Cavs Connected 2020–2021

Durham Academy’s Roadmap for a Return to Campus

Welcome to our evolving plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Durham Academy’s approach and best practices have been shaped by: 

  • our mission to prepare students for moral, happy, productive lives

  • the lessons we learned during our emergency response to COVID-19 this spring

  • the expertise of a community of health care, communicable disease and online learning professionals

  • the commitment to balance the shared desire to return to the best possible learning environment for our students, faculty and staff with the health and safety precautions that protect their well-being.

The 2020–2021 school year will require patience, flexibility, understanding and collaboration as we continue our commitment to academic excellence under circumstances that are difficult to predict.

Below you will find information outlining DA’s guiding principles, initial instructional models and health and safety precautions. 

Cavs Connected Calendar

There will be no late-start days during the 2020–2021 school year.

School Calendar

Guiding Principles

In June, the Cavs Connected Planning Committee — including DA’s Administrative Team, directors of Extended Day, Security, DA Summer and DA’s Nurse Consultant — developed a set of principles to guide our work in the months ahead:

  • Create exceptional, sustainable and equitable learning experiences in environments that prioritize the physical, developmental, emotional and social health and wellness of our students.
  • Keep our mission in mind: preparing students for moral, happy, productive lives. 
  • Strengthen, support and sustain our school community — recognizing our shared vulnerability and mutual responsibility.
  • Evolve, respond and build expertise and resiliency as circumstances change. Learn relentlessly.
  • Maximize opportunities for on-campus learning and social engagement within the bounds of public health restrictions, for younger learners in particular.
  • Equip families with the information and support needed for a successful educational experience through consistent, clear, transparent communications.

Consulting Organizations

Durham Academy will continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for the reopening of schools as well as public health guidance  issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Duke Health
Duke University
Durham Public Health Department
Education Advisory Board
Enrollment Management Association
Global Online Academy
National Association of Independent Schools
North Carolina Association of Independent Schools
Southern Association of Independent Schools
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
UNC Health

A Flexible Campus, Curriculum and Community

A set of fluid, flexible learning models will afford DA students a robust academic experience regardless of the learning environment dictated by health and safety guidelines at any given time. DA faculty have trained, planned and prepared for these scenarios, providing the school maximum flexibility to pivot without sacrificing instructional quality, compromising personal safety or interrupting educational continuity. Families or students who need or choose to remain at home are able to continue learning without interruption. 

On Campus

  • Campuses fully open. 
  • All students on campus with safety protocols in place.


  • Campuses, classrooms, schedules and courses reimagined to support smaller groupings of students and ensure social distancing. 
  • Designed to maximize on-campus access for younger students who require more academic, developmental and social support.
  • Includes rotations of students learning on campus and at home.
  • Larger facilities (gymnasiums, libraries, common spaces, etc.) repurposed for student instruction.
  • Athletics practices and Extended Day permitted with safety protocols.

Durham E-cademy

  • Remote learning for all students, no on-campus activities.
  • Informed by spring 2020's emergency online learning and bolstered by a summer of intense faculty professional development.

Safety Precautions & Protocols

DA’s highest priority is the health and safety of our students, families, faculty and staff. Universal health and safety precautions for the 2020–2021 school year include behavioral and operational protocols to ensure the ongoing growth and learning of our students, to prevent COVID-19 exposure and transmission and to allow for rapid and effective responses to any outbreaks. In preparation for the mutual responsibility families will share in supporting the health and safety of the DA community, we encourage families to understand and practice these precautions.

Health and Safety Protocols

Masks are required — at all times indoors (except when eating or drinking in a socially distanced way), and outdoors in situations where social distancing is not possible.


Frequent hand-washing breaks throughout the day and instruction about hand hygiene. Hand sanitizer available in all classrooms and buildings.

Daily Safer Together app screening of students before arrival.

Families commit to following the health and safety protocols outlined in the Durham Academy Community Health Compact to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and wellness of the entire DA community.

Children are kept home if they are ill or exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Families notify the school if anyone in the family tests positive.

Employees complete daily health screening before arrival — via DA’s SaferTogether mobile app.

Follow federal (CDC), state (NCDHHS) and local (Durham County Department of Public Health) directives.

Refrain from travel as outlined in current CDC guidelines.

Campus Precautions and Preparations

The following procedures, campus adjustments, staffing changes and procurement of supplies are in place to protect our community.  

  • Personal protective equipment for all students, faculty and staff. 
  • Campus access restricted to essential personnel. Parents and visitors not permitted in buildings.
  • Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning processes for high-contact surfaces and facilities throughout the day, including additional staff on all campuses.
  • Nightly cleaning and sanitizing of all classrooms and use areas.
  • MERV 13 filters installed in all HVAC systems.
  • Flexible furniture and instructional space configurations for optimal social distancing and small class sizes. 
  • Tents installed to create outdoor instructional spaces.
  • Protective plexiglass screens installed in high-traffic front office areas.
  • Physical distancing and navigational signage to minimize mixing of students.
  • Large-group gatherings eliminated.



DA’s Office of Communications will keep families informed about announcements and information related to COVID-19 and the school's learning environments. You can sign up to receive updates via email alerts through our website or via RSS feed.