Academy Re-Opening Plan

Re-Opening Plan Meeting Video

Watch a recording of our meeting with Academy families regarding the re-opening of the Academy

Watch Video

Academy Re-Opening Plan

Amidst the continuing Coronavirus pandemic, the Greater Harford Academy of the Arts Half Day Program (GHAAHD) remains committed to as robust, equitable, and safe an academic arts experience as possible. Under the guidance of the Capital Region Education Council (CREC) and the State Department of Education (SDE), we will continue to adapt as local, state, and national conditions evolve. The following information will illustrate our approach providing our students and families a meaningful 2020-21 school year.


Acting Space
Acting Studio: Chairs are positioned 6 feet apart. In other spaces, spacing is marked with tape.
While the Arts Academy faces different considerations in dealing with Covid-19 than would a typical desk-and-chair high school, the same scientifically-based mitigation strategies safeguarding against the virus still apply. We have conducted a thorough assessment of all our activities and will be implementing a number of strategies to help protect our students, faculty, and staff. We realize these changes will mean a different Academy experience that in the past, but with everyone’s adherence and support, we can create a vibrant and engaging experience for all.


Specific protocol will vary by departmental depending on discipline, but the following guidelines will apply across GHAAHD:
  • 6’ social distancing should be striven for at all times!
  • Masks to be worn at all times (with exceptions as noted herein)
  • Supported policy of effective and frequent hand washing
  • Available hand sanitizer throughout our buildings
  • Available sanitizing wipes throughout our buildings
  • Thorough signage to support safe practices
  • No guests will be allowed on campus (this includes parents) All meetings will be conducted through Zoom or by phone

Additional information on specific areas of operations are listed throughout the remainder of this document.


Dance Bars
Dance Studio: Tape marks 6 feet distance on ballet bars.
The Academy is working closely with CREC Health Services personnel and we are prepared to address changing conditions as they evolve throughout the school year. Going into 2020-21, we will be working with all stakeholders to help keep our students as safe as possible

We will be implementing site-specific policies for Nurse’s Office operations, including quarantine protocol, handling of medical records, tracing and reporting, etc.

The following information can be shared at this time:
  • When staff and students should stay home (from the CREC district-wide plan):
    • Active vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever (temp of 100.4 or above), chills, general body ache
    • First 24 hours of antibiotic treatment (e.g., strep throat, pink eye)
    • Undiagnosed, new, or untreated rash or skin condition
    • Doctor’s note requiring plan of care to stay home
    • Symptoms of Covid-19
      • Fever
      • Shortness of breath
      • Cough
      • Chills
      • Muscle Aches
      • Sore throat
      • New loss of taste or smell
    • In contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19 (14 days from exposure)

  • Staff or students with signs or symptoms of Covid-19 may only return to school with a documented negative Covid-19 test or permission note from healthcare provider
  • Those who tested positive for Covid-19 may only return to school after 10 days have passed since their positive test and after a second test clearing them (depending on health care provider advice and availability of testing). Those who are tested and receive two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart, may safely return.
  • GHAAHD will have a designated isolation and triage areas for use as need arises, which will be utilized in conjunction with the school Nurse’s Office and following CREC’s designated health protocol and plan
  • GHAAHD will work with families to share information on free testing options (e.g., through CVS, by calling 211 for info on free testing sites, etc.)


Theater Lobby
Upper Theater Lobby: Open spaces such as this allow for alternative spaces to work while maintaining social distancing.
GHAAHD is implementing a number of building-based mitigation protocol to help protect students, faculty, and staff. A number of these may be instituted at a school level by GHAAHD and Learning Corridor staff, while others might be part of a CREC-wide initiative to modify, alter, retrofit existing structures, equipment, and protocol (e.g., adjusting HVAC systems to increase fresh air intake).



  • Class sizes will be reduced where possible to accommodate social distance restrictions
  • Rooms with desks will remove all extraneous furniture to maximize space usage
  • Classroom spaces will be supplied with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
  • Non-traditional spaces (e.g., theater lobby) will be repurposed as instructional space


  • Bathroom supplies will regularly be restocked to support good hygiene
  • Bathroom occupancy will be limited to support social distancing
  • Electronic hand driers will be disconnected to help reduce spread of aerosolized particulates
  • Social distancing between sinks, urinals, stalls per CREC guidance

Dressing Rooms

  • Students will be encouraged to arrive at GHAAHD already dressed for class, when possible
  • Additional spaces will be repurposed for temporary overflow dressing rooms, as able
  • Dressing rooms will be limited in occupancy at any one time

Water Fountains

  • Existing water fountains will be taken offline for 20-21
  • Water bottle filling stations will be added in areas around school, as able
  • Students should bring their own refillable bottles; GHAAHD assist students as possible


  • Class schedules will be staggered so cohorts are able to pass between classes alone
  • Halls, stairs, and doorways may be designated one-direction as appropriate during high traffic times of day
  • GHAAHD is developing a plan for student arrival/departure to/from campus that will maximize social distancing protocols as best as possible
  • Students will not be allowed to congregate in hallways or other commons areas
  • Additional passing time will be added if needed to accommodate traffic flow
  • Elevator use will be restricted to need-based only
  • Doors will be propped open, during use times and where able, to reduce contact surfaces


  • Will train our staff on all protocol prior to students’ arrival
  • Student protocol training will be scheduled as part of the start of school year


  • GHAAHD facilities will operate on an enhanced cleaning schedule throughout the day, adding additional cleaning/sanitizing to bathrooms, door handles/stairway railings, and instructional spaces as much as possible


  • Upon arrival at GHAAHD students will not be permitted to congregate after exiting busses and should proceed immediately to their first period classes
  • At end of day students should proceed directly to their respective busses and again not congregate
  • When not on busses, students should not ride to/from CREC with anyone not a member of their own family
GHAAHD bus duty faculty will reinforce protocol during arrival/departure times


Unlike other CREC schools and our students’ home schools, GHAAHD is uniquely structured into artistic departments. Our 20-21 instruction will be modified to minimize instruction across departments, and each department will develop their own cohort system to minimize students’ contact with other members of the school population.


