More information for families can be found in the Res Life Corner on the Parent Page
- October 23, 2020
- October 16, 2020
- September 23, 2020
- September 11, 2020 A Successful First Week on Campus
- August 31, 2020 The 'We Mean Business' Letter
- August 28, 2020
- August 27, 2020. URGENT REGISTRATION UPDATE INFO
- August 20, 2020
- August 14, 2020
- July 24, 2020
- July 3, 2020
- June 24, 2020
November 23, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Families,
With the safety of our community in mind, we have decided to make the following adjustments to fall term final assessments and departure days from campus. These changes are as follows:
Assessment Week is November 9: Fall term exams/ assessments previously scheduled for November 14-16 will now be held during the week of November 9. Assessments for core academic subjects will take place during the students’ regularly scheduled classes over the course of two days.
During Assessment Week, students will be required to attend their elective classes. This time will be used for students to prepare for their core academic final assessments.
Students enrolled in Learning Support will use their strategies class time to prepare for assessments and receive accommodations.
End of Term Travel Days: Students may be picked up Friday, November 13 after 4:30 pm, or anytime on Saturday, November 14, or Sunday, November 15. While on campus for pick up, family members should remain in their cars and not enter any building for any reason.
If you are unable to pick up your student on one of the newly scheduled travel days, please contact Director of Residential Life Misty Jordan to make arrangements for your student to stay on campus through one of the originally scheduled travel days (Monday, November 16 or Tuesday, November 17).
Students are asked to take all books and materials home with them that may be needed should we have a remote start to the winter term.
If you have any questions about fall term assessments, please feel free to reach out to the Academic Office. Questions about end of term travel days can be directed to Director of Residential Life Misty Jordan.
Marvelwood is pleased to welcome two part-time school counselors to our Health Services staff.
Lisa Hoadley, LMSW, is a longtime Kent resident with several years of experience as a clinician and case manager in the practice of child and family counseling. Lisa has also worked at the administrative level for area nonprofits including Civic Life Project and Ability Beyond, a Bethel (CT)-based organization affiliated with Special Olympics CT. Lisa graduated from the University of Arizona and holds a master’s degree from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service.
Paige Naclerio, MSW, also a Kent resident, graduated from Providence College and the Carver School of Social Work at Campbellsville University (KY). In addition to her work at Marvelwood, she is a reunification and therapeutic family clinician at the Child and Family Guidance Center in Bridgeport CT and teaches ESL part-time at South Kent School. She holds a school social worker certification and has experience in case management, individual and family therapy, and professional collaboration with DCF and other social services groups.
Lisa and Paige are participating in our COVID protocols, and will be on campus starting next week. In addition to Lisa and Paige, Jess Troy is part of the counseling team as well as working with CASA and the DEI board. Referrals to counseling services is through the Dean’s Office or Health Office.
Any questions about counseling options can be directed to Dean for Parents Heather Hastings.
Caitlin Lynch P'13
Assistant Head of School
October 16, 2020
I’m writing again today to follow up on my email of last evening. You may or may not be aware that several students conducted a “walk-out” of classes today in protest of Dr. Kennedy’s planned return to campus next week. The administration acknowledged these students’ right to exercise their First Amendment rights, and neither encouraged nor discouraged individuals’ participation in the walk-out. The students conducted themselves respectfully and continued to follow our COVID protocols as they gathered in the cabanas on dorm circle in the rain. I visited with all of them during the day, as did many other faculty members.
In an email to the faculty this morning, one student leader wrote that “at Marvelwood, students are taught that you should always stand up for what you believe in and what you think is right.” I am proud of Marvelwood for teaching that, and I respect those students who have spoken honestly and from the heart with me over the past 24 hours. I’ve had occasion to reflect very seriously on what they have said to me. Although I dedicated many hours to gaining what I felt was a full perspective in my handling of the situation involving Dr. Kennedy, it’s clear that I undervalued the genuine concerns of a number of students and that I underestimated the depth of the hurt that several of them are feeling. Clearly, the time is not right for his return to campus, and I have heard those students who have insisted that it is too much, too soon. For this reason, I have extended his separation from the school at least through the end of the fall term as we continue to work to appropriately and fully address concerns and to heal our community.
The school has been actively engaged in negotiations to bring on additional counselors; we hope to finalize this process by the beginning of the week. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hastings is on duty this weekend, and we have been sure to make the students aware that others of us are available to them if they want to reach out.
