FAQs

We know you have questions, we all do. Starting here we’ve compiled a list with answers to some of the more frequent questions from our community. If you have a question that you don’t see answered here, feel free to ask one of your own. Just click here.

For FAQs regarding COVID-19 testing at Pingry, please visit the COVID-19 testing page.

For FAQs regarding COVID-19 contract tracing at Pingry, please visit the COVID-19 contact tracing page.

Pingry Anywhere

  1. Will Pingry be open and provide in-person education in the fall?
  2. If I am uncomfortable sending my child to campus, will you offer a remote learning option?
  3. What is Pingry Anywhere?
  4. How far in advance must parents notify Pingry if they want their child to attend Pingry Anywhere from home?
  5. What factors will affect Pingry’s decision to transition from in-person school to one of our other scenarios, including fully remote?
  6. What is the Global Online Academy?

Health and Safety Protocols

  1. What additional health and safety measures are being put in place?
  2. Will my child need to submit a daily symptom check before going to campus? 
  3. Will there be a temperature check station at school?
  4. Will masks be required on campus?
  5. Will face shields be required in school?
  6. How will Pingry maintain social distancing throughout the school?
  7. How will you enforce the safety precautions (e.g., wearing masks and social distancing)? 
  8. Will students be required to wear masks outside (e.g., during recess)?
  9. Are students required to wear gloves? 
  10. What are the Lower School “pods?”
  11. What is the sick policy and procedures for non-COVID-related health issues?
  12. If I return from traveling to a banned state, then test negative for COVID, do I still have to quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus?

Student Experience

  1. Will Pingry have orientation opportunities during the first week of school?
  2. What will the adjusted dress code look like? 
  3. Will Pingry still offer lunch?
  4. How will allergies, including nut allergies, be handled?
  5. With Pingry Anywhere, will the grading system be the same as in previous years, or will it be modified as it was this past spring?
  6. How will Pingry Anywhere address students who have learning challenges and who require special accommodations?
  7. How will Pingry support the mental health of its students during this unprecedented time?
  8. What is Pingry’s camera policy for virtual classes?

Arts, Athletics, and Enrichment Activities

  1. Will Pingry offer athletics?
  2. Will there still be co-curricular activities and enrichment opportunities?
  3. Will Pingry offer music, performing arts, and visual arts programs?
  4. Will Middle School be offering Homework Club in the fall? 

Transportation, Departure, Arrival, and Visitation

  1. Will Pingry provide bussing?
  2. What will the drop-off and pick-up procedures look like on campuses?
  3. Will Pingry’s Short Hills campus offer Beforecare, Aftercare, and enrichment programs in the fall?
  4. Will families/parents or other visitors be allowed on campus?

Pingry Anywhere

Will Pingry be open and provide in-person education in the fall?

Yes, The Pingry School is currently planning to be open and will safely welcome as many students back to the Basking Ridge and Short Hills Campuses as possible based upon the current New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) guidelines. Our return to in-person education will come with adjusted school activities, changes to infrastructure, and, most importantly, new health and wellness protocols in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and other medical experts. As the COVID-19 environment evolves, we may need to adjust our in-person presence to ensure the health and safety of our community.

If I am uncomfortable sending my child to campus, will you offer a remote learning option?

Yes! Pingry Anywhere, our flexible education model, was officially announced in Head of School Matt Levinson’s letter to the community on June 22, 2020 and subsequent webinar on June 24, 2020. As its name implies, Pingry Anywhere allows students access to their Pingry education whether they are at home or on campus. Students who are uncomfortable attending school in-person or who may not be able to due to illness or quarantine will be able to attend class virtually.

What is Pingry Anywhere?

