McCallie is an All-Boys Private Boarding School and Day School, a Christian-based College Prep School. 
McCallie seeks out and accepts boys from all ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds and places a high value on a diverse student body.

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Back to School Updates

Dear Parents:

Two months ago while the COVID-19 pandemic was growing rapidly, McCallie transitioned to remote learning. I am grateful for and amazed by the success of that quick pivot. Our teachers demonstrated their talents in designing learning experiences that reflect our high academic standards and commitment to intellectual growth. Boys adjusted to and engaged in the online learning environments and worked hard. As parents, you have been great partners, displaying patience and support. As a school community, we maintained the centrality of relationships and our commitment to mission and values. We have been flexible and resilient. The spirit and love of McCallie have manifested themselves in many ways during these challenging days.

I want to share with you some preliminary plans for our next school year. We have been working diligently in recent weeks to contemplate and prepare for our next school year. You can see at the end of this email a graphic that shares a working framework and some of our essential task force questions to help guide our thinking and planning. 

In making and implementing any plans, we hold the safety of boys as our highest priority. We will continue to carefully monitor medical and other professional experts’ information, as well as guidelines or requirements as they may be provided by local, state, and federal government offices and agencies. There are still many unknowns, so let me stress that at this time declaring definite plans is neither possible nor wise. 

All that said, we are preparing for on-campus learning, with the first day of classes being Tuesday, August 18.

Returning to on-campus learning will require a number of steps and procedures by students, parents, faculty, and staff. It is essential to our moving forward to have firm commitment and strong partnership from everyone to act in unified and disciplined ways to protect oneself and others. Given our school culture in which we are accustomed to showing discipline in attacking challenges, I am confident that we can adapt our behaviors so that we can have school on campus safely. We ask that you join us in conveying to your sons the seriousness of complying with and obeying these new safety measures. 

Below are some of these protocols and actions we envision as of now. We will be communicating more throughout the summer. 

Before School Begins: Testing

  • Every boy, along with faculty and staff, will be required to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 and the antibodies that develop after a COVID-19 infection. Test information will be shared confidentially with each family and with our Health Center. 

  • We plan to have medical staff on campus from August 1 through opening day to conduct tests. We will have a sign-up system in place by the middle of July.

  • We will not accept tests done before August 1 because it is essential that we have current health information for each school community member.

  • Each boy, along with faculty and staff, also will be tested during the school year for SARS-CoV-2 and its antibodies (unless a previous test indicates the antibody is present).

Daily Precautions

  • There will be daily, early morning screenings of body temperatures and other symptoms before classes begin, to be recorded by each student and employee on an online platform we will monitor. Only students and employees showing no symptoms and a normal temperature will be allowed to participate in on-campus classes and activities. 

  • Everyone will be required to wear approved, school-issued masks on campus. 

  • Every student, as he enters classrooms, will be required to use hand-sanitizing gel from a dispenser mounted to the wall by the door.

  • We will adhere to strict social distancing guidelines for separation in classrooms and throughout the campus. Since we have small class sizes, many large classrooms, and abundant facilities, we will be able to conduct all of our classes spread throughout our campus. This will keep us from having to limit or rotate days and weeks in which students can be on campus as many schools may have to do. 

  • High touch areas like our seats and desks will have to be wiped down with a disinfectant product before each use.

  • Hallways will be one direction only, and we will look to limit the number of students in the hall at one time. 

Further Considerations In Process

  • We anticipate using our large Sports and Activities Center (SAC) for lunch so we can maintain social distances. Meals will be hygienically served. 

  • Bathrooms will have more motion-sensitive flushers and faucets, and there will be limits on how many students are in there at once. 

  • Chapel, assemblies, and other large gatherings will be held following social distancing guidelines in large spaces, such as the SAC, the quadrangle, or Spears Stadium. Or, some may be held virtually. 

  • Athletics and after school activities are being re-imagined by a task force. We are researching still-developing recommendations and guidelines from state and national athletic associations as well as medical experts regarding how and when team sports can return. We expect to increase our extracurricular activities, including lifetime fitness and life skills programs. The same hygiene protocols that will exist in our academic buildings will be applied to athletic areas, such as training rooms, workout areas, and practice fields.

  • Dormitory policies will include strict guidelines for social distancing, room configuration, room inspections, and number of students in a bathroom at the same time. 

  • Our Health Center is being reconfigured this summer to create separated spaces. We will implement positive COVID-19 protocols and isolation facilities. 

  • Contingency plans will be in place for, if necessary, a return to remote learning.

  • Restrictions and protocols will be in place regarding potential visitors to campus. 

Safety First

We recognize and respect that some parents and students may not feel safe or comfortable in returning to campus in August. For those who feel unsafe returning to campus, we will make arrangements for students to take classes remotely and will install the necessary technological equipment over the summer to enable this.

There is much uncertainty, but of this I am certain: we will make careful, thoughtful, and collaborative decisions based on the safety of your boys and the values of McCallie. We will promote not just their physical safety, but their psychological and emotional safety as well. The sense of brotherhood and belonging at McCallie gives us all a foundation of safety. We are better together. We are wired for connection and relationship, and we need one another. Thank you for partnering with us as we help your sons navigate the journey from boyhood to manhood. It is an honor to walk alongside them, and with you, to be a lifelong resource and friend. I will continue to be in touch with you over the summer as information and our plans become clearer.

Hoping to see you soon,

Lee Burns ‘87
Headmaster

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