Advanced Placement Update

Dear juniors, seniors, and parents,

By now, you’ve likely seen the updates from the College Board regarding AP exams: given the situation with COVID-19, the purveyors of all things AP are adjusting the nature, length, and timing of their assessments.  This past Friday, they released some additional information.

As a result, I am addressing a few key issues, with the full understanding that we will continue to revise and perfect our approach as the next month unfolds.

I offer several reminders, courtesy of the College Board: 

  • All AP exams will be taken at home during the weeks of May 11-May 22.  I am including the link HERE to specific tests and their times.
  • All exams, with only a few noted exceptions, will last 45 minutes.  The noted exceptions include students with approved accommodations and those students completing AP portfolios.
  • The College Board has stated that they will grant approved accommodations; the time will be added to the online exam.
  • Students must monitor their time.
  • Anything written past the allotted time will not be scored.  
  • Late exams are for valid conflicts only; those requests must be approved by the College Board.
  • If students decide not to take an exam, the registration will become an unused exam; the $40 cancellation fee will be waived.

CA’s Commencement

Because the exams have shifted to the weeks of May 11-May 22, we will move Commencement to June 5.  Seniors will still be finished with their schoolwork on May 21.  As a corollary, we will collect senior computers between May 26 and June 4.  More information will be coming soon.

Schedule during AP exams

Typically, during the two weeks of AP exams, juniors and seniors usually have a lighter workload, and they are able to be excused at certain additional times prior to the tests.  We will again ask teachers of juniors and seniors to consider the workload during these two weeks.  Regarding scheduled free times, students are automatically excused from a class if they are taking an exam.  We will look at the larger schedule later this month, deciding about excused absences prior to the exams.

As well, later this month, the College Board will post the AP Exam Guide.  They have also done a good job of posting updates; feel free to visit their website at your leisure.

Let me know if you have any questions.


Robin Follet

Head of Upper School

Campus Status Update

Good morning, all.

With city, county, and state-wide “Stay-at-Home” orders in place, I wanted to share a quick update on procedures here at Cary Academy.

  • All buildings are locked, and the campus remains off-limits for recreational activity.
  • We do have a few essential employees on campus to ensure business operations and security. This includes technology support.
  • Students needing tech support should contact If hardware support is needed, you will be able to drop-off, pick-up machines in the Admin/Library roundabout by appointment.
  • If a student needs to pick something up in a locker, please email Jeff Wacenske ( to arrange. Employees needing to pick up items can still access the buildings with their badges.

Also, as a follow-up to the recent PTAA PARENT COFFEES (more than 100 attended both the MS and 9/10 coffees Friday, with one more to go for 11/12 parents today), we have an invite for another opportunity for PARENTS to connect.

From our Director of Equity and Community Engagement Danielle Johnson-Webb:

“We invite you to participate in a dialogue between Upper and Middle School parents at Cary Academy next Monday, April 6, 2020 about the kinds of stress and anxiety that you experience as a parent and that you see your student navigating–and the strength and resources you draw upon to carry yourself and your family through these pressures.

This dialogue will be facilitated by Upper School students at CA who have been participating in a dialogue facilitation program with Essential Partners. The purpose of the dialogue will be to both share your own and better understand other parents’ experiences with this important topic. RSVP HERE.”

You’ll see some options for times when you RSVP.

Have a great week, Chargers.

Dr. Ehrhardt


Hello students,

In recognition of the recent shelter-in-place orders, I thought a poem would be appropriate this morning. But rather than one written by me, I’ll defer to one of the masters, Japanese poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902). 

For me going
For you staying here
Two autumns 

In addition, some of your Upper School peers (and one alum) have been hard at work over the last week to put together a short, virtual performance. It could not be more timely or appropriate. 

Have a friendly weekend, Chargers.