GHAAHD is committed to entering the 20-21 school year planning for the greatest degree of flexibility possible. We are planning to return to full, in-person instruction, yet at the same time we will support synchronous online instruction for those who cannot or choose not to attend in person, as well as being prepared to again transition to entirely remote, online instruction should the need arise.


Dance Studio
Dance Studio: Yellow and Blue tape marks distances between each student for stationary dance.
Our instructional art majors will each operate under specific protocols based on their particular discipline, while still adhering to the overarching, school-wide policies, as well as cross-discipline practices.


  • Studios and classrooms will designate social distancing positions for dancers for all movement work and at the ballet barre
  • All ballet barres will be wiped down before/after every use
  • Dance floors will be sanitized after any floor work in modern, composition, or repertory classes
  • Students will wear masks while dancing; masks must be changed if saturated with sweat
  • Alternate, larger instructional spaces (e.g., theater Main Stage) will be used, as able


  • Instructional spaces will be adjusted to provide for appropriate increased social distancing and physical division between performers (e.g., vocalists, wind instruments)
  • Orchestra and Academy Big Band will not be offered 20-21; Motown Ensemble will not include horns and will have only 2 singers
  • Department will be using the online app, “Smart Music,” to encourage student work outside of the classroom
  • Instructional spaces will be marked with signs for designated use by different groups, as appropriate (singers vs. instrumentalists, etc.)
  • Shared instruments and equipment (e.g., pianos, microphones) to be sanitized by users before and after every use

Musical Theater

Musica Theater Room
Musical Theater Space: Yellow X's on the floor mark 6 feet distance from each performer.
  • Instructional spaces will be adjusted to provide for appropriate increased social distancing and physical division between performers
  • Large group classes Chorale, Triple Threat, Tap, and Musical Theater Scene Study will be put on hiatus for 2020-21
  • Pianos to be cleaned/wiped down before and after every use
  • Students should change into appropriate attire before arriving at GHAAHD whenever possible
  • Alternate, larger instructional spaces (e.g., theater Main Stage) to be used, as able


  • All teaching spaces will have clearly marked “audience positions” and “performance areas;” movement spaces will have clearly marked floor positions to maintain appropriate distance between students
  • All students will be assigned individual scripts and materials and a locker in which to keep those materials; it will be each student’s responsibility to bring materials to class each day
  • Alternate, larger instructional spaces (e.g., theater Black Box) will be used, as able

Theater Design & Production

scene shop
Scene Shop: Sewing stations are spaced a minimum of 6 feet from each other. Additional Workstations have been moved to nearby rooms.
  • TD&P will adjust its curriculum to increase social distancing, moving away from hands-on, group instruction to individualized activities that can be overseen by instructor in collective settings
  • Rooms will be repurposed and activities expanded into non-traditional spaces (e.g., costume shop utilizing dressing rooms as overflow work areas)
  • In classes where equipment is used (whether computers, sewing machines, shop tools, etc.), wipes will be provided to clean tactile surfaces before and after every use
  • Individual student equipment will be provided for those classes where it is impractical for material to be shared
  • Instruction for the year will focus on other areas of production and design (e.g., film, video, etc.) where transferable skills can still be taught

Visual Arts

  • Individual art stations will be socially distanced
  • Class sizes will be reduced to accommodate social distance measurements
  • Alternate spaces will be utilized to be able to provide instruction to larger groups
  • Students will be provided individual packets of art supplies so there is no sharing
  • Individual work stations (e.g., easels, pottery wheels) will be wiped down by students before and after every use
  • Darkroom will be taken offline for 20-21


Any extracurricular activities after school will follow similar protocol to academic activities in school. Traditional performance-based activities will transition to alternate product opportunities (e.g., digital recordings of performances), plans for which are being developed and will be dictated by local conditions at any given time in the future.




Theater: Seating has been marked and appropriately spaced. Additionally, we are using the stage as a studio in order to allow for more room to socially distant during artistic training.
Everyone here at the Academy recognizes that we are all in this together, and that keeping students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible relies on everyone doing their part in following the Coronavirus plan. The GHAAHD team will work alongside students and families to support and reinforce compliance, but we are relying on all of you to be our partners in this effort. Nonetheless, returning to school as safely as we can relies on everyone’s compliance, and we will insist that all students in attendance strictly follow the rules at all times. We are working on a discipline plan outlining consequences for noncompliance, and we will share this information with you once it has been approved by CREC.



GHAAHD will continue to develop its plans through the summer, adjusting operations if statewide and local conditions or SDE and CREC directives change. The Arts Half-Day leadership team will continue to communicate with families and will be available to answer questions that arise. The school’s goal is to be as prepared as possible for foreseeable possible scenarios, and will work to be as flexible as we can to adapt to unforeseen developments that arise. We look forward to working with you all to make the 2020-21 school year as rewarding and engaging as possible!

CREC District Plan

For more information about the district wide re-opening plan, click on the link below.

CREC District Plan