Dear Northwood Community:
I write today with an update on our plan to safely onboard students for the 2020-21 school year. 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. We know the virus is in our region, and while the positivity rate in our county is only 1%, a school is fertile ground for a virus, so we will continue to take protective measures to keep our students, faculty, support staff and families safe and Protect Our Pack.
Since the weekend, we have made several changes that were welcomed by our students:
- We have permitted students in the same cohort and on the same dorm hall to intermingle and spend time in each other’s rooms, provided they keep their doors open and wear masks.
- We have also added extra time for boarding students to go outside in their cohort, weather permitting.
- We have opened the dormitory laundry rooms with specific rules for their use.
- We have heard feedback from some students that they wanted larger meal portions, and the dining hall began allowing students to “super-size” their portions upon request.
In the coming days, we will open our fitness center for student use, one cohort at a time with disinfecting between uses. Soon we will suspend “grab-and-go” meals and open the dining room for seated meals by cohort in a rotation.
Tomorrow is the first of two days of virtual classes with in-person instruction beginning on Monday. Students have spent much of their quarantine preparing for the start of classes, and we are excited to reestablish some familiar routines.
The start of Monday’s classes marks the end of our onboarding quarantine, but not the end of the pandemic nor the prevalence of the virus in our county. In fact, Essex County has seen a sharp increase in cases in the last three weeks due to an outbreak among residents and staff at a nursing home 25 miles from Lake Placid. For the time being, all boarding students must remain on campus unless traveling with their team to an off-campus training facility. We urge all day students and their families to continue to wear masks when in public, and practice social distancing and diligent hand washing.
I’m sure there are many questions about post-quarantine life for students, and we expect to have an update specifically addressing that topic on Friday. In the meantime, if you have questions you want to make sure are addressed in that update, please take a minute to complete this anonymous 3-question survey.
To reference previous communications and documentation, please visit our Northwood Forward resource page. Thank you for your support of our plan to safely reopen Northwood School!
Assistant Head for School Life