Return to Campus

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Plan Highlights

List of 18 items.

  • Guiding Principles

    Shipley’s policies and procedures will conform to the laws of and be shaped by guidance from the federal, state, and local level and the following decision-making principles:
    • The health of Shipley’s students, colleagues, and their families will be the first consideration in all decisions.
    • Shipley will deliver on its Mission and live by its Motto regardless of where or how a student learns. 
    • In-person interaction among students and colleagues is critical to long-term Educational Excellence, a key element of the Mission which holds that student achievement, individual well-being, and collective well-being are mutually dependent upon and must remain balanced with each other.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • The Decision to Come to Campus and Who Owns It

    • Shipley plans to open for a full school day of on-campus learning every weekday throughout the academic year.
    • Families will have the option to send their student(s) to campus or learn remotely. 
    • Students will be able to move fluidly back and forth from on-campus to remote learning.
    • In the event that Shipley must close its campuses, the School will move to remote learning.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Orientation/Unit Zero

    Orientation Period (August 24 - September 4)
    • Students and families will attend one of several training sessions to learn how to be on campus safely. Sessions will teach new arrival/departure procedures, how to move around campus, introduction to safe classroom behavior, etc.
    • Later this summer, families will have the opportunity to sign-up for a date and time to attend one of these required sessions.
    • Online resources may augment these on-campus sessions.
    Unit Zero (September 8 - September 18)
    • Once on-campus and on-line, we will all (students, colleagues, and families) invest significant time and energy to internalizing these norms and habits.
    • Unit Zero will prepare each student to be an effective learner in each class, in this unique learning environment, during this year like no other. The unit will prepare students and families for remote learning, whether on an occasional basis or should the School as a whole need to switch to that format at some point during the year. Unit Zero will include assessments to ensure each student has demonstrated mastery of the concepts and skills needed.
    • Families will be kept closely informed about the nature and timing of Unit Zero as well as ways to support student learning.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Holidays

    Inservice and Conference Days
    The School has converted to regular school days all scheduled inservice and conference days. 
    • When the School determines an inservice day is needed one will be scheduled with at least two-weeks notice to allow families to arrange for child care.
    • Periodic family-teacher conferences will still take place, but in keeping with the School’s effort to minimize the number of visitors on campus, conferences will be held via video conference.
    Vacations and Holidays
    The following dates will remain vacation days with no classes:
    • Labor Day (September 7) 
    • Yom Kippur (September 28) 
    • Thanksgiving Break (November 25-29)  
    • Winter Break (December 19- January 3) 
    • Martin Luther King., Jr. Day (January 18) 
    • Presidents’ Day (February 15)
    • Spring Break (March 26- April 4) 
    • Memorial Day (May 31) 
    Decisions regarding events will be communicated on an individual basis.

    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - School Hours & Arrival/Departure

    School Hours
    Students’ school-day will be as follows:
    • Lower School 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM. 
    • Middle School 8:10 AM to 3:20 PM. 
    • Upper School 8:20 AM to 3:20  PM. 

    Colleagues’ workday schedule will remain unchanged (e.g., teaching colleagues are to be on campus 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM).

    Arrival / Departure
    • To reduce exposure, arrival and departure procedures will be controlled and times extended. In many cases, the first and last periods of the day will be non-instructional time (e.g., homeroom, advisory, clubs, etc.) to allow for this. 
    Arrival to campus must be through a gate (See Campus Gates). Departure from campus must be done either through student dismissal or through a sign-out procedure.

    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Transportation

    • For now, and until notified by individual school districts providing bussing and/or by SEPTA, the School plans to follow its current transportation plan.
    • It is best to check with one’s individual school district about plans for the upcoming year.
    • While this uncertainty remains, especially during Unit Zero (i.e., the first two weeks of school), the School encourages each family to make contingency plans to ensure their child can get to campus. 
    If you have any questions or concerns regarding transportation for your student, please feel free to contact Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Brandon Jacobs.

