The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Reopening Plan - Teaching & Learning Models

VI. Teaching and Learning Models

The School’s goal is to provide as much in-person teaching as possible and as permitted by health and safety guidelines. As the COVID-19 pandemic situation evolves, global risk assessments are likely to change. Our diverse student body means that the ability of students to attend in-person classes in fall 2020 will vary:
  • International and domestic boarding students may be unable to return to campus due to U.S. government travel and visa restrictions, as well as inter-state travel restrictions.
  • Day students may be unable to return to classes due to family circumstances including the presence of vulnerable family members in the household.

In recognition of these challenges, Fay has created a three-tiered system to help define the status of our campus environment. Each status level is associated with a teaching and learning model that accommodates risk assessments and the varying ability of students to return to campus. This system provides our community with the flexibility to move between models as global, local, and family circumstances change.  
Campus Status
Teaching & Learning Model
Campus is open for in-person learning. Most health and safety restrictions are lifted.
• Most/all students are able to attend regular classes on campus.
• Interscholastic athletics, traditional dining, and on-campus community events resume. 
Anticipated status for Fall 2020:
Campus is open for in-person learning. Health and safety protocols require modifications to the program.
• Some boarding students may not be able to travel to Fay.
• Some day students may not be able to attend in-person classes.
• In-person learning is available for all day and boarding students.
• Distance Learning Program is available to boarding students until they are able to get to campus.
• Live-streaming of classroom lessons is available to day students who are not able to attend classes.
•There are no interscholastic athletics in grades 5-9; all athletics 5-9 are intramural.
Campus is closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks or government mandates.
Distance Learning Program is implemented for all day and boarding students.

In-Person Classes: Fay’s educational program with health and safety modifications

Students in all grades may attend regular in-person classes during the school day. We will make a number of modifications to our learning spaces and our program so that we can observe physical distancing requirements and limit the number of interactions among different students and adults during the school day.

List of 14 items.

  • Program Modifications

    - Class sizes will be reduced where necessary.

    - Classrooms will be reconfigured and students will be assigned seats to facilitate physical distancing.

    - Students will be organized into grade-level cohorts to reduce the number of individuals that students interact with each day. 

    - Within the Primary School Building and Root Academic Building, students will remain in their division-specific zones for classes throughout the school day, with grade-level movement to other campus spaces for Music, P.E., and Art.  

    - Some Lower School classrooms will be moved within the Root Academic Building so Lower School students can stay in their division-specific zone. 

    - In Upper School, students will move to different classrooms during the school day but will remain with their grade-level cohort whenever possible. In a limited number of instances, students in grade 7 through 9 may be assigned to a math or language course that requires them to leave their cohort. 

    - Most faculty members’ teaching duties will be limited to a single division to reduce the number of students they interact with during the school day.

    - All faculty, staff, and students will be required to wear masks throughout the school day.
     Each student should bring two masks to school each day - one to wear, and one replacement. Students in grades 5-9 should bring two additional masks for use during sports. The School will have disposable masks on hand should additional masks be required. 

    Face masks may be of any color; plain or patterned. Images, pictures, or symbols must be appropriate. Face masks with words are not permitted. 

    Given guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the recent research (Duke University Mask Study) indicating that not all masks work effectively depending on material and layers, we ask that parents observe the following additional guidelines:

      - Masks with valves and vents are not permitted.
      - Neck gaiters, bandanas, and single-layer masks are not allowed.

