Frequently Asked Questions - COVID - 19 and The Oxbow School

Is my child required to get vaccinated to attend the 2021 Summer Art Institute at Oxbow? If a vaccination is made available, we ask that students receive the vaccine prior to arrival on campus. We understand that each state has a different plan in place for rolling out the vaccinations and that an adequate supply of vaccines may not be available for all residents. We anticipate that not all students will be vaccinated by the June 20th start date and will do everything we can to keep the community safe and healthy through the duration of the program.

Is a negative COVID test necessary to enter the Oxbow campus?
Yes. All students must show proof of a negative test within 1-3 days as a condition of entry on our campus. All unvaccinated members of the community will be tested within 7 days after arrival. Subsequent surveillance testing will be conducted.Will students be required to quarantine or isolate after arriving? While this is subject to change, current CDC guidelines recommend that travelers quarantine for 7 days after travel. To mitigate risk of community spread, we are making every effort to de-densify student housing to allow for as many single bedrooms as is practicable. We have a dedicated isolation space with a private bathroom on campus in the event a student tests positive for COVID. On a case by case basis and as the need demands, parents may be expected to travel to Napa to care for their child.

Will there be COVID safety protocols in place during the 2021 Summer Art Institute?
In an effort to keep the entire community safe, we will be practicing safety protocols as advised by the CDC -- physical distancing (minimum of 6 feet), wearing masks in shared spaces, and frequent hand washing. We will update and share our reopening plan as we get closer to the start date.

What will happen in the event that Oxbow is not permitted by the state to run a summer program? As we experienced this past winter, we are subject to state guidelines and recommendations. There is always the possibility that businesses in Napa will remain shuttered. We have strong support to reopen from the local public health officer and will continue to partner with her over the next several months. That said, she cannot override state guidelines and we will be in communication with families if the spread continues to spike. We remain hopeful that the vaccination roll-out in California will be robust, thereby reducing community spread and lowering hospitalizations in our collective efforts to suppress the virus.

Will my tuition payment be reimbursed if the Summer Art Institute is not permitted to run?
Yes, families will be reimbursed in the event that the summer session is cancelled. Please note that your tuition payment is due no later than May 20th (30 days prior to the summer start date). If you elect to cancel your registration after that date, you forfeit your tuition payment per the enrollment agreement.If the Summer Art Institute cannot run for an in-person session on the Oxbow campus, will we be expected to pay tuition for a virtual session? We have found that the magic of being an Oxbow student is the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet like-minded peers in person. An online platform does not lend itself to developing meaningful and lifelong relationships that come from working alongside each other all day long in our beautiful studios. Therefore, the Summer Art Institute is designed to be delivered in person on campus and tuition will be reimbursed if we are forced to cancel this program.

What is the biggest difference between the Summer Art Institute and the regular semester program at Oxbow? The academic classes will be offered as electives during the summer months. This means more time to make art in the studios! While student work will still be grounded in rigorous intellectual inquiry, students will not be required to take stand-alone academic classes. All students will receive a certificate of completion in the form of a traditional transcript wherein they will earn an entire year’s worth of credit in studio art. Students may elect (but are not required) to earn academic credit in Physical Education/Wellness, U.S. History, Environmental Science, and English/Creative Writing. If a student is interested in earning additional academic credit in other disciplines, we are happy to work with you to identify the best avenue to do so.

Any other questions can be directed to our Admissions Director, Jason Tucker, at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a semester program?

A semester school is a school that complements a student's secondary education by providing them with the opportunity to step out of their regular school for half an academic year and step into a uniquely different educational setting while continuing their required academic studies. The academic curriculum at semester schools tends to be college preparatory, interdisciplinary, and experiential.

Oxbow is part of the Semester Schools Network.

Will credit from The Oxbow School transfer to my home school and apply towards graduation?

The Oxbow School is accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and Cognia. Cognia accreditation divisions include: the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Oxbow School is also a member of the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts Schools.

Oxbow courses are designed to fulfill the credit requirements for on-time high school graduation.

Will I be continuing with my academic work while studying art at Oxbow?

All students at Oxbow School take, and are graded in, honors classes in history, English, science, art and physical education. Students who need math and foreign language credit are enrolled in honors math and/or language tutorials consistent with their ability levels, and cover the material that satisfies their sending school requirements.

Can I graduate from the Oxbow School?

The Oxbow School is fully accredited but, as a one-semester program, does not issue diplomas. Students receive credit for their Oxbow course work and return to their sending schools for graduation. The Oxbow semester broadens the student’s awareness of college possibilities and enhances college applications.

How many students attend Oxbow?

Oxbow is intentionally designed for 48 students and the teacher/student ratio is 1:7; maximum class size is sixteen students—there is no ‘back of the classroom’ at Oxbow!

Does the tuition charge cover all of my expenses?

The charge for a semester at Oxbow is ‘all inclusive’ meaning that one amount covers all costs of the core Oxbow experience: classes, art supplies, academic materials, boarding, food and field trips. There is one exception to the all-inclusive rule. Students electing to take tutoring in a foreign language will receive a one-time charge prior to the beginning of the semester.

Doesn’t $32,000 dollars seem like a lot … ?

There’s no doubt that Oxbow is a significant investment for most families. But the all-inclusive charge of $32,000 covers everything—tuition, room, board, fees, materials, etc., and is comparable with the median cost of good boarding schools nationwide. Two things to keep in mind: Having a teenager home for three months is not ‘free’—and in some ways Oxbow might be a bargain by comparison. Secondly and more seriously, students who wish to pursue studies in art, design, photography, animation, film, architecture, and other creative disciplines will find their college applications significantly enhanced by their Oxbow experience; previous Oxbow alumni have been offered sizable scholarships by colleges and universities—far in excess of their one-time investment in a semester at Oxbow. Many Oxbow alumni, including those pursuing educations and careers outside of the arts report that they gained admission and received scholarships to their top choice colleges, and credit Oxbow with preparing them to succeed after high school.

If my family cannot afford the tuition costs, is financial assistance available?

Yes, need-based and merit scholarships are available. Oxbow works with “SSS” (School and Student Services) of NAIS, a national organization that processes financial aid applications for schools and colleges to help determine a family’s level of financial need. The Oxbow School takes pride in fulfilling its mission of attracting students from diverse racial, socioeconomic, and geographic communities. Through the support of generous donors who share and enable the school’s commitment to student diversity, the School is able to provide financial aid at a very high level as compared to the norms for both California and national independent schools.

Students receiving some level of Financial Aid - 56%.