The Best in Boys' Education

COVID-19 Updates

Because the health, safety, and security of RMA’s 420 cadets is the highest priority, RMA stepped into strategic planning and preparation for this worldwide crises while it was still in its early stages. Increased sanitation protocols were implemented and additional supplies of nonperishable food, water, paper products, and medical essentials were ordered weeks ahead of the overt national crises.
 
On March 13, 2020 parents were given the option to bring their sons home or petition the Academy to have their sons remain on campus. The majority of students traveled home and digital learning began on March 23 for all students at home or on campus.

The RMA campus is closed to non-essential personnel, yet remains open virtually with all office personnel available, including admissions

One of our admissions counselors would love to connect, hear about your son, and answer all of your questions. Give us a call at 1-877-692-2338 or email us at apply@riversidemilitary.com. Visit the RMA campus via our 3D virtual tour.

Even in extraordinary times RMA’s goal is to deliver a preeminent education for young men. Read more about the synchronous digital learning taking place.

RMA’s digital learning includes instruction in the core subjects, but also in band, foreign languages, physical education, and driver’s education.  Students receive weekly grades, recording of attendance, live classroom experience using Zoom with their teachers, and yes, merits and demerits. 

RMA’s goal is to provide all stakeholders clear, transparent, and timely communication. Please read letters from RMA’s president COL(R) Staś Preczewski below.
 

COVID-19 Updates

List of 13 frequently asked questions.

  • Message from the President May 14, 2020

    Dear Riverside Military Academy Community,
     
    Despite the uncertain times in which we live, I am encouraged as we bring this current and challenging school year to a close. The vast majority of cadets have persevered at home and on campus with digital learning, and faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to keep our young men engaged and on task. You have communicated to me your belief in RMA, its military model of education, and the structure it gives your sons, which allows them to grow in confidence, poise, and intellect. We are committed to providing you the RMA you have come to know and love, though we cannot predict all the possible contingencies.
     
    Just this week a staff member received this affirming message from a mother:
     
    I can’t tell you how appreciative we are of you and the wonderful teachers and staff at RMA. Having (our son) go to boarding school was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made. I have seen tremendous growth in his development of character, behavior, grades, and attitude in just a few short months at RMA. I am so grateful to RMA for caring and teaching my son so well.”
     
    With your parental support, and guidance from the RMA Board of Trustees, which met last week, we are planning for the next school year, even while considering over 100 variables. Due to the national economic challenges families are facing, we are assuming a reduction in enrollment, and are building a program and a budget to accommodate 368 cadets (boarding, day, and international) versus the total enrollment this year of 472. We are buoyed by your survey responses which indicate as many as 81.5% express a willingness to enroll for the ’20-’21 academic year. However, a smaller Corps, coupled with losses in revenue from canceled summer contracts, lost ancillary revenues, and delayed payments of tuition means the board has approved a lean budget for the next academic year.
     
    Let me share three budget-driven realities with explanations below:
    • As we already communicated to you and as in past years, tuition will increase for the ‘20-‘21 academic year.
    • Interscholastic sports programs will be cancelled for the fall with the possibility of standing up three varsity athletic teams in winter and/or spring. Accordingly, we are building an internal athletic program designed to keep our students physically fit and healthy.
    • A campaign to raise $1 million in private support for scholarships will help offset tuition increases.
    TUITION AND FINANCIAL AID
     The domestic boarding tuition will be $43,173, international boarding $49,173, and day tuition $24,615. (The increase in the day cadet tuition positions RMA’s day program at the lower end of the range for private, independent day schools in the greater Atlanta market.) These increases will be partially offset by the above-mentioned fund-raising scholarship campaign for private donations to enhance financial aid. Additionally, parent contracts have been rewritten with a separate refund policy spelling out the size of the refund based upon the amount of instruction completed on campus, in the event there is a necessary return to digital learning. This step helps significantly reduce your financial risk when you sign your contract for next year. It is essential that you carefully read your enrollment contract and accompanying refund policy before signing it as it is a legally binding document. You should not sign the enrollment contract unless you are willing to commit to RMA. We anticipate contracts will be available for signature on Tuesday, May 19.
     
    Parents/Guardians who were previously awarded financial aid and/or who have signed a previous form of the enrollment contract will be contacted in the coming weeks to discuss their requirements of their current contract (and its refund policy) and their option to sign the newer version of the contract with its updated refund policy.
     
    SPORTS
    The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) governs interscholastic athletics (minus JROTC competitions). Currently, GHSA has banned interscholastic athletics indefinitely (with no indication of when that may change) because of the pandemic. Having a safe and a healthy fall season requires substantial planning, writing of contracts, and early equipment purchases all of which would be binding even if the season remains banned by GHSA. Accordingly, fall interscholastic athletics at RMA are cancelled for the ’20-’21 academic year. We are planning for limited winter and spring sports in anticipation that the ban will ease at a point that provides enough time for us to execute appropriately. However, similar to the fall season, if GHSA continues its ban beyond our winter/spring decision points, those seasons may be cancelled as well. We plan to move forward with a robust schedule of intramural competition which will give cadets at the middle and high school levels the opportunity to participate in sports, though at an intramural level.
     
