MWDN looks at Fay’s enrollment and application bump

The Metrowest Daily News wrote about increased enrollments in private schools caused by the pandemic. The article focused on Fay School’s bump as an example:

Sending a third-grader to Fay School in Southborough costs $31,780 per year, according to the small private school’s website.

Despite that, Director of Admissions Beth Whitney said she saw a flurry of interest from new applicants this past year, with applications increasing by 150% between April and August, which is typically when enrollment season is winding down. . .

And while she expected to see interest simmer back to regular levels, Whitney instead reported that applications for this September are up by 37%.

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts public school districts’ ability to offer full in-person learning, local private schools have experienced a bump in enrollment.

Whitney said there are many reasons. Some public school parents want their child to have more of an in-person experience. Others are working parents who are challenged by the hybrid model and the need to find child care. There’s also an extended day program that offers before- and after- school care for students, which is included in tuition. . .

The reporter explained the resources Fay had at its disposal versus public schools: 

Fay School has a 66-acre campus and large classrooms that make it possible to create additional small cohorts and maintain social distancing, said Whitney. For public school districts, buildings are often aging and can go years before pricey renovations.

“We have the space,” said Whitney. “You can’t create buildings overnight.”

The school also has the resources to ensure facilities are safe, said Whitney. According to Boarding School Review, Fay has an endowment of $54 million.

For example, ventilation systems were be upgraded with MERV-13 filters to reduce transmission of airborne particles. All students, faculty, and staff are tested every two weeks for COVID-19, which is provided at no cost.

The story covered a parent’s perspective. The family featured was one with children that normally attend a Northborough public school: 

Hallie Burak, of Northborough, is among the new Fay parents. In a typical year, her children would be enrolled at Proctor Elementary School, which has a hybrid model, but she said she wanted more face-to-face learning.

“I don’t think you can do elementary school hybrid,” said Burak. “A lot of elementary school is about gaining confidence, trying new things, and being in a classroom environment learning those social-emotional skills.”. . 

“Teachers have gone above and beyond to make a very not-normal year seem normal,” said Burak.

You can read the full story here.

Updated (3/3/21 8:00 am): I added the link for the Boarding School Review information as is included in the MWDN story.

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