Dear Northwood Community,
The COVID-19 virus has continued to spread, and many parts of the United States and the world have been impacted. All of us are concerned about how the virus will affect our daily lives over the next weeks and months. To best protect the health and well-being of our campus community, we need to focus on reducing its possible effects.
While New York State and Essex County have both declared states of emergency, currently there are no confirmed cases at Northwood School, or in Lake Placid and Essex County. Given the rapid spread of the virus and its proximity to our dense residential community in Lake Placid, itself a destination for millions of visitors each year, we have made a series of decisions we believe are in the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff. The aim in all our deliberations has been to move quickly and thoughtfully to minimize, as best as we can, the risk of exposure for members of our community while continuing to fulfill our educational mission.
I have consulted with Northwood School trustees and school leaders, as well as experts in public health, and colleagues at other boarding and college institutions. I have concluded, after careful analysis, that Northwood School will cease all on-campus programming and transition all instruction online as of today, March 11, 2020. Tomorrow we will prepare students for online learning and assist them with their travel arrangements. Student departures may begin as early as 2:00 pm.
We plan to resume on-campus instruction and other programming on Monday, April 27, which will leave four weeks for classes, AP exams, and other year-end activities, including commencement and LEAP. Of course, resuming on-campus programming at that time depends on the status of the coronavirus. We will monitor the situation closely and communicate regularly with everyone in the Northwood community.
We come to this decision with mixed emotions. We believe it is the most effective approach to protect our students, faculty, and families. This allows us to do our part to contain, prepare for and cope with the spread of the virus.
As social distancing is becoming a new normal, distance learning is an effective means to continue to educate and be responsible for outcomes for our students. Northwood School is fully equipped to migrate to online learning and we are confident that students and faculty will transition effectively. We are committed to supporting our students and teachers throughout this process.
We recognize that this communication raises a significant number of questions, which we will address in communications to follow. We ask for your patience as our students adjust to this news and we properly formulate individual return and transition plans.
If you have any questions, you can reach John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life or Dr. Laura Finnerty Paul, Dean of Academics.
Thank you all for your understanding, your patience, and your partnership during this challenging time.
Head of School