Reopening FAQ

We know you all want to be back at Gould as soon as possible. The July Return to Campus Guide outlines our timeline and procedures for returning to campus in August, as well as an overview of what changes students can expect in Academics, Athletics, Dorm Life, and Food Service. Throughout this process, we have based our decisions on the latest information from state and federal guidelines. We have also consulted health professionals, peer school leaders, and others to prepare for everyone to return to school so that you can continue to learn, grow, prosper, and prepare yourselves for this dynamic world.


What questions do you have?

Send them to Communications@gouldacademy.org

  • You can find additional contacts here.

The Return to Campus

When can I come back to campus?

Students will be given a specific time to arrive on their assigned date, and student leaders will assist with move-in for boarding students. In order to minimize the number of people entering the dormitories, family members will not be allowed in. Please bring only necessary items to make moving in as easy as possible and to make room cleaning easier.

Here is the schedule for the opening weeks:

  • August 14-19 International students arrive from abroad
  • August 21 International students in the U.S. and students flying in arrive
  • August 28 Student leaders arrive for campus training (We will communicate soon about a scheduled time for each student to arrive.)
  • August 31 New students arrive for orientation (We will communicate soon about a scheduled time for each student to arrive.)
  • September 1-5 Prefects and new student orientation moves off campus
  • September 2 All remaining students arrive
  • September 3-4 Returning student orientation program on campus
  • September 5-7 All-school orientation program
  • September 8 Classes Begin
Will I have to test or quarantine?

Students will be expected to test and quarantine per local, state, federal, CDC guidelines before arriving on campus. A negative result on a nasal pharyngeal PCR test will be required to return to campus. Tests should be administered 72 hours prior to arrival, and students should quarantine from the time of test to the time of arrival on campus. We will do our best to help facilitate the arrival process for students when this is not possible.

Students will also be tested on arrival and again before the start of classes. Families will be billed for the cost of testing if not covered by insurance.

What if I’m an international student?

We are fully aware of the new SEVIS requirements for visas. Since Gould is holding in-person classes, we are able to issue I-20s, allowing international students to return.

Since international students will likely have more complicated travel arrangements, they will be given a larger window of time to arrive. This window also allows time for them to quarantine. (See “When Can I Come Back?” above)

What will Orientation look like?

New students will spend four nights off-campus as part of their orientation.

Returning students will arrive while new students are away, and then both will have an on-campus orientation to learn the new protocols.

Students will stay with their cohort group of 12 (to include 2 faculty and 2 student leaders) throughout the orientation period.

What will change for Day Students?

Daily screenings will be required as day students arrive on campus. Even though day students have more flexible access to campus, as they travel to and from school, we will ask all students and employees to honor community guidelines that will help us stay safe as a community (see the Gould Pledge) and to think carefully about their actions while they are away from campus.

What if I don’t live in the U.S. and I can’t get back to Bethel?

Students who cannot arrive for the start of school — whether for visa or transportation delays or other issues — will be able to learn remotely with their teachers. While we realize this is not ideal for new students, advisors will provide as much support as they can to give each student the best possible start to the school year.

Finances

Will Gould refund tuition if campus closes?

Gould is committed to providing a robust educational experience for all of our students, whether remotely or on campus.   Although there might be savings in some areas if students are learning at home for some portion of the year, the school’s largest costs are in wages and healthcare, which are not reduced.  That said, the relationship between Gould and a Gould family is a partnership that needs to feel right.

In the event that Gould can not resume and execute per plan due to Covid-19, the school will calculate prorated savings on variable costs and refund those amounts net of financial aid.  

As a reminder,  tuition refund insurance is available for all tuition-paying families. The cost and description of the coverage and exclusions is included in your enrollment agreement. Purchasing this insurance is an option for those families who are concerned about this school year fully meeting their expenses.

Academics

What will the class day look like?

Our new weekly academic schedule reduces the number of classes, or DOTs, per day in order to simplify the schedule, add flexibility to passing time, and provide longer two-hour blocks for Applied Learning on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

These Applied Learning blocks are designed for longer hands-on opportunities, such as fieldwork, labs, and project-based learning. Rotating through DOTs 1-6, each class will have four Applied Learning blocks per trimester.

