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Salem Academy FAQs Related to Shift Online for Fall Term

Many independent day and boarding schools that have started back are encountering cases of COVID-19 in their student and faculty populations. These schools are considering disrupting the school community and academics by once again switching to remote learning and sending residential students back to their homes. 

From the National Association of Independent Schools

“This situation is evolving by the hour. Every school is struggling with what decisions are the ‘right’ ones to make and, in many instances, we may not know what is ‘right’ until we have the benefit of hindsight. Even then, we may not know. With that in mind, the ‘right’ decision is one that considers public health guidance, the law, your school’s mission and culture, and your community’s safety. What is ‘right’ for one school may not be right for another.“ (NAIS - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Schools)

After much deliberation, Salem Academy has made the decision to transition its fall term online with the aim of both protecting the health and welfare of students, faculty, and staff while also ensuring the continuity of a high quality education and experience for our Academy students.

Why Remote?

What was the primary reason driving the decision?

The decision to pivot to fully remote learning is because of heightened concerns about the risks of exposure and transmission of the coronavirus in a residential school setting.  Salem’s leadership undertook an extensive and thoughtful consideration of a wide range of factors with the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff always foremost.  At this moment, we know that COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly and widely than in March and April, and we believe the safest and most prudent decision is fully remote learning.

Was part of the reason for the decision that Salem simply was not prepared?

An amazing team of Salem’s leaders worked hard this summer to ensure that we were fully prepared to offer in-person learning on campus, and we owe them profound appreciation.  Even as they did that work, we knew that the situation was fluid and uncertain and that we might need to shift direction.

Does the decision apply to both Salem Academy and Salem College?

Both Salem Academy and College are moving to fully remote learning for fall 2020. The physical and mental health of students at both the Academy and College is the most important consideration to us.  Both the Academy and College are fully prepared to teach online.

The Academy successfully transitioned to remote learning last March. In addition, faculty have been participating in summer professional development related to online instruction in order to refine skills in distance teaching and to virtually engage with students in new and innovative ways during fall 2020. 

When will a decision be made about the spring semester?

Salem’s leadership and board of trustees will continue to closely monitor the pandemic’s trends before deciding about the spring semester.

The Salem Academy Experience

I chose Salem Academy for the sisterhood and traditions. How will I stay connected to my Salem Family?

We are committed to offering a variety of student activities, including our Advisor Lunches, club meetings, assembly, and other beloved traditions—these experiences will be virtual, but will still enrich our community and keep us all connected. 

As a boarding student, how will I get to know my future hall mates?

Senior Prefects, as peer leaders, will serve as a support system and role model. All boarding students will be assigned to a small group led by a Prefect.  Virtual hall activities, led by residential life staff and prefects, will occur throughout the semester. These will include everything from get-to-know you activities to educational programming as well as hall bonding meetings and activities. 

What about January Term internships?

Students will have the opportunity to participate in internships if they are able to secure one for January Term. Alternate project and Jan Term options will be given to students who are unable to find an internship.

What will College Counseling look like?

Seniors will have the opportunity to participate in a College Counseling Workshop the week of August 17, 2020. Seniors will have Senior Seminar weekly through the beginning of October and also have an individual meeting every other week with Dr. Spong. A remote College Counseling schedule will be sent by August 10, 2020. Juniors will begin Junior Seminar in October.

What will happen with athletics and health/wellness activities?

Salem’s top priority is the health and safety of our students and community. Therefore, we have made the decision that we will not participate in athletic competitions in fall 2020.  Salem will offer virtual health and wellness sessions, online links, and zoom meetups to stay connected with our students and support their personal goals. When permissible, outdoor health and wellness sessions may be held on campus during the Wednesday community time.

Remote Education

Does Salem have the capabilities and capacity to offer online education?

Yes. Salem Academy and College is fully equipped to provide a high-quality online education to our students. This fact enabled us to be confident in our decision about switching to remote learning for the fall.

Will the Academy calendar change?

An updated academic calendar will be posted and emailed on August 10, 2020.

What will be the daily remote schedule?

A remote schedule can be found at the Course Delivery section of the Salem Ready, Salem Strong site.  Wednesday afternoons will be devoted to community activities.  Activities will always have a virtual component. When conditions improve in our county and state, in-person activities will be available on Salem’s campus. 

Will online learning be synchronous?

Yes! Salem Academy will primarily offer synchronous teaching with some asynchronous work. Each course will be designed to ensure that all students are fully connected and engaged. Students in College courses will be notified of the format the week of August 10, 2020. Adjustments to course selections may be made at that time if desired.

Course Materials & Academic Support

How do I receive my textbooks and course materials?

The Academy will create student supply boxes. These boxes will include textbooks, course handouts, lab supplies, and special activity supplies. Day students will be assigned a time to pick up their initial box during Orientation. Boarding students will have their boxes sent to them. Multiple boxes will be provided over the course of the fall semester. 

I do not have the technology equipment or the internet services I need to attend class online. Will Salem offer help?

Salem will assist students with technology needs. Please contact Ms. Pearson at ashley.pearson@salem.edu if you have technology needs.

Will faculty office hours be the same?

Faculty office hours have been built into the remote learning schedule.  Students can schedule a virtual meeting with faculty and staff during office hours. 

Will I have access to the Counseling Center?

The mental health and wellness of Salem Academy students remains a high priority. We will continue to support students with counseling, mindfulness sessions, social-emotional learning, as well as health and wellness activities. These activities are designed to support our campus community academically, physically, socially, and emotionally. 

Students who are in-state and take classes remotely may have counseling sessions via Zoom. Due to counseling board and licensure guidelines, out-of-state students will not be able to have teleconference counseling sessions. However, out-of-state students can receive referrals to mental health and wellness resources in their local communities. 

Refunds and Billing

Will the amount of fall tuition change under the switch to remote learning?

To account for the fees associated with lunch and special dinners that will not be available during fall 2020, a portion of tuition will be refunded. All refunds will be prorated based on the student’s personal financial package. The Salem Academy and College Business Office will send out updated financial information in the next few weeks. 

When will students receive a refund for room and board?

Students will receive a refund for fall 2020 room and board costs based on the student’s personal financial package. The Salem Academy and College Business Office will send out updated financial information in the next few weeks.