This webpage is a resource for communications regarding Northwood Forward and our reopening plans for the fall semester. The plan requires expenses that are necessary to provide a safe and whole Northwood experience for our students. The Northwood Forward: Crisis Response Fund will support the addition of proper medical testing and staffing, the implementation of supplementary educational technology, the operation of an infirmary, and other expenses.
Academic Affairs Update
August 4, 2020
The following is an update on our academic preparations for the 2020-2021 school year.
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
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
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
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
“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
Letter to the Northwood Community
April 28, 2020
Updates and more information on what Northwood School is doing to plan for the next school year and beyond.
Letter from Head of School, Michael Maher
March 30, 2020
After a great deal of thoughtful counsel and guidance, we have made the difficult decision to continue with remote learning for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year.
"Northwood School is focused on minimizing the spread of COVID-19, maintaining the health and wellness of our school community, and fulfilling our mission via distance learning. Thank you all for your understanding, patience, and partnership during this challenging time."
Q: Will there be school over spring break?
A: Some AP classes will have required work for students to help prepare for AP exams. Other faculty may choose to offer optional or extra credit work in their classes. There will be programming for students in the Wellness course for each grade throughout the break. Finally, we are planning to have some optional, fun student activities that help connect all of you with each other (stay tuned).
Q: When is the last date of classes?
A: Friday, May 22, 2020.
Q: Will there be final exams?
A: This will be a decision that will be made by individual faculty. Faculty may choose to have exams, final projects that count toward an exam grade, or no exams.
Q: What if I fail a course?
A: As outlined in the 2019-2020 Student Handbook, if you fail one course you will be placed on Academic Warning, and if you fail two courses you will be placed on Academic Probation. In addition, when you fail a course you don’t receive credit and this could impact your ability to graduate on time. For example, all students need four years of English to graduate. If you fail English, you will need to take a full year of English over the summer at an approved, accredited institution or complete an additional year of high school.
Q: What do I do if I get sick and can’t keep up?
A: If you become sick, your teachers will do everything we can to support you. This includes postponing due dates, adjusting assignments, etc. Flexibility and communication are key.
Q: How will I know my grade?
A: Many teachers are using the Google Classroom Gradebook, and some are sharing your overall average with you on a real-time basis. For teachers not using this feature, please don’t hesitate to reach out to them for grade guidance and additional feedback.
Q: Will there be progress reports?
A: Since we have weekly reports from Google Classroom, and significant documented interactions with students, faculty will not write any additional progress reports this year. However, comments will be included on final report cards.
Q: Will there be Advanced Placement (AP) exams?
A: AP exams will be offered online in a shortened format. All Northwood AP teachers have communicated with their students regarding their specific exam. More information will be released by the College Board in April. See the College Board’s Coronavirus Update page for more information.
Q: Will Northwood still give out underclass academic awards (cum laude, book awards, etc.)?
A: We will announce all recipients of underclass awards this spring, and will hold a special assembly on campus in the fall to give out the physical awards.
Q: How do I return textbooks, cameras, etc. to Northwood?
A: There are three options to return textbooks (you do not need to return workbooks or novels), cameras, etc. to Northwood:
1) When you come to pick up your belongings, you may return them at that time.
2) You may bring them with you in the fall if you are returning next year.
3) You may mail them if you are graduating or not returning.
Q: I know LEAP is a graduation requirement. Will I be excused from having a LEAP course?
A: Yes, all students will be excused from their LEAP requirements this year due to the extenuating circumstances.
Q: If my LEAP course had a deposit for Cuba, Atlanta or Iceland, will I get it back?
A: Marcy Fagan, the Director of LEAP, is working closely with airlines and vendors in hopes of refunding part or all of your deposit. This is an evolving situation, and we will update you as more information becomes available.
Q: When are course sign-ups for the 2020-2021 academic year?
A: Course sign-ups will occur in late May or early June for returning students.
Q: How will I know what courses will be offered?
A: All students will receive a course catalog for the 2020-2021 year in advance of sign-ups which will include descriptions of all new courses. We will also be hosting virtual informational meetings for all elective courses by department. More information will be available in early May.
Q: How will I know if I’m eligible to enroll in AP or Honors courses?