  • Daily Schedule

    The daily schedule of academic classes may be adjusted to accommodate smaller class sizes, to enable intramural athletics in grade-level cohorts, and to provide opportunities for students to have mask-free time outside. The school day will begin and end as normal. Student schedules will be provided on the first day of classes, and division heads will be available to answer questions about the schedule at back-to-school meetings.
  • Supplies

    As we do each summer, Fay will provide a back-to-school supply list for each grade level. In classrooms, students will use only their own supplies whenever possible and will have a dedicated space to store their individual supplies. On the rare occasions where supplies may be shared, supplies will be cleaned after use.
  • Athletics

    During the fall term, the physical education and athletic program will continue with modifications in observance of guidelines issued by the Massachusetts DESE. Physical Education classes will take place in grades K-4, and students in grades 5-9 will participate in an instructional and intramural athletic program. Students will not compete in interscholastic games during the fall season. In observance of DESE recommendations, coaches, PE teachers, and students will wear masks when within 6 feet of each other. Proper use of masks during physical exercise will be addressed by faculty and coaches at the beginning of the fall term. Neck gaiters will not be allowed.
    Fifth and Sixth Grade Modified Program
    Students in fifth grade will participate in sports Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 11:20 am, and sixth-grade students will also meet daily from 12:50 pm to 2:20 pm. Throughout the fall term, students will participate in sports in three-week units, in homeroom cohorts. The students will play soccer, flag football, and multi-sport. Multi-sport sessions are coed and include cross country, low ropes, disc golf, tennis and pickleball, fitness and yoga, fishing, and hiking and orienteering.
    Upper School Modified Program
    Upper School students will select a single-sport option or a multi- sport option. Single-sport options include flag football, girls soccer, boys soccer, cross country, volleyball, and field hockey. There will be three grade-level cohort teams for each single sport option and a target coach-athlete ratio of 10:1. The multi-sport option will have three grade-level cohort teams, and students will rotate through the following activities: golf, tennis, disc golf, low ropes, fitness, yoga, hiking, fishing, and biking.
    Independent Sport Option
    Upper School students have the option of participating in an independent sport of their choice. Independent sports are usually an addition to, and not a substitute for, Fay’s athletic program. However, some students demonstrate exceptional skill and great dedication to a sport or athletic activity that the school does not offer. Independent sport requests typically will not be approved for more than two seasons a year, and students are required to play at least one team sport at Fay each year. For more information on the Independent Sport Policy, contact Rob Feingold, Fay’s Director of Athletics, at
  • Performing Arts

    In keeping with the guidelines issued by the Massachusetts DESE, students will be able to participate in modified music, drama, and dance classes. For at least the fall term, performance ensembles (chorus, chamber singers, bells, band, string ensemble) will not be offered in grades 5-9. Instead, we will offer grade-specific music survey courses that will cover music history, appreciation, theory and notation, and some instrumental playing and singing (when these activities can take place in a safe manner as approved by state guidelines). Private music lessons will not be available for day students during the fall term. Boarding students will have the option of scheduling virtual private music lessons on campus after school or on weekends. Interested students should contact Max Bogaert, the Dean of Residential Life, at
  • Visual Arts

    Visual arts courses will take place in grade-level cohorts. Each student will have their own materials, and classes will be scheduled to minimize the number of grade-level cohorts working in the art classroom each day. Rooms will be cleaned between classes.
  • Field Trips and Cultural Arts Events

    Field trips and Upper School service learning trips will not take place during the fall term. The School will assess the feasibility of winter and spring term trips later in the year. While cultural arts events that involve visitors to campus will not take place during the fall term, each division will incorporate online options as appropriate.
  • Library

    Library classes K-4 will take place in homerooms. The library teachers will select books relevant to the students’ units of study and bring those books directly to the classroom for the duration of the unit. Physical library books will not be available for checkout at least for the fall term, but students are encouraged to access the online ebook options available at
  • School Store

    The School Store will be open for scheduled visits by student cohort. 
  • Extended Day Program

    Morning Care (7:00 - 7:40 am) and Afternoon Care (3:00 - 6:00 pm) will be offered for all students in Kindergarten through grade four at no charge. Additional enrichment clubs will also be available for a fee. Morning Care (7:00 - 7:40 am) and Afternoon Care (4:30 - 6:00 pm) will be available to students in grades 5-9 at no charge. Masks will be required for all students participating in the Extended Day Program.
  • Drop-off and Pick-up Procedures

    Pickup routines will be modified and faculty will be on duty to ensure that mask wearing and physical distancing protocols are maintained. 

