Updated July 7, 4 p.m.
Shady Side Academy continues to follow all guidance from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), Pennsylvania Department of Health, PA Gov. Wolf's Office and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our students, employees and families are our highest priorities.
With Allegheny County moving into the Green Phase of Gov. Wolf's Process to Reopen Pennsylvania on June 5, Shady Side Academy's four campuses transitioned to a limited reopening on June 8, which will continue as long as we remain in the Green Phase over the summer.
Administrators and staff may choose to work on campus between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays following the attached protocols. However, employees may continue working from home. Normal summer hours will be in effect.
Fall Sports Teams Summer Workouts
In accordance with state guidelines, Senior School fall sports teams may hold optional summer workouts beginning July 1 at Michael J. Farrell Stadium and the Fitness Center. Families must read and sign the Summer Workouts COVID-19 Policies and Procedures waiver form to participate, and those who recently traveled out of state should follow the ACHD's June 29 COVID-19 Guidance for Travelers regarding quarantine or testing. NOTE: Due to the July 2 ACHD order prohibiting activities of more than 25 people for one week, all team workouts are canceled for the week of July 3-10.
Athletic & Recreational Facilities
Outdoor grass fields, tennis courts, playgrounds and walking paths on all four campuses reopened for recreational use on June 15. Community members using these facilities must follow CDC social distancing guidelines when interacting with others. Farrell Stadium and the Fitness Center are limited to use for fall sports teams summer workouts (above). Due to summer maintenance work, Curry Gym, Mellon Gym, Alumni Pool, Wiegand Squash Courts and Roy McKnight Hockey Center remain closed.
All SSA Summer in-person camps and classes for 2020 have been canceled. Some summer school classes for grades 2-12 will be held online, and four new Virtual STEAM Camps are offered. Visit the Summer 2020 Virtual Programs page for details. In addition, new Summer Refresh 2020 classes provide SSA students entering grades 1-12 the opportunity to review and solidify foundational concepts in language arts, math and study skills in preparation for 2020-2021.
Senior School Commencement
In-person, on-campus Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2020 will be held Friday, July 31, as long as Allegheny County is in the Green Phase on that date. Two separate back-to-back ceremonies will be held on the Senior Quad, at 9 a.m. for graduates with last names A-L and at 11 a.m. for graduates with last names M-Z. Each graduate may bring no more than two guests (including parents) in order to stay within the state-mandated 250-person limit. The Senior-Faculty Dinner will be held on the Main Quad on Thursday evening, July 30, for the entire Class of 2020 and Senior School faculty and staff.
Campus facility rentals have been temporarily suspended, and we are working on operational plans for safely resuming limited rentals.
SSA families will continue to receive regular email communications over the summer regarding plans for 2020-2021, and all email updates are posted on this page.
- Will SSA reopen for in-person classes for the start of the 2020-2021 school year?
- Will students be on campus every day or will they alternate between in-person and distance learning?
- When will you release your full 2020-2021 reopening plan?
- If SSA returns to on-campus learning, will parents have the option to choose distance learning instead?
- Will SSA be changing tuition payment dates in response to COVID-19?
- Will SSA offer tuition discounts or refunds in 2020-2021 if school does not open with in-person classes or must shift to distance learning later in the year?
- What if SSA reopens in the fall but local public schools do not, and students do not have busing?
- When we are back on campus, how will SSA monitor the safety of students, especially at events that include parents, visitors or students from other schools?
- If school resumes in-person, what should I do if my child or someone in my family is exposed to COVID-19 or has symptoms?
- How will SSA monitor off-campus school activities that may not be held in environments as safe as ours?
- PIAA physical exam forms for grades 6-12 typically must be dated on or after June 1 and are due to SSA by August 1. Will there be any flexibility or extensions given?
- If my boarding student cannot move onto campus in the fall, will I get a refund?
- If we start the school year on campus but then need to close for a period of time, will international boarding students be able to stay on campus?
- If a boarding student contracts COVID-19, will they be able to isolate/quarantine on campus?
- What decisions have been made regarding fall move-in dates and school breaks?
Shady Side Academy's Distance Learning Plan for PK-12 classes went into effect on March 31 and continued through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, in accordance with Gov. Tom Wolf's mandated school closure. Based on parent and student feedback, the plan was revised on April 15. For details, see the SSA Distance Learning Family Guide Version 2.0, available in both online and downloadable PDF formats.
The following actions are the best way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. If you are sick, wear a facemask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider's office. (You do not need to wear a facemask if you are not sick, unless you are caring for someone who is sick.)
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider immediately.
Families or employees planning travel should check the CDC COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Country and U.S. State Department Travel Advisories websites, as well as the CDC Coronavirus and Travel in the United States website. If you travel to countries or areas of the U.S. under CDC or State Department health notices or advisories or areas with widespread COVID-19 community transmission, or if you have had contact with someone with COVID-19, please follow CDC recommendations and self-quarantine for 14 days.
Those traveling out of state are asked to follow the ACHD's June 29 COVID-19 Guidance for Travelers and either quarantine for 14 days or obtain two negative COVID-19 tests 48 hours apart before returning to campus.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)
- Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19 (NASP/NASN)
- Talking With Children About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)
- Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus (NPR)
- 5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus (New York Times)
- Help Your Family De-Stress During Coronavirus Uncertainty (Common Sense Media)
- How Working Parents Can Prepare for Coronavirus Closures (Harvard Business Review)
- Are Your Kids Anxious About Coronavirus? Dr. G Is Here to Help (Kidsburgh)
- Teaching Children and Families Regarding COVID-19 (NASN)
- Wide Open School (Common Sense Media)
There have been reports around the world of bias against individuals perceived to be from countries where COVID-19 is prevalent. People of Asian descent are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American. Learn more here. SSA is an inclusive community, and harassment, bullying or exclusion due to national origin, race, ethnicity or recent travel will not be tolerated. Please contact the school if you feel your child has been the target of any of these behaviors in our community.