I met with all members of the community briefly and in person (COVID-appropriately!) late this afternoon. A divided community where students do not feel their voices are heard is not the Marvelwood I know and love, not the Marvelwood I want to lead, and not who we aspire to be as a school. Clearly, there is more we can do to create additional venues for students to share their voices and to bring ideas and concerns to us. The student government, the DEI Board, the prefect system, the advisory program -- all of these can be strengthened as conduits to the administration. We’ll also look forward to exploring additional ideas that students -- or you -- may have that will increase their confidence that their voices are being heard. I hope that my decision today will be perceived as an important first step in that process.
I wish to acknowledge with gratitude the emails I have received from a handful of parents, asking for clarification or offering support. We are all here to work together to build and enjoy a supportive community. I believe all of us can and will engage in a restorative process with purpose and the conviction that Marvelwood can be a school that all of us can be proud of.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
September 25 2020
Dear Marvelwood Families,
Greetings at the conclusion of our third week together on campus! We are so grateful that we have been able to reconvene and remain, healthy and happy, together on Skiff Mountain.
Keeping track of our new weekly schedule has been a bit of a challenge, but our students are thrilled to be back in the classroom, and our teachers are universally happy to be back doing what they love and what they are so good at! Among the many things which make them so effective is that each teacher designs his or her class with a clear mission in mind.
At Marvelwood, every trimester, unit, and daily lesson plan is carefully crafted to be in alignment with each teacher’s class mission. These missions are topics of discussion at department meetings over the summer and throughout the year, and the solid core around which activities, discussions and assessment are carefully planned. In the pursuit of achieving these missions, teachers craft “essential questions” to guide each unit of study. These open-ended and engaging questions drive learning, and the answers to them are what we want students to take away from our classes. Among my favorites this year are:
- How does learning piano help us to understand other aspects of music? (Beginning Piano)
- How do geometric relationships help us solve problems and make sense of our world? (Precalculus)
- How does literature teach us about ourselves? (English 10)
- How does technology change the way we see and think? (Photography)
- In what ways did Middle Eastern history affect the development of the world’s major religions? (History of the Middle East)
- Why is art necessary? (Studio Art)
- How can we maintain a robust and healthy democracy? (AP US History)
- Why is theatre essential to democracy? (Honors English 10)
- Do I need to be ‘like’ my characters in order to write them well? (Creative Writing)
- What alternate methods can I use to test the accuracy of my answers? (Statistics)
- How does imagery enrich narrative? (English 12)
- Which of my life’s stories best illustrate who I am? (Yearbook)
- Why is the study of culture and history essential to the mastery of a foreign language? (French 2/3)
- How do my communication skills affect my social and academic success? (Communications)
- Why do economists sometimes disagree? (AP Economics)
- What can the mistakes I make teach me about myself? (Advisory)
- In what ways does theatre illuminate our common humanity? (Honors Theatre)
- How are the skills I’m learning increasing my confidence about my future? (Applications of Algebra)
- How does examining art teach me about history and culture? (AP European History)
- In what ways does collaboration expand the creative process? (Filmmaking)
- Which time periods were the most significant in the history of the United States? (US History)
- What attitudes and experiences generate new ideas? (Health & Human Biology)
These are just some of the inspired goals and complex, engaging questions Marvelwood teachers have for their students. Mission-driven teaching is a hallmark of the Marvelwood experience, setting us apart from many other schools that focus on content-driven goal setting, “teaching to the test,” and a learning environment that prioritizes memorization over understanding, the ability to pass a test over the ability to apply knowledge to new circumstances and challenges, and GPAs over true life lessons and experiences. All of us remain proud to say -- and celebrate -- that Marvelwood is not one of those other schools.
A highlight of these first few weeks of school has been to congratulate and recognize the efforts of a number of our students who have and will continue to contribute meaningfully to the community throughout the year. Sophomore Eliza Bromberger won the $100 Summer Reading Challenge, and eight additional prizes were awarded yesterday to some of the many students who participated actively in their summer book clubs and poster sessions. Four-year seniors Harrison Velasquez and Madelyn Malinowski were elected president and vice-president (respectively) of the student body; they’ll be backed up by class representatives Peter Miller and Chun Yuen ‘Casper’ Cheng (Class of 2021); juniors Connor Sainz, Laila Kennedy, Axel Juarez and Caden Roberts; sophomores Aiden Cherniske, Gracia Galicia and Isabelle Houck; and freshmen Ava Mae Yates and Wyatt Lee. During our virtual all-school meeting on Thursday, we cheered for Madeleine Paddock ‘21, who has been named a “Commended Student” by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Of the 1.5 million students across the country who took the 2019 PSATs, about 50,000 are recognized by the NMSC for their “exceptional academic promise...and outstanding potential for academic success. Recognizing their accomplishments is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.” Marvelwood offers enthusiastic congratulations to each of these students and their families.
