It would be an understatement of epic proportion to say that 2020 has been a challenging year. But even in the mire of the COVID-19 pandemic that has thrown the world into chaos and forced us to find new ways to connect, there is much to be grateful for.
Here at EXPLO, we are deeply grateful for our students, alumni, staff, and partners across the globe who continue to inspire us and shine a light through what have been dark days for so many. And we are proud to say that, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices so many of you have made this past year, EXPLO will return to campuses to offer in person learning in Summer 2021.
While so many have risen to the occasion and found solutions to make living, learning, and working remotely successful, nothing can replace our innate need to be with others. Looking ahead, our return to campuses in 2021 is more than just another EXPLO summer. It will be an opportunity to reset and restore — to reconnect, recalibrate, and engage in generous enthusiasms with others. We simply cannot wait!
Preparing for In-Person Learning During COVID-19
The top priority as we head back to in-person learning at EXPLO is the health and safety of our students and staff. We are actively planning for three scenarios with guidance from the CDC and our COVID Safety Task Force:
Scenario #1: Robust COVID-19 Mitigation*
Under this scenario, EXPLO will only offer residential programs at all of our campuses. To avoid as much movement on- and off-campus as possible, we would temporarily suspend day programs and concentrations at our three week residential programs for grades 4-7 and grades 8-10. We would also replace weekend trips with robust on-campus programming. Students and staff would be tested regularly throughout the session.
*We are currently planning with this scenario in mind based on information available to us at this time.
Scenario #2: Regular Programming
Under this scenario, we would run our EXPLO programs as usual, including day programs and concentrations and weekend trips.
Scenario #3: Moderate Mitigation
This scenario would combine elements of the Robust Mitigation scenario and the Regular Programming scenario, and would be informed by COVID-19 conditions as they evolve through the winter and early spring, as well as vaccine availability, treatment protocols, and other mitigating factors.
Our commitment to families is to be as flexible and transparent as possible in our program planning. In that spirit, we have already made the decision in advance to extend the tuition refund date to April 15, 2021.
Should you enroll in an EXPLO program and need to withdraw for any reason, you will receive a full refund of any deposit, tuition, and fees if you do so by the April 15 deadline.
More information about how we are planning and what you can expect is available on our COVID-19 FAQ. This page will be updated as new information becomes available throughout the enrollment season.
After more than a year in quarantine and remote environments, we know that students will be more than ready for a change of scenery. All of our campuses in 2021 will feature open green space and opportunities for students to be outside in the fresh air as much as possible (something many families have indicated to us is more important now than ever before).
Grades 4-7 will be hosted at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., and grades 8-10 will call Sarah Lawrence College in the beautiful tree-lined village of Bronxville, N.Y. home. Our Pre-College + Career program for grades 10-12 will be located at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. We have been in regular discussions with our host institutions, who have been generous in sharing their experiences having students back on campus this fall, as well as their testing regimens and cleaning protocols. We’re learning a lot from them, and are grateful for good partners who can help inform our own planning.
EXPLO Pre-College + Career Program
One of the silver linings of the pandemic for EXPLO has been the opportunity to revisit our program offerings and engage in a deep assessment of what kind of program would best serve our high school students. After many hours of interviews and research, we learned that alumni who attended EXPLO focus programs over the past decade are excelling in college, noting that the focus programs they attended helped to shape their interests and understanding of the field they are now pursuing. One alumna recently wrote to us that her experience in EXPLO’s psychology and neuroscience program was so transformational, it led her to pursue a neuroscience degree at Stanford, where she is currently enrolled.
It quickly became clear that a Pre-College + Career program that replicates the focus program model would provide high school students the opportunity to engage in a deep exploration of a multifaceted field; to develop an understanding of the profession, the culture, and the opportunities in that field; and to make more informed choices for their future.
True to EXPLO form, this program is highly experiential and hands-on. Professionals and researchers in the field are working closely with our teaching and learning division to design experiences that are authentic with an eye toward the future of work in the field. Students will work on industry-inspired projects, and have the opportunity to connect with experts for presentations, feedback, coaching, and mentoring.
The programs will run for two weeks each, and will provide opportunities to explore Artificial Intelligence, Psychology + Neuroscience, Medical Rotations, Business + Consulting, CSI + Forensic Science, Trial Law + the American Justice System, Engineering, and Surgical Interventions.
More Details to Come
While there is much work ahead — and still a fair amount of uncertainty around the state of COVID-19 moving forward — the entire EXPLO team is committed to providing a safe, engaging, dynamic and fun summer experience for our students. Visit our website for the most up-to-date information.