    Most of these decisions are driven by health and safety concerns. Some decisions are budget-driven, but many remaining decisions are being influenced by the information you shared with us in last week’s parent survey. Eighty-one percent of parents who responded to the survey indicate a willingness to enroll for the ’20-’21 academic year. The responses to the question of how early would you be willing to return your cadet to campus were varied. Thirty two percent indicate a willingness to return in early July while 85% are willing to come back as early as August 1. This range gave us a clear indication of your preferences as we sorted through COVID-19 medical guidance as well as restrictions from the federal, state, and local governments. I assure you, again, the health, safety, and security of cadets, faculty, and staff remains our highest priority. After taking all factors into consideration, RMA is pleased to announce that its ’20-’21 academic year is planned to begin on July 25 with classes beginning July 28. More specific information regarding registration and reporting procedures will be communicated as soon as possible to help you plan.
     
    We continue to appreciate your support during this amazingly complex time. Many of you have shared your questions and concerns about what next year looks like for RMA as well as for your personal lives. We do not expect this pandemic to be a forever situation, but we are sharing equally in the risks and challenges of continuing what we believe to be a worthy goal -- an RMA education, which produces leaders of character.
     
    We understand that these decisions will be difficult for some and unpopular with others, but we want you to be fully informed. Accordingly, we will host a live question and answer YouTube session on Monday, May 18 at 8 p.m. EST. Please forward your questions ahead of time to PresidentsOffice@Riversidemilitary.com. You will receive instructions on Monday how to access the YouTube event. I look forward to visiting with you then.
     
    Respectfully yours,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President May 7, 2020

    Dear Riverside Military Academy Family,
     
    Based on the results of the survey of RMA seniors, we will pencil in Saturday, August 8, 2020, at 6 p.m. for an on-campus, in-person Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020. The seniors were given several options, including a virtual commencement on the already set date of May 16, but the majority preferred an in-person event in August.
     
    As you know, planning anything three months out is difficult in the present environment, and we will remain attentive and compliant with any federal, state, or local restrictions that may be in place on that date. But, as of this writing, we anticipate that the current restrictions in the state of Georgia will be lifted by mid-June. The 8th is also early enough in August that seniors will likely not have begun college. Regrettably, I know this date will not accommodate every family’s needs, therefore, we intend to live-stream the event for those who cannot attend.
     
    This will be an evening ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. on McLendon Quad with Curtis Hall as a backup venue in the event of inclement weather. Appropriate military honors and traditions will support the Commencement. Additionally, we will incorporate elements from the traditional Silver Taps ceremony that is always held the night before Commencement. We expect that the seniors will return to campus by 10 a.m. on August 8. They will remain separate from the underclassmen who, we anticipate, will already have returned to campus. (Seniors will not spend any nights on campus, and the barracks will be off-limits.) Lunch and dinner will be served to the seniors, and an area of campus will be set up for their meals and preparation for the ceremony. As for how many guests can attend, we will have to wait and see what health protocols are in place at that time.
     
    When Battalion Commander Areeb Ahmad addressed the Corps of Cadets for the last time on March 13, he spoke of the strong bonds RMA produces in its cadets for one another. We want to honor these bonds and cadets who had to sacrifice so much of their final RMA year. This class deserves our every effort to make this a meaningful completion to their RMA experience, and we remain committed to that goal.
     
    Respectfully yours,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President May 4, 2020

    Dear Riverside Military Academy Community,
     
    Your letters, emails, calls, and texts of gratitude and support in recent days continue to inspire us to press on during this challenging period. Many of you refused to accept the offered refund and, instead, redirected your portion to RMA for use toward a family in greater need. Still others of you have already indicated your commitment to enroll in summer and fall programs. Your decision reflects your dedication to the continuing development of your sons as leaders of character prepared to excel in college and life. We are thankful.

    It is toward that end – your continued commitment to RMA – that I write to you today. I want to provide you information while I seek information from you in return. Understandably, this letter will generate much concern and discussion. Based upon the scores of communications I have received from you, it is clear that any decisions made will certainly not please all of you. I have considered your comments, cadet feedback, fiscal considerations, governmental and accreditation requirements and more informing the following information. 

    Bottom lines upfront:  
    - Commencement is being rescheduled for early August on campus;
    - Traditional RMA summer programs will be altered or cancelled for this year; 
    - Enrollment contracts for Fall/Spring ’20-’21 should be available around May 12th;
    - RMA’s business model is being altered to allow for a more robust refund program to reduce family financial risk;
    - The campus should reopen for Fall semester instruction in early to mid-July;
    - L.E.A.D. Academy is cancelled and those families who have paid will be 100% refunded;
    - Leadership, Raider and athletic camps will either become integrated into the daily schedule or potentially cancelled; 
    - Health/safety considerations will affect decisions concerning the cadet weekly schedule;
    - Cadet availability to leave on weekends or have visitors may be impacted by prevailing pandemic safety requirements;
    - RMA will continue to meet State of Georgia and SAIS academic accreditation/credit standards;
    Parents of underclassmen, your participation in the attached survey will greatly influence when our programs resume and how they will unfold throughout the coming year.  

    ***** Please read below very carefully for details. 
     Please direct your questions to the Office of the President. 

    Commencement:
    Due to current local and state restrictions as well as a desire to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection, the 16 May 2020 commencement is postponed. Based upon the survey results from the graduating seniors, an on-campus event is tentatively scheduled for either Saturday 8/1 or Saturday 8/8. Most every year some graduates cannot attend commencement due to family or athletic conflicts, therefore, any date we select will not ensure 100% participation. Early August, selected by the seniors, provides time for the virus to diminish throughout the region, occurs before most report to college, and increases the likelihood that families may attend the event as social distancing/gathering size limitations are eased. We plan to live-stream commencement in any case.