We will send out revised course schedules to students by the end of July and allow them to make revisions and additions to their schedules until September 1.

Will we be in the classroom?

Students will attend classes in one of three ways—in person, remotely on campus, or remotely off campus. Students who are not physically attending class are expected to be learning remotely and will be connected to the teacher and classmates through classroom technology. Students learning remotely on campus will have access to learning spaces such as the library, Ordway Dining Hall, and empty classrooms. Our class days will be divided into blue and white days, which will limit the number of students physically attending class on any given day.

The Return to Campus committee is in the process of a full inventory and assessment of physical spaces to maximize physical distancing in classrooms. We are fortunate to have a large campus with ample physical space for learning both in and outside of the academic buildings. We will post signs on the doors of each classroom indicating the capacity of the room based on the size and seating arrangements needed to accomplish appropriate physical distancing guidelines.

Even if I’m on campus, I might be learning remotely?

Yes. Gould is adding video conferencing systems to classrooms. These systems will provide remote learners with a 360-degree view of the classroom with speaker tracking and clear audio. Students will connect to the classroom system using their Gould-issued laptops and their own headsets from a designated learning space.

What is GPS? Do we still have Advisory?

The advisory program continues to be a cornerstone of the Gould experience and will be enhanced by its connection to our social-emotional program, previously called “Seminar.” Together, Advising and Seminar — now called Gould Plan for Success, or GPS — will support student-led reflection in four key areas of personal growth: 

  • relationships
  • knowledge
  • decision-making
  • performance

Students and parents can be assured the advisor is still the “go-to person” for all things Gould and look forward to connecting to GPS for updates and insights into the Gould experience. Advisory will continue to meet once a week, and students will meet with their advisors to watch All-School Assemblies.

Will remote classes be the same as last spring?

From the feedback on the spring term from our student and parent advisory groups, we learned that students need more synchronous class time, more consistency in remote teaching practices, more of a sense of community in their learning experience, and more direct feedback on their learning for goal setting and reflection.

Gould will enhance our blended learning model for the 2020-2021 academic year, which combines the best of traditional classroom learning and the best of digital course delivery. The aim of our approach is to de-densify learning spaces so that both safe distancing and robust, engaged learning can be maintained. Face-to-face time will be used to connect, listen, and promote conversation and community. It will be a time to ground learning in authentic contexts. 

Students will attend classes in one of three ways — in person, remotely on campus, or remotely off campus. Students who are not physically attending class are expected to be learning remotely and will be connected to the classroom teacher and classmates through classroom technology. Students learning remotely on campus will have access to learning spaces such as the library, Ordway Dining Hall, and empty classrooms. Our class days will be divided into blue and white days which will limit the number of students physically attending class on any given day.

Health and Wellness

What precautions is Gould taking?

In addition to quarantining and testing before arrival and testing twice on campus, students will be expected to wear masks and maintain physical distance when with others.

Gould has also taken the following steps to help ensure the health of the Gould Community this year:

  • hired an additional full-time nurse. (Our health center staff includes a director of Health Services and three additional full-time nurses.)
  • maintained increased access to mental health professionals, including no charge drop-in appointments
  • installed signage and sanitation stations to promote good hygiene habits and comply with new protocols
  • increased cleaning and sanitizing schedule and protocols across campus
  • identified spaces on campus, including 24 additional beds, that can be used for isolation or quarantine if necessary
  • modified food services to comply with CDC recommendations
  • ensured adequate PPE
  • developed a daily screening protocol

The most important part of Gould’s health and wellness is our pledge to abide by health protocols, to ask for help when uncertain, and to learn to support each other in our collective wellness.

How widespread is COVID-19 in Maine?

Gould is one of the best places your child could be right now. The western region of Maine has maintained a relatively low case count, and our Health Center team is experienced and knowledgeable.

We also know that starting off the school year with a healthy population gives us the best hope of providing a robust and rewarding program on campus, which is why we have set strict protocols for quarantine and testing before returning to campus.

What other changes should we expect to see on campus?

