breaking News

Remote Learning Extended to End of Year, Commencement Put on Hold

Remote learning will continue for the remainder of Spring Term, according to an email from Interim Head of School Jim Ventre ’79. After consultation with the Board of Trustees and the COVID-19 response team on campus, Ventre provided the update nearly a week earlier than previously planned.

According to Ventre, the Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 will be delayed. Ventre assured that Seniors who have fulfilled their graduation requirements will still receive diplomas.

Additionally, the formerly scheduled reunion of the ’0 and ’5 alumni classes will be postponed to June 2021, when they will join the reunion of the ’1 and ’6 classes.

At the conclusion of the email, a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) addressed concerns related to tuition, financial aid, and the future of the academic program. Andover will continue to pay its employees at regularly scheduled intervals. Additionally, the school is currently devising a system for families facing financial difficulties to potentially receive prorated partial tuition refunds.

“Recognizing that some families are facing new financial difficulties, over the coming weeks we will develop a process to request a prorated partial room and board refund for the spring term boarding portion of tuition paid to the Academy. At the same time, we ask families who can support our effort to ensure that all employees continue to get paid at this time to consider not making this request,” Ventre’s message said.

The email also assured families that the circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis would not affect the school’s financial aid commitments to new and returning students.

Moving forward, Ventre is confident that Andover will be able to continue in its current methods of learning and provide support to students. While he acknowledged the hardships faced by the Andover community, he urged everyone to support one another during this time.

“We understand that these tough decisions will bring disappointment and exasperation. Let’s do our best to summon our most unbreakable Big Blue spirit and not let the collateral damage from this pandemic define Phillips Academy,” wrote Ventre.

Ventre also spoke to how members of the community have managed to aid in the COVID-19 relief effort and provide comfort for those in need. For example, a team from Facilities and the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center sent a supply of N95 masks to area hospitals last week.

Ventre wrote, “Throughout these challenging weeks, many of us have heard exhilarating stories of friends and colleagues, responding to the need of a friend or neighbor, stepping up in ways consistent with who we are as a community… For these and countless other acts of generosity and compassion, I remain deeply inspired by our community.”