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COVID-19 Communications and 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. 


June 9, 2021

Northwood School Plan for 2021-22 

Northwood School plans to provide an in-person academic, residential, and co-curricular program for the 2021–2022 academic year. We will continue to communicate details in the coming months as our planning progresses. 

We anticipate the need to continue with some level of health and safety mitigation efforts in the 2021–2022 school year, in addition to our expectation that faculty, staff, and students will be vaccinated.

Full communication


May 7, 2021

COVID 19 Update: May 7

Northwood’s Health Center was notified that one of our boarding students, from the boys’ soccer cohort and residing in the Second East Dormitory, tested positive for COVID-19. The student currently has no symptoms and will remain in isolation until cleared by the student’s health care provider and will be permitted to return to school activities and the dormitory when cleared by the School’s medical directors.  

The Essex County Public Health Department has been notified of the case. They have concluded contact tracing and ordered eight students into quarantine.

Our health center staff reminds students that the virus continues to spread and urges students that remain on campus to wear their masks when outside their rooms, maintain social distancing, wash their hands often, and get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. 


May 5, 2021

COVID-19 Update: May 5

Yesterday’s all-school testing clinic revealed two positive results among students: one more in the soccer cohort and one in the independent boys’ cohort, in Second and Third East dormitories, respectively. Both boys are currently symptom-free and doing well.

The health and safety of our students and faculty remain our top priority, and today, just 17 days before the Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2021, we also prioritize preserving this important rite of passage for our seniors. Every positive case sidelines the infected person and their close contacts for at least 10 days. An outbreak like we are experiencing comes on quickly but recedes slowly.

To stop the spread of the virus at Northwood and to protect the integrity of the Commencement Ceremony, Northwood School will continue to be all-remote for the remaining eleven days of classes, and boarding students will pack their dorm rooms and depart campus for home as soon as they can make travel arrangements. Seniors will return to school for their graduation. We know that it will be impossible for some seniors to go home and then return for Commencement, so we will allow those students to remain on campus through May 22.


May 4, 2021

COVID-19 Update: May 4, 2021

Northwood’s Health Center has been notified that one of our boarding students, from the boys’ hockey cohort who is quarantining off-campus, tested positive yesterday for COVID-19. The student has mild symptoms, is doing well, and will remain in isolation until cleared by the student’s health care provider and will be permitted to return to school activities and the dormitory when cleared by the School’s medical directors.   The Essex County Health Department has been notified of this case. Because all of the other residents of his dorm were in quarantine when they were exposed to this student, no additional students will need to be quarantined.


April 30, 2021

COVID 19 Update: April 30

Yesterday we tested the entire school community. Today Northwood’s Health Center was notified of five additional positive cases. The new cases include two boarding students from the boys’ soccer cohort residing in the Second East dormitory, one boarding student from the boys’ hockey cohort residing in Bergamini dorm, and two school employees.

All five are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, are doing well, and will remain in isolation until cleared by their health care provider and will be permitted to return to school activities and facilities when cleared by the School’s medical directors.  The Essex County Public Health Department has been notified of the cases and they will begin contact tracing in the morning.  We expect all of Bergamini, with the exception of students who have been recently positive or who are fully vaccinated, to be ordered by the Department of Health (DOH) into a 10-day quarantine.

All other tests came back negative. Because we continue to be concerned about the spread of the virus on campus, we will conduct another testing clinic for the school community on Tuesday, and all students on campus will remain in quarantine until those results are available on Wednesday evening.

Full communication 


April 29, 2021

Northwood Added to Limited Service Lab (LSL)

Director of Public Health, Linda Beers, has added Northwood to the Health Department's LSL (Limited Service Lab) certification, which means that Northwood School is now able to administer rapid/antigen tests in our health center. This will save Northwood significant time testing students off-site in Saranac Lake and allow us to know results quickly (15 minutes vs several hours). Northwood applied for this certification before the break, but the application has not been processed as of time. We thank Linda Beers for providing the LSL and assisting us to further Protect Our Pack. 


April 29, 2021

COVID Update April 29 - All-School Quarantine

Our routine surveillance testing on Tuesday revealed a positive case in the girls’ hockey cohort. We will begin an all-school quarantine today that will last at least until we have test results, which we expect on Friday evening. All classes for the rest of the week are remote and all other in-person activities are canceled. 

Full communication


April 28, 2021

COVID Update April 28

Earlier today another student in the soccer cohort residing on Second East tested positive. The student has mild symptoms, is doing well, and will remain in isolation until cleared by the student’s health care provider and will be permitted to return to school activities and the dormitory when cleared by the School’s medical directors. The Essex County Public Health Department has been notified of the case and the student’s close contacts were already in quarantine.

The process we have taken is consistent with the “Testing, Tracking, Tracing, Surveillance, and Quarantine” protocol that we follow whenever there is a positive COVID-19 test on campus or among our students and employees.