There will be more hand washing stations, more reminders about good hygiene, and no events in which the entire school community gathers together in a single space. At least not for a while. 

Where can I get tested?

Here is a list of testing centers by zip code. Please try to quarantine as best as possible from the time you take the test to the time you arrive on campus. We recommend that you check with your insurance company about testing coverage.

Will COVID testing be covered by the health insurance plan that international students subscribe to?

We contacted ACE American Insurance Company, and the cost of testing is not currently covered if a student is not experiencing symptoms. If this changes, we will let you know. In the meantime, the cost for testing will be billed to a student’s account and families may seek reimbursement from their insurance carrier where possible.

Athletics & Co-Curriculars

Will sports teams be able to compete this year?

Gould’s athletic and co-curricular programs are an integral part of the school’s educational process and are consistent with the school’s goal to help students develop a strong body and a sound mind. We continue to explore all options to provide for fall sports and co-curricular activities.

Interscholastic play with Hebron Academy, Hyde School, Kents Hill School, and potentially others, will be scheduled on Saturdays commencing September 26. Schedules for soccer, field hockey, cross country running, and mountain biking are being developed. Golf is the exception and will utilize the Wednesday afternoon sports window to hold its matches, as this is a day that tee times are more readily available.

Specific guidelines and protocols for physical distancing, face coverings, and sanitation, are being developed and will be strictly followed. Each sport will have its own specific guidelines, which we will share with you, train our athletes and coaches on, and work hard to fulfill on a day-to-day basis.

What restrictions will be in place?

Restrictions will evolve if our Campus Activity Level changes, but for now, here are the protocols in place:

  • Families will be allowed to attend home games only.
  • Visiting teams will not utilize Gould locker facilities, and no visiting fans will be allowed.
  • Gould will play all fall sports with one school on any given Saturday, minimizing travel and exposure.
  • Competing in soccer and field hockey, because of their close contact nature, will be determined by the most up-to-date protocols provided by the CDC, NEPSAC, and MPA.
  • Athletes will continue skill sessions, conditioning, and intramural play if interscholastic competitions are not allowed.
Will students be able to train at Sunday River?

Sunday River has committed to be in full operation this season, providing the opportunity for our athletes to commence on-snow training in the late fall as we have in the past. Sunday River is actively engaged with school leadership and the coaching staff to maximize on-snow training and competition opportunities this year.

The competitive schedules through USSA, USASA, FIS, and peer schools have yet to be determined and will largely depend on CDC guidelines. Snow sports directors will collaborate on an intramural competition program in the event that US Ski & Snowboard or FIS does not support a full regional competition schedule. We believe that competitions will likely be within region and are committed as a group to providing the best experience possible for our collective schools.

With our new T-bar, we will conduct training to the maximum of our capabilities while adhering to those guidelines as well. Sunday River will open up season-pass sales to Gould students in the fall.

Gould Life

What will meal times look like?

In order to de-densify meal times, we will assign students to time slots for lunch and dinner.

    • Dining spaces will be arranged to adhere to spacing protocols. 
    • Food will be served by the dining staff. 
    • Formal dinner and buffet lines will not occur. 
    • Limited grab and go options will be provided.
What changes will their be to dorm life?
  • Most students will have roommates, but bunk beds will not be allowed.
  • Specific traffic patterns within the dorm will minimize unexpected contact, and lights out times will be staggered to allow for bathroom use that follows CDC guidelines.
  • Numerous hand-washing stations will be positioned throughout dorms, and high-touch points will be cleaned regularly.
  • Students will not be allowed to visit other students’ rooms.
  • Common areas and kitchen spaces will have limited initial use.
  • Students should limit what they bring to school, to allow for easier room cleaning. (More on that later in the Community Guide)

These rules will be adjusted to the current campus activity level.

Will we still have weekend trips?

Gould weekends center on restoring our individual and collective balance and focus on enhancing our community. Our weekend plans will evolve from student interest and offer a variety of equitable activities that balance safety, accessibility and affordability, a diversity of backgrounds, and levels of preparation of all students.

What kinds of activities and trips are offered will depend largely on the Campus Activity Level, but it looks promising for #banditcamping. There will still be plenty to do!