Our Response to COVID-19

Our Response to COVID-19

We care deeply about the health and wellbeing of our students and employees and their safety is our highest priority. As we continue to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in order to support our students, families, and employees, we will post important information and updates on this page.

School Response Q&A

Updated on 04.08.2020

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: Are there any suspected cases of COVID-19 at Emma Willard School?

    UPDATED 03.22.2020

    There are currently no suspected cases at Emma Willard School. If there becomes a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case on-campus, we will work closely with public health officials and will notify our school community.
  • Q: Is the campus closed? Can I visit campus?

    UPDATED 03.24.2020

    The campus is closed to everyone except those who reside on campus and essential staff. This includes use of the athletic buildings.

    Governor Cuomo ordered a statewide shutdown requiring all non-essential government and private sector employees to work from home, effective Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. All non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned.

    Until further notice, the campus is closed. Those who reside on the premises won’t have access to public buildings and will follow our visitor protocol should an emergency arise and they have someone visiting their campus housing or are themselves returning after an extended absence.

    In the unlikely event that a visitor needs to come to a campus residence, they will still need to be screened (a visitor is any person who does not live on campus or is not deemed essential during this statewide shutdown). Any visitor must answer the following questions:

    • Have you or those you live with had close contact with a COVID-19 patient in the 14 days prior to your visit?
    • Have you or those you live with had close contact with a person under investigation for COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to your visit?
    • Have you had a fever and respiratory symptoms in the 14 days prior to the visit?
    • Have you experienced flu or cold-like symptoms in the 24 hours prior to your visit?
    If you answer in the affirmative to any of these questions, you will not be allowed to visit the Emma Willard School campus. (If you are a campus resident and have any affirmative answer to one of the questions above, please contact Director of Human Resources Saytra Green.)  
  • Q: Has the school cancelled upcoming classes, trips, events?

    UPDATED 03.22.2020

    In conjunction with the Board of Trustees, Head of School Jenny Rao made the difficult decision to complete the school year through online learning and not resume normal activities on campus. When the spring recess concludes on April 5, no students will return to campus. Classes will resume on April 6 in an online format. Information about our online learning program and virtual community will be shared directly with students and their families. For a more detailed explanation of this decision, see Jenny Rao’s letter from March 21.
  • Q: What is the revised academic calendar for this year?

    UPDATED 03.22.2020

    We count on the spring term for many culminating events that celebrate achievements and progress for everyone at Emma. We are establishing a team to help us celebrate these milestones and beloved traditions, albeit in a different way. For events such as MIASU Assembly, May Day, Flame Ceremony, and Gargoyle Assembly, we will get student input  before we make a plan. Given the current circumstances, we will be canceling all spring athletics, field trips, planned assemblies, senior retreat, and the Dance Company tour. We will make sure we celebrate the accomplishments of this year despite our current circumstances. 

    • March 12 - April 5: Extended Spring Break
    • Monday, March 30: Faculty meetings and planning continues for online learning program. 
    • Monday, April 6: Online courses begin and will continue through the end of the spring term. Details about online learning will be posted during the week of March 23. NOTE: As with traditional classroom learning, the nature of online learning will vary depending on the teacher and the course. By the time classes begin, faculty will have spent nearly a month preparing for this scenario and building our infrastructure. While our current circumstances have forced this move, we are excited by the teaching and learning opportunities. Our goal is to provide our students with an excellent educational and community experience.
    • April 24 - 27: Spring Long Weekend, no classes
    • Saturday, May 30: Baccalaureate
    • Sunday, May 31: Commencement
    See our detailed academic calendar for more information.
  • Q: What about the ACT, SAT, and AP Testing?

    The April ACT date and May SAT date have both been cancelled. The College Board announced on March 20 that AP Exams will be administered online. For information, visit the College Board website. The College Counseling Office will be communicating with the Classes of 2020 and 2021 after the spring recess.  
  • Q: If the school is closed, will there still be Commencement?

    We recognize that the decision to bring school online for the spring term has a unique impact on our seniors. We have not yet made a decision on how we will conduct Commencement and would like to see how things progress before we do. We will work to celebrate and honor our seniors and their accomplishments  to the fullest extent possible.
  • Q: What about Reunion?

    Reunion 2020 is postponed until June 2021. The classes ending in 0's and 5's will gather with the classes ending in 1's and 6's. This promises to be an exciting celebration. Head of School Jenny Rao sent a letter to all alumnae on April 6 with information about the decision. If you are an alumna and did not receive this communication, please reach out to Director of Alumnae Relations Margaret Clark (mclark@emmawillard.org)
  • Q: What about GirlSummer?

    It is our sincere hope to have GirlSummer. That said, the safety and health of all is our priority. We will not have a boarding component to GirlSummer this year but are still planning on a fun and robust day camp. If circumstances require adjustments, we will be making a decision on May 1. All decisions and details regarding refunds will be communicated via email to enrolled families and will be posted on the GirlSummer page of the website. If you have any questions, please email girlsummer@emmawillard.org
  • Q: How do I contact school personnel when the campus is closed?

    Emma Willard School administrators and staff are working remotely during the spring recess and can be reached via email or their office phones. Faculty will also be working remoting when they return to work on March 30. Once students are back in classes on April 6, all employees will monitor their phone messages and emails during regular business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please see the school’s directory for contact information.

COVID-19 Communiques

List of 5 news stories.

  • Emma students as part of the on-campus learning orientation held on September 30

    COVID Reminders as the Cooler Weather Moves In

    Trey Dobson, MD 
    Trey Dobson, M.D., is the chief medical officer at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center who also provides medical consultation to Emma Willard School. This article was originally posted in the online news service, VTDigger.
  • Emma Willard School is ready for 2020-21!

    New York State Department of Health Opening Plan

    The New York State Department of Health requires that all schools submit their plans for reopening and operating during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Emma Willard School plan was submitted to NYSDoH on July 31, 2020.
  • Math Instructor Laszlo Bardos sharing good will

    Building Community Always

    Suzanne Romero Dewey
    Springtime in a vibrant and gutsy city nestled on the Hudson River not far from the Berkshires offers an array of beauty, variable weather, and an energizing force that makes the days a blur of activity. For a high school student at Emma Willard School, this time of year is typically fast and typically furious with end-of-year assessments looming, anticipated culminations beckoning, and growth and leadership opportunities inviting.
  • Jen in her nursing uniform


    Suzanne Romero Dewey
    They step forward when many of us would back away. They are committed to the purpose of their work and that work is helping and caring for others. The Emma Willard School community has many of these unsung heroes who serve in hospitals, ambulances, urgent care centers, medical offices, nursing homes, and veteran centers. Many are alumnae, parents, employees, or good friends of the school. We share the story of one such selfless caregiver. We know there are many others. We thank you. We honor you. And we do, indeed, need you. 
  • Alumnae Update on COVID-19 and Spring Term

    Head of School Jenny Rao
View All News

In Community with COVID-19

March 13, 2020
Emma Willard School ends this week with all students on spring break. The recess would have started today, but we expedited the break and extended it into April as a COVID-19 response. The faculty has been meeting these past days to organize and adapt their coursework to an online platform in preparation for teaching digitally should that become necessary. Those are the stark facts. If you look deeper, however, the context and comfort of community shine forth and demonstrate compassion, thoughtfulness, and good will. Keep reading...
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Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years.