Hershey Adolescent Community Updates Fall Return to Campus
By Judy Kline Venaleck, Associate Head of School and Adolescent Campus Director
Hershey Montessori School staff and Adolescent Community are eagerly anticipating the 2021-2022 school year and the return of international and domestic boarding students to the Huntsburg campus. All signs from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the Ohio Department of Health look positive for increased vaccination rates and drastically reduced numbers of COVID-19 cases in many regions, and in particular, Ohio. We hope that the continued increase in numbers of vaccinated people in the United States will prevent the take-off of new, more virulent, variants of the virus such as those we are currently seeing in other countries.
What We Know Today
We are still in the planning stages for health protocols for re-entry to boarding life. We will design for well-being and expect that the boarding community will live like a family without masks and other COVID protocols. We will certainly honor any residential member who wishes to wear a mask and we will continue the increased level of attention to handwashing and day-to-day health awareness practices in general.
We closely follow announcements from the CDC as well as the Ohio Department of Health and weekly announcements from Ohio’s Governor, Mike DeWine. Following the science of these organizations is what informs our decisions. Please be aware that any unforeseen changes and announcements in the coming months can have an impact on our health protocols and planning.
• Students 12 years and older are now eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. We appreciate the science behind the fact that as more of us are vaccinated, the healthier the boarding program will be for everyone.
• Vaccination – we are not ready to make a decision about whether COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for boarding students, but we do strongly encourage them. This decision is subject to change as we follow the science or have a sense of any more contagious variants.
• Students who will not have all vaccinations required on Hershey Montessori School’s Medical Statement and Immunization Data form for 2021-2022 at the time of arrival in August, need to claim EXEMPTION status.
• If there is a significant spike in COVID-19 cases by mid-August, it is possible that students may have to quarantine prior to arriving to campus. It will be necessary to factor in a 5-day hotel stay followed by a negative COVID test to your arrival time.
• If there is a high rate of cases in only certain states or countries, students from those particular regions may need to quarantine off campus.
• We will be testing boarding students upon arrival to campus on August 23rd with a rapid results test.
Timeline and Date by Which Protocol Will Be Finalized
• June 17, 3:00pm EDT – Boarding parent ZOOM meeting with house parents.
• July 8 – Update on COVID-19 trends and the rate of any variant spread.
• July 22 – Final decision on whether COVID-19 vaccine will be required for boarding students.
• August 2 – Final protocols announced for boarding community.
I-20 Documents for International Students
• We will be releasing I-20 documents in the next 10 days that each student will need to:
o obtain a Student Visa through the U.S. Consulate in your country.
o enter the U.S. along with the Student Visa and passport.
• If a student has dual citizenship with the U.S., please notify us as an I-20 is not required in this case.
Regular updates regarding health protocols for next school year will be provided to enrolled families as we monitor the data over the next few months and continue to consult with our medical expert advisors.
Interested and enrolled families are welcome to contact the school office with any questions.