Stories from our international boarding schools

How EF Academy kept its doors open during a pandemic

Throughout the U.S., schools have been struggling to contain COVID-19 outbreaks, continue in-person classes, navigate hybrid learning and maintain a welcoming environment for students, staff, and faculty. However, a pandemic cannot stop EF Academy New York (EF Academy), an international, private high school welcoming day and boarding students. In the last year, EF Academy is proud to be one of few schools that has been able to keep their doors open all year long, welcome new students and staff, uphold a strong academic curriculum and cultivate an enjoyable experience for everyone on campus.

Between September 2020 and January 2021, EF Academy welcomed over 300 students from not only the U.S., but also from countries all over the globe to their campus in Thornwood, NY, as well as 100 students studying virtually. The school managed to keep their doors open all three terms and continue to endorse their Safe Learning Promise. “We didn’t have a single case of COVID infection contracted on campus and not a single day of school closure due to the pandemic!” shares Dr. Vladimir Kuskovski, the Head of School at EF Academy. “It was a true team effort, and every single person did their part and that is exactly why this year was a success, especially given the circumstances.”

The school was able to provide their students with an extraordinary opportunity that competing schools were unable to deliver: support in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. When New York State made the COVID-19 vaccine available to individuals ages 16+, EF Academy was a tremendous help in scheduling appointments, giving proof of attendance, and organizing transportation within a 15-mile radius of the campus for their students, ultimately supporting over 40% of the eligible student body in getting fully vaccinated before the school year ended. In addition to that, nearly the entire faculty and staff at EF Academy has been vaccinated, leading to a safer upcoming school year.

Because the school was able to remain open for the entirety of the school year, there was no disruption to the continuation of student learning. Teachers navigated both virtual and in-person school and held a high standard for learning, being that EF Academy is an IB World School. Those students who were able to make it to campus persisted through the school year in hands-on learning, face-to-face communication with their teachers and various group work with peers.

EF Academy was also able to host typical in-person events for their students, such as prom and EF Academy traditions like Culture Fair and Spring Fling. Graduation was also in-person, having a limited capacity reception for those parents who were able to attend in person. Because of protocols like the Safe Learning Promise, EF Academy was able to continue their traditional events for the 2020-2021 school year.


EF Academy is still accepting applications in New York and Oxford, UK for Fall 2021. They are also accepting students for the Fall 2022 academic year at their newest campus opening in Pasadena, California.

Contact the admissions team for more information Get in touch

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