A: Department chairs will manage the recommendation process for AP and Honors courses. To qualify to take an AP or honors course, students must earn a minimum grade of a B+ in the prerequisite course and have made effort grades of Good or Excellent. Teacher recommendations are also used to determine placement. Exceptions to these guidelines occur for special circumstances and after consultation by the current teacher, the department chair, and the dean of academic affairs.
Q: Who will advise me during the course selection process?
A: All faculty are available for questions. Advisors will work with the Dean of Academic Affairs to review that all graduation requirements will be met by each student. In addition, college guidance counselors will be available for questions regarding course planning.
Q: Will my child continue to receive Learning Center services through the end of the year?
A: Yes, services will continue virtually through Google Hangouts, Facetime, Whatsapp, phone, text, and email. Academic Coaches will continue to meet with students as scheduled, four times each week.
Q: What communication will I receive?
A: Communication will continue to include Learning Center progress updates, final report at the end of the third trimester (including a transition plan for seniors and postgraduate students), email, and phone/text communication as needed.
Q: How will I receive my accommodations in a distance learning environment?
A: All approved accommodations will be implemented as requested.
Q: Who do I contact with additional questions regarding the Learning Center?
A: Brenda Cotton, Director of the Learning Center, email@example.com.
Q: What mental health and wellness services are available to my child during distance learning?
A: We recognize the significant impact this world-wide crisis may have on the emotional wellbeing of students and families. Consultation is available to help connect students and families with mental health services in your home community or to connect with teletherapy services.
Q: What is the Wellness Google Classroom?
A: A Wellness Google Classroom has been created for each grade level: 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th/PG. These classes offer several “challenge” assignments per week to promote healthy habits, offer strategies for coping with the COVID-19 crisis, and provide a place for students to connect with one another. The “challenge” assignments are not mandatory, nor are they graded; however, we highly encourage students to take advantage of these opportunities to help them work through this milestone experience.
Q: What is being done to help provide students, specifically seniors and PGs, with closure?
A: The COVID-19 crisis creates unique barriers to our traditional senior year and graduation activities. This leaves some students feeling disappointed, less connected, and missing the typical big finale to their high school years. Faculty are working with students to create alternative, meaningful, celebratory activities for seniors and PG’s. This will be a forum to celebrate with each other and reflect on their time at Northwood while giving them much-needed closure.
Q: Whom do I contact with additional questions regarding mental health and wellness?
A: Tara Wright, School Psychologist & Academic Coach, firstname.lastname@example.org, (315) 725-7398
Q: When can I expect to have received all of my college admission decisions?
A: Seniors will have received all Regular Decision decisions by April 1st. There will be some additional activity between late March into the month of May for students who were originally placed on Waitlist or who applied to schools that offer Rolling Decisions.
Q: Can I get help from my college counselor when trying to decide which school I will attend?
A: If you are one of the 50% of Northwood seniors still looking to select the school where you will matriculate, Mr. McCauley and your college counselor are waiting to hear from you. All four college counselors will continue to offer support through email, telephone conversations, WeChat, Whatsapp, Skype, and other appropriate communications. You should review the webpages of the schools that admitted you to be certain of the date you need to send your deposit and register as an enrolling student for the fall. NOTE, most schools have decided to extend the traditional date by 30 days from May 1st to June 1st. Be sure to look at the schools’ webpages considering there are some institutions that will still require a May 1st deposit to secure your place at the institution for this coming fall. If you find yourself in a predicament with a school that is requiring that you submit by May 1st, communicate with your college counselor. Mr. McCauley has heard from a handful of schools who have May 1st dates and learned that they will allow for exceptions. Again, if you have any questions whatsoever, please be in touch with your college counselor or directly with the institution.
Q: What is the date for me to send my deposit and secure my attendance at a college for next fall?
A: Most schools have decided to extend the traditional date by 30 days from May 1st to June 1st. Be sure to look at the schools’ webpages considering that are some institutions that will still require a May 1st deposit to secure your place at the institution for this coming fall. Again, if you have any questions whatsoever, please be in touch with your college counselor or directly with the institution. If you find yourself in a predicament with a school that is requiring that you submit by May 1st, communicate with your college counselor. Mr. McCauley has heard from a handful of schools who have May 1st dates and learned that they will allow for exceptions.