    Summer Programs:
    RMA’s L.E.A.D summer program is canceled, and payments made for L.E.A.D. will be refunded. Additionally, we have cancelled all external facility lease contracts in order to negate the presence of thousands of non-RMA youth residing on campus through external summer camp programs. We will use this time for deep sanitizing of the barracks, dining facilities, athletics, and academic areas and conduct cadet room repairs.  

    Leadership and Raider Camps:
    These camps will occur but likely NOT in the same format or timing as last year. Our current planning is for all cadets to return on or about the same date, begin academic instruction as quickly as possible, and integrate these two camps into the daily and weekend schedule (more to follow.) The date that all cadets will be expected to return will depend heavily upon YOUR RESPONSE TO THE SURVEY (see link below) as well as local conditions and risk.

    Athletics:  
    Just yesterday, I corresponded with the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) that governs our competitive varsity athletic programs. Currently, GHSA has canceled all interscholastic athletic activities throughout the state. GHSA cannot provide any guidance about whether programs will be allowed to begin this fall, does not have an estimate of when they will make such a decision, and what rules governing spectator attendance and health safety restrictions will be enforced if they do restart. 

    Accordingly, it is unclear if any fall interscholastic sport competitions will occur and which, if any, sport camps will occur. There is a strong likelihood that the number of sports available at RMA will be reduced or potentially eliminated for the coming year. At this time, RMA does not envision any cadets (athletes or others) being allowed to return to campus for any reason prior to early July.

    Barracks Life and Security:
    After the summer deep disinfecting activities, enhanced and expensive facility disinfection protocols are being contracted. Considerable medical equipment has been ordered to include infrared thermometers for twice-daily temperature checks; masks and other personal protection equipment for infirmary personnel/patients; medications; additional training; and disinfectants. Hand sanitizer disbursing devices are now found throughout the campus. We will be as prepared as we can reasonably be to ensure the health and safety of your cadets.

    Over 150 new digital, motion-activated cameras were recently installed to enhance security and to provide a long-lasting record in cloud storage servers. A new security vehicle and patrols assist us in accounting for all cadets at all times while simultaneously keeping unauthorized visitors off of campus. Authorized visitors/vendors are screened and enter through a single access point. RMA enacted many of these protocols in March, and we have experienced only one confirmed isolated case of COVID-19 despite outbreaks in our city and county. That one patient has fully recovered and was medically cleared.

    Return to Campus: 
    As we make plans for a return to on-campus living and learning for the fall, we are currently consulting with health officials and national educational associations to collect best practices concerning the reopening when cadets from 24 states and 25+ countries attempt to return. Similarly, we are examining how we will allow access to non-boarding local students on a daily basis.

    Academics:
    While my primary focus remains to provide a safe, secure and healthy environment in which cadets may be educated, I must assume that every parent/guardian’s goal is for their cadet to ultimately earn a high school diploma. Institutional accreditation standards require us to provide a requisite number of contact hours in specific academic courses within the curriculum, be it in an RMA campus classroom or digitally/online elsewhere. In short, the task is to provide a healthy environment and achieve contact hours as quickly as possible prior to the potential return of COVID-19 this fall/winter to the region or even to our campus.

    RMA is examining a potential six-day/week on-campus academic schedule and an early (July 5 or later) opening in order to take advantage of any lull in the virus. Historically, RMA provided many decades of Saturday classes and required all cadets to remain on campus without departure until the winter holiday break in late December. (Yes, classes were actually run on Thanksgiving Day!) If we attempt this route, students will remain on campus and there will be no visitors/families allowed.  Basically, we would continue the successful self- isolation process we practice on campus now.

    The goal of this option would be to deliver as much on-campus instruction as possible before closure is possibly required. Should the virus not return, we would have options of an extended winter or spring break, or an early completion of the school year. Rest assured, RMA prefers delivering our educational program completely within our walls, but the virus and government rules represent challenges beyond our control.

    We are prepared to transition back to improved digital learning/delivery should conditions require.  Unlike most public schools, our transition to digital learning in March went very well as reported by parents who have both RMA cadets and public-school students in their home. We continue to train to perfect our teaching method, teacher competency, and ZOOM internet security. Many teachers volunteered to join a year-long “Master Teacher” program to enhance all aspects of their teaching skills.

                NOTE:  If on-campus instruction is again interrupted, 100% of all cadets will be required to leave campus without exception. Unlike this academic year, there will be no petition to remain on campus.

    Contracts and Refunds:
    We fully recognize you are facing challenges on your home-front and in your fiscal affairs. RMA and its 150+ employees face similar challenges as we are a private and federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Just as you are likely resetting your financials preparing for an uncertain year(s) ahead, so too, is RMA. Based upon the information you provide us through this letter’s survey, we will rewrite our vendor, faculty, and staff contracts in such a way as to ensure that RMA will be able to reduce expenses immediately should another interruption of on-campus educational delivery occur.  This will allow us to provide larger and predictable refunds to you.  

    Accordingly, we are rewriting our enrollment contracts, and a separate refund policy will be provided that depicts the size of the refund based upon the amount of instruction completed on campus. In order to provide you increased refund amounts, we will shutter buildings and pass savings along, in the event campus is closed. Since our contracts were fixed for the current (’19-’20) year, we were not able to recoup savings to pass along to you beyond food and laundry.  

    In order to build a business model that provides RMA the necessary flexibility while maximizing the efficiencies of scale, I need the best possible estimate of Fall 2020 headcount. The attached non-binding survey asks the likelihood of the enrollment of your son(s) for the upcoming fall semester, your earliest possible start date, and your willingness to support six-day instruction and restriction of your cadet to campus until winter break without visitation. Of course, if the current (or future) pandemic situation improves, we will relax our self-isolation protocols and consider returning to five-day academic schedules, should we indeed begin six-day instruction.