Next week, parents will receive the first in a series of academic updates called Bodkin Blue reports. These are designed to keep you informed about your student’s progress, triumphs, and challenges in each of their classes in the interim periods between each midterm and end-of-term. Please keep an eye on your email early in the week, communicate as necessary or desired with your child’s advisor, and mark your calendars for our upcoming Virtual Fall Family Weekend (October 9-10), during which time you will be able to “Zoom meet” each teacher and discuss your student’s progress in more detail. And don’t forget to visit our social media pages to keep up with frequently-updated content and photos about what’s going on on campus!
Undoubtedly, the 2020-2021 school year has challenges in store, but whatever they may be, we are prepared to tackle them confidently and to continue to deliver the vibrant, engaging, inspiring educational experience that makes Marvelwood truly one of a kind.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
September 11, 2020
Dear Marvelwood families,
There was an eagerly-anticipated sense of “rightness” on Skiff Mountain last weekend as students began to arrive on campus, standing in stark contrast to so much that has seemed wrong since last spring. As the kids began to interact with each other and laughter echoed and energy reverberated across campus, the long-awaited reintroduction of students to campus after a long summer—even with distance and masks—felt “normal,” and it was a wonderful thing to watch.
Our students this year come to us from eleven US states including Washington, Maryland, Texas, Georgia and Maine, and six countries including Tanzania, Vietnam and Bermuda. They are mountain bikers, artists, weightlifters, Dungeons & Dragons enthusiasts, deep thinkers, creative writers, filmmakers, athletes...but most importantly, friends -- fast or fledgling. While many new students are still feeling their way, they have quickly found a place to belong and an adult, a prefect, or a peer to trust. The magic of family that characterizes the Marvelwood experience is infectious and unavoidable. We continue to encourage parents to reach out to advisors or others at the School if you are at all concerned about your child’s adjustment in these early weeks.
Outside of information and “getting to know you” sessions, campus tours, dorm meetings, and discussions about COVID protocols and The Marvelwood Compact, orientation activities ranged from hikes and a scavenger hunt to outdoor movies and an ice cream social. New students were sorted and warmly welcomed into their Spirit Cup cohorts and enjoyed a picnic with their teammates. On Monday, students experienced a “speed round” of classes, came together with their book clubs to work on their summer reading posters, and--standing six feet apart on the soccer field--waved at a drone for a first-ever bird’s-eye-view all-school photo.
Today, we put a successful first week of classes behind us. With an average class size of six students, the learning experience remains appreciably intimate despite the masks and distancing. Outdoor spaces like the library terrace, the dining hall patio and the Davidson Plaza offer comfortable, inviting alternatives to the classroom. Afternoon extracurricular activities like soccer, ceramics, running, baseball, theatre, bird banding, equestrian, tennis, music, lacrosse and gardening are keeping the students busy after school, and the cabana tents on Dorm Circle and flocks of Adirondack chairs across our acreage have become popular spots for socially-distanced hanging out during free time. We observed an all-school moment of silence in honor of 9/11 today, and look forward to the inaugural session of Community Service on campus tomorrow morning.
While an unfamiliar new weekly schedule, a lack of off-campus travel and other restrictions will challenge us, this experience need not be grim—in fact, there will be joy in realizing that there were aspects of the often frantic and overcrowded pace of past school years that we can put down in exchange for more deliberate, reflective, communal, and meaningful activities on campus. As many have noted, COVID has provided us all with an opportunity to think outside the box. In many ways, this year may go down as one of the most formative and impactful in the history of our School.
I’m extraordinarily grateful to all of the members of the Marvelwood community who have helped us prepare for this year. As you have heard throughout the summer, a great deal of time and effort has been laser-focused on being ready to reconvene, and remain, on campus. Our teachers engaged in ongoing professional development through the summer months and our full staff has been diligent in training, learning, preparing, adjusting, and making sure they are as informed as possible while positioning themselves to be leaders in our vigilant defense against COVID. It can’t be overstated: the dedication of Marvelwood’s employees is unmatched, and worthy of your recognition at all times, but especially now.