April 27, 2021

COVID Update April 27

Since my update on Sunday evening, we have had additional positive cases in the boys’ soccer team. Results from yesterday’s testing clinic of the entire cohort, and supplemental testing conducted at Adirondack Health, have identified seven additional students from that cohort who are positive for COVID-19. The parents/guardians of the positive students have been informed. - John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life

All of the positive students are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. They have been removed from the dorm and are doing well and will remain in isolation until cleared by the student’s health care provider and will be permitted to return to school activities and the dormitory when cleared by the school’s medical directors.  

The Essex County Health Department has been notified of these positive cases and Northwood’s contact tracers will help public health officials with contact tracing. 

Full communication


April 25, 2021

COVID Update April 25

Excerpt from email to students and families from John Spear:

This evening, Northwood’s Health Center was notified that one of our boarding students, from the boys’ soccer cohort and currently residing in the Second East Dormitory, tested positive for COVID-19. The student has mild symptoms, is doing well, and will remain in isolation until cleared by the student’s health care provider and will be permitted to return to school activities and the dormitory when cleared by the School’s medical directors.   The Essex County Public Health Department has been notified of the case and they will begin contact tracing in the morning. The entire dormitory hall is in precautionary quarantine on the hall until contact tracing is completed. Students have been advised to stay in their rooms except to use the restrooms and to always wear a mask when outside of their rooms. Students on the hall will have their meals delivered to their rooms and they will attend classes remotely.


April 13, 2021

Vaccine Clinic for Students and Families

This Thursday, April 15 between 9-11 am our local hospital, Adirondack Health, will offer an on-campus vaccine clinic at Northwood School. They will have approximately 100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for anyone age 16 and older. All of our boarding and day students 16 and older are eligible. We anticipate having enough doses on Thursday to vaccinate family members of students as well, and if there is room, we will open our clinic to the general public.

The vaccine is typically free, but Adirondack Health is charging us $20 per dose so that we can offer the vaccine to our students right on campus. If you have questions about the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control has more information about the Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine. The attached consent form also includes a Fact Sheet specifically about the Pfizer vaccine. 

Use this form to sign up your student or any other member of your family. On Wednesday, a nurse from our Health Center will send your appointment time (between 9 am and 11 am on Thursday, April 15) and directions to the vaccine clinic. If your child is under 18, a parent or guardian must also complete pages 1-2 of the attached consent form and return it to nurse@northwoodschool.org. No minors will be vaccinated without a signed consent form. The second dose will also be at Northwood and will be scheduled at the time of the first dose.

We have two athletic teams away this week and several other students who have not returned to school yet. We expect to be able to bring those students to group appointments at the Plattsburgh Vaccination clinic, which also uses the Pfizer vaccine. We will send more information about additional vaccination opportunities early next week.


April 9. 2021

Conclusion of 2020-21 School Year and Commencement Update

The Commencement Ceremony is on Saturday, May 22 at 1:00 pm and will be held outdoors under a tent on campus at Northwood School.

We have also made the decision to end the school year for all students, including underclass students, on Thursday, May 20. That means students in grades 9-11 will depart campus for summer break before commencement. Classes that offer them will embed final exams into the last week of classes.

Full communication



April 3, 2021

COVID Update April 3: Returning to Campus and Vaccinations

As you probably know, in the last several weeks there have been many changes to public health protocols regarding the pandemic. We have studied the guidance and consulted with our medical directors and have adjusted our onboarding program accordingly.

Full communication


March 22, 2021

COVID Update March 22

Northwood’s Health Center has been notified that one of our boarding students, from the boys’ hockey cohort and currently residing in Bergamini Dormitory, tested positive for COVID-19. The student is asymptomatic, is doing well, and will remain in isolation until cleared by the student’s health care provider and will be permitted to return to school activities and the dormitory when cleared by the School’s medical directors.  

The Essex County Health Department completed the contact tracing protocol and anyone who has been in close contact with the student is being quarantined at home or in the dorm, which we can do because everyone in the dorm is in quarantine. The students being quarantined, and their families, have already been notified. 

The process we have taken is consistent with the “Testing, Tracking, Tracing, Surveillance, and Quarantine” protocol that we will follow whenever there is a positive COVID-19 test on campus or among our students and employees.  

We continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health, and the Essex County Public Health Department. 

All Northwood School community members are encouraged to check the Northwood Forward website frequently for updates regarding Northwood’s policies, protocols, and communications. 