    We request to know no later than Friday, May 8, 2020 of your intentions regarding the enrollment of your son(s) at RMA for the fall programs (residential or commuting), as well as any changes in your need for financial support. Unlike past years when your enrollment decisions could be made at the last minute, this year we must align our programs and staffing to precisely match demand. We will not build excess capacity into the business model to serve late decisions to enroll. We will build only to the level of known commitment. 

    Attached is a link to a short survey that solicits the information we need from parents of underclassmen to tailor the scope of RMA’s programs. It is not a binding document but does allow us to rewrite our business model for the ’20-’21 academic year.  

    So many of you have generously commented to me on the quality and transparency of our communication with you during this crisis. I hope this letter provides insight into what RMA’s leadership is thinking and planning in order to continue to provide the best educational experience possible for your sons. I cannot speak any more plainly than to say, we need your input, but more importantly RMA needs your sons. We want to continue the good work that is resulting in their development into young men and solid citizens.

    Thank you so very much for your continued support, understanding, and diligent thought in responding to this time-sensitive request. Please complete the survey and kindly reply not later than Friday, May 8, 2020 in order to preserve your cadet’s opportunity to continue his journey at Riverside Military Academy.

    Very Respectfully Yours,

    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 30, 2020

    Dear Parents and Guardians,
     
    As promised in our previous message of March 25, 2020, an online form is now available for your use in indicating your preference for the handling of any refund or credit you are due. Please click here to complete this brief form at your convenience before Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at which time we will begin to process refunds and credits for those whose accounts are current.
     
    Many of you have moved me more than you can know by asking for a way to donate your refund for the benefit of cadets whose families may be struggling as a result of the current health crisis. To that end, we incorporated a “donation” option into the form. If you choose this option on the form, please know that our Advancement Office will follow up with an acknowledgment of your tax-deductible gift
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
    Dear Parents and Guardians,
     
    As promised in our previous message of March 25, 2020, an online form is now available for your use in indicating your preference for the handling of any refund or credit you are due. Please click here to complete this brief form at your convenience before Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at which time we will begin to process refunds and credits for those whose accounts are current.
     
    Many of you have moved me more than you can know by asking for a way to donate your refund for the benefit of cadets whose families may be struggling as a result of the current health crisis. To that end, we incorporated a “donation” option into the form. If you choose this option on the form, please know that our Advancement Office will follow up with an acknowledgment of your tax-deductible gift
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 27, 2020

    Dear RMA Family,
     
    You have completely overwhelmed us with your support and kind words following my last letter of March 25. What was especially amazing and unexpected was the number of parents who wrote to say they want to contribute their tuition refund back to RMA to help cadets’ families in need. Wow! Thank you. You are inspiring role models for all of us.
     
    I have spent several hours this week participating in webinars facilitated by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), Association of Military Colleges and Schools in the U.S. (AMCSUS), and EAB, an educational research firm in Washington, D.C. The calls were comprised of heads of school, secondary and higher ed. On the three different calls with a dozen participants each, I did not hear of another school offering any type of tuition refund. This is only one data point, so I cannot conclude that no other school is offering a refund, but I was surprised. Nevertheless, I stand by the message to you of March 25 outlining the refund RMA is offering as it is the right thing to do.
     
    You will receive on Monday an online form to indicate your preference for the handling of your refund. You may elect to receive a refund check or a credit on next fall’s tuition as outlined previously, or, because so many of you have asked to donate your refund to RMA to assist other families, you will also have the option to donate your refund amount as a charitable, tax-deductible donation.
     
    Congratulations to all of you – parents, cadets, teachers, staff, Dean of Academics Cathy Moore – who made this first week of digital learning a success. This digital platform did not exist at RMA two weeks ago and it has taken a Herculean effort on everyone’s part to make it happen. I took great pride in one parent’s comment, “[as] someone who has been doing Information Systems/Technology since 1994, I can say your first week is a solid success.”
     
    I also know from your comments that our digital learning performance is surpassing what you are seeing or experiencing from other schools, public and private. RMA’s ability to innovate and turn on a dime inspires and energizes me for the next challenges we will face.
     
    On another front, I’m being asked about spring break. We are going to honor the break, April 4-13, as a break from learning and a time for your family to enjoy non-school activities. It will give the RMA staff a chance to work out any remaining bugs in the digital platform and delivery systems.
     
    Regarding spring break and our cadets on campus, let me say that our 20 ReMAiners will also have a spring break, albeit on campus. They will be supported by essential personnel, including the food service staff to make sure there is plenty to eat, and special activities are being planned.
     
    Let me close with a few comments from parents. Your confidence and support in the RMA mission is inspiring.
     
    “…..surprisingly, [he] says he misses being at school. I am surprised because normally all he does is complain! He is great company here at home and he seems to be taking his academic responsibilities seriously. Moreover, he conducts ‘inspection’ on his two siblings’ room every morning at 0750 and then he leads them (well, actually us too!) on a 20-minute walk in the woods immediately afterward, rain or shine. Thanks for everything you’ve done to give us confidence in our son.  We’ve decided to waive the refund….. we will think of it as a contribution to a worthy cause. Thank you!”
     
    “He has been a completely different kid since he got home. Literally a model child. He is a completely different person. Thank you for all you have done for him and the future path you have set him on which he never would have had otherwise.”
     