Pingry Anywhere, developed with the uncertainties of the 2020-21 school year in mind, is a flexible education model designed to deliver a best-in-class, learner-centered experience to every student whether they are at school or at home.  This innovative, hybrid approach to learning allows faculty and students to pivot among multiple learning scenarios, ranging from fully in-person (on campus) to fully remote (at home). Recognizing the dynamic and rapidly changing environment caused by the pandemic, Pingry Anywhere enables us to seamlessly transition to different scenarios as needed. The program also addresses the full, end-to-end student experience, including academic excellence, community building, conference and flex periods, co-curriculars and extracurriculars, as well as counseling and other methods of student support. Pingry Anywhere’s agility and engagement will ensure continuity of the robust Pingry experience, regardless of where learning takes place.

Additional information can be found on our Pingry Anywhere 101 page.

How far in advance must parents notify Pingry if they want their child to attend Pingry Anywhere from home?

As a family, you may choose on a daily basis whether you would like to have your child attend Pingry Anywhere in-person or from home.

What factors will affect Pingry’s decision to transition from offering in-person school to one of its other learning scenarios, including fully remote?

Any decision to transition from offering in-person learning to a fully remote scenario will not be made in isolation; it will be a thoughtful, deliberate response based on  outside medical expertise and guidance from state and local governments. We will closely monitor the metrics of the pandemic to determine the optimal operating scenario that keeps our community healthy and safe and  effectively delivers the full Pingry experience. If state or local officials mandate another  school closing, Pingry will abide by those guidelines. While we are an independent institution, we are not entirely released from government oversight when it comes to certain matters, such as remaining open during a pandemic.

What is Global Online Academy?

Global Online Academy (GOA) was a month-long training program that Pingry’s entire faculty participated in at the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year. It included an intensive, week-long, course design boot camp coupled with three additional weeks of instructional coaching. The focus and extraordinary investment in time and energy prepared our dedicated faculty to be able to deliver best-of-class Pingry Anywhere learning experiences both in-person and remotely.

Health and Safety Protocols

What additional health and safety measures are being put in place?

Our top priority is the safety and well-being of those in our school community. In the absence of a vaccine, we cannot expect to return to a zero-risk environment. Pingry has designed a multi-layered health and safety program informed by governing body mandates, medical guidelines, and best practices that is intended to minimize the health and safety risks of COVID-19 on students, faculty, and staff.

Additional information on our approach to risk mitigation can be found on our Approach to Risk Mitigation page. Detailed information on campus improvements can be found on our How We’ve Prepared page.

Will my child need to submit a daily symptom check before going to campus? 

Yes, if your child plans on attending Pingry Anywhere in-person, they must complete a daily, pre-arrival, health symptom check form. This form will ask key questions, including a temperature check, to help inform your child’s decision (or the parent/guardian’s decision, based upon the age of the child) as to whether or not to come to  campus. We ask our community to thoughtfully and safely complete the questions and err on the side of caution. If your answer to any one of these questions—such as a temperature of 100’ or higher—indicates that your child should stay home, please keep them home. With Pingry Anywhere, the Pingry experience can be accessed remotely so students won’t miss a day of instruction.

Will there be a temperature check station at school?

Yes, we will have mandatory temperature check stations at both campuses, and every individual who enters our facilities (faculty, staff, students) will have their temperature checked before they are allowed inside. If an individual has a temporal temperature of 100℉ or below, they will be welcome on campus. If an individual has a temporal temperature of 100.1℉ or higher, they will be retested. If the temperature remains high, they will wait in a holding location until they are able to leave campus.

In cases where a student must return home, Pingry is only allowed to release that student to an “authorized pick-up individual” as indicated in Veracross. Please be sure to update your pre-approved list in Veracross as instructed here.

Temperature check stations will be located at the main entrances of the Basking Ridge and Short Hills Campuses. Additional temperature check stations will be set up along the Basking Ridge athletics wing, the Engel Dining Room entrance, and the Middle School entrance, between 7:30 a.m. and 8:25 a.m., and along the Short Hills back driveway entrance between 7:50 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.

Will masks be required on campus?

Yes, anyone on campus, including all students, faculty, and staff, will be required to wear a mask at all times when in the presence of others. This is in accordance with the CDC recommendation as of July 16, 2020 that all people 2 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings. All individuals on campus will be required to wear a Pingry-issued mask while on school property and in the presence of others.