    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Attendance/After School Programs

    • Attendance will be taken in each class, homeroom/advisory, and study hall.
    • Once students leave campus during the school day they will not be able to return.
    After School
    The School recognizes the value to students and families of after school programs as they provide child care, enrichment, and community.
    • As of now, child care (e.g., Lator Gator, MS/US after school) will be limited if it is offered at all.
    • Athletics (See below)
    • Activities (e.g., performing arts)
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Schedules

    Daily Schedule
    Numerous adjustments have been made to the daily/weekly academic schedule:
    • A Monday through Friday schedule, rather than the previous 7-day rotating schedule
    • A 2-week (10-day) rotation, with alternating “blue” & “green” weeks will allow courses to meet for enough total time and with regularity.
    • In Middle and Upper School, class periods will be longer (70 minutes including transition time), meet less frequently, and there will be fewer of them in a school day.
    • In Lower School, classes will meet on a five-day rotation with six 45-minute instructional periods each day, organized according to the developmental needs of students.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Student Groupings (Homerooms, Advisories, Class Sections)

    In order to maintain physical distancing within classrooms and help reduce the number of people with whom children come in contact:
    • student groupings will be smaller, typically 8 to 12 students. 
    • In after school athletics, groups will be no larger than 20 students in outdoor spaces. Indoor group sizes will likely be smaller.
    Lower School students will remain in a single, self-contained section throughout the day while Middle and Upper School students will be placed in multiple sections (e.g., one for math, one for English, etc.). 
    • Lower School sections will remain largely in a single classroom throughout the day and be reorganized at major vacations (e.g., winter and spring break) to provide social variation. Enrichment classes (art, music, science, Spanish) will be taught in homeroom classrooms with teachers for those classes traveling to students.
    • Middle School sections will be largely contained on a single floor of the West Middle School Building, with some exceptions (e.g., art/music/science).
    • Upper School students will have the greatest variation in their sections, balancing the community health interest in minimal contact with the programmatic need for student access to a variety of course levels and teachers.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Focus on Well-being

    Activities explicitly devoted to teaching and cultivating student well-being will be maintained or expanded. These include SEED classes, Physical Education (PE), advisory/homeroom circle time. For instance, PE will be incorporated into every student’s schedule Pre-K through twelfth grade. 
    • To accommodate PE during the school day while minimizing the number of times students have to enter the communal spaces (e.g., locker rooms, bathrooms), the Middle and Upper School dress code will be adjusted for this year. On days students are scheduled for PE, they should come to school in approved PE clothing (Shipley clothing, team apparel, or approved apparel from the school store, and sneakers). Each student grades 6 through 12, will be given a $200 credit at the school store to purchase PE-approved clothing. Students will have the opportunity to change at the conclusion of each PE class. 
    • In Lower School, students will continue to need to wear socks and sneakers for PE. No other adjustments necessary.
    Activities which contribute to well-being (e.g., recess, breaks, free periods, and communal lunches) are being protected. (See Transitions, Recess/Break, and Lunch.)

    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Transitions, Recess/Break, Lunch

    The School seeks to balance the social-emotional benefits of these activities with the health risks they can present. The School will:
    • Allow students and colleagues to eat outside when at all possible.
    • Explore holding independent learning periods in smaller groups, rather than for instance, all 9th graders in one room. When larger groups are assembled, face coverings will be required.
    • Conduct all student singing outside and at distances greater than 6 feet (more like 12). 
    • Closely supervise students during these times.
    Lower School:
    • Students’ class-to-class movement will be minimal. When students do move around campus they will do so with an adult. 
    • Recess times will be coordinated to minimize inter-grade exposure. 
    • Students will eat lunch in their classrooms or possibly in designated outdoor areas. Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade will continue to bring their lunches. 
    • Grades two through five will have the opportunities to participate in the lunch program (low-touch boxed and grab-and-go options). Families must sign up for the school year as the a la carte option will no longer be available.
    Middle & Upper School:
    • Students will be assigned to locations during lunch, free periods, and activity periods.
    • Transitions between periods will be managed to minimize exposure in hallways and stairwells.
    • Low-touch boxed and grab-and-go lunch will be served in Avery Silverman Dining Hall and half of Yarnall Gym (which is being converted to accommodate dining). In these areas, no more than four students will sit at six-foot tables. Plexiglass dividers will separate each student.
    Bathroom use will follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance.

    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Blending On-Campus and Remote Learning

    Ensuring students will be able to learn regardless of physical setting is essential to the continuity of the program.
    • The School’s program for 2020-2021 has benefited from enhanced tools, industry-wide growth in remote learning, and lessons learned from ten weeks of Shipley Learns Online this past spring.
    • Teachers are planning all courses to be remote-ready so that a change to remote learning can be as smooth as possible.
    • Teaching courses in smaller units will increase the flexibility for individual students and the whole school to move back and forth from on-campus to remote learning.
    • The School is investing heavily to outfit classrooms with cameras, microphones, speakers, hardware, and software that will enable a quality learning experience for students learning remotely.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Program - Athletics

    Defining the stages of athletics helps clarify what level of athletics is possible given various factors.