    “We are so excited that digital learning is being implemented (trial by fire as they say). The opportunities that exist for summer school, courses online, teachers in different parts of the country/world for our [cadets] will be amazing! No one will be afraid of learning online. The possibilities will be endless with a hybrid campus/digital courses for the lads.” 
     
     “I just have to say Dr. Cathy Moore is amazing. I’ve had a couple of issues over the last couple of days with my son’s computer, access, video links not working, and sent them to the digital learning email, and she responded within five minutes, and directed me to the right help. I think it says a lot when the Dean of the school is personally involved and answering our questions……in such a personal and efficient manner. #RMAproud”
     
    Please keep your notes coming as they serve to inspire our faculty and staff. Thank you for your continued partnership through this extraordinary time.
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 25, 2020

    Greetings to the entire Riverside Military Academy Community,
     
    Let me begin by stating that as of the release of this note, there remain(s) NO confirmed case(s) of the COVID-19 virus on our campus. We are both blessed and thankful for that fact as we remain diligent through our deliberate actions to keep it that way. (Daily screenings of body temperature, enhanced disinfecting/cleaning, limiting/inspecting deliveries, etc.)  We trust that you, on the home front, are being just as diligent in keeping yourselves healthy and safe during this difficult and unprecedented period.
     
    The young men who chose to remain on campus for the duration of this global challenge just completed their first 12 days of social/campus isolation. They are all in single rooms, enjoying plenty of extra sleep, experiencing exceptional dining and snacks, recreating and lounging/gaming in the enhanced Goomba Grill and now participating in organized digital instruction. In short, they are in great shape, safe, secure and healthy—now with both their minds and bodies being mentally and physically engaged. Our dedicated staff and faculty will do all that we can to keep them that way.
     
    I hope you are as proud as am I about the dedication of our staff and faculty. Many of them were offered the opportunity to work from home due to the risks to themselves. Many waived that opportunity as they desired to serve both our cadets on campus and those cadets who chose to complete this RMA year digitally/on-line. Further, I have received many requests from those who departed to now return to campus—a request I cannot approve as we continue to significantly limit access to our campus from the external environment.
     
    We continue to push out information to you as quickly and as frequently as is reasonable in order to ensure you know exactly what is occurring on campus and what future plans hold. The most frequent questions include:
     
    Q: Will we reopen in the Fall?  
    A: YES, we plan to reopen if the threat subsides enough that we can provide a safe, secure and healthy environment for cadets, faculty & staff.
     
    Q: Will May 2020 commencement/Silver Taps occur?
    A: We currently plan to hold a commencement on the published date, with the Silver Taps ceremony integrated into the commencement day activities. In all, a single day event made available only to the seniors, their families and friends. HOWEVER, should global/national/local events preclude us safely hosting commencement on the published date; we will postpone it to a later date, likely shipping diplomas to cadet homes of record so that they may have it in their possession for the summer.
     
    Q: Will summer programs be available?
    A:  Again, YES, we are planning summer programs and are simultaneously planning to expand/enhance those programs so that cadets may return earlier to our campus environment to get back into the routine that has served them well to date. Again, IF global, national, state and local virus conditions allow, we plan to hold all of our RMA-sponsored cadet programs this summer as scheduled. In order to reduce the risk of reintroduction of the virus through the introduction/high-turnover of thousands of non-RMA students who historically lease our buildings and fields during the summer, we are terminating all of our external leasing contracts and plan to limit access to this campus solely to cadets and new recruits during the summer.
     
    Q: What is RMA doing about refunds for those who chose to bring their cadet home to complete this academic year digitally
    A: Bottom-line upfront: options for refunds/credits are found below in detail. The delay in working this issue was because, as always, the first priorities for the faculty and staff have been to ensure continuity of the Academy’s programs within a safe, secure and healthy environment. As we are wrapping up that transition to a mix of boarding and digital/online semester completion, we are now shifting our attention to fiscal matters.
     
    We understand that many of you have suffered losses of jobs, steep declines in investments, and additional costs associated with the world’s ever-changing COVID-19 threat. Our campus, its employees and our finances are subject to the same challenges. However, with the departure of a cadet from campus, indisputably a very few of our variable costs actually drop. Specifically, those costs that do curtail are related to boarding, i.e., food and laundry. Both of these costs are easily calculable as they are experienced on an actual cost-plus-margin basis. Clearly, 100% of these savings/cost avoidance need to be returned to you prorated for the days your cadet no longer was in residence on campus.
     
    As you are experiencing this week, RMA is continuing its commitment to a structured and supervised learning and developmental environment. Our digital teaching has every teacher involved in direct, interactive instruction on a systematic daily basis, during the school week. Your cadet(s) are interacting with a live teacher and with other cadets in that section. They are being tracked and monitored for participation and completion. Failures to log in are treated as a missed class. Failures to hand in assignments on time are treated as missed/late assignments unless properly excused. TACs and teachers will continue to notify parents of their cadet’s progress or failure to conform. Demerits for failures to comply will continue to be issued and will have immediate consequences. Grades will suffer for missed assignments or absences. Cadets who fail to complete their digital work appropriately will not receive credit for course completion which may result in a failure to graduate or to advance to the next grade. Academic rigor will be maintained throughout this process—accreditation of the Academy’s academic program requires this. Your parental/guardian role in assisting us in holding them to their normal standards of responsibility and performance are critical to your cadet’s success. Feel free to contact your TAC or teacher for assistance if you are running into challenges with your cadet properly engaging at home.
     
