Randolph-Macon Academy has reopened its doors to students for the start of the 2020-21 academic year. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, certain added measures for health and safety are in place. While complying with guidelines set by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), R-MA has welcomed students, faculty, and staff back for on-campus learning while making the best possible effort to minimize the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus. So far, our reopening has been going well!
As we continue to adapt and respond to the situation, we at R-MA remain committed to maintaining our school’s culture, while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Here’s what students and parents should know with regards to the new school year.
Our Private School Has Safely Welcomed Students Back to the Classroom
After the staggered registrations which took place throughout August, students at R-MA have returned to class for the Fall 2020 semester. A number of health and safety measures have been put in place, which are described in detail in the sections below. Following classes on November 20, students will have Thanksgiving break off, after which classes will resume online for the remainder of the semester, ending December 18. With regards to the winter semester, R-MA’s plan for returning to the classroom will be determined in the fall, and recommendations from both the CDC and VDH will be guiding this approach. Any return to class on-campus following the Christmas break will take place once a potential spike in COVID-19 cases has subsided.
Registrations at R-MA were staggered throughout the month of August
Precautions and Safety Measures at R-MA During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Various steps have been taken to minimize any risk of spreading COVID-19 on-campus. Students, families, and staff members have been provided with training materials in multiple formats regarding the novel coronavirus, outlining how the virus is spread and the measures to take in order to avoid infection. Screenings are also taking place on a daily basis, and students with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be isolated in their dorm room, sent home, or moved to an observation room until cleared by medical staff.
Despite the precautions that our prep school has already put in place, the onus is ultimately on each individual at R-MA to be careful and responsible for their own health and safety. Students and faculty members have been doing their part. All were asked to track their temperature during the week leading to their return, using a tracking sheet to establish a baseline temperature. We are happy to say that all students tested negative for the virus, and that our Falcon Scholars and Cadre student leaders have been doing an exemplary job helping new students adapt to circumstances while feeling welcomed and supported by our community. Teachers have also been seamlessly adjusting, as they adapt to new health and safety measures in the classroom.
How R-MA Is Maintaining Hygiene and Physical Distancing on Campus
In addition to daily screenings of each individual’s health and temperature, various other prevention measures are in place at our private boarding school. Everyone on campus is required to practice physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart from others at all times), wear masks/face coverings, wash hands frequently, cover any coughs and sneezes, and refrain from shaking hands with others (elbow bumps are a safe alternative).
Students have been assigned seats in their classrooms
R-MA also has thorough disinfecting and cleaning measures in place, including the daily disinfecting of rooms. Disinfectant has also been provided to staff and faculty to clean frequently-touched areas, and housekeeping staff have been trained on disinfecting rooms where a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been. Distancing measures are also being enforced within enclosed spaces, such as assigned seating in classrooms, signs indicating directions for walking in order to promote physical distancing, restricting access to rooms after they have been cleaned, and all furniture being sufficiently distanced wherever possible.
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