Opening school in the Fall of 2020 has been anything but normal. The challenges the Academy has faced and continues to face change every day. The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are at the foundation of any plans put forward.
Many have asked how they can help.
Opening school during a global pandemic has presented challenges that could not be anticipated. Being that the fall semester will look different from any the Academy has ever seen, we are hopeful that alumni, faculty, staff, families, and friends of SJA, together, will continue to support the SJA Assistance Fund.
Since the spring, SJA has been working diligently to help students finish the last school year and prepare for the re-opening this fall. Some of the initiatives the SJA Assistance Fund has and will continue to support include:
Training faculty on delivering an in-person education with an online synchronous component.
Making significant improvements to our campus technology infrastructure to support hybrid learning. Some of these improvements include upgrading our firewall and virtual private networking protocols to enhance security, adding over 24 indoor and outdoor wireless access points, and doubling our bandwidth to the internet.
Providing significant upgrades to sustain our new learning model and provide access for day-to-day operations. This requires upgrades to hardware for our faculty and staff; enabling them to work remotely and perform critical work from a distance. Over 120 faculty and staff were outfitted with MacBook laptop computers that can remotely connect to our campus network for the teaching and business functions of the school. This initiative alone also requires a significant amount of peripheral equipment such as cameras, microphones, headsets, monitors, keyboards, mice, and cables.
Supporting students through our device program; enabling them to connect remotely to our learning management platform (CANVAS) and other needed software. This includes:
- Quickly deploying the educational version of Zoom; allowing hybrid learning through a centralized platform.
- Supporting students who have poor access to the internet by ordering MiFi Jetpack HotSpot technology devices to provide needed access.
- The deployment of seven printers throughout campus that students can connect to with their Chromebook to print in a safe and secure mode, supporting their hybrid learning.
- Utilizing a Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) allowing students to access complex software from home using only a browser. In addition, hybrid learning requires additional augmentative online software platforms to support our breadth of academic programming.
Increasing safety measures on campus such as sanitation stations, masks, thermometers, and campus navigation.
Retrofitting classrooms to accommodate the mandate to de-densify the student population on campus at any one time.
Working to meet the evolving standards for air quality and disinfection.
Moving our health and wellness operations to the Tinker House to allow for dedicated isolation or quarantine rooms, separate entrances for COVID-19 symptomatic students and those students requiring alternative care, and private counseling space to support students’ mental and emotional needs.
Reducing the number of students in individual dorms to keep cohorts smaller.
Reconfiguring food service for safer delivery of meals.
The ability to provide resources to address other challenges, demands, and shortfalls that evolve over the course of the school year.
If ever there was a time to support St. Johnsbury Academy, this is the year. We are committed to fulfilling our mission as an institution and all that accompanies the SJA experience.
For more information and details on what we are doing to keep students, faculty, and staff safe at school, please visit our Fall 2020 School Opening Roadmap.