    Accordingly, TACs continue to do their mission, Information Technology personnel remain in place to support the digital instruction; faculty are teaching; employees remain who provide life support (heating/cooling/security/medical/Human Resources) to those running the educational programs; and RMA payments for institutional insurance, utilities, and employee salaries/benefits continue during this period of digital delivery of the academic curriculum. In short, the decision to allow parents the choice to remain on campus or bring their cadet home only impacts the variable costs of food and laundry and does not affect the fixed costs that remain as instruction continues, albeit in a different format.
     
    Refunds for boarding cadets:
    For those boarding cadets who departed on Friday, 13 March 2020, the total maximum refundable costs per cadet (excluding the planned spring break) are:
    For food: 8 weeks/7 days per week =  56 x $12.19/day = $682.64 available refund
    For laundry: 8 weeks x $17.80/week = $142.40 available refund
     
    Total Maximum Available Refund = $825.04 per cadet who is no longer boarding at Riverside.
     
    However, roughly one-half of all cadet families receive financial aid, i.e., fiscal relief that allows them to afford attendance. While $825.04 is available to those who receive no financial aid from RMA, the refund to those who do receive aid will be proportional to the percentage of aid received.
     
    For an easy hypothetical explanation, if you are receiving a 10% financial aid discount, your available refund will be reduced by 10% --assuming your account is in good standing/current. For those who are full-pays AND whose accounts are current and in good standing, the full amount is available to you for refund. While instruction will continue until semester’s end, transcripts/academic records will be withheld for those students whose accounts are not being kept current. Refunds will be withheld for cadets whose accounts are in arrears.
     
    For those deciding to accept the refund, checks will be provided to the parent/guardian/sponsor of record at the address of record sometime in April.
     
    Important:  There is one other option Riverside is making available to all families with accounts in good standing. Should you decide to defer your calculated refund amount, Riverside will post a credit to your 2020-2021 tuition and fees account in an amount of your calculated refund plus $300 (three hundred dollars). For those receiving the full refund, that represents a $1,125.04 credit on fall semester 2020 billing. $300 represents ~ 36.36% simple return on your refund in just a four-month period.
     
    Refunds for day cadets only:
    Lunch meals ($2.44/meal) x 5 days x 8 weeks = $97.60 maximum refund, if in good standing. The same $300 refund deferment incentive (see above) remains in place for those choosing to apply their refund to the fall semester.
     
    FOR ALL:
    If you choose the deferred incentive option and for whatever reason the school fails to open for a fall semester, your entire calculated refund will be returned to you (without the additional $300 credit) eliminating your risk in selecting this option. If after selecting this option, you choose to not re-enroll or withdraw your cadet for any reason, only your calculated academic year 2019-2020 refund will be provided to you, without the additional $300 credit.
     
    NOTE: An online/web-based form to inform RMA of your preferred refund option is forthcoming and should be available to you by Monday, March 30, 2020.
     
    I am aware that many of you expected a much larger refund, but again, by moving academic instruction to a digital mode, only the variable costs of residing are avoided and most all other costs--as described above—continue. Cadets will continue to interact, though in a different fashion. Riverside will continue to deliver its high-quality academic program and continue to utilize the military cultural model, though from a distance. TACs will continue to interact with cadets and parents, and the cadet chain of command is expected to monitor the performance of their assigned cadets from afar.
     
    Just as each of you is facing your own unique challenges given this COVID-19 event, so, too, are our faculty and staff members and their families. I am beyond impressed how many faculty and staff are making significant personal sacrifices to continue to deliver a proper military education to each of the cadets under unprecedented conditions. It is humbling to witness them adapt their methods to achieve the same desired results. Collectively, the RMA community is making the best of this situation.
     
    As always, I look forward to hearing from you as RMA and the world continue to optimistically press forward through a previously uncharted economic path. Through mutual respect, necessary flexibility and strict adherence to public health recommendations, the RMA community will emerge from the COVID-19 obstacle in a position of strength. One-hundred-thirteen years of remarkable institutional history assure us this is true.
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 23, 2020

    Dear Riverside Military Academy Friends and Family,
     
    This week Riverside Military Academy’s cadets, teachers and staff made RMA history by transitioning to digital learning in order to complete the current academic year. Under the leadership of Dr. Cathy Moore, academic dean, the faculty rapidly adjusted to a new way of teaching and creatively addressed the challenges and opportunities of virtual learning. Approximately 400 cadets are accessing their RMA classrooms from home via Zoom, and the 20 cadets who remain on campus are doing the same. The teamwork that was required to make this quick transition bodes well for RMA’s ongoing ability to adapt to new challenges.
     
    Let me share a story with you from last week that brought a smile to my face. An RMA cadet, now at home, emailed his military science instructor an essay entitled, “What It Means to be an RMA Cadet Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak.”
     
    During this hectic time, the way I have planned to maintain my RMA cadet values is through a schedule…however, just the schedule alone will not keep me in check, my mindset also has to be in the right state as well.  I think in this time of uncertainty, the one thing that will remain constant is my daily routine, which will help me to keep my head straight amidst the chaos.”
     
    He continues his essay by outlining his schedule complete with wake-up time, breakfast, P.T., hygiene, and school.
     
    “We may be experiencing a major pandemic, however, the one thing we have control over is what we do with our time during the day. In the end, … (this) might have been a good change for us all, giving us a taste of what college and the real world will be like, with us having to maintain a schedule and being more accountable for our own actions.”
     
    Improvise, adapt, and overcome!” he concludes.
     