March 3, 2021

COVID Update March 3

As you know, a foundation of our plan to keep our students, faculty, and staff at Northwood School safe during this pandemic is regular surveillance testing. Each week, we test 25% of our community in batches of ten. One of the batches tested yesterday has yielded a positive result. Because we do surveillance testing in batches, we know that at least one of the twelve boarding students currently residing in Bergamini tested positive.   Tomorrow we will again test all members of the Prep Hockey team – boarders and day students -- to determine which student or students are positive. The Prep Hockey team’s practice tomorrow is canceled and all students on the team will take classes remotely. Boarding students in that cohort will quarantine in their rooms and meals will be delivered to them. Day students in the cohort will remain home. Northwood day students who are siblings of students on the Prep Hockey team will stay away from school and school activities until the test results are returned.  Thursday’s Testing Clinic: We will test all-day students in their cars at the main entrance of school between 7:30 – 8:00 am, which is their original practice time. Boarding students will be tested in their dorm rooms later in the morning. We anticipate results from tomorrow’s clinic will be ready on Friday evening. It is likely that a confirmed positive case would lead cancelation of the Prep Team’s scheduled games this weekend. At this time, we do not need to quarantine any other students, but if tomorrow’s testing clinic leads to a positive case, we will partner with the Essex County Health Department to conduct contact tracing to identify all close contacts. 


February 15, 2021

Updated policy on staying away when a member of your household is in quarantine

All day-students and employees of Northwood School who have a member of their household mandated by a department of health to quarantine are required to stay away from campus, school facilities, training, other students, and employees until the end of the quarantine, excluding the following exceptions: 

 1. Employees who have been fully vaccinated are exempt and can work and participate in school activities without limitation. 

 2. All others may return to work or school/activities before the end of the quarantine if they receive a negative test no sooner than five days before the end of the mandated quarantine. A PCR or rapid/antigen test is acceptable. 

 3. Lastly, for students in the Snowsports cohort: They may participate in outdoor training from the beginning of their household member’s quarantine, provided that: > They do not take school transportation > They boot up in the car or outside > They stay outside the whole time, including avoiding the finish building > They ride the lift alone > On days with elevated frostbite risk they may be advised to not participate in training.

Please note: these guidelines do not apply if a member of your household is positive for COVID-19. In that case, the positive member of your household would be required to isolate, and you, in all likelihood, would be ordered by the department of health to quarantine for up to 10 days.


February 10, 2021

Positive COVID-19 Case at NYSEF WT // Northwood Snowsports Cohort Quarantine

We are reaching out to inform you that there was a positive COVID-19 case detected at NYSEF WT within the FIS Women's group today. With that knowledge, the Northwood Snowsports Cohort (FIS Women/Men, U16 Women/Men, and Ski Jumpers) are going to take a two-day pause in order to hopefully eliminate any potential of an outbreak.

All athletes should go into a school-mandated quarantine, effective immediately. We will all test (boarding and day students) tomorrow morning and are hopeful to receive results by Saturday to be released. The time for this testing clinic will be announced shortly.

All athletes should be attending classes remotely for Thursday and Friday and boarding students will have all meals delivered. 

We are doing this school-mandated quarantine for the entire Snowsports cohort out of an abundance of caution due to how we operate using the same busses, living on the same hallways, and our cohort fitness center time. 



January 16, 2020

Positive Case Communication

Northwood’s Health Center has been notified that a day student in the Snowsports cohort tested positive for COVID-19. The student has mild symptoms but is doing well, and will remain in  isolation  at home until cleared by the student’s health care provider and will then be permitted to return to school when cleared by Northwood’s medical directors.  

The Essex County Health Department has been notified and they have begun their contact tracing protocol. One of Northwood’s trained contact tracers has completed initial contact tracing and we have shared that work with the Essex County Health Department. We have moved the boarding students we are certain were close contacts to our off-campus quarantine site and have placed in precautionary quarantine all of the girls residing on the Ground West dorm hall as well as all girls U19 ski racers who are day students. We will test our entire Snowsports cohort today, Tuesday, February 16, in our ongoing surveillance testing program. The precautionary quarantine will be lifted when the health department completes its contact tracing and/or tomorrow’s tests come back negative. 

The process we have taken is consistent with the “Testing, Tracking, Tracing, Surveillance, and Quarantine” protocol that we will follow whenever there is a positive COVID-19 test on campus or among our students and employees.  

We continue to follow the guidance of the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health, and the Essex County Health Department. 


January 15, 2021

Updated policy on staying away when a member of your household is in quarantine

All-day students and employees of Northwood School who have a member of their household mandated by a department of health to quarantine are required to stay away from campus, school facilities, training, other students, and employees until the end of the quarantine, excluding the following exceptions: 

 1. Employees who have been fully vaccinated are exempt and can work and participate in school activities without limitation. 

 2. All others may return to work or school/activities before the end of the quarantine if they receive a negative test no sooner than five days before the end of the mandated quarantine. A PCR or rapid/antigen test is acceptable. 

 3. Lastly, for students in the Snowsports cohort: They may participate in outdoor training from the beginning of their household member’s quarantine, provided that: > They do not take school transportation > They boot up in the car or outside > They stay outside the whole time, including avoiding the finish building > They ride the lift alone > On days with elevated frostbite risk they may be advised to not participate in training.

Please note: these guidelines do not apply if a member of your household is positive for COVID-19. In that case, the positive member of your household would be required to isolate, and you, in all likelihood, would be ordered by the department of health to quarantine for up to 10 days.


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. 

Summary


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

FAQ


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