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Communications and COVID-19 Resource Page

This webpage is a resource for communications regarding Northwood Forward and our ongoing plans for the 2020-2021 school year amidst the pandemic. 

December 10, 2020

Update: Return to School in January

As 2020 winds down and our community celebrates this holiday season, Northwood’s faculty and staff are preparing for students returning to campus in January. I write today with an update on our plans for the second and third trimesters.

Full Letter

December 2, 2020

Term 1 Reopening and Testing 

Northwood School has released a summary of the Term 1 reopening plan statistics. The diligence of the Reopening Committee and administrative team alongside the vigilance of the student body and faculty resulted in consistent negative test results over the term. 


November 10, 2020

End of Term 1: Academic Update

In advance of the upcoming break, Northwood has released details on the end of term 1 and academic expectations during break.

Full communication

October 27, 2020

Update: the Break and Beyond

As we approach the tenth week of this most unusual school year, I am inspired every day by the hope, compassion, and resilience on display by the Northwood community during this chapter in our school’s history.

I write to share with you our plans for the remainder of the current academic term, the upcoming break, and our return to school in January.   

Letter with Details from Head of School Michael Maher

October 27, 2020

Northwood Winter Athletics Over The Break

Over the vacation our winter  sports  coaches will schedule games and races and will be in contact soon with how this schedule will play out.

Letter with Details from Athletic Director, Gino Riffle

Careful Steps Toward On- and Off-Campus Athletic Competition

October 1, 2020

We hope to slowly and carefully begin athletic competition against teams from other schools...we are also meeting regularly to discuss upcoming travel involving our snowsport athletes. These discussions are time-sensitive and we hope to have more clarity for those affected soon. 

Full communication

Beginning This Weekend: On Campus Family Visits

September 27, 2020

We want our parents and families to see their children, but we also need to be vigilant to protect our campus community from the spread of the virus. 

Full communication

All visitors are required to complete the symptom check when they arrive to campus or shortly before and no visitors may come to campus if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Visitors from states on the New York State Travel Advisory are not permitted on campus.

Reopening Update and Next Steps 

Sept. 17, 2020

Our three rounds of assurance testing have concluded with no positive cases of COVID-19 in the Northwood School Community. We have successfully begun the school year virus free. That is an impressive accomplishment that required the commitment of our entire community. Our plan is working, but we must remain vigilant. Next week we begin surveillance testing, which is a program of testing a cross-section of our population of students and employees every week to monitor for the presence of the virus.

Full Communication


Onboarding and Testing Update

September 2, 2020

We continue to be encouraged by the results of our assurance testing. The most recent round of test results  for employees and day students (Friday, August 28) and boarding students (Monday, August 31) were all negative. Our plan is working, but we must remain vigilant.

Full communication

Early Onboarding Update

August 27, 2020

Northwood’s onboarding process for the 2020-21 school year is underway, and I’d like to share with you the good news of where we are today and our plan going forward. 

Over the two testing clinics in our first week of assurance testing, 70 employees and 164 students, including 42 day students, were tested, and all were negative for COVID-19. This is encouraging news and a strong endorsement of our reopening plan.  

Full communication

Arrival Day Update and Resource Documents

August 22, 2020

Day Student FAQ

Quarantine Guidelines

We must hold off on hugs, and togetherness while we hunker down for two weeks of quarantine. Starting this way gives us our best chance to have a complete school year. The news is full of stories of colleges and universities and high schools that have had to switch to all remote learning because their communities didn’t fully buy-in to a safe start. That’s why we need everyone to take the pledge and Protect Our Pack. 

Full communication

Details About Arrival Day

August 17, 2020

To reduce density on a day that is usually marked by crowds, we ask that each student sign up for an individual registration appointment dedicated to their cohort on their specific registration day. For day students, registration is between 1pm and 5pm on August 21st. For boarding students, registration is between 11am and 6pm on Monday, August 24th. It is crucial that you arrive at your assigned time.

- Leigh Riffle, Assistant Dean of Stiudents

Full Communication 

Community Pledge

August 15, 2020

We > Me and together we must pledge to do our very best with diligence and determination to ensure the health and safety of our community. It takes a team to “Protect Our Pack.” In this video, Head of School, Michael Maher, and student leaders introduce the Northwood School Community Pledge and the commitment necessary from our student body to safely reopen the school. All students will sign the Northwood School Community Pledge when they first arrive at school.

Updates and Reminders Regarding Testing and Forms

August 14, 2020

Full communication

DOH-NYSED Reopening Plan

August 12, 2020

A working draft was submitted to the New York State Department of Health on July 31, 2020 (and revised and re-submitted on August 7) and submitted to the New York State Education Department on August 7, 2020. Revisions to the plan will be submitted, as appropriate. 

Working Draft Reopening Plan

Reopening New York Higher Education Guidelines

NYS-DOH Higher Education Interim Detailed Guidelines

K-12 School Relative Risk Index

Reminders Before the Start of School

August 11, 2020

In less than two weeks, students will begin reporting to campus and beginning a 14-day quarantine to help ensure a safe and healthy start to the school year. Day students arrive on August 21 and boarding students on August 24. The faculty and staff are preparing for your arrival, and the list of things to do this year is longer than ever. There a number of requirements that will need to be fulfilled as part of the onboarding process.

Full Communication

Academic Affairs Update

August 4, 2020

The following is an update on our academic preparations for the 2020-2021 school year.

Full communication

Audio file

Important Update: Modifying Student Return Dates

July 27, 2020

One of our core principles throughout our planning for the 2020-21 school year is to be flexible enough to change when the situation calls for it. Today, we are announcing an important adjustment to our plan. 

Full communication emailed to parents and student on 7/27/2020

Listen via audio file

Updated Academic Calendar

Keeping Students Healthy

July 21, 2020

The following update provides details on some of the changes that Northwood has made for the 2020-21 school year to provide for the health needs of students.

Full communication was emailed to parents and students, please check your inbox. 

Communicable Illness Management and Exclusion Policy

July 17, 2020

Addendum to the 2020-21 Student Handbook

Cohort Community Exchanges

July 16, 2020

Community Exchanges for the five cohorts were held July 13-15.  Many of you joined one of these virtually, but for those of you who were unable to attend we recorded the Community Exchanges and the links have been emailed to all students and parents. If you did not receive please contact Gino Riffle or John Spear. 

Updated Fall Calendar and Save the Date: Cohort Virtual Town Hall Meeting

July 7, 2020

Full letter with details

Important Information About the Start of School

June 30, 2020

Full letter with important dates. 

Brief video with an overview of how students will return to school.

"Our plan for the 2020-21 school year needs to be highly conscientious, unusually creative, and above all flexible. Successful implementation of any plan during this pandemic requires all members of the community to take on a shared responsibility to do what is necessary to preserve the Northwood School experience while keeping everyone safe. This is just the beginning of our work that will require all of us to come together at this historic moment with care for ourselves and each other, with adaptability and generosity of spirit. But that is, after all, what Northwood School does well."

Michael Maher, Head of School

Northwood School Announces Reopening Plan 

June 23, 2020

Full Letter

“The guiding principle in all our decision-making is the health and safety of our entire community — our students, staff, faculty, and the Lake Placid community. Our highest goal is to work together to bring our students back to campus this fall.”

Michael Maher, Head of School