Parent Newsletter by Franny Shuker-Haines


Dear Buxton Families,

Welcome to the Election Day Edition of our parent newsletter! Actually, we won’t spend a lot of time on that because we have other logistics to get to, but I do want to let you know a few things about our Election Day plans:

  • John’s Rural Politics class has already been focused on analyzing the issues in this election, so those students have a lot of information and perspective going into today.
  • On Sunday night, Timothy hosted a session for students to talk about the election and how it is likely to play out tonight and over the next few days.
  • We have reminded the students (and will continue to do so) that the results may take several days—or longer—to be conclusive and to pace themselves accordingly.
  • Lizzy and several students are sponsoring Get Out the Vote activities today up at the Main House.
  • John and Peter are hosting a results-watching session tonight.
  • The faculty is discussing ways we can respond appropriately and supportively for the rest of this week if members of the student body are struggling with election-related reactions and feelings.

Now, onto some important logistics: Fall Arts, student pick-up, the end of the fall term, and the beginning of the winter term! Lots to cover!

Fall Arts

Fall Arts will be a combination of in-person events (some just for the on-campus Buxton community, some for parents) and virtual events that families can share from home.

Closed Campus/Virtual Events:

On Friday, November 20, our fall play, a staged reading of scenes from Tony Kushner’s Angels in America will be presented live in the Buxton theatre for students and faculty to watch. There will be two performances (one in the early afternoon, one after dinner) to accommodate socially distanced seating. We will also tape one of the performances so families can watch it later.

On Friday, we will also have readings of creative writing pieces read aloud to our own community after lunch. We will make recordings of these readings to share with families later.

Chorus and Orchestra will record their pieces in the final week of school to be shared with families later.

On-Campus Events:

The fall art show will be mounted throughout the ceramics building, the art studio spaces, and the art building for families to see in person on Saturday, November 21! We are excited that at least one of the major elements of Fall Arts can be shared in this way. Here’s how it will work:

  • Families will make an appointment with Lindsey for the time they want to come pick up their students. 
  • When families come to campus, they will be able to use their time slot to visit the art studios—masked, socially distant, only a set number of people in the buildings at any given time—and see the new art work in the spaces where those works have been created.
  • Either before or after their tour through the new works, families will pack up their cars with their children’s belongings and head home for the winter vacation. (More on that in a minute.)
  • If your child is not being picked up, we will be making a video tour of the art show, so you won’t miss out!

Student Pick-Up

As we mentioned above, the last day of the in-person part of the term is Saturday, November 21, 2020. Here’s how that’s going to work:

  • We will be asking students to pack up their rooms thoroughly to be ready for a room change on the day they return in January. All of the belongings that are staying at school should be on students’ beds before they leave.
  • Students should pack well for a long stint at home. They should take all of their books and school supplies with them, as there will be two weeks of classes after the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • As in the fall, we ask that parents not go in the dorms and that they stay masked and socially distant from others while on campus.
  • If your child is going home via public transportation and you have already bought a ticket for Sunday, November 22, do not worry! We fully intend to keep the campus open and supervised throughout the weekend, and we will make sure students on campus are well cared for until they leave.
  • If your child cannot be picked up in person by you or another Buxton family—and you are not comfortable with them using public transportation to return home (within a 4-hour radius)—please let us know and we can arrange for a ride to the region, as we did with the pick-ups at the start of the fall.

The Rest of the Term

Students and families will have a well-deserved week off for Thanksgiving as always. Then, fall-term classes will resume for two weeks remotely, from Monday, November 30 to Friday, December 11. 

Why? We are trying to reduce travel and transitions throughout the year for safety reasons. Our remote schedule will look different from the one we used in the spring, as we learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t from that experience. And, as is often the case at the end of the term, much of the work students will be doing will be papers and projects. We will also be conducting report conferences during that time.

The Winter Term

In-person classes will resume on Monday, January 18, 2021. Why? We want to give ourselves and our families a solid two weeks after New Year’s to, once again, self-quarantine before returning to school. (More on the COVID-safe return procedures later.)

That said, we are aware that that makes for a very long break from school—7 weeks at home; 5 weeks after our last remote classes. So, we will be offering a remote “enrichment week” in the final week of quarantine. This week will consist of a combination of classes that need the continuity (some language and math classes, for example) and fun week-long explorations of something new: An African film class or a poetry seminar—you get the idea. We’re really excited to provide this extra instruction and help stave off some of the boredom of staying at home.

The Logistics of Returning to School

We will be asking that families, once again, to “self-quarantine” for two weeks before students return to school. We are also asking that students who will be returning to school in a car have TWO negative COVID tests before they return: One test should be administered 6-7 days into the quarantine period (to catch any possible exposure over the holidays), and one should be given shortly before returning (to guard against false negatives). Both negative results need to be shared with the school before a student is cleared to return. Protocol for those arriving via public transportation to follow.

Here is the schedule:

Fall Term ends on Friday, December 11, 2021

December 12-January 2: Unfettered free family fun time!

January 3-January 17: Self-quarantine at home

Around January 8-9: First coronavirus test

January 11-15: Winter Enrichment classes!

Around January 13-14: Second coronavirus test

January 17: Arrive at school. Students will move into new rooms for the term.

January 18: Winter term begins!

March 6: Winter term ends! (Details about spring vacation and the spring term to come.)

For families whose children must return to school via public transportation, we ask that your student:

  • have a negative test by January 7th
  • arrive at school by January 8th, 10 days ahead of the first day of classes
  • quarantine at school for ten days 
  • we will administer the second coronavirus test here in advance of starting classes.

We have limited quarantine spaces on campus, so we will need to hear from families by December 11th if your child needs one of those spaces. 

This is a lot of information to absorb and we will be repeating it often in the coming weeks. We will also put it into an easier-to-read calendar format, but I wanted to get this information out to you today! We will also be back in touch about how the winter term will be conducted, the timing of the spring vacation and return to school, and what the spring has in store! But one (or two or twenty!) thing at a time. 

Happy 8th week of in-person school, everyone!



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