Cougar Strong & Safe

The entire Country School community plays a part in keeping our community strong and safe

School, out of necessity, looks different than it has in the past. We have new procedures, including wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing, throughout the school day. Nevertheless, we are confident that students find their learning environment to be welcoming and inspiring. We are fortunate to have a dedicated and expert faculty, ample physical space including vast outdoor spaces, robust technology and — most importantly — a shared commitment to our community values that makes this possible.  

⟹View our Cougar Strong & Safe Plan 2020-2021

⟹Read more about our Distance Learning Program

View Divisional Tours. Learn more about our physical spaces, our programs, and the modifications we have made due to COVID-19.

We are committed to the following Guiding Principles:

⟹ Safety and Wellbeing First
We know that students learn better when we attend to both their physical and emotional health.
⟹ An Exceptional Academic Program 
Our program – as always – challenges students to question, explore and engage with their learning in ways that ignite their curiosity and build connections.
⟹ Design for Flexibility
We recognize the dynamic nature of our current situation and we have built a program that will allow us to pivot as necessary to meet the needs of our community as conditions shift. We are committed to providing equitable access to our students as well as addressing the individual needs of students and families. 

Informed Decision-Making 
We base our decisions on the most up-to-date information available from local, state and national resources, independent school and state education guidelines, as well as our internal expertise and knowledge about childhood education best practices. We meet and/or exceed all mandated guidelines and hold ourselves to high educational standards.

A Healthy Learning Environment

We understand that being on campus together involves increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. In order to mitigate the risk of potential transmission on campus as much as possible while maintaining an optimal student experience, we employ universally accepted strategies. Each reduces risk to our community’s health and, when used together, they reinforce one another. This means that even in the temporary absence of one or two of the strategies, the risk of transmission remains mitigated because of the presence of the others.

Read our Cougar Pledge that asks our community to care for their family’s personal health, the health of all Country School community members and the health of our surrounding community.


We have reimagined our physical spaces, daily schedule and routines according to the new health and safety guidelines so that teachers and students can feel comfortable, connected and able to focus on the good work of teaching and learning. 

Principles of Design

Low-density learning spaces
We have ample room across our four divisions and 75-acre campus to create a low-density and physically distanced environment.
Students and teachers have formed learning communities that remain together throughout their school day with limited exposure outside of their immediate classroom and grade level. 

We operate with a mindset of flexibility, and have planned for both in-person and distance learning scenarios. Further, we know that not all of our students may be able to attend in person due to pre-existing conditions, a family member being at-risk or other factors. As a result, we have online access to our program.



We know that in order to be available for learning, we must first attend to students’ social-emotional needs. Our Wellness Team guides our efforts and serves as valuable resources to students, their families, and our faculty and staff community.
Focus on Relationships
It is essential to building a productive classroom community that all students feel seen, known, heard, valued and cared for before and during the work of academic learning. 
Caring for Our Adult Community
Teachers’ well-being is critical. We prioritize our faculty and staff mental and physical health, monitor stress levels and are vigilant for signs of stress and burnout.

Home-School Partnership
Home-school partnership is indispensable to address all of a child’s developmental needs at any time. During the return-to-school process, the meaningful involvement and partnership of parents/guardians and support from the community are essential.


Key Academic Dates

  • Aug. 26-28: Start of Year Parent Meetings
  • Sept. 1, 2020: First Day of School (Sept. 1-4 will include half days and other variations in order to onboard and orient the entire student community to new procedures.)
  • Nov. 5-6: Fall Conferences (All Divisions)
  • Jan. 19-20: Winter Conferences (EC)
  • Feb. 11-12: Winter Conferences (LS, MS, US)
  • April 12-13: Spring Conferences (EC Only)
  • June 11: Early Childhood Closing Date
  • June 14: Lower & Middle School Closing Date
  • June 16, 2021: Upper School Closing Date

Additional Calendars

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • + Professional Development Days (No School for Students)

    Wednesday afternoons will not be reserved for professional development. Faculty & staff meetings will take place on Wednesdays from 3-4:15 and professional development will take place on dedicated Professional Development Days:

    • Sept. 29
    • Oct. 13
    • Nov. 23-24
    • Jan. 19-20
    • Feb. 11-12 (EC)
    • April 12-13 (LS MS, US)
    • May 10
    • May 28
  • + Holidays

    • Sept. 7: Labor Day
    • Sept. 28: Yom Kippur
    • Oct. 12: Fall Holiday
    • Nov. 25-27: Thanksgiving
    • Dec. 21-January 1: Winter Break
    • Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
    • Feb. 15: Presidents Day
    • March 15-26: Spring Break
    • May 31: Memorial Day
    Note: Fridays before holidays will not be half days.


Our Return to Campus Task Force 1) serves as an advisory group to help examine our plans through multiple lenses filtering them through their own areas of expertise (including academic, health and safety, legal and financial) as well as external recommendations, and importantly, through the lens of our school’s values, and 2) ensures coherence of our plans. 

Working groups have been formed to support: teaching and learning, physical health (procedures and monitoring), mental health, campus procedures, buildings and grounds, technology, dining, athletics, transportation, auxiliary programming, communications, legal/compliance, finance, admission and outplacement, and HR/employee relations.

Important Contacts

Task Force Members

Arlety Bowman, JD, Trustee
Vanessa Brown, MD/JD, Parent
Aaron Cooper, Head of School
Rebecca Comizio, School Psychologist
Arman Gokgol-Kline, Trustee
Reshan Richards, Director of Studies
Pam Safford, Director of Enrollment Management & Financial Aid
Nancy von Euler, Executive Director, Horizons @ NCCS
Josh Ziac, Director of Safety & Security