    Early Morning Care Drop-off:  
    Students in the Early Morning Care program should be dropped off at the Primary School entrance, where they will be met at the door by a faculty or staff member to confirm that they have completed their Magnus health attestation and to sanitize their hands. Students will then remain at their assigned table in the Primary Commons or Multipurpose Room, and at 7:40 am, they will go directly to their classrooms.

    Primary School Drop-off:  
    Students should be dropped off at the Primary School entrance, where they must sanitize their hands and go directly to their classrooms. Parents should wait until the child from the car in front of them is half-way to the entrance before allowing their child out of the car.  

    Primary School Pick-up:

    All Primary School students will be picked up from one of the kiosks in Harlow Circle. Grade 2 students will wait at the kiosks opposite the Primary School, in front of Harlow Gym. Please note that parents may neither park in the lot nor enter the building to pick up their children. Parents should wait in their cars in Harlow Circle until they can pull up to the kiosk and pick up their child.

    Lower School Drop-off: 
    All Lower School students will be dropped off in Upjohn Circle unless they have a sibling in the Primary School. Students should walk directly to the Lower School entrance, where they must sanitize their hands.
    Students with siblings in the Primary School may be dropped off at the Primary School but must walk directly to the Lower School entrance. They may not use the entrance at the Upper School Office. Once in the building, they must sanitize their hands.  

    Lower School Pick-up:

    All Lower School students will be picked up in Upjohn Circle unless they have a sibling in Primary. At 3:00 pm, Grades 3 and 4 will gather by cohort in different areas of Upjohn Circle; at 4:30 pm, grades 5 and 6 will wait in their designated spots. Parents will make two stops if they have students in both grades. Parents may not park their cars and should instead wait in their cars until they can pull up to where their child is waiting. Students with siblings in Primary School will go to Harlow Circle and wait behind the kiosk where their sibling is assigned.

    Upper School Drop-off:  

    All Upper School students will be dropped off in Harlow Circle unless they have a sibling in Lower School. Students should go directly to the Upper School entrance after dropping off sports bags in Harlow Gym. Students with a sibling in Lower School may be dropped off at Upjohn Circle. Boarding students may also use the entrance by the Business Office (depending on the breakfast schedule). All students must sanitize their hands when they enter the Root Building.

    Upper School Pick-up:

    All Upper School students will be picked up in their grade-designated area in Harlow Circle unless they have a sibling in Lower School. If they have a sibling in grades 5 or 6 they will go to Upjohn Circle and wait on the benches. Parents may not park their cars and should instead wait in their cars until they can pull up to where their child is waiting. Parents may not drive around cars as students may be entering vehicles in multiple locations.  

    Fay After School Pick-up:

    When parents arrive to pick up their children from Fay After School (FAS), they should call the FAS phone at 508.858.8646. A FAS associate will send the child(ren) out to the car. Please note that parents may not park and enter the building to pick up their child.
  • Bus Transportation

    Fay will continue to offer morning bus service on two bus routes. We will observe guidelines for bus transportation provided by the Massachusetts DESE with the following modifications to bus routines:

    - All staff and students on the bus, regardless of age, are required to wear masks at all times.

    - Students will be assigned to a single bus and a particular seat. 

    - Students will be seated no more than one student per bench, alternating sides for each row, which allows students to maintain approximately 3 feet of physical distance. Children from the same household may sit together and in closer proximity (e.g., two students per bench).