Dr. Ehrhardt

The Road Ahead

Hello all,

Thank you all for your goodwill the last few weeks. When we made the decision to move to virtual learning on March 11, there was a great deal of uncertainty on the best way to deal with COVID-19. Since then, we have seen a great mobilization–locally, nationally, and internationally–to help slow the spread of the disease.

Today I want to share that Cary Academy will do our part in these efforts by continuing to teach and learn virtually for the foreseeable future. While there is a chance we may find opportunities to gather together in May or June, it is best if we all set expectations right now to finish the trimester virtually.

Let me follow up on my video above with some more detail:

  • The campus will remain closed until further notice. Tech support will remain available by appointment (or virtually).
  • All in-person, school-related trips, activities, and athletics scheduled through May 15 will be canceled. Where possible, some events may take on a new life virtually. 
  • Regularly scheduled school holidays will be observed as normal (Spring Break April 10 and Memorial Day May 25).
  • Pending final approval from the state, all previously scheduled end-of-year standardized testing, with the exception of AP exams, will be canceled. The College Board is still considering options for testing this year, including at-home exams.
  • The Upper School Discovery Term and the Work Experience Program will be canceled, and that time will be given back to T3 classes to allow coursework to be spread more smoothly. 
  • While we do not know the status of events and celebrations usually scheduled at the end of May and early June, we should be ready for some postponements.

Despite these changes, we do expect to provide the necessary curricular programming to complete the school year by June 5. We expect that students who complete their work this term will be prepared for success in their next-level courses in the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, we will be looking for ways to add other important opportunities for community building and social/emotional growth into our virtual programming.

To best operate in this new reality, both divisions have been gathering feedback on potential modifications to the schedule in the coming days or weeks. As we continue to gather feedback and assess progress, you can expect other changes over the course of the trimester as well. 

I am sorry to have to share this news with you all, but I am confident that learning will continue in familiar and unexpected ways and that our community will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.


Dr. Ehrhardt

Starting Close to Home

Hello Chargers,

Wishing you all the best as we start the week together.

A lot has changed in the world since March 11, when we first announced that we’d be moving to virtual learning for at least two weeks (until March 27). I want to thank you all for flexibility and ingenuity as we continue on this new journey together. We’ve learned a lot in just a few days, and I am certain that we will learn plenty more this week. There remains a lot of uncertainty, but on Wednesday I will share an update on the school’s learning plans for the foreseeable future. 

After my video on Friday, I’d like to give a big thanks to those of you who shared ideas with me on how we might support members in our community during these uncertain times. Please keep those ideas coming, and copy in Danielle Johnson-Webb, who is working with a group of students and faculty to compile a comprehensive list.

In the meantime, may I suggest that we all start our “helping journey” a little closer to home. As we all adjust to a constricted life at home, please do what you can to make these moments as pleasant and peaceful as possible. You know first-hand that being away from school and trying to balance your academic demands is stressful. Adjusting to new routines is stressful. The same thing is true for other members in your family. Many of you have parents who work in the medical field, some working long, crazy hours right now. Others have parents who are trying to navigate a business or a job that is in a huge state of flux, and they are trying to make the best decisions for now and the future. Many of you have older, college-age siblings who are back in the house and worried about what this all means for their college or future careers. Finally, many of you are living with or near grandparents or others who are ill and particularly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19.

I am asking that you bring a bit of that Charger magic to your own home in the coming weeks. You know what it is: respect, integrity, compassion. We see you bring your best self to school each day, and all I ask is that you bring a little of that to those closest to you right now – your family. A note of thanks, an offer to help with something around the house, a smile and a hug. The smallest of things can have a big impact.

Thanks, Chargers. 


Dr. Ehrhardt

PS: For those of you looking for materials to support your learning … remember that the library has a ton of resources you can access from home. These can be found under Library Services in Blackbaud’s Resource Boards section.

Useful Resources

CDC Corona Updates

Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Corona Virus Map

Global Cases and Data Map


NC Division of Public Health

US State Department

Travel Advisories


Wake County Public Schools


World Health Organization