For Berkshire School to support our safest and healthiest community, we are outlining the following 2021–2022 Protocols and Expectations for our students and families at this time. These guidelines may be subject to change due to the guidance and recommendations provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the Delta variant evolves. All communication updates for arriving to campus and health and safety protocols for the 2021–2022 school year will be posted below.
Will students and employees be required to have the COVID-19 vaccination?
Yes. Berkshire requires all enrolled, age-eligible students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the 2021-22 school year. This decision is guided by consultations with health experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for everyone 12 years of age and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, our continued commitment to the health and safety of our community, as well as our desire to return to campus with as few restrictions in place as safely possible.
For more information, visit our COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs, which address some of the most commonly asked questions that may arise from the School’s decision to require a COVID-19 vaccination for our community.
IMPORTANT: Berkshire requires proof of the student’s COVID-19 vaccination. Please provide a photo or a scanned copy of your vaccination card or a medical or religious exemption to the Student Health Service at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can update your immunization record prior to your arrival to campus.
Will fully vaccinated students be required to provide a negative PCR upon their arrival to campus?
No, fully vaccinated students will not be required to test for COVID-19 before arrival to campus.
IMPORTANT: Students who are partially vaccinated or have received a vaccination exemption should contact Student Health Service at 413-229-1275 or by emailing email@example.com for COVID-19 testing protocols.
When should students arrive on campus for the fall semester?
Students will arrive on the dates below. A detailed registration schedule will be made available just prior to the opening of school.
- Thursday, September 2nd, 12:00–2:00 PM:
Trailblazers and Student Leaders (Orientation Leaders)
- Saturday, September 4th, 9:00 AM–12:00 PM:
New Students and Student Leaders (Green Key, Green & Gray)
- Monday, September 6th, 9:00 AM–12:00 PM:
- Tuesday, September 7th:
First-Semester Classes Begin
For other important dates, click here for the parent school calendar.
IMPORTANT: Students who are unable to arrive on campus on their designated day or who encounter travel cancellations, please contact Bobbie Jo Gilligan in the Student Life Office at 413-229-1219 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will all students be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive on campus?
Yes. As a general precaution to ensure our safe and healthy return to campus, all students, regardless of their vaccination status, will be tested on their designated arrival day. Testing will take place in the Jackman L. Stewart Athletic Center before students move into their dorms. Students are welcome in all dormitories and are asked to remain masked in all interior spaces (other than their dorm rooms and while eating) until the results of the COVID-19 tests are in. A detailed registration schedule will be made available just prior to the opening of school.
International students will receive a separate communication regarding arrival protocols from Lissa McGovern, director of international student programs.
Will family members, guardians, or caretakers coming to campus for drop-off be allowed in the dorms to help their child move in?
Yes, all family members, guardians, or caretakers are able to move about campus and enter all buildings (masked while indoors, regardless of vaccination status). Masks are not required outdoors.
Will students and employees be required to wear masks on campus?
At this time, Individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks. Following CDC guidance for schools, individuals who have a vaccine exemption or are ineligible for the vaccine will be asked to mask at all times unless they are in their own dorm room, eating in the dining hall, or outdoors. We support vaccinated students and/or employees who may elect to wear masks. We will continue to have disposable masks available if needed.
IMPORTANT: Masks are required in the Student Health Service at all times regardless of vaccination status.
Will students have to social distance while on campus?
Vaccinated individuals, including faculty and staff, no longer have a physical distance requirement. Per CDC guidelines, they recommend unvaccinated individuals to maintain at least three feet of distance from others in classrooms and six feet of distance from others in shared group common areas.
Will students have to be tested for COVID-19 regularly throughout the school year?
There will be no routine surveillance testing for vaccinated members of the Berkshire community. Those members who have a vaccine exemption or are ineligible for the vaccine will be tested twice a week through Student Health Service. Unvaccinated students will be responsible for testing costs administered on campus.
What could make our health and safety protocols change on campus?
Our health and safety protocols may be subject to change due to the guidance and recommendations provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or changes to the health conditions on campus or in the state and region.
What should a student do if they are sick or experience flu-like symptoms?
Students who exhibit symptoms will need to contact Student Health Service and follow their protocols.
IMPORTANT: Masks are required in the Student Health Service at all times regardless of vaccination status.
What if a student tests positive for COVID-19?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate off-campus for 10 days.
What if a student is a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19?
Per the CDC guidance, "people who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative."
Do students still have to provide a contact (parent, guardian, or caretaker) within a 48-hour driving distance from campus?
Yes, we require all families to provide a caretaker within 48-hours driving distance. Families who are not within a 48-hours driving (not air travel) distance are required to identify a domestic caretaker in the event of an emergency. The caretaker should be able to come to the School within 48 hours or sooner in the event that a student needs to leave the campus for health or safety reasons.
Will there be interscholastic athletic contests this year?
Berkshire plans to return to a traditional schedule of interscholastic athletic contests at all levels (varsity, junior varsity, and thirds) against peer schools that have similar vaccination and testing protocols in place.
To participate in athletic contests, unvaccinated students with a medical or religious exemption will be required to follow state COVID-19 guidelines, provide a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of competition, and wear a mask indoors.
Will there be any fall preseason trips?
There are no preseason trips planned for the fall season. Our traditional season for all teams will begin on Monday, September 6, at 3:00 PM.
Will athletic contests resume on Wednesdays and Saturdays?
Are spectators allowed on campus for indoor and outdoor athletic contests?
