In-Person Classes Begin as Gould Opens for 185th Year
With testing complete, students are cleared for in-person classes
Gould Academy opened its 185th school year this week with 221 students from 17 states and six foreign countries, in the midst of a global pandemic. Now, 30 days since the arrival of the first students and with the first full round of campus testing complete, the school is pleased to announce that all tests have been negative for Covid-19 and in-person classes can begin. (Boarding students attended class remotely from their dorm rooms and day students from home for the first week.)
Gould began testing employees the week of August 12. Students arrived in stages shortly after, over a three-week period, with negative COVID tests in hand. Those who flew or took public transportation quarantined on campus as well. In addition to the more than 200 tests students took prior to returning, Gould has conducted in excess of 450 tests to date on campus —testing all students again before in-person classes began and testing all employees twice.
Although there are fewer international students this year, there are students from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Montenegro, and Saudi Arabia. In addition to having students from all six New England states, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia are also represented. Gould also renewed its partnership with A Better Chance program, opening doors for talented students of color.
“This group of incoming students excels at everything we do as a school,” says Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement Chris Sparks. “They are really talented athletes, artists, musicians, and promising scholars. I can’t wait to see what they will do here.”
New Student Orientation expanded from three-day trips to five-day ones. Ninth graders spent the time at Camp Winona in Bridgton, Maine. Other new students went to Outward Bound’s campus in Newry or on a paddling trip with Laurin Parker. The extended trips helped spread out arrivals, to allow for safer move-in days and to keep students together in their cohorts more easily.
They found a few changes on campus as well. In addition to the mask reminders and sanitizing stations, classrooms have fewer desks and the dining hall has fewer tables and chairs. There are tents for outdoor meetings and class and maximum occupancy signs posted everywhere. While the weather permits, teachers have moved classes outside when possible.
At least two dozen students are studying remotely for now, but the addition of OWL cameras to the classrooms (automatically follow whoever is speaking) and a summer’s worth of planning by teachers mean that even virtual classrooms are easier to navigate than they were last spring.