Campus Guidelines

The CA: United Compact


Responsibilities for public health are shared by all. Our Compact means that we care enough about each other to comply with new behavioral expectations. They are direct extensions of our core values of respect, integrity, and compassion.  

The goal of the Compact is to create an environment to maximize comfort working and learning in-person during a pandemic. Personal responsibility and care for all is crucial to establishing the trust necessary to come together. 

These expectations will be designed, and regularly reviewed and updated, using the best available guidance from medical, public health, and educational experts.   

Students and parents will be expected to agree to these expectations before they are allowed to begin on-campus learning. This will include an agreement to report any positive COVID-19 test to the school nurse. 

Learning Flexibility

While the school is following CDC and state guidelines in developing operational plans, families have the final say in whether they feel it safe for their child(ren) to return to campus. 

Changes to the academic program for 2020-2021 have been put in place to afford greater flexibility in delivery.

These changes will allow students to keep pace with their classes even if they need to learn from home for an extended period of time due to illness or family circumstance.

Families who anticipate a longer-term need to keep their child(ren) at home are asked to contact their division head to make sure we can put in place the best possible schedule for remote learning.


Operational Levels

Level Overview

  • Phase Green – Normal Operations
  • Phase Yellow – Moderate Physical Distancing
  • Phase Orange – High Physical Distancing / Limiting Individuals on Campus
  • Phase Red – Virtual / Essential Personnel Only


Current Level: Virtual

The campus is closed to visitors, with limited exceptions listed below.

Employees are allowed to come to campus but should follow the On-Campus Guidance issued on May 26, 2020. Those who are able are allowed to continue working from home until July 27.

Limited access to athletic outdoor facilities will begin, with permission from parents, on June 15. Signups required through athletic office. Detailed guidelines for health and safety are listed in the Athletics Summer Waiver form.

Divisions will communicate with students and families over the summer as schedules and other plans firm up. We anticipate announcing the start of school mode (red or orange) for 2020-2021 on July 29, 2020  — two weeks before the start of classes.

Moving Between Levels

The school will generally “phase through” levels rather than jump levels. Therefore, after a period of virtual learning this past spring, it can be expected that the school will start in orange mode (limiting access to campus learning just a few days a week).

The Cary Academy operational modes outlined in May generally align with the plans outlined by other organizations, including guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Toolkit (K-12) issued on June 8, 2020 regarding public schools.

During the school year, triggers for moving between operational levels will be determined in conjunction with expectations and guidance from state and local governmental and health authorities.

Healthy Campus Framework

Holistic Wellness

COVID-19 is thought to spread from close contact, person-to-person. The CDC recommends several steps to help prevent the spread of the virus, which have informed Cary Academy’s responses outlined on the these pages.

However, at the core of Cary Academy’s approach to the pandemic is supporting a deeper understanding of health, wellness, and self-care for all members of our community.

These are life skills and mindsets that will serve students well beyond the time of the pandemic and are in alignment with major goals of the school’s current strategic plan.

Prevention: Expected On-Campus Behaviors

Personal Hygiene

Students, employees and visitors should wash/sanitize hands when leaving home in the morning or right upon entering campus. They should continue to wash or sanitize hands regularly throughout the day, with the most common routine being between classes and before/after lunch. 

Healthy hygiene includes sneezing or coughing into your elbow and avoiding touching your face, eyes, or mouth. 

Social Hygiene 

Everybody on campus will be expected to wear a face covering, unless exercising or working alone in a room or outside. It is expected that individuals change and/or clean their face covering daily. All coverings must comply with the school’s dress code: neat, clean, modest. The school will provide face coverings for students who do not have their own.

Everybody should practice appropriate physical distancing, which is generally understood to be six-feet apart from another person. This will not always be possible during times of movement. In those cases, individuals should be mindful of their surroundings and seek to move as efficiently as possible from point A to B.

Sharing personal belongings is discouraged.

Environmental Wellness

In order to minimize crowding, some hallways or staircases may be designated one-way. It is expected that students respect all signage regarding movement around campus.

It is expected that students support keeping the campus clean, and this could involve wiping down classroom surfaces or equipment before or after class.

Prevention: Campus Environment


Touchless bathroom fixtures have been or are in the process of being installed throughout the campus.

A hand washing station will be placed in the entryway of the MS and US buildings.

Sanitizing stations will be placed in visible places throughout the campus.


The campus is cleaned and disinfected nightly by our cleaning partner. Their workers follow the same or more stringent self-screening and reporting procedures as those expected by Cary Academy.