    In similar fashion, the 20 cadets on campus are rising to the occasion of living RMA history. Small in number, but mighty in spirit these ReMAiners, as they are coming to be known, display grit, energy, and remarkable equilibrium. 
     
    The faculty and staff continue to amaze me with their ingenuity and creative problem-solving. I don’t consider any RMA staff member “nonessential,” but those who can work from home are doing so. Staff on campus are focused on cadet health and safety, therefore, staff from the infirmary, security, and food service are on campus daily along with the commandant’s team and technology support. We have eliminated nonessential deliveries to campus, and all staff and essential visitors pass through a central entry point and have their temperatures taken.
     
    There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the RMA campus.
     
    In the 40-plus years of my career, including military service and higher education administration, I have faced numerous logistical and planning obstacles, but COVID-19 presents such complex challenges and possible outcomes that I find myself energized by the opportunity to lead Riverside during this unique period in modern history.
     
    Until we can resume Academy activities on campus, please reach out to me by phone or email with your thoughts and concerns. Stay safe and well, and as our cadet reminds us, “Improvise, adapt, and overcome!”
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 17, 2020

    Dear Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff, and Cadets,
     
    As of today, the vast majority of RMA cadets have returned home to begin digital learning next Monday, March 23. Faculty members are on campus working, and all Academy offices remain open.
    Our primary focus now is on the ongoing preparations for a robust and engaging digital learning experience. We will have news and updates from Dr. Cathy Moore, academic dean, later this week, and we plan to air another YouTube live Q and A specifically with the Dean to answer your questions. Cadets should watch for preparatory emails from your teachers.

    A small cadre of cadets remains on campus for the foreseeable future. The parents or guardians of these cadets preferred for them to remain on campus, and all requests were accommodated. They have been consolidated within the barracks, but each cadet has been assigned his own private room. These cadets will also learn digitally with monitoring and support from faculty in person.

    As we continue to keep you apprised, we have learned of two confirmed cases of COVID -19 in Hall County, Georgia. Both individuals are patients at an area hospital. Riverside Military Academy continues to have no confirmed cases.

    We understand that this is a difficult and challenging time for all. Last Friday, I witnessed senior cadet leaders put all their RMA experience to work as they led their companies through what, for most cadets, was a rapid transition from campus life to home. The day was not without tears, but it reminded me of the bonds of brotherhood that our cadets form within these walls. Please know we are walking through this together.

    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 13, 2020

    Dear Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff, and Cadets,
     
    For the past several weeks the RMA staff and Board of Trustees have worked diligently to prepare for and plan the Academy’s response to COVID-19. There are no confirmed cases on campus, but given the spread of the virus and taking into account the safety of cadets and staff, as well as State of Georgia recommendations, we announce the following:
     
    RMA will transition to digital (online) education accessed from each cadet’s home. Cadets may depart campus beginning today, Friday, March 13, at 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and continuing Saturday, March 14 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. We realize with the fluctuations in the airline industry it may take several days for cadets to depart RMA. Therefore, cadets have until March 22, 2020 to return home.
     
    We are aware that not every RMA cadet can go home. International cadets may fall into this category as well as domestic cadets whose homes are in geographical areas hard hit by the virus. Therefore, a petition process is provided for parents to initiate a request to have their son remain at RMA. Please complete this form to petition for your son to remain at RMA beyond March 22. The deadline for submitting your petition is Monday, March 16 at 5 p.m. EDST, else they are expected to leave by noon, March 22, 2020. For India Company only, today marks your last day on campus.
     
    PLEASE UNDERSTAND that once your cadet leaves RMA tomorrow or in the following days, he will not be allowed back on campus until the threat of the virus has passed and the campus reopens sometime after Commencement day. We certainly hope that our summer programs and camps will be up and running for your cadet.
     
    To give cadets and faculty time to make the transition to online learning, the week of March 16-20 has been designated a transition period as well as a pause in operations. Spring break, April 4-13, remains as such. There will be no online instruction that week.
     
    This was not an easy decision to make and came only after reviewing the options we have as a boarding school comprised of 400-plus domestic and international students. We had to try to best meet the needs of a wide variety of families and students while fulfilling our mission to educate your son. This approach described above aligns with steps taken by universities and colleges, peer secondary boarding schools, and also follows the recommendation of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
     
    We also know this is welcome news for some of you and for others it presents challenges. We are committed to completing the spring academic semester and ensuring that all students have the opportunity to fulfill their academic requirements. Until further information is provided, we still DO PLAN to hold Commencement, but with only seniors and their families returning to participate in the ceremony.
     
    You will have many questions, and we pledge to communicate clearly and transparently with you in the days, weeks, and months to come.
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 12, 2020 

    Dear Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff, and Cadets,
     
    We continue to move forward with planning for the wellbeing of the Corps of Cadets and the faculty/staff. We are monitoring news and updates about the coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases in Hall County, Georgia, or at RMA.
     
    Per Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s message today that schools consider closing for two weeks and/or transition to online learning, we continue to prepare for the potential execution of digital education.
     
    Please watch for messages tomorrow providing updates as we have them.
                   
    Thank you for the many responses to the last message. Your son’s wellbeing is our chief priority.
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
     
  • Message from the President March 11, 2020

    Dear Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff, and Cadets,
     
    We continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak as we plan RMA’s ongoing response. While we receive news and updates from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and the Georgia Department of Public Health as well as news outlets, there are no easy answers. This is a fluid evolving situation, and we are considering all options to maintain the wellbeing of our cadets, teachers, and staff.
     
    As of this date, there are more than 1,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, 13 of which are in Georgia. There are no confirmed cases in Hall County, Georgia, where RMA is located.
     