Yes, we are excited to welcome spectators to campus. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated (2-years-old and up) will need to adhere to the state and CDC COVID-19 guidelines, which recommend wearing a mask in indoor settings and to social distance from others.
Will students be able to participate in other athletic activities outside of Berkshire?
Yes, for fully vaccinated students only. Students with a vaccination exemption will need to remain on campus other than for school-related travel.
Will campus be open to all visitors (parents, alumni, prospective families, etc.)?
Yes. Visitors who are not fully vaccinated (2-years-old and up) will need to adhere to the state and CDC COVID-19 guidelines, which recommend wearing a mask in indoor settings and to social distance from others.
Will fully vaccinated students be able to leave on the weekends or go into town?
Yes. Students who have a vaccine exemption will remain on campus other than school-related travel.
If fully vaccinated students leave campus for a weekend (with their family, for an athletic event, college visit, etc.), will they have to return with a PCR negative test?
If a student leaves campus (healthy or ill), will the school provide remote learning?
No. There is no remote learning option available this year, and students are responsible for reaching out to their teachers and making up their school work while off campus.
Will there be a limit to the number of students in dorm rooms?
Will students be able to enter dorms other than their own?
Will we go back to having weekly school meetings in Allen Theater?
Will we resume outside food deliveries for students?
Will we return to a regular dining structure and community dinners?
Arrival Dates & Times
Bobbie Jo Gilligan email@example.com
Lissa McGovern firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Gaenzle Smith email@example.com
V Form Academics
John West firstname.lastname@example.org
VI Form Academics
Pat Bush email@example.com
Student Health Service
Brooke Humes firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawrence Mutty email@example.com
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Akilah Edgerton firstname.lastname@example.org
Dana Anselmi email@example.com
Robert Boyd firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Students and Families living outside of the U.S.,
I write to you to offer information that is relevant to students traveling from outside of the U.S. to begin our new 2021-2022 school year. I am looking forward to meeting our new students and welcoming our returning students, some of whom were not able to attend classes in person last year. Certainly, these have been challenging times, and I am looking forward to the rhythm and energy of this school year. Given that there are specific travel challenges for some international students, I write to offer information regarding the opening of the school year.
Travel for some has meant that flight options have been limited. If that is the case for you, and you need to come earlier than the designated arrival day for you (Prefect/Trailblazer arrival September 2; New student arrival September 4; Returning student arrival September 6), Berkshire is able to offer some flexibility with regard to arrival days; however given testing protocols, arriving on a designated arrival day is the best option. If needed, we can offer chaperoned stay at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Great Barrington, Mass., August 31 and September 1 for students who are not traveling with a parent/guardian. Students who need to arrange for arrival outside of the day/times designated for them should contact Bobbie Jo Gilligan in the Student Life Office at BGilligan@berkshireschool.org to request arrangements.
Negative PCR Test
Students arriving to campus from outside of the U.S. are required to bring confirmation of a negative PCR test, taken within the previous 72 hours. International students whose travel has brought them earlier to the U.S. do not have to show a test upon arrival if they are fully vaccinated and have shared that information with Student Health Service through the Magnus system. Students who have begun the vaccination process and are partially vaccinated, must provide a negative PCR test result. Since most airlines require a negative test and airports offer testing to travelers, we hope this doesn’t create difficulty. For the safety of all, students, regardless of vaccination status, will be tested upon arrival to campus before moving into their dorms.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
All Berkshire students are required to be vaccinated, unless they have a documented medical or religious exemption. Since some of our students living abroad have not had access to vaccinations at home, students are able to come to Berkshire’s campus if they have begun the vaccination process. Students are required to have their first dose before entering campus, and all students who are not fully vaccinated must mask indoors on campus unless they are in their dorm room, eating in the Dining Hall, or outdoors. Full immunity is produced two weeks after the second dose, and students are expected to follow masking protocols until full immunity is reached. Students who have received a non-approved vaccination by the World Health Organization (WHO) may be on campus, and will also be expected to follow all masking and testing protocols. We are hopeful that the WHO will offer approval to additional vaccines soon. For more information about our COVID-19 vaccination requirement, click here.
As you prepare for travel, please be sure to have all needed documentation for leaving your home country and arrival into the U.S. You should have your physical passport and visa. Some countries may require confirmation of your enrollment in Berkshire; often acceptable documentation is confirmation of tuition payment for the coming year or a copy of your enrollment agreement. If your country of residence requires other documentation, please let me know so we can prepare documentation, including specific requirements. Not all countries require documentation for student travel. When entering the U.S., students will be required to show their passport and F-1 visa, found in the passport. In addition, they will show, either as a physical or electronic document, their I-20. It is also recommended that an F-1 student have electronic copies of enrollment documents, should the officer ask for further information about school plans. I also encourage students to have my contact information available, if needed, when going through CBP. My cell phone number is 1-413-717-2891, and I can also be reached via email at email@example.com or through WhatsApp.
Designated U.S. Caretaker
With the challenges of COVID-19, we remind you that all families must designate a caretaker, living in the U.S., who would be able to come to campus by car within 48 hours or sooner, in the event that a student needs to leave the campus for health or safety reasons. This requirement is oftentimes challenging for families outside the U.S. who do not have close contacts or family nearby, yet necessary. However, there are organizations who offer caretaking service, for a fee, and Berkshire families had good experiences with Student Health Advocates, https://studenthealthadvocates.com.
Finally, as we look forward to the coming year, I offer my gratitude to you for being a part of our school. The Berkshire School community, from the Head of School to individual faculty members to coaches to support staff and more are all happy to be in this learning community with our terrific students and their families.
International Student Program Director