Thanks, also, to our students and families, who did what they needed to do to return to campus healthy. We are counting on you, as we are counting on all members of the Marvelwood community, to stay strong, to remain committed to The Marvelwood Compact, and to act with responsible forethought for the duration of this pandemic. We got off to a strong start for sure, with every employee, student, and even parents testing negative for the virus before and at the time of registration! But our discovery of one positive case of coronavirus during Wednesday’s re-testing underscores the fact we can’t lose focus. We’ll need to practice our COVID precautions diligently, even when it’s uncomfortable or annoying. We’ll all need to stay committed, persisting through challenges and distractions in the coming weeks, reexamining what is most important and acting on those priorities, and helping each other avoid the temptation to slide into easier routines that don’t always serve us well. As our Dean of Students expressed in her recent letter to families, we’ve got one shot to get this right. The task is monumental, and the challenge unprecedented. However, inspired by our joy at reconvening as a community at last, we can do it together -- responsibly, purposefully, thoughtfully, and in person.
I’m proud of our resilience, and look forward to what we can accomplish in the coming months.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
August 31, 2020
Good afternoon, students and families,
I write to you today with what I am referring to as my “we mean business” letter.
As registration days and student arrivals are almost upon us, the realities and excitement of joining together on our beautiful campus are keeping us all very busy. We have waited six months for this upcoming week and are looking very forward to greeting and meeting all of you.
We are also sobered by the number of schools that are struggling with their reopenings. Spikes in COVID positive cases, quarantines due to exposures, and disciplinary actions are featured in the news. It doesn’t take much to undo months of painstaking planning and precaution.
You’ve received many communications over the summer from us; all can be found in the Forms and Information sections of our website for your review. One of the most important documents requiring your signature is The Marvelwood Compact. Adherence to this Compact is a pledge among all community members. Please read it carefully before you sign and submit it. Honesty and responsibility are among our most important core values, and are the ethical basis for how we commit to protecting and caring for each other with this Compact.
Other important highlights for you to review as a family:
- There will be no inter-dorm visitation at all. You may only go inside the dorm that you live in. This includes the foyer. No exceptions.
- Indoors, masks are to be worn at all times. The only exceptions are your own room with no guests, or in the dining hall when you are seated and distanced. Outdoors, masks are to be worn if a six-foot distance is not achievable.
- Daily breakfast check-in for all students -- day or boarding -- is mandatory during the following times: Monday - Friday 7:45 - 8:30 am / Saturday 8:15 - 9 am / Sunday 10:30 am - 12 pm.
All students, staff and faculty will be required to submit a daily health and temperature check digitally each morning via Boardingware.. Day students and off-campus employees are required to check in at Health Services as their first stop on campus in the morning, before entering any campus buildings. Boarding students and on-campus faculty may perform their own temp check and submit it from their room or home before starting their day.
Do not test the resolve of the administration to take swift action to prioritize the health and well-being of our community.
We have one shot to get this right. We must all commit to keeping each other safe as a community. Many of the precautions we have implemented may feel frustrating, chafing, or unnecessary. We are all tired of living this way. We understand all of those elements. However, if we are to succeed in our endeavors and ensure that we can stay together here on campus, it is imperative that we think, choose, and act responsibly, maturely, and with an understanding of the consequences if we let down our guard or become complacent about the weight of responsibility that each of us bears in these challenging times.
CPC Task Force Coordinator
Dean for Parents
Dean of Students
August 28, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Students and Parents,
It’s thrilling to see our campus shifting into high gear as we make our final preparations to welcome our students back to school! Some important and helpful information for you:
- It is imperative that you fill out and submit ALL forms that we require for school before you arrive on campus. A list of the necessary forms is available on our website here. All forms may be filled in electronically: download the form to your computer, fill it in, and submit it via email. We’ve done this to make it convenient and easy for you!
- All forms can be submitted via email (email@example.com), fax (860-927-5325) or regular mail (476 Skiff Mountain Road, Kent, CT 06757).
- It is also important that your child has filled out their requests for both SPORTS/ACTIVITIES and COMMUNITY SERVICE.
- Negative PCR COVID test results must also be submitted prior to arrival.
- Please DO NOT come to campus if you have not received your PCR test results, if your test was positive, or if you are not feeling well.
- Parents who wish to accompany their student through registration and/or move-in must comply with our testing and quarantining guidelines (one parent per student, please).
When you arrive on campus for your student’s registration, please follow the ‘COVID Testing’ signs.
- Your first stop will be COVID testing, which will take place in the parking lot behind Calhoun Schoolhouse.
- Please remain in your car for testing