    The RMA Executive Staff, in consultation with the RMA Board of Trustees, has agreed to implement the following:
     
    CADET LIFE
     
    To date, we have increased our sanitizing procedures campus-wide. FLIK, our food service provider, has eliminated self-service (salad bar, etc.), and all foods are now served by screened servers. The infirmary staff has increased supplies of medical and disinfectant essentials and is monitoring the health of cadets and staff who present any flu-like symptoms.
     
    CALENDAR CHANGES
     
    Out of an abundance of caution and in keeping with health advisories to reduce the risk of possible exposure to the virus, the following activities and trips are cancelled:
    • Eagle News Network (ENN) trip to Washington, D.C. March 11-15
    • Robotics team competition March 12-14
    • Folds of Honor color guard March 13-14
    • Corps of Cadets Parade in honor of first responders March 21
    • Military Ball March 21
    • Middle school trip to Charleston, S.C. March 19-21
    • Upcoming international travel for recruiting
    • Parents’ Day (parade, parent/teacher conferences) April 3
      (Information about virtual conferencing is forthcoming.)
    Additional cancellations may follow.
     
    ATHLETIC EVENTS
     
    RMA athletic teams will continue competing as scheduled; however, beginning immediately, until further notice, we will prohibit spectators at RMA home athletic events. Attendance at away events will be determined by the host school.
     
    ACADEMICS
     
    We are closely watching the actions of schools like Princeton University, New York University, Duke University, and Stanford University as well as peer secondary schools that are immediately switching to online instruction or have plans to implement it if deemed necessary.  
     
    RMA is also considering how online instruction may fit into our plan to complete the spring semester in a manner that is safest for all concerned. We have studied the feasibility of an online option and have determined that we have the ability to transition to it should the situation warrant it. Regardless of our decision, students will be able to earn full credit for this semester.
     
    SPRING FURLOUGH
     
    We are also considering the health and safety implications of the upcoming spring furlough (April 4-13). Our planning will be influenced by a number of factors, including but not limited to, mandates from the federal or state government, the spread of cases into Hall County, and the continued impact of the virus on airline travel availability. While many public and private schools are considering the same factors, RMA’s response may differ because of our particular challenges as a boarding school of 400-plus students from around the United States and the world.
     
    We agree with the World Health Organization which stated, “We are in uncharted territory.” RMA has weathered numerous obstacles in its 112-year history, and you can be confident we are working diligently to plan for the welfare of all.  
     
    I encourage you to let me know of your questions and concerns.
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
     
  • Message from the President March 6, 2020

    Dear RMA Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff, and Cadets,
     
    We continue to monitor the coronavirus via the Department of Public Health in Georgia and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There has been no change relative to the virus here at RMA. All activities and classes are continuing as scheduled.
     
    We have increased our cleaning and sanitation procedures for the facilities, and we continue to encourage everyone to wash his or her hands frequently. Additionally, we encourage everyone to report any change in his or her health.
     
    Again, activities and classes continue. We will update you periodically even if it’s just to let you know there is no change in status at RMA.
     
    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President
  • Message from the President March 4, 2020

    Dear RMA Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff, and Cadets,
     
    Tuesday morning, March 3, I invited officials from the Department of Public Health, District 2, state of Georgia, to meet with members of the RMA staff here on campus regarding the coronavirus. The purpose of the meeting was to better understand best practices to safeguard our cadets now and through spring furlough. In addition to consulting the Department of Public Health, we are monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, and receiving briefs from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). We are also in touch with peer boarding schools.

    As of this writing, there are two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Fulton County, Georgia, (50 miles from RMA) but NO reported cases in Gainesville, GA, Hall County, or at RMA. We are acting, however, to keep the safety and wellbeing of our cadets, faculty, and staff our highest priority.
    As a result, we are taking the following steps: We are increasing our inventory of cleaning and disinfectant supplies, non-perishable foods, toilet paper, bottled water, and other supplies that might be needed in the event of a disruption of supply chains due to a widespread outbreak. The RMA infirmary has already reviewed its inventory and has increased essential supplies. 

    Compass Group, the RMA food service provider, has put in place enhanced hygiene measures for its food servers and staff. More frequent cleanings and sanitizing of highly touched surfaces are in place.  
    The following best practices are advised by the Department of Health: 
    • Cadets, faculty, and staff who have not received a flu shot this season should consider doing so immediately. While there is no vaccine yet available for the coronavirus, the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of a double infection. Flu vaccines are available in the RMA infirmary.
    • Soap and water reportedly kill the coronavirus; therefore, everyone is urged to wash their hands frequently and for 20 seconds each time. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth.
    • Contact with handrails, door handles, and other hard surfaces should be minimized.  Avoid shaking hands.
    • If you experience flu-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, coughing), see your doctor or health care provider immediately.
    Spring Furlough and Scheduled Travel

    As spring furlough approaches (April 3-13) we have concerns about international travel. If you must travel outside the United States, we encourage you to review the travel advisories published by the CDC  and the U.S.  Department of State. The primary advice we received from the Department of Health officials is that the best way to limit the spread of the virus is to limit travel, therefore, we urge you to refrain from any unnecessary travel during spring furlough. If a cadet travels to a high-risk area as designated by the CDC, he will reportedly be screened at the American airport he returns to, and he will be screened again at RMA. 

    We will update you periodically even if it’s just to let you know there is no change in information. Again, safety is our priority.

    Very respectfully,
    COL(R) Staś C. Preczewski
    President