Pingry-issued, washable, three-ply cotton masks come in three different sizes and include a removable/replaceable PM2.5 filter; there is also room for the student’s name. Five (5) masks and ten (10) filters will be provided at the beginning of the school year, ensuring a clean mask can be worn each day. Student accounts will be billed $50 during the August 1, 2020 billing cycle for the Pingry-issued personal protection equipment. Additional masks and filters will be available for purchase in the Bear Pause. There will be appropriate exceptions made for dining, medical conditions, and strenuous athletics. Students are permitted, at their own risk, to wear self-supplied masks instead of Pingry-issued masks if they bear an N-95 certification.

Additional information can be found on our Health & Safety page.

Will face shields be required in school?

Yes, anyone on campus, including all students, faculty, and staff, will be required to have a Pingry-issued face shield and will be required to wear the Pingry-issued face shield while in designated spaces on school property (e.g., commons, hallways, bathrooms, and non-traditional classrooms, such as lab and movement-based classes).

Face shields come in three different sizes. Two (2) Pingry-issued face shields will be provided in the beginning of the school year, and additional face shields will be available for purchase in the Bear Pause. Student accounts will be billed $50 during the August 1, 2020 billing cycle for the Pingry-issued personal protection equipment.

Additional information can be found on our Health & Safety page.

How will Pingry maintain social distancing throughout the school?

Pingry will be creating social distancing on campus in four ways: (1) physical distancing, (2) masks, (3) face shields, and (4) permanent plexiglass dividers between seats. Pingry’s facilities team has worked tirelessly to install plexiglass partitions between each desk in every one of our traditional classrooms. Students will be required to wear a Pingry-issued face shield in addition to their face mask in areas where plexiglass is impractical (e.g., hallways, bathrooms, flex spaces, and non-traditional classrooms, such as labs or fine arts spaces).

Additional information can be found on our Health & Safety page.

How will you enforce the safety precautions (e.g., wearing masks and social distancing)? 

As Head of School Matt Levinson noted in his June 22 letter to the community, “Our collective safety and well-being rest in the hands of all of us.” The successful implementation of safety precautions—such as wearing masks and face shields, maintaining the proper social distance, and adhering to sanitization protocols—will be a testament to the collective resolve and support of our school community. Masks and face shields are required of everyone (students, faculty, and staff) to enter and remain on campus as designated by our health and safety protocols. Anyone without a mask or shield will be sent home. Additional follow up will be handled by the appropriate Dean, if needed.

Will students be required to wear masks outside (e.g., during recess)?

For the majority of situations, masks will not be required when students are outside during the academic day. Outdoor activities such as recess will be supervised, and the students will be required to maintain their physical distance while masks are off. Note that there is a specific outdoor mask policy for athletic programs, subject to NJSIAA guidelines, and the policy shifts depending on which phase we are in.

Are students required to wear gloves? 

No, students will not be required to wear gloves, except during activities that would have required gloves for safety prior to the pandemic (e.g., science labs).

What are the Lower School “pods”? 

Pods provide a way to limit contact between students during in-person learning. For example, in the Lower School, the following four student “pods” have been created, which group grade(s) based on existing shared spaces (such as common spaces): Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-4, and Grade 5. Consideration has been given to campus flow, dining, specials, arrival and dismissal to avoid unnecessary exposure between student pods.

What is the sick policy and procedures for non-COVID-related health issues?

The sick policy has remained the same and is currently in effect for the 2020-2021 school year. If a student is sick for three consecutive days or longer, they must provide a doctor’s note including a diagnosis and plan of care, and also be symptom- and fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school. If an athletic trainer, school nurse, or counselor deem a physician referral necessary, written communication from the physician’s office will be required. The student will not be allowed to return to activity without written medical clearance from their physician’s office. The physician or healthcare provider should have no personal or familial relationship to the student. Please refer to the Health & Medical Policies section of the Student Handbook for more information.

If I return from traveling to a banned state, then test negative for COVID, do I still have to quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus?