Q: I have sent my deposit to accept the offer and secure my attendance and now what’s left?
A: Give your best effort in your classes and do well in your final trimester. You must finish strong and earn grades that are consistent with the rest of your year. Student offers can be rescinded if there is a dip of two letter grades in one or more classes such as an A falls to a C or a B falls to a D. The College Office will send your final transcript to the school that you will be attending. From there, the school will be in touch with information about who your faculty advisor is, how to select classes and a personal questionnaire as part of the roommate selection process.
Q: Can I change my school selection even if I have already deposited to secure my enrollment at a school for the fall?
A: If you are one of the approximately 50% of our students who have already decided where you will be attending school next year, it’s possible that something may have changed for you given your circumstances in the face of the COVID-19 situation. If your current family financial situation has changed, or your family’s financial outlook has changed, you have every right to go back to the college to make an appeal for more aid or go back to the drawing board and select another school. You will need to speak with the office of financial aid at the school and if you would like to speak to someone in the College Office about this first, please contact Mr. McCauley or your college counselor.
Q: How can I continue to work with my college counselor and the college process for the remainder of the academic year?
A: College counselors will continue to support your college process from afar with on-line counseling sessions, through appropriate channels that will include: Skype, Whatsapp, WeChat, email and telephone.
Q: What can I expect to achieve by the end of the academic year?
A: You can expect to get through 4 of the fundamental parts of the process outlined in the Class meeting in January: 1) create a College List, 2) open a Common App and select an essay prompt, 3) identify your Teacher Recommenders, 4) your counselor will work with you and Dr. Finnerty Paul to select classes for senior year.
Q: Will there still be standardized test prep?
A: March 25th saw the course begin. Thirty-one juniors have signed up for the 10-class prep course offered by Brian Marohnic of High End Test Prep. Brian will offer the 10 classes over a 12-week period that began on March 25th and finishes on June 3rd. If you have not signed up and still would like to, you should have emails from Mr. McCauley and Mr. Marohnic between March 21st and March 24th. The dates of the classes are as follows:
- Wednesday, March 25th
- Wednesday, April 1st
- Wednesday, April 22nd
- Wednesday, April 29th
- Wednesday, May 6th
- Wednesday, May 13th
- Wednesday, May 20th
- Wednesday, May 27th
- Friday, May 29th
- Wednesday, June 3rd
Q: I registered for an SAT (or ACT) that was canceled. When can I take the test again?
A: Yes, as you know, the SAT scheduled for March 14th and the make-up exam of March 28th were canceled. The SAT set for May 2nd has also been canceled. As for the ACT, the April 4th exam has also been canceled. The June 6th exam is currently still scheduled and the SAT has promised to create an alternate date to make-up for the canceled March date. The rest of the SAT dates of August 29, October 3, November 7 and December 5, 2020 are still on. As for the ACT tests, June 13th and the July 18th are still on and for now, there are no expected changes to the fall ACT tests of September 12, October 24 and December 12, 2020. For any questions that you may have or for changes that may come about, you should keep your eye on the College Board and ACT coronavirus websites. In Mr. McCauley’s opinion, the scheduling of standardized tests is very fluid right now and deserves your attention over the next several weeks. It is possible that there will be fewer tests offered this year... just a hunch.
Q: When can I take the ACT or SAT?
A: The June 6th SAT exam is currently still scheduled and the SAT has promised to create an alternate date to make-up for the canceled March date. The rest of the SAT dates of August 29, October 3, November 7 and December 5, 2020 are still on. As for the ACT tests, June 13th and the July 18th are still on and for now, there are no expected changes to the fall ACT tests of September 12, October 24 and December 12, 2020. For any questions that you may have or for changes that may come about, you should keep your eye on the College Board and ACT coronavirus websites. In Mr. McCauley’s opinion, the scheduling of standardized tests is very fluid right now and deserves your attention over the next several weeks. It is possible that there will be fewer tests offered this year... just a hunch.
Q: Will colleges still be awarding AP Credit?
A: For schools that do offer AP Credit, they still will be offering credit if you complete the official, but rather streamlined exams. For students who are unable, that is an ongoing conversation in college admission offices.
