COVID-19 Updates


Throughout the summer, we are welcoming prospective families to campus in small groups with prior registration through the Admissions Office. Buildings remain closed to visitors when students are on campus. 

As we look to the return of students in the fall, we take confidence from our experience last spring, when evolving conditions and protocols allowed for more in-person activities. We are optimistic for the fall, and expect most of our activities and operations — both in and out of the classroom — to be back to near normal.  Our planning for the 2021-22 school year continues to benefit from expert medical advice both here on campus as well as from the state and national level — and we are ready to adapt if conditions change. 

We will keep families informed as we approach the opening of school. Below are a series of commonly asked questions that will help you plan. 

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs address the opening of the 2021-22 school year. Updated July 19, 2021.

Vaccination requirements
Does Exeter require students to be vaccinated?

Yes, unless they have an approved religious or medical exemption.

Does Exeter require employees in the community to be vaccinated?

Yes, we require employees to be vaccinated unless they have an approved religious or medical exemption.

Will unvaccinated students and adults be tested?

Yes, they will be tested twice weekly with a pooled saliva PCR test.

Will Exeter provide opportunities for vaccinations to students who arrive unvaccinated or partially vaccinated?

Yes. If students are unable to complete vaccination at home, we will coordinate with a local pharmacy to offer vaccination on campus. These students will be expected to follow the same recommendations of other unvaccinated students until they are two weeks beyond their final vaccination.

How many unvaccinated students and adults will be on campus?

While we do not yet have complete records, we anticipate that the percentage of unvaccinated students and adults will be very low, once we are able to provide vaccinations to students who have been unable to get them prior to arrival.

Arrival and drop-off
If students and families are vaccinated, do they need to wear masks when they arrive?

For registration and move-in days, we ask that all students and family members, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks when indoors. Masks will be optional for everyone when outdoors. We know that we will have high numbers of visitors in small spaces on these days, from many different parts of the world, of various ages and with varied vaccination status and comfort levels with being in proximity. We ask everyone to be masked indoors on arrival days to put more families at ease on this first day at Exeter.

Will Exeter have any additional requirements for students traveling from out of the country?

Students traveling from outside of the United States are encouraged to check the CDC website and to check with the airlines before travel. The Academy expects that students will follow specified requirements in order to assure safe arrival to campus.

Will parents be allowed in the dorms at drop-off?

Parents, guardians, and other family members will be allowed to enter dormitories with their child but are asked to limit their time in the dormitory to an hour, in order to minimize congestion. We ask that all students and families, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks whenever they are indoors for registration and move-in.

Safety protocols
What safety protocols do unvaccinated students with a health or religious exemption need to follow?

We strongly recommend that unvaccinated students wear a mask when indoors in most settings, unless they are alone or eating and distant from others. At this time, we do not plan to require mask use by unvaccinated students indoors. We also recognize that pandemic conditions could evolve in a such a way that might prompt us to take this step, in order to further protect those students and the community.

Will students need to remain physically distanced and practice good hand hygiene?

While six feet of separation was a requirement for safety last term, the CDC no longer suggests this is necessary in fully vaccinated individuals. We ask that everyone keep in mind that not all students or adults will be or can be vaccinated against COVID-19 and a respectful distance should be maintained from others as much as is feasible. Room capacity limits will be posted, in order to reduce overall density and avoid unnecessary crowding, particularly in indoor spaces. All members of the community should continue to practice good hand hygiene. Hand sanitation stations will remain available throughout campus.

Will contact tracing and quarantine policies continue?

Students should continue to be aware of close contacts and distancing. We will continue to conduct contact tracing to identify close contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. The positive students will isolate at the health center or at home for 10 days. Any unvaccinated close contacts will need to quarantine for 10 days. If fully vaccinated, close contacts should closely monitor symptoms for 10 days and report to the health center at the earliest onset of symptoms.

Campus life
Will there be any orientation activities?

Yes. Orientation activities by class will take place in person before classes begin. More information, including specific programs and schedule, will be forthcoming.

What will the classroom experience be like?

Classes will be held in person, in classrooms, studios and performance spaces, and around Harkness tables without Plexiglas shields. Increased ventilation will remain in place with supplemental systems where needed.

Will students be able to go into town this year?

Students will be able to go into town and request out-of-town permissions. For more specific information please consult the E Book.

What can student expect in terms of the dorm experience?

Residential life will continue to be an important part of the Exeter experience for boarders and day students. Dormitories will be accessible to day student affiliates and the standard E Book expectations regarding visitations with students not affiliated with the dormitory will be in effect.

Will the library carrels be open?

We are offering them to all day students and will make any remaining carrels available to boarders.

Will the Day Student Lounge be open?

Yes, with adjusted capacities that will allow for more people at one time, but will also provide a manageable density.

Will there be interscholastic athletics?

Yes. We will be holding athletic activities and spectators are allowed for indoor and outdoor events. If unvaccinated, spectators are expected to mask for indoor events.  

What will dining look like?

Dining halls will return to near normal operations with the self-service salad and deli bar, dishes and flatware for indoor dining, and dining rooms open for students, employees and resident faculty families. We will also offer additional outdoor seating in good weather. In addition, we will continue to offer complimentary grab-and-go options and satellite locations, including the pizza shack.

Are visitors welcome on campus this fall?

Yes. Parents and other visitors are welcome to visit campus. Unvaccinated guests will be required to wear masks whenever indoors. All buildings will remain on key-card access.  

Will there be a hybrid option for classes this year?

It’s not an option for students to choose to learn remotely this year. However, if a student needs to isolate or quarantine for a brief period of time, we will work with those students and teachers on how best to keep up with classwork.

Will there be an on-campus family weekend in October?

Yes. More details about timing and programming will be forthcoming.

Can day students go into dorms?

Yes. Day students will have access to affiliated dormitories. The E Book visitations policy will be in effect for visits between dormitories.


We understand you may have questions. Please email us at, and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.