Hackley COVID-19 Summer Update

Dear Hackley Community,
I hope your first few weeks of summer are off to a pleasant start. I am writing today with an update regarding Hackley’s COVID-19 preparations for 2021-2022.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
Currently, individuals ages 12 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, which was authorized by the FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) provision. Hackley continues to strongly encourage families to have adolescents 12 and older vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible — ideally before the start of school — consistent with recommendations from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

Once the FDA grants full approval of the vaccine for age groups inclusive of our student body, Hackley will add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccinations required to attend classes in person. Because the vaccination process will take time, families will be asked to provide proof of their child’s first shot within 28 days of the vaccine receiving full FDA approval for their particular age group, as well as proof of the final shot once administered. Hackley will only allow for limited medical exemptions for individuals with contraindications to the COVID-19 vaccine per the CDC/AAP. Both Pfizer and Moderna submitted data for full FDA approval, which is expected this fall. 

We know that parents and guardians act in the best interest of their children, and in mandating the vaccine upon approval by the FDA, Hackley is also acting out of a duty of care for our students, as well as our employees and our extended community. By adding this vaccine to our health requirements once FDA-approved, the community is assured that the FDA’s exacting safety standards are met and families have time to address remaining questions with their physician. 

If your child has been vaccinated this summer, please email Janice Starace in the Nurse’s Office to share proof of your student’s vaccination. Having an accurate picture of the vaccination rate of eligible students will be important as we make subsequent decisions regarding the fall.

Hybrid learning will not be available should a family choose not to vaccinate their child once the child is eligible. 

Approach to Surveillance Testing
With expanded access to the vaccine, Hackley only expects to conduct weekly surveillance testing for those students in grades K-7. This grade-based approach captures all the students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Hackley may alter this approach as more students become eligible and are vaccinated, or if we feel that expanding testing is necessary. We will communicate a timeline for phasing out testing at a future date.

State and Local Guidance for 2021-2022 
As of this date, schools have not received updated guidance regarding the 2021-2022 school year from state or local officials. This leaves several important questions unanswered, including the extent to which the state will require masks and social distancing. 
Once we have a framework from state and local officials, Hackley will communicate more fully about next school year. However, as shared in the final testing message of the year, we are eager to return to a more normal school year, including pre-COVID classroom configurations, and enabling students to enjoy a robust set of offerings and experiences, including performances and recitals, field trips, a full schedule of interscholastic athletic competitions, after-school clubs and activities, the return of the Tuck Shop and Hornets’ Nest, and in-person gatherings, including class socials and Stings. 

Hopefully, state and local officials will issue updated guidance prior to our next update, which is planned for the week of August 2. In the meantime, I hope you and your family enjoy a restful, healthy next few weeks.

Forward together,
Michael C. Wirtz P ’29 ’31