Q: Will colleges that still require tests continue to require tests next year?
A: This is an ongoing conversation even in the most selective schools that require a standardized test score. To date, several schools that include Tufts University and Oregon State University will be test-optional next year. As always, this means students do not have to submit but are welcome to if they have scores that they want to be evaluated.
Q. What about the TOEFL Test? Will that be required by college next year?
A: For the students who will have not studied in the USA or another English speaking country for 3 or more years and who do not speak, read and write English fluently, some kind of exam will likely still be required. At the most selective colleges, if you are an English Language Learner at Northwood, Mr. McCauley’s opinion is that schools will require a standardized test as proof of English language skills. Presently, almost 400 colleges accept the on-line exam Duolingo. We expect that more schools will accept this in the admission process next year.
Any additional questions can be directed to Mr. McCauley or any of our dedicated college counselors:
Mr. McCauley: email@example.com Mobile: 315/523-7350
WeChat: “davidmcccauley”, Whatsapp: “fdavidmccauley”
Mr. Spear: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Weaver: email@example.com
Q: How can I retrieve my belongings?
A: In accordance with the New York State Governor’s directive, we cannot grant access and arrange for students to retrieve their belongings at this time, nor may we assist with packing and shipping at this time. We know how important the items that you left behind are to you, and they will remain safe and secure. What we don’t know is how long this statewide directive will remain in effect. We have sent a Student Belongings Survey to all students and families. Boarding students will need to choose from the following options when we are able to implement them.
Pick Up On Campus. Students may pick up their belongings when governmental restrictions on work and travel allow for it. We will keep families updated as information changes and is available.
* Please note that our staff may have to pack up, relocate and/or store your belongings until pick-up dates are available.
Stored On Campus. Students may have their belongings packed by Northwood staff and stored on campus for the summer. There is no charge for this service. Students will be able to access their belongings in storage in the fall at the start of the next school year. If you need your items before the start of the 2020-21 school year, please select another option.
Shipped to the Student. Students may ask that their belongings be shipped to them. Packing is free to you, but all shipping charges will be the responsibility of the student. Shipping from Lake Placid can be very costly; we only recommend this option as a last resort. The school will use The UPS Store in Lake Placid for shipping. We will ask students and families to provide The UPS Store with a credit card so shipping fees can be processed directly by The UPS Store.
Q: How do I know my belongings are safe and secure?
A: Currently, students’ belongings are in their locked dorm rooms, and all school buildings and dormitories are locked and accessible only to faculty and staff. Students were encouraged to take all valuables with them when they departed campus earlier this month. If you believe you left valuable items behind, please reach out to both your Advisor and Mavis Agnew, Director of Residential Life, so we can try and secure those items when that is possible. As has always been the case, Northwood will do its best to store your items, but cannot be responsible for valuables left behind in your room or in storage.
Q: How will I return my room key, books, and academic supplies I am using for distance learning?
A: Students may ship books, materials, and keys back to Northwood at the end of the academic year, they may return them when they return in the fall, or students can drop them off on campus when governmental restrictions have been lifted.
Q: What is the status of my room deposit? How do I return my room key?
A: Room inspections will be done with our Head of Maintenance and a member of the faculty once your room is empty. We will follow the same protocol as in previous years; charges for damage to the room beyond wear and tear will be deducted from your room deposit. All students also must turn in their room key to get their full room deposit back. The Student Belongings Survey will have a question about the status of your key. If your key ends up being stored or shipped with your belongings, we will hold the key portion of the deposit to give you an opportunity to return it in the fall. Due to the large volume of items to be stored and relocated before inspections can take place, please be patient. Room deposits will be available when this process is concluded.
Q: How can day students retrieve their items from the day room?
A: At this time, day students are also not allowed on campus to retrieve belongings. A section of the Student Belongings Survey will give day students the same options to have belongings picked up when governmental restrictions are lifted or stored.
* Please note that our staff may have to pack up, relocate and/or store the contents of your locker until pick-up dates are available.*
Q: Will my mail be forwarded?
A: Our offices are currently closed, but when they open Ms. McCauley will handle student mail for the remainder of the school year. Please verify your current mailing address in PCR. If changes need to be made, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. This will ensure that all First-Class Mail received after your departure is forwarded to the correct address.
