COVID-19 Updates for the Hockaday Community

We understand the concern and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive to the needs of our community.  As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. Following Governor Abbott's order of April 17, the Hockaday campus will remain closed through the end of the 2019–2020 academic year. We will continue our distance learning program for the remainder of this academic year.

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

Fall Reopening

List of 9 frequently asked questions.

  • Will Hockaday reopen for on-campus instruction this fall?

    We hope and expect to reopen for on-campus instruction this fall as scheduled and are making preparations over the summer to be able to do so.

  • What factors will affect the decision to reopen?

    We will base our decision to reopen campus on guidance from government and health officials at the county, state, and federal levels, as well as guidance from school associations.
  • How is Hockaday planning over the summer to be able to reopen in the fall?

    We are working through several scenarios to accommodate having all students on campus this fall, and we are developing physical distancing and other health-promoting strategies based on health guidance. This approach will continue to be updated throughout the summer and during the academic year based upon local, state, and public health recommendations.
  • Will students need to continue with distance learning?

    Hockaday is preparing for possible periods of interruption to on-campus learning. Public health officials and our COVID-19 Task Force may recommend or require an interruption of physical operations. Should this occur, we will be prepared to transition to remote learning immediately. To be prepared for a range of teaching and learning scenarios, the Hockaday faculty are pursuing a rich array of professional development programs over the summer in order to be able to more effectively translate their course material to a distance learning platform and to provide the best possible educational experience for their students should a return to distance learning become necessary.

  • What is the status of co-curricular programs and activities?

    Our co-curricular programs and activities will follow the same standards and will include additional protocols for social distancing if we are off campus for these events. If some of our regular co-curricular activities are disrupted by the pandemic, we will find creative ways to do this programming, even if some of it occurs in the virtual space and some is done with new safety measures in place.
  • What is the status of Hockaday Athletics, practices, and competition?

    Hockaday’s Director of Athletics is working with the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) as well as the relevant national and local associations to develop plans for our Athletics and Physical Education program this fall. Upper School Athletics training is currently scheduled to resume August 10. Once these plans have been refined, they will be shared with the Hockaday community.
  • What operational changes may be needed to protect community health and safety?

    Our Operations team is working through several scenarios to protect the health and safety of our students and teachers. When students return in the fall, they may see changes in drop-off and pick-up procedures, classroom assignments, school supplies, lockers and storage, hallway traffic patterns, dining, cleaning procedures, after-school activities, student clubs, etc. We will follow guidelines from medical experts and local, state, and federal health recommendations related to the pandemic
  • Will there be changes to the academic calendar and/or daily schedule?

    Division heads and department chairs are working to refine our academic plans to design options for the daily academic schedule in order to ensure our students continue to have a robust learning experience despite any additional interruptions that may come. In addition, we expect that new procedures will require us to spend additional time orienting faculty, staff, students, and parents before school begins. We expect classes to begin in late August as scheduled and will communicate more specific information as we get closer to the fall about orientation events and daily schedule adjustments.
  • When will we receive more information?

    Hockaday will communicate regularly throughout the summer and fall as planning proceeds and additional information becomes available.

General Questions

List of 5 frequently asked questions.

  • How is Hockaday Monitoring COVID-19?

    The School has convened a COVID-19 Incident Response Team led by Joan Guzman and JT Coats. The Team is monitoring and evaluating the latest information surrounding COVID-19 to help inform Hockaday’s decisions and communications related to the virus. The full Hockaday COVID-19 Incident Response Team is below:
    • Dr. Karen Warren Coleman, Eugene McDermott Head of School
    • Blair Lowry, Assistant Head of School and Provost
    • Joan Guzman, Chief Operations Officer
    • JT Coats, Chief Financial Officer
    • Jessica Epperson ’96, Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives
    • Susan Brower ’92, Director of Communications
    • Erika Herridge, Director of Health Services
    We have been closely following developments related to COVID-19 through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. State Department, and Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS). In addition, our Health Director is in close contact with our chief epidemiologists at Dallas County Health and Human Services to remain apprised of the latest recommendations.
    We are also consulting with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Independent Schools of the Southwest Association (ISAS), and INDEX schools to follow best practices and to align ourselves, where appropriate, with our peer schools.
  • What preventative measures is Hockaday taking to prevent the spread of illness?

    We are always mindful of and exercise preventative measures around illness at School, and we have implemented several non-pharmaceutical interventions as well, including, but not limited to: 
    • Signage in and near the restrooms with reminders about healthy hygiene habits.
    • Communications from the Health Center to teach effective handwashing and preventative practices.
    • Faculty and staff education regarding the signs and symptoms of illness in our community.
    • Increased monitoring in the Health Center for influenza-like illnesses and related symptoms.
    • Additional hand sanitizing stations installed throughout the school.
    • Increased cleaning and disinfection of all horizontal surfaces, drinking fountains, and fixtures (i.e. doorknobs).
    • Increased disinfecting in the dining rooms, especially between lunch periods.
    • New disinfectant system and procedures to increase the efficiency of cleaning our classrooms and common areas.
    • Each night, our custodial crew works diligently to prepare our school for the return of students the following day. Over spring break, as is customary, we will conduct additional deep cleaning of classrooms and common areas.
  • Is Hockaday able to donate any medical supplies to medical professionals?