During the day, additional staff will be on hand to perform regular cleaning of high touch surfaces, which include common areas, restrooms, lobbies, stairs, elevators, and handrails.

Cleaning supplies will also be available for classroom use to wipe down surfaces after classes.

Air Quality

Over the summer, the facilities team worked with our outside vendor Brady Services to add additional filters to our air control systems and adjust them to increase intake and circulation of outside air.


Detection: Daily Health Self-Check

All students and employees will be expected to complete a daily wellness check before coming to campus. They will be asked to confirm they have done this via a school app.

Individuals are expected to stay home if they are exhibiting any of the symptoms below or have been in contact with anybody who is ill with COVID-19 or under self-quarantine.

Health-check symptoms:

  • fever over 100.4,
  • sore throat not related to another medical condition (ie allergies),
  • new or worsening cough not related to another medical condition,
  • shortness of breath not related to another medical condition,
  • new onset of vomiting or diarrhea not related to another medical condition,
  • recent loss of taste or smell,
  • a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes.

At the moment, we expect to ask students and employees to self-check their temperature at home, before coming to school, which will allow them to use the same device and understand their own health patterns. Where this is not possible, they may come to the school nurse or designated station upon arrival at school to be checked. 

The school may conduct random temperature screenings throughout the day and will send students with temperatures home. The school may require that those students are cleared by a doctor before resuming studies on campus. 

This approach to temperature monitoring could be adjusted, without warning, in which case the school may determine it is in our best interest to temp check all students and employees on arrival.

Detection: Testing and Reporting

Based on the current understanding of testing veracity and availability, the school will not be expecting mandatory COVID-19 testing of students or employees. 

Individuals who exhibit signs of Covid-19 through their self-check should contact their primary care provider.

All students and employees are expected to report a positive COVID-19 test to the school nurse. 


The school will work in partnership with local public health authorities in responding to cases or exposure to COVID-19 within the community.

If you test COVID-19 positive

If a student or employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and do not have symptoms they must remain out of school until 10 days have passed since the date of their test.

If they test positive and have symptoms, they must stay home for 10 days since the onset of symptoms and have been fever and symptom free for at least three days.

Contact tracing and notification

It is expected that public health authorities, who are experts in this matter, will conduct any formal contact tracing following a positive report of COVID-19. School officials will then coordinate with local health officials to notify staff and families immediately, while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with state and federal laws.

If contact with COVID patient

If a student or employee has been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they must remain out of school for 14 days since the last date of exposure. They must complete the full quarantine, even if they test negative. If they test positive, they should follow the guidelines above. 

Next steps

The school will take guidance from local health authorities on appropriate steps following a positive diagnosis on campus, which would likely involve closing campus for a few days to clean and coordinate communication and planning. 

Other Expectations

Daily Schedules

While the school calendar (vacation schedules) has not been altered, both the Middle School and Upper School are adjusting their daily schedules for the 2020-2021 school year — to allow for less physical contact (protect health) and to reduce overall stress for students (improve wellness).

Daily Periods 

Both divisions will run schedules that have students meeting in classes for longer periods of time but less frequently. This “block” scheduling will allow for less overall contact with different individuals when on campus (protect health) and also reduce the frequency that students need to shift between classes, thus reducing cognitive stress and nightly homework loads (improving wellness). 

Start and Dismissal Times 

The school also will stagger start times in the morning to provide less crush at the doors all at once (protect health) and allowing for slightly more sleep for students (improving wellness). These changes are in alignment with national studies on adolescent sleep and should have no impact on after-school athletics or activities. 


Whenever possible, when not in class, students should seek to gather outside or in other high-volume areas not being used for learning. 

Individuals should follow all posted guidelines when using specific places on campus.


Lunch will be served “takeout” style. Divisions will rotate pickup times and eating locations, using the Dining Hall, outside areas, large common areas, and classrooms. Our dining provider, SAGE, follows specific guidelines for employee health and safety and food preparation. 

The Cafe will follow cleaning and preparation protocols developed by SAGE and will sell pre-packaged takeaway items. 


Athletic Spaces and Fitness Room

The Fitness Room and other athletic spaces may be open, with limited availability. Timelines will be observed, and if necessary a sign-up schedule will be implemented. Social distancing and cleaning protocols must be observed by all individuals using the space. 


Parents and Volunteers

During red and orange modes, parents and volunteer access to the campus will be limited to activities in the Admin building. It is expected that meetings, wherever possible, will be conducted virtually.

Any visitors will be expected to follow the school’s face covering, temperature check, and social distancing expectations.


Vendors are expected to follow the school’s face covering and social distancing expectations. 

Guiding Resources

CDC Guidance