Q: Whom do I contact with additional questions regarding residence life?
A: Mavis Agnew, Director of Residence Life at email@example.com.
Q: Why did the school cancel the 2020 commencement?
A: Governor Cuomo’s order calls for the cancellation of all gatherings of 25 or more people, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave similar guidance, recommending that events with more than 50 people be canceled for the next eight weeks. Given that commencement was scheduled soon after, it is with heavy hearts that we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 commencement ceremonies.
Q: Will the 2020 commencement be rescheduled?
A: We know that the question of commencement is weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of our seniors and their families. Please know that this weighs heavily on our hearts and minds as well. While we will not speculate what such a ceremony will look like, we are committed to finding a way to honor the outstanding Class of 2020 and their achievements in ways that will include an event on campus at some point in the future that will include all members of the class of 2020 ringing the victory bell.
Q: Will senior awards be granted?
A: Yes, the faculty and administration will vote on school-wide awards through a similar process as established in past years.
Q: Will top scholar (valedictorian/salutatorian) and additional induction into the Cum Laude Society be awarded?
A: Yes, in accordance with grades from senior year and other academic requirements.
Q: Will a senior video still be created?
A: A video can't be formatted like in year's past but other mediums will be established to celebrate this year's senior class.
Q: How do I get my yearbook and senior shirt?
A: There are two options:
- When you come to pick up your belongings, you may collect them at that time.
- If you don’t return to campus we will mail them to you.
Q: How do I return textbooks, cameras, etc?
A: There are two options:
- When you come to pick up your belongings, you may return them at that time.
- You may mail them back.
Q: Will I get a refund on room and board costs?
A: We recognize that Northwood families are concerned about their financial arrangement with the school given the enormous and unforeseeable changes in our program. Northwood’s Board of Directors and counsel are reviewing options for refunds and credits. We will be in touch with families as quickly as possible.
Q: My family's financial situation has changed because of the pandemic. Is additional financial aid available?
A: This is an important question and you should speak directly with Evan Nielsen, Director of Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518)302-5143 with questions.
Q: I paid a deposit for my child’s LEAP course. Will that be refunded?
A: We are working with the airlines and vendors to determine the amount of the refund. We anticipate returning LEAP deposits soon.
Q: Will the room deposit be returned?
A: Yes, after the usual review of the room's condition for damage. Checks will be sent to families. More details are available in the Residence Life section of the FAQ.
Q: Who do I contact with additional questions regarding Business Office matters?
A: Teresa Brady, Business Manager at 518-302-5120 or email@example.com.
Q: How will all of these changes affect the immigration status of international students?
A: For students on an F-1 student visa (carrying an I-20 form): the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP, a branch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has recently increased flexibility regarding remote learning arrangements due to COVID-19. These new provisions allow F-1 students to temporarily count online classes towards a full course of study beyond the current regulatory limits, even if students are not currently in the U.S. This means F-1 students will be able to continue maintaining their current F-1 status, even if they are not in the U.S., as long as they continue to participate in Northwood’s online remote learning activities while away from campus. This temporary provision is only in effect for the duration of the emergency. We will provide F-1 students with further guidance and updates as we receive them.
Q: I am an international student who plans to stay in the United States over the summer. Will my health insurance be valid?
A: If a student plans to stay in the United States over the summer, they are required to extend their health insurance coverage during non-school months. Contact Kim Rath, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the business office by April 21 for more information about changing your health insurance plan.
Q: How can I take care of updating the signature on my I-20?
A: Since most F-1 status students will need updated signatures on I-20’s before returning to campus, contact Ms. Baker (email@example.com), who will make arrangements for sending reprinted copies of I-20’s with updated signatures to student home addresses before the end of the spring term.
Q: What should I do if I am graduating and need to transfer my I-20 to a U.S. college or university?
A: Please contact Ms. Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org) once you have been accepted and decided to attend a college or university, and she will transfer your SEVIS record to your next school. Some colleges and universities require completion of a “Transfer In” Form, which Ms. Baker can also help with.
Q: Whom do I contact with additional questions regarding considerations for international students?
A: Heather Odell, Director of International Students, email@example.com or 518-302- 5150.