Sunday Letter Graphic for WordPress

September 6, 2020

Dear Families,

After six long months, I am excited to welcome everyone back to campus! We look forward to reuniting with returning students and meeting many new “masked faces.” For those of you who are new to the school, we send a communication on most Sunday afternoons. These will be in the form of a Sunday Letter from me (like this one) or online division newsletters from Mrs. Markonish or Mr. Austin. The exceptions are vacation weeks and long weekends. You can find a schedule and archive here.

In addition to my excitement to see everyone on campus, I also want our families to know how much I appreciate everyone’s support and flexibility throughout the pandemic. We have an amazing community, and it is the strength and commitment of this community that will continue to guide our school through the pandemic.

Since May, we have been working on our reopening plan, handbook addendum, and other areas to ensure a safe return to campus. This is a new experience for all of us, and we will continue to learn together, but we are confident we have a strong plan in place for NYA that follows the guidance of the state of Maine, Maine CDC, Maine DOE, Maine DHHS, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

As we implement these guidelines, we will try to create as normal an experience as possible for the students. However, there will be differences, new expectations on campus, and things for everyone to learn. As long as each member of the community embraces their own personal responsibilities, we will be able to remain on campus. This boils down to a few strategies that each of us will need to follow (all of these items are explained in greater detail in the handbook addendum linked above):

  • Self-screening: stay home if you have a temperature or are exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19
  • Wear a mask/face covering
  • Practice social distancing
  • Practice good hand-hygiene

We have reviewed these procedures through emails, community Zooms, division Zooms, classroom Zooms, and student Zooms. This video was created to demonstrate steps students will need to take each day. Thank you to the students, teachers, and staff who participated in front of the camera and behind the scenes in the video.

While a lot has changed, much remains the same. The people, culture of the community, and range of classes and activities remain. Our students will be engaged throughout the year, growing as individuals, connected as a community, and accomplishing great things.

If you have not already done so, please make sure you’ve completed all required forms. A complete list can be found here. Without exception, these forms must be complete before your child starts school on September 8.

During the pandemic, only essential visitors, staff, and students will be permitted in school buildings. All individuals are subject to screening before entering buildings.

A letter was sent to all members of the community regarding changes to dining procedures. Some grab and go items will be available for purchase throughout the day. However, lunches must be pre-ordered online. This email shares more detailed information on dining. Please note, there is limited refrigerator access for Upper School students only. Students are encouraged to place ice packs with their lunches.

Please also note that students will need to notify the attendance office if they plan to travel out of state, and to follow current Maine requirements for quarantining and testing before the student may return to campus. Current Maine CDC guidance exempts Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Travel to all other states, including day trips and athletic contests, requires either a negative test result or quarantining. Please note that the student must receive a negative test result. It is not sufficient for a parent to receive one.

Acceptable masks/face coverings: A key tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19 is wearing a proper face covering. Per the 2020-2021 Student and Family Handbook Addendum, students must wear proper face coverings throughout the day. Students are required to provide their own masks. Most masks that cover the nose and mouth and can be securely fastened are acceptable. However, bandanas and gaiters are not acceptable. Face shields may also be worn along with a mask.

Important reminders for the first week of school:

  • Arrival times for the first day of school are listed through this link
  • Wear an approved mask
  • Pre-screen: Students should pre-screen by asking themselves pre-screening questions-included in the handbook-prior to coming to school
  • School Screening: Students will be screened at school by an adult. They will be asked the screening questions and have their temperatures taken. Students answering “yes” to any of the screening questions, or those with a temperature of 100 or above, will need to go home

Students will report to one of several designated screenings sites:

  • Toddler: Toddler House back deck
  • Primary- Grade 4: Front porch of the Lower School
  • Middle School – Grade 10: Outside of the Middle School entrance
  • Grades 11-12 and PG: Gym entrance
  • To help students reconnect and to get to know new students, all members of the community will wear name tags for the first week of school.

Athletics: Please see this letter from Athletic Director, Kelsy Ross, regarding activity updates.

Important Dates:

  • September 8, 2020 – First Day of School. Convocation will be held at 8:40 a.m. This will be virtual for everyone with the exception of the Class of 2021 and a few staff members. The ceremony will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the North Yarmouth Academy Facebook page. It will be saved to our Facebook page so you can watch it later, too. Students will watch it from their classrooms via Teams live stream.
  • Parents’ Nights: These are a great opportunity to gain an overview on the overall goals for your child’s classes. Teachers will share major plans and overall objectives for the year. The focus will be on curriculum and won’t be specifically COVID-19 related. Additionally, Parents’ Night is not an opportunity for updates on your child’s individual progress. Parent-teacher conferences, held on October 29, are a good time for progress reports. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns at any time throughout the year.
  • Wednesday, September 9, 6:30 p.m. – Lower School Parents’ Night on Zoom
  • Wednesday, September 16, 6:45 p.m. – US Parents’ Night on Teams
  • Thursday, September 17, 6:30 p.m. – MS Parents’ Night on Teams

Again, we look forward to seeing everyone soon. While it will be an unusual start to the school year, we take comfort in the fact that we are once again gathering together as a community. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.


Ben Jackson
Head of School


Facebook – North Yarmouth Academy Page, NYA Parents’ Association Group
YouTube – North Yarmouth Academy
Twitter – @NYAToday
Twitter -Athletics – @NYAPanther
Flickr – nyatoday
Instagram – Ben Jackson HOS
Instagram – northyarmouthacademy