Yes. Even if you receive a negative test result for COVID after you returned to New Jersey, there is still a mandatory 14-day quarantine period before coming to campus.

Student Experience

Will Pingry have orientation opportunities during the first week of school?

Yes, we are in the process of reimaging the first week of school. In lieu of the Middle and Upper School’s traditional off-campus excursions, Pingry is thoughtfully designing on-campus, experiential orientation programs with a focus on community building, health training, and just plain fun!

For additional information, please visit our Short Hills First Week of School Page and/or our Basking Ridge First Week of School Page.

What will the adjusted dress code look like? 

With comfort in mind, Pingry’s Dress Code will be relaxed until further notice.  Shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, sweatpants, and leggings are now permitted.  However, students should continue to dress thoughtfully in terms of the work they will engage in while at school, and t-shirt slogans or other clothing that depicts hate speech, threatening language, sexual acts, and/or controlled substances remain prohibited. Because students will not have access to locker rooms to change for athletics, they may wear their athletic clothing to school.

Will Pingry still offer lunch?

Yes, we will continue to serve meals, including hot lunches. In order to maintain health and safety protocols during lunchtime activities, Pingry has been working closely with SAGE, our longtime dining service provider, to offer pre-packed, compostable, and disposable hot and cold lunch options in a grab-and-go format. Additional modifications are being made to the layout and locations of dining areas to reduce density, avoid bottlenecks, and ensure proper social distancing.

How will allergies, including nut allergies, be handled?

The School’s policy regarding nut allergies remains the same: The School’s food service provider, SAGE Dining Services, does not cook with allergens, including nuts (view their dedicated webpage for additional information. Lower School students are not permitted to bring nuts or nut-related snacks to school, and the Bear Pause on the Basking Ridge Campus does not sell snacks that include nuts. If you have specific questions regarding food allergies, please reach out to SAGE’s Food Service Director at Pingry, Mike Ciampa.

With Pingry Anywhere, will the grading system be the same as in previous years, or will it be modified as it was this past spring?

For both the Middle and the Upper School, Pingry will return to its traditional grading system for the fall of 2020. The standard grading policy will continue to be used for the Lower School. The Lower School is currently evaluating its assessment of student learning to more accurately reflect the knowledge and skills students will develop during remote and in-person learning in the 2020-21 school year.

How will Pingry Anywhere address students who have learning challenges and who require special accommodations?

Students who have been approved for testing accommodations through our learning specialists’ offices will continue to receive these accommodations whether they are participating in Pingry Anywhere from home or in-person. Exceptions may include accommodations that do not apply to the remote testing environment, such as a distraction-reduced environment for exams and quizzes. If you have questions about how accommodations are implemented remotely, Upper School families and students are encouraged to connect with Learning Specialist Ms. Marcy Cohen and Lower School families and students are encouraged to connect with School Counselor Dr. Alyssa Johns.

How will Pingry support the mental health of its students during this unprecedented time?

The changes to our school environment, and to our society as a whole, have been immediate and dramatic and unlike anything we’ve experienced before. We understand that change can be difficult, and we have put a great deal of thought into how to support our students’ social, emotional, and mental health during this unprecedented time. Our student advisors, counselors, and learning specialists have all been trained to identify students who may be having difficulty, whether they participate in Pingry Anywhere in-person or remotely. We anticipate a lot of “checking in” to understand how students are doing and respond to their needs appropriately. For additional information on student support, visit our Wellness page.

What is Pingry’s camera policy for virtual classes?

The cameras on student learning devices (e.g., laptop, iPad) are expected to be on for all students joining remotely, and must remain on for the duration of the synchronous class. If a student and/or family would like to request an accommodation, they must jointly reach out to their Division Director and/or Gilberto Olvera, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, who will connect them to the appropriate support service (e.g., learning specialist, nurse, counselor). If an accommodation is granted, the Dean of Students will share this accommodation with the appropriate faculty member. Note that faculty will not be recording any component of student participation and/or discussion. The only component of a classroom session that may be captured is an image of the faculty member and only for purposes of sharing the recording later in asynchronous learning material.