    - Windows will be open at all times during operation, unless not possible due to extreme weather conditions.
  • Training of Faculty and Staff

    During opening meetings, faculty will receive guidance and participate in training on the School’s updated health and safety policies, including frequent hand-washing, wearing masks, physical distancing, and identifying symptoms of COVID-19 in children. Faculty will provide students with age-appropriate explanations of these policies during the first days of school and will continue to model and reinforce these policies throughout the school year.
  • Visitors to Campus

    At least initially, the number of visitors to campus will be restricted. Community events such as parent coffees, classroom visit days, Open Parent Meetings, and Parents’ Weekend, will not take place on campus. Virtual events will be scheduled instead, as well as other opportunities for parents to connect online with teachers, administrators, and fellow parents. We will move our public admission events online to further limit the number of people on campus. 

Distance Learning: Academic program for boarding students who are unable to return to campus

Fay will provide its highly-regarded Distance Learning Program for boarding students who are unable to return to campus in time for the start of school. The program will include both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (self-paced) lessons and activities to ensure that students can learn effectively in their own time zones. Boarding students who are in self-quarantine or with their Local Emergency Contact may also participate in distance learning. 

Lessons will follow the same curriculum as in-person classes, and students who take distance learning classes will receive effort grades and academic course grades in the same manner as students who attend classes in person. Once a boarding student is able to return to campus, he or she will join classes in person. Upon arrival to campus, boarding students may have different teachers for their in-person classes.

Live-Stream Classes: Academic program for day students who are unable to participate in classes on-campus

Day students who cannot attend classes in person for pandemic-related reasons will be able to join remotely via live-stream video feeds of their classes. Students will be expected to complete the same assignments as their classmates who are attending classes in person, and they will receive effort and academic course grades in the same manner. Families who want their children to participate in live-stream classes should contact their division head to discuss their options.

Day students who have been live-streaming classes may join their regular in-person classes at any time, assuming they are in good health and have been cleared by the Health Office if necessary. If circumstances change, students may return to attending live-stream classes.

What is the difference between distance learning and live streaming?
For 2020-21, only boarding students may participate in Fay’s distance learning program until they are able to come to campus. Fay’s distance learning program is composed of asynchronous (self-paced) and daily synchronous (live) interactions and is designed to accommodate students in multiple time zones. 
Fay’s live-streaming program will be for day students in Kindergarten through grade 9 who are not able to attend classes in person. Features of the live-stream program include the following:
  • Full-room cameras are being installed in classrooms so remote learners can participate for the full school day in real time and view all classroom activity. 
  • Students who are live-streaming will participate remotely via Zoom, which will make it possible for them to watch teacher lessons and lectures; raise their hands and offer questions and ideas; share written work for feedback; and clarify understanding.
  • Since small-group work in a traditional format will be limited due to physical distancing requirements, both in-person and live-streaming students will often participate in small-group work via Zoom. 
  • During class time, teachers will check in with remote learners to ensure that their one-on-one time with teachers is comparable to that of in-person learners. 
  • Students participating remotely will submit assignments electronically via Google Classroom or Seesaw, depending on their grade level. 
  • Fay will loan Chromebooks to students who participate in live-streaming and are in need of a device.
  • Remote learners will receive textbooks, workbooks, and hands-on learning tools (such as math manipulatives) as needed.

Distance Learning For All: Fay’s remote learning program for K - Grade 9 day and boarding students

In the event that Fay’s campus is required to close as a result of an increase in local COVID-19 cases and new local, state, or federal mandates, the School is prepared to implement its highly-regarded Distance Learning Program, which launched in April 2020. 

All members of Fay’s faculty and staff have received training on how to make the shift from in-person to distance learning, and students will use Zoom and other technology resources to participate in a mix of synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (self-paced) courses.

Consistent with our plan in Spring 2020, we will provide Chromebooks to day students who need a device, and our Technology Help Desk will be available during school hours to provide support.

More information about Fay’s Distance Learning Program is available at

Regular Program: Program for K - Grade 9 day and boarding students when restrictions are lifted

Fay will make the determination to return to normal operations when the situation improves enough for local, state, and federal authorities to lift most health and safety restrictions. At that time, we expect that most or all students will be able to attend regular classes on campus, and we will resume interscholastic athletics, traditional dining, and on-campus community events.