NYA campus from above

Message from the Head of School – COVID-19 Update

March 16, 2020

Dear Families,

As I write this, I am thinking of all of our families and am hopeful that everyone is remaining safe and healthy. The COVID-19 virus is an unprecedented event. As we make decisions at NYA, there are many different, and sometimes competing, variables to consider. As we review these factors, our foremost consideration is protecting the safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff.

The Academy will transition to a remote learning platform beginning March 23. Thus, students will not return to campus after Spring Break. Given the continually evolving circumstances around the crisis, we will reevaluate on a weekly basis.

This is not a decision that we take lightly. I understand how disruptive this may be for many of our families. I am sharing this information with a week left of Spring Break, so you have reasonable time to plan. After weighing various options, we felt moving to a remote learning platform was the most prudent path moving forward. In addition to the safety of those in our immediate community, we also have a role and responsibility to do our part to control the spread of this virus. As I shared previously, we are relying on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control, resources and guidance from our member organization, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and consulting with area public and private schools. Governor Mills’ State of Emergency Declaration, issued Sunday evening, included a recommendation for schools to close temporarily. In the end, along with many, we determined that possibly overreacting to this crisis was more advisable than underreacting.

A remote learning environment can never fully replace the experience at school, but we are moving forward with our commitment to deliver our program to the students in as thorough and uninterrupted a manner as possible. We have been planning for the possibility of remote learning and will share specific details on the transition with students and families later this week. This will include information about how students will access materials left at school.

Remote learning will function differently for students at various grade levels. The transition will include two days of faculty professional development beginning on Monday, March 23, before commencing regular lessons with students on Wednesday, March 25. The Maine Principals Association (MPA) previously announced that high school athletics are postponed until April 27. A decision on the start date for Middle School athletics will be made prior to our return to campus.

As challenging as these times are, they also represent an opportunity for the best to come out in all of us. Our families are comprised of caring and compassionate individuals, and this provides me with every comfort that we will work together as a community to grow only stronger in the face of this adversity. To that end, if you are a family in need or if you have ideas on how we can support our families that may be in need, please feel to reach out.

It is my hope that we will soon be able to gather together as a community and move forward with our normal routines. Until then, I appreciate everyone’s support and patience. Again, I am thinking of each of you and look forward to sharing additional information soon.


Ben Jackson
Head of School