Arts, Athletics, and Enrichment Activities

Will Pingry offer athletics?

We are closely following state guidelines and recommendations to do our best to safely offer interscholastic athletics or athletic alternatives to our students. We recognize that athletics is an important part of the Pingry experience and are closely aligning our program with external medical recommendations and guidelines from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), where applicable.

On July 10, 2020, the NJSIAA announced that they would be moving High School Fall Sports to “Model 1-Delayed Fall Season.” This means that (1) voluntary summer sessions will occur between July 13, 2020–August 29, 2020, (2) there will be a two-week mandatory “dead period” from August 29, 2020–September 13, 2020 to allow students and families to focus on school re-entry, and (3) official preseason practices for all fall sports will begin on September 14, 2020. Any decision to move away from this model will be made no later August 28, 2020.

For the Middle School, the fall sports program will begin alongside the start of school. We plan to offer intramural, team based activities with some interscholastic competition if scheduling permits.

Additional details regarding athletics are available on our Basking Ridge Athletics page.

Will there still be co-curricular activities and enrichment opportunities?

We recognize that co-curricular activities (e.g., assemblies, advisory, student organizations) and enrichment opportunities are a vital part of the Pingry experience. It is our intention to offer these wonderful co-curricular activities and enrichment opportunities as planned, with modifications that address the health and safety of our community.

Additional information can be found on our Short Hills and Basking Ridge pages.

Will Pingry offer music, performing arts, and visual arts programs?

Yes, Pingry will be offering music, performing arts, and visual arts. Program modifications are being developed to address the health and safety of our community, and the details of these changes will be released from the specific departments closer to the start of school.

Will the Middle School be offering Homework Club in the fall? 

Yes, the Middle School will still offer its clubs, including after-school clubs such as Homework Club.

Transportation, Departure, Arrival, and Visitation

Will Pingry provide bussing?

Yes! Pingry has been working closely with its partner, the Kensington Bus Company, to ensure that group-stop routes, including the Intercampus Shuttle, continue to serve the transportation needs of our community while following the New Jersey Department of Education’s safety guidelines. Pingry will require all riders to wear face masks and face shields. Following each run, enhanced cleaning protocols on buses will be implemented. Detailed information, including previous communications specific to transportation as well as a link to register for a group-stop route or the Intercampus Shuttle, can be found on pingry.org/transportation.

Additional transportation information can be found on our Transportation page.

What will the drop-off and pick-up procedures look like on campuses? 

Drop-off and pick-up procedures have been altered to maximize the health and safety of our community, and they will look somewhat different from past years. Every individual who enters our facilities (faculty, staff, students) will have their temperature checked before they are allowed inside.

Additional on Basking Ridge drop-off and pick-up can be found on our Basking Ridge Drop Off / Pick Up page. Additional on Short Hills drop-off and pick-up can be found on our Short Hills Drop Off / Pick Up page.

Will Pingry’s Short Hills Campus offer Beforecare, Aftercare, and enrichment programs in the fall?

Yes, Pingry’s Short Hills Campus plans on offering these very popular programs in the fall! Beforecare will be available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:50 a.m., and Aftercare will be available from 3:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. These times have been extended from prior years to allow greater flexibility for families. As with our other programs, changes will be made to address the health and safety of our community, including a “pod” approach (i.e., grouping K, 1-2, 3-4, and 5) to minimize exposure to infection. Enrichment programs will begin in October and information on those offerings will be available closer to the start date.

Additional information can be found on our Beforecare, Aftercare, Enrichment page.

Will families/parents or other visitors be allowed on campus?

Access to both our Basking Ridge and Short Hills Campuses will be limited this year in an effort to minimize population density on campus, to maintain the health and safety of our physical environment, and to be able to respond efficiently to known COVID-19 exposure on campus. Spectators may be permitted at outside events, such as athletics, and outdoor or remote volunteer opportunities may be available. Only invited guests, such as those who provide essential services (e.g., Sage Dining Services), will be allowed inside the buildings.