    Yes, due to the generosity of those in our community, Hockaday has donated supplies to medical professionals working on the front lines to care for people who have been affected by COVID-19. If you are a medical professional and are in need of masks, please contact Health Director Erika Herridge, RN.
  • What is Hockaday's health protocol while on campus?

    If essential faculty or staff are working on campus please remember the following strategies to prevent the spread of illness, as with seasonal colds or the flu and still applies to prevent COVID-19:
    • Stay home when you are sick and do not come to campus until you have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. A fever is considered any temperature greater than 100.4 
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not readily available.
    • Maintain social distancing by keeping a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others when possible.
    • Push doors open with an arm or elbow.
    • Do not shake hands, use alternatives like an elbow bump or wave.
    • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • There is no recommendation to wear masks at this time to prevent yourself from getting sick.
  • Is the School taking any precautionary steps for cleaning/sanitizing?

    Yes, we are sanitizing areas daily, paying special attention to all high-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas and deep cleaning all restrooms. Additionally, we are undergoing a thorough deep cleaning of the entire School with additional deep cleanings scheduled. We have added more hand sanitizing stations across the campus as well. If you do not have a hand sanitizer station near your work location or if you would like more, please email Joan Guzman.

Health Guidance Questions

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

Campus Dining

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • What steps is SAGE Dining Services taking related to COVID-19?

    1. SAGE conducted a thorough and deep clean of all dining areas and the entire kitchen before operations closed for Spring Break. Additionally, we will conduct an additional deep clean of all dining areas during the deep cleaning process of the entire school.
    2. SAGE has canceled all nonessential SAGE-related staff travel.
    3. SAGE is monitoring where Team Members travel during any breaks to allow them to enforce any needed quarantines before they return to work. SAGE has communicated all CDC recommendations regarding personal hygiene, prevention, and travel with all of their Team Members.
    4. The SAGE Purchasing Department is in constant contact with suppliers to ensure availability of products and to identify any potential service interruptions. When possible, they are automatically including hand sanitizer and multi-surface cleaning and disinfectant wipes in their next order. Even though our campus is currently closed, these products will be available when students return to campus.
    5. When in session, SAGE Team Members are continuing to follow food safety protocols, including frequently cleaning all surfaces in the dining hall and kitchen throughout the day using antiviral sanitizer solutions (e.g., Ecolab EPA-approved products, including Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant, which can be used against COVID-19).

School-Related Travel

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the School’s guidance related to School-related travel, School events, and personal travel?

    Prior to Spring Break, the School advised the community in several communications to take all necessary precautions regarding personal travel and to seriously reconsider any plans that would prevent their safe return to the United States and to campus. Additionally, in a message to the community on March 11, the School announced that all School-related travel through March 28 would be paused. At this time, all travel and School-related events and all Athletics practices and games are canceled through April 5.We will continue to monitor the situation and update the community about future travel and school-related events and Athletics practices and games in the weeks ahead
  • Will Hockaday suspend all School-related travel for the remainder of the academic year?

    We consider our student travel experiences a unique and invaluable component of a Hockaday education. Any decisions related to upcoming School-related travel will be based on information from local health officials and/or the CDC. Students and families scheduled to participate in an upcoming trip will hear directly from their faculty trip coordinators if a cancellation occurs.

Residence Life Questions

List of 24 frequently asked questions.

Distance Learning Questions

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • Will students be able to access the building while campus is closed and Hockaday is utilizing distance learning?

    No, students will not be able to access campus while distance learning is in effect. If a student needs something that they do not have, please contact your Division Head to determine next steps. Please do not come to campus unannounced.
  • What materials does my daughter need in order to be prepared for distance learning?

    Prior to Spring Break, we asked that all students be prepared to continue their learning from home. All three divisions are prepared to deliver remote learning to students in this situation, and the materials required to do so differ by division. If your daughter does not have all the materials she needs for distance learning, please reach out to your Division Head so that they can work with you on a resolution.
  • What will Distance Learning look like?

    Division leaders and technology specialists have developed a robust Distance Learning Plan to support both our Day and Boarding students for as long as is needed. This plan includes schedules, courses, and communication structures for all students in all divisions. It is important to note that we recognize the differences between the developmental needs of students, and our youngest girls in Pre-Kindergarten will experience online learning in a different way than the Upper School girls. Our dedicated faculty are creating lesson plans to meet these needs and methods of delivery that will be appropriate for all our children.

    As we begin this process, our distance learning experience will be dynamic. As we learn more from our families and students, we will make modifications, improvements, and implement new approaches along the way as our students become more comfortable with what is working and what may need to change. Throughout our planning process, we’ve been working with colleagues at independent schools across the country who have already started their virtual learning platforms so that we’re able to learn from their best practices.
  • Why did Hockaday choose to move to distance learning from March 23 – May 4?

    We made the decision to close our campus and move to our Distance Learning Plan based on information from the CDC and local health officials about ways in which we can help to slow the spread of this illness and allow for effective social distancing.
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