it would be $22.90/day x 15 days = $343.80.
Example B: Should we be required to open remotely for three weeks on September 8, 2020, (opening on campus on September 29, 2020) and using the accordion calendar we still get in our 160 days on campus before June 30, there would be no extra charge for these additional remote three weeks.