    Stage 1
    Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with family members. Additional options for individuals opting for online learning or those with increased risk to limit exposure. 
    Stage 2
    Team-based small group training sessions with an emphasis on individual skill-building.
    Stage 3
    Intramural competition within the school community.

    Stage 4
    Full competition between teams from the same local geographic area.

    Stage 5
    Full competition between teams from different geographic areas.

    Summer Training
    Summer workouts are open and voluntary. Student-athletes will need to sign up for training sessions prior to attending. Scheduling will be staggered so that groups are not arriving and departing at the same time.

    Each team will be limited to one session per day during the traditional two-week preseason beginning August 24.

    Students and families will be given training session schedules and will be expected to be dropped off at the scheduled practice time and picked up immediately following practice sessions in order to prevent students congregating after practice. Parents/guardians should remain in their cars. In case of inclement weather, training sessions may be cancelled and students would need to go home immediately following the school day. 

    Athletic Trainers
    Athletic Trainers will be able to be mobile, limiting the number of machines used to treat athletes. If a student needs to be evaluated during the school day, appointments will be available.

    Students will need to provide their own personal water bottle for every training session and competition. No disposable cups will be provided.

    After school sports will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, officials and staff only. When we are safely able to welcome spectators and visitors back, we will do so while remaining physically distant and following other appropriate protocols.

  • Campus Protocols

    In order to provide a healthy environment for colleagues, students, and visitors, the School will follow guidance from the CDC, the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, as well as a host of sources listed at the end of this Plan. In several instances, the School is taking additional measures to promote community health. The School’s efforts fall into three categories: Health Screening, Prevention, and Contact Tracing.

    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Campus Protocols - Health Screening

    Students and colleagues are not to come to campus if they exhibit or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illness. Health screening will take place in multiple ways.

    Campus Gates
    EVERYONE coming to campus must be checked in through one of several Campus Gates. Gates will be located in five locations:
    • Lower School main entrance
    • Physical Plant office in the parking garage
    • Piltch Commons
    • West Middle School reception (this gate is not yet open)
    • Main Building reception (this gate is not yet open)
    At the gate, each person will complete a screening process including temperature check (must be below 100.4 degrees), face covering check, hand hygiene, and explanation of campus safety rules including proper use of face coverings.
    • Upper Campus: All students, colleagues, and visitors will be given a wristband to be worn for that school day indicating that they have been screened.
    • Lower Campus: All adults will be issued wristbands, while students in grades pre-K to 5 will have stickers to verify they have been screened.
    • The School is working with its emergency communication vendor, Ruvna, to develop a smartphone application allowing colleagues and students to answer screening questions prior to arriving on campus.
    • Anyone not passing screening will be required to leave campus immediately. Students awaiting transportation will remain in an isolation room until their ride arrives.
    Enhanced Monitoring
    Based on current conditions and its Understanding of Exposure, the School may require some students and colleagues to engage in enhanced monitoring. This would include:
    • More frequent temperature checks,
    • Actively and frequently submitting answers to a set of screening questions, and 
    • Additional hand hygiene and/or PPE requirements.
    Additional Screening for After School 
    Student-athletes and colleagues remaining on campus for after school activities will engage in additional screening. If/when interscholastic athletics take place, the School will coordinate with opposing schools to confirm health screenings for their student-athletes.  

    Based on the advice of the public health experts it has consulted, the School is not at this time requiring or providing COVID-19 testing. The School continues to monitor the availability, timeliness, and accuracy of various testing protocols and will regularly reassess this policy.

    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Campus Protocols - Prevention

    The School will do its part to help prevent exposure to and spread of Coronavirus by developing a set of Shared Community Norms, a set of Context-Specific Norms employed by colleagues, and implementing a series of Campus-Wide Systems.

    Shared Community Norms
    A challenging aspect of being a community is that community members’ off-campus behavior impacts other members of the community. Yet, as a community, we also have the opportunity to commit to a set of shared norms which can strengthen the foundation for our Plan.

    Educate and Communicate
    • The School will seek to provide clear and scientifically-valid information regarding how to understand and manage risks associated with the Coronavirus as it pertains to being a member of the Shipley community. 
    • School medical staff maintains regular communication with state and local authorities.
    Hand Hygiene
    • Hand sanitizer stations will be located at entrances to all buildings and athletic facilities. Use of these stations will be required upon entry and exit. 
    • The School may provide personal hand sanitizers for all students and colleagues.
    • Opportunities to wash hands with soap and water will be provided in alignment with other prevention measures. For instance, Lower School classrooms are all outfitted with sinks.
    Physical Distancing
    In order to adhere to CDC-recommended 6-foot physical distancing guidance the following steps have been taken. 
    • All rooms on campus have been measured to determine new maximum capacities. 
    • Classroom layouts are being adjusted to reduce the potential for spread, e.g., reducing the number of desks, facing desks in the same direction. 
    • Spaces not traditionally used for academics (e.g., Avery Silverman Dining Hall, Riely Theater, Yarnall Gym, outdoors, etc.) are being made available to meet programmatic needs (e.g., study halls).
    • Hallways will have floor markers indicating 6-foot spacing between people, as well as a required walking direction or side of the hall.
    • Where possible, stairwells will be designated with either an up or down requirement. 
    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    The School has developed both the general PPE guidelines as well as Context-Specific Norms to direct colleagues in use of PPE and other prevention measures.

    In compliance with state mandates, wearing a face covering is the default expectation on campus. Everyone on campus will be required to wear a face covering when:
    • Moving from place to place on campus, 
    • In public indoor spaces (e.g., hallways, bathrooms) and not eating or drinking,
    • Within 6-feet of another person and not separated by a barrier, 
    • A high risk student or colleague is present.
    Individuals may provide their own face coverings if they meet Shipley's face covering specifications. The School will provide face coverings for those who need them. 

    Time and space will be provided for colleagues and students to remove face coverings in a safe environment (e.g., outside).

    If a student is not able, or chooses not, to properly wear a face covering, that student may be compelled to learn remotely.
    • If compliance is related to a medical issue, reasonable accommodations will be made to attempt to keep the student on campus.
    • The School has secured and is looking to pilot the use of face-shield hats as an alternative to masks for younger students. Face shields are NOT a replacement for wearing a face covering.
    Eye Protection
    Anyone who chooses to wear protective eyewear may choose to do so at any time. While eye protection will not be required to be worn at all times, certain activities (e.g., close collaborative or physical work) may require its use by students and/or colleagues. In such instances, the School will provide these items.

    Regular Disinfection 
    All students and colleagues will take developmentally appropriate responsibility for disinfecting areas after use. For instance, Middle and Upper School students will be expected to disinfect their own space following lunch. Lower School students will help colleagues wipe down communal tables.

    Context-Specific Norms
    Colleagues and coaches will be responsible for directing students’ use of prevention measures based on activity/learning mode and location.

    Four additional factors will shape context-specific norms:

    The duration of an activity, and therefore the length of exposure is a factor in viral transmission.

    Students’ developmental capacity to adhere to prevention measures is a real factor.

    Open Windows
    Circulation of fresh air has a beneficial effect on reducing viral load.

    In several cases, colleagues or students may have documented health conditions which call for additional, physician-recommended accommodations.

    Families with concerns about such a condition should contact the School’s medical staff or Dr. Sharron Russell to begin the process of confirming the condition and exploring possible accommodations.

    Campus-Wide Systems
    Heating, Ventilation and Air-Condition (HVAC)
    The School is reviewing its HVAC systems to provide indoor spaces with as much fresh and highly filtered air as is feasible.

    Enhanced Cleaning
    The School ramped up cleaning protocols in the spring, including new medical-grade cleaning devices and materials as well as additional staffing. In addition to these efforts, which will continue, the School is taking the following measures to enhance cleaning:
    • Adding additional day porters to its cleaning crew to augment ongoing disinfecting of restrooms and shared spaces throughout the school day.
    • If/when a person presents with symptoms of COVID-19, physical plant staff and day porters will be notified. Once the person has left the affected areas, including the isolation space designated for students to await transportation, appropriate cleaning procedures will take place immediately. This procedure will apply to any areas the person visited that day. 
    Low-Touch Systems
    The School is taking steps to reducing the number of incidents when people touch the same object or surface.
    • The use of shared objects (e.g., pens, art supplies, athletic equipment) will be curtailed or eliminated.  
      • Students will bring their own supplies (pencils, rulers, calculators) with them to class. 
      • Students will be given equipment packs for PE to bring to class and for remote learning. 
      • When elimination may not be practical (e.g., library books, scientific/STEAM equipment) students will wear gloves and/or equipment will be disinfected after use. Each discipline will develop and post “Cleaning Expectation” in each classroom for reference.
    • Across campus low/no-touch systems are already in use (e.g., bathrooms) or being implemented (e.g., boxed or grab-and-go lunches).
    Physical Barriers
    Plexiglass barriers are being installed around campus in high traffic and high contact areas such as reception desks, the business office, the school store, as well as on dining tables in Avery Silverman Dining Hall and Yarnall Gym.

    Managing Groups & Adjusting Schedule
    The School’s efforts to manage group size and interaction as well as use schedule to reduce exposure are extensive and outlined above. In addition, the School is
    • Closely managing access to campus for all visitors (e.g., admissions, job candidates), 
    • Conducting full Board of Trustee meetings and committee meetings exclusively online,
    • Eliminating the use of all campuses by outside groups.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Campus Protocols - Exposure Controls & Contact Tracing

    Defining Terms: Exposure
    Viral exposure is a function of three factors.
    • Nature of contact.
    • Environment in which contact takes place.
    • Duration of contact.
    Defining Terms: Close Contact
    The School uses as its basis of its exposure practices the CDC definition of “close contact,” which is being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

    Defining Terms: Contact Tracing
    It is important to emphasize that the School does not conduct contract tracing. In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, contract tracing is conducted by the experts at the PA Department of Health.

    See the full plan for complete details on defining terms and charts on the Duration of Exposure (in weekly hours).
    Other Procedures 
    • The School will maintain an isolation room on each campus, located near the nurses’ offices, where those demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19 will remain until they leave campus. 
    • When a student or colleague is diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19:
      • medical staff will coordinate with public health officials to determine a course of action;
      • contact tracing will be conducted by reviewing the student’s or colleague’s schedule and contacts based on that schedule; 
      • Physical plan/janitorial staff will clean and disinfect thoroughly all areas used by the diagnosed individual; and
      • per the School’s emergency operations plan, the School will communicate with colleagues, families, and students as appropriate and allowable under Federal law. The School’s medical staff will work with the communications team regarding family notification. 
    • The identities of students and colleagues with confirmed COVID-19 cases will be known only by the School’s medical staff (and Human Resources if a colleague) and dealt with confidentiality.
    See the full plan for complete details.
  • Communication

    The School will continue to use all communications modes and vehicles to communicate with students, families, and colleagues.

    See the full plan for complete details.


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  • Return to Campus Plan Now Available

    Shipley's Return to Campus Plan is now available. Please read the plan and submit your questions.

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Back to School

The words community and partnership get used a lot in independent schools. Yet this year, delivering on our mission will require these be far more than words, but rather form the core of firm commitment to each other.

Important Dates

List of 4 events.

  • Aug

    School-Family Handbooks, including COVID-19 addendum, distributed

  • Aug

    Wk. of Aug. 17: Online question and answer sessions with Division Heads

  • Aug

    Orientation Period

    In order to provide for the health and safety of our community, accessing and being on campus must be very different this year. Thus everyone, including those who have been on-campus for many years, will need to learn new ways of doing things.
    • During this 2-week window, students and families will attend one of several training sessions to learn how to be on campus safely. Sessions will teach new arrival/departure procedures, how to move around campus, introduction to safe classroom behavior, etc. These sessions will be part of a broader effort to “learn, live, teach, and embed” a community ethos supporting individual and collective wellbeing so students can achieve. 
    • Later this summer, families will have the opportunity to sign-up for a date and time to attend one of these required sessions.
    • Online resources may augment these on-campus sessions.

  • Sep

    Unit Zero

    Once on-campus and on-line, teaching and learning will also be different this year. New norms and habits of learning will be essential to well-being and achievement. Therefore we will all (students, colleagues, and families) invest significant time and energy to establishing and internalizing these norms and habits -- both on-campus and when learning remotely. 
    • During this 2-week window, students will work through the “unit zero” plans that teaching colleagues began developing in early June and refined throughout the summer as they plan their courses. 
    • Unit Zero will prepare each student to be an effective learner in each class, in this unique learning environment, during this year like no other. Unit Zero will include assessments to ensure each student has demonstrated mastery of the concepts and skills needed.
    • As mentioned above, families will be particularly important partners in student learning this year. Thus, families will be kept closely informed about the nature and timing of Unit Zero as well as ways to support student learning.


List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Michael Turner

    Michael Turner 

    Head of School
    Phone/Extension: 4122
  • Photo of Shane Kinsella

    Shane Kinsella 

    Head of Middle School
    Phone/Extension: 4186
  • Photo of Timothy Lightman

    Timothy Lightman 

    Head of Lower School
    Phone/Extension: 4704
  • Photo of Margaret van Steenwyk

    Margaret van Steenwyk 

    Head of Upper School
    Phone/Extension: 4128
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.