Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated July 7, 4 p.m.

Shady Side Academy continues to follow all guidance from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), Pennsylvania Department of Health, PA Gov. Wolf's Office and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our students, employees and families are our highest priorities.


With Allegheny County moving into the Green Phase of Gov. Wolf's Process to Reopen Pennsylvania on June 5, Shady Side Academy's four campuses transitioned to a limited reopening on June 8, which will continue as long as we remain in the Green Phase over the summer.

Administrators and staff may choose to work on campus between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays following the attached protocols. However, employees may continue working from home. Normal summer hours will be in effect.

Fall Sports Teams Summer Workouts
In accordance with state guidelines, Senior School fall sports teams may hold optional summer workouts beginning July 1 at  Michael J. Farrell Stadium and the Fitness Center. Families must read and sign the Summer Workouts COVID-19 Policies and Procedures waiver form to participate, and those who recently traveled out of state should follow the ACHD's June 29 COVID-19 Guidance for Travelers regarding quarantine or testing. NOTE: Due to the July 2 ACHD order prohibiting activities of more than 25 people for one week, all team workouts are canceled for the week of July 3-10.

Athletic & Recreational Facilities
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Summer Programs
All SSA Summer in-person camps and classes for 2020 have been canceled. Some summer school classes for grades 2-12 will be held online, and four new Virtual STEAM Camps are offered. Visit the Summer 2020 Virtual Programs page for details. In addition, new Summer Refresh 2020 classes provide  SSA students entering grades 1-12 the opportunity to review and solidify foundational concepts in language arts, math and study skills in preparation for 2020-2021.

Senior School Commencement
In-person, on-campus Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2020 will be held Friday, July 31, as long as Allegheny County is in the Green Phase on that date. Two separate back-to-back ceremonies will be held on the Senior Quad,  at 9 a.m. for graduates with last names A-L and  at 11 a.m. for graduates with last names M-Z. Each graduate may bring no more than two guests (including parents) in order to stay within the state-mandated 250-person limit. The Senior-Faculty Dinner will be held on the Main Quad on Thursday evening, July 30, for the entire Class of 2020 and Senior School faculty and staff.

Facility Rentals
Campus facility rentals have been temporarily suspended, and we are working on operational plans for safely resuming limited rentals.

SSA families will continue to receive regular email communications over the summer regarding plans for 2020-2021, and all email updates are posted on this page.

FAQs for 2020-2021

SSA is diligently planning for an in-person reopening in the 2020-2021 school year for "every child, every day." Please read the FAQs below and/or President Bart Griffith's July 7 email for the latest reopening update.

If you have additional questions not answered below, please email them to



See the July 3 email from Dean Chad Green for the latest updates regarding boarding for fall 2020.


Shady Side Academy's Distance Learning Plan for PK-12 classes went into effect on March 31 and continued through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, in accordance with Gov. Tom Wolf's mandated school closure. Based on parent and student feedback, the plan was revised on April 15. For details, see the SSA Distance Learning Family Guide Version 2.0, available in both online and downloadable PDF formats.

COVID-19 Facts & Guidance


The following actions are the best way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick 500 Internal Server Error

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  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider immediately.


Families or employees planning travel should check the CDC COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Country and U.S. State Department Travel Advisories websites, as well as the CDC Coronavirus and Travel in the United States website. If you travel to countries or areas of the U.S. under CDC or State Department health notices or advisories or areas with widespread COVID-19 community transmission, or if you have had contact with someone with COVID-19, please follow CDC recommendations and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Those traveling out of state are asked to follow the ACHD's June 29 COVID-19 Guidance for Travelers and either quarantine for 14 days or obtain two negative COVID-19 tests 48 hours apart before returning to campus.


COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. The virus is thought to spread between people in close contact (within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

COVID-19 Resources

Email Updates

Equity & Inclusion

There have been reports around the world of bias against individuals perceived to be from countries where COVID-19 is prevalent. People of Asian descent are not more likely to get COVID-19 than any other American. Learn more here. SSA is an inclusive community, and harassment, bullying or exclusion due to national origin, race, ethnicity or recent travel will not be tolerated. Please contact the school if you feel your child has been the target of any of these behaviors in our community.