Health and Wellbeing

Welcome to Cary Academy’s COVID planning pages

Here you will find a variety of information regarding campus plans for the 2021-2022 school year. Please understand that in this fluid situation, and information can change rapidly. The Campus Guidelines page contains details about campus operations and specific expectations for the CA community in 2019-2020. You can also find information about COVID testing results on the testing page.

Designing for Safety (and Excellence)

Driven by Mission and Strategic Vision

As always, our school mission and current strategic vision remain front and center,  a driving force in shaping Cary Academy’s response to the pandemic. While this period is undoubtedly challenging, it also presents unique opportunities to respond with different learning modalities and approaches that support and advance our larger vision.

A learning community committed to discovery, innovation, collaboration, and excellence

Strategic Vision
Cary Academy will create personalized learning opportunities that are flexible and relevant in an environment that supports student wellbeing.  We will cultivate self-directed and bold life-long learners who make meaningful contributions to the world.

Key Understandings

In planning for the next school year, we are operating under the following assumptions:

  • we are going through a monumentally stressful and disruptive time in history, and we should not expect to flip a switch back to “normal;”
  • there will be heightened attention to matters of wellness and public health which will impact our students, their families and the format which learning  needs to occur;
  • various formal and informal forms of social distancing will continue; and
  • coronavirus waves are predicted to cause future short-term, place-specific stay-at-home orders for the foreseeable future.

Planning for 2021-2022

Health Framework


  • Education about the virus and how to stay healthy
  • Program adjustments to maximize inividual and community wellness
  • Physical and social adjustments to minimize risk of exposure


  • Monitoring regional and local outbreaks to understand community risk
  • Ensuring individuals coming to campus are of low risk of spreading illness
  • Tracking individual cases and trending illnesses within our community


  • Communicating with local health authorities and internal community
  • Adjusting operational modes
  • Implementing cleaning and disinfecting protocols
Four Operating Modes -- YELLOW anticipated

 We anticipate that we will be able to open in YELLOW mode in August 2021. This expectation will be dependent on a few key factors that unfold in the spring:

  • Vaccine rollout for faculty and staff
  • Community transmission rates fall to more manageable levels.

If those two factors move in anticipated directions, we believe that parents will be comfortable sending their children back to school with a more flexible 3-ft to 6-ft distancing window in classrooms.

To help control spread, the school may implement a more deliberate random or regular COVID testing program for students that could help identify and isolate asynchronous carriers before an outbreak happens. 

Mode-Switch Matrix

Cary Academy will follow orders and specific operating instructions given by the governor or other local authorities with appropriate jurisdiction over the School.

In the absence of a governmental order, we will consider the following in confirming it prudent to move between modes:

  • Announcements made by Governor Cooper regarding the state’s general status and progress on reopening plans.
  • Data regarding our ability to provide safe on-campus environment for students and faculty – informed by our own on-campus experiences, those from other area schools that have reopened, or a significant new study about virus transmission.

Financial Considerations and Support

Dining for 2021-2022

We anticipate returning to a full dining program for 2021-2022, although we will still adjust eating routines to maximize distancing. This could include staggered lunch times and eating outside. 

School Finances

Thankfully, we entered this crisis from a strong financial position. Cary Academy carries no debt and remains fully enrolled with wait lists for each grade. As part of our strategic planning process in 2015, we developed several long-range financial planning models that give us the necessary flexibility to respond to and weather our current situation.

However, like most businesses, the school has experienced a number of unanticipated financial impacts resulting from Covid-19, especially as it relates to a sharp drop in ancillary (non-tuition) income that directly supports the academic program and general operational expenses. 


Key Information

2020-2021 Communication

  • 6/22: Planning Update
  • 7/29: Reopening Plans
  • 8/5: Parent Town Hall
  • 8/21: Week 1 reflections
  • 8/28: Delay in Orange Mode transition
  • 9/18: Going to Orange Mode
  • 1/31: Planning for 2021-2022

2019-2020 Communication

  • 3/11: Virtual Announcement
  • 3/18: Day 1 of Virtual Learning
  • 4/14: Finishing 19/20 Virtually
  • 4/17 Grading Practices
  • 5/1 Financial Responses
  • 5/1: Early 20/21 Planning
  • 5/15: Planning Update 1
  • 5/29: End-of-Year Report
  • 6/3: Parent Town Hall