Dear CA Parents,

I hope this message finds you all well. While summer is just getting started, we are well into our planning for next fall here at Cary Academy. After a week break, our faculty reconvened today to begin refreshing their curriculum and planning for a variety of learning scenarios in August. 

As you may recall, on May 15 we updated our main COVID-19 webpage to preview our planning for the coming school year. We provided more insight on our approach to reopening at a parent Town Hall on June 3, including expected community health protocols and details on how we will “de-densify” campus. Since that time, a number of organizations have released their own preliminary guidelines for reopening, including the North Carolina Public Schools. While there may be a few differentiations (face covering requirements, for example), I have been pleased to see that our health responses generally are aligned.  

Today, I invite you to review a new page on our website that outlines in more detail what we discussed on June 3. 

I would also like to specifically call out three items worthy of note here: 

Returning to On-Campus Learning

As North Carolina and the country reopen economic and social activity this summer, the spread of the virus remains fluid. As we await more guidance from state officials, we continue planning for healthy on-campus learning in the fall. In the end, however, individual families have the final say in whether they feel it safe for their child(ren) to return to campus.

Changes to the academic program for 2020-2021 are being put in place to afford greater flexibility in delivery. These changes will allow students to keep pace with their classes even if they need to learn from home for an extended period of time, due to illness or family circumstance. Families who anticipate a longer-term need to keep their child(ren) at home are asked to contact their division head to make sure we can put in place the best possible schedule for remote learning.

Daily Schedule Adjustments

While the school calendar (vacation schedules) has not been altered, both the Middle School and Upper School are adjusting their daily schedules for the 2020-2021 school year — to allow for less physical contact (protect health) and to reduce overall stress for students (improve wellness). 

Both divisions will run schedules that have students meeting in classes for longer periods of time but less frequently. This “block” scheduling of three or four classes a day will allow for less overall contact with different individuals when on campus (protect health) and also reduce the frequency that students need to shift between classes, thus reducing cognitive stress and nightly homework loads (improving wellness). 

The school also will stagger start times in the morning to provide less crush at the doors all at once (protect health) and allowing for slightly more sleep for students (improving wellness). These changes are in alignment with studies on adolescent sleep and should have no impact on after-school athletics or activities. 

Each division will outline more details about those changes in the coming month.

Dining Fee Billing 

As we work to get ready for next year, we continue to work on redesigning the Dining Program to meet new health and scheduling needs.  Without yet knowing how the Program will need to be structured and knowing that it may need to change more than once over the course of the school year, we have made a decision to not bill the Dining Fee as one annual fee on your upcoming tuition and fees invoice.  

Rather, for the 2020-21 school year, we will be billing the Dining Fee monthly, allowing us to set the fee at the end of each month to an amount that reflects what on campus scheduling and program costs were for that month.  Rest assured that the total monthly fees for the 2020-21 school year will not exceed the current annual fee of $1,050. 

Since the Dining Fee will now be a monthly charge, it will be billed through the FACTS monthly incidental billing stream, not as part of your FACTS tuition payment plan. Please remember that you have the option of setting up automatic payments for your monthly incidental billing stream just as you have for your tuition billing, but this set-up is separate and apart from your tuition billing plan. For assistance in setting up automatic payments, please call FACTS at: 866-441-4637.

Best wishes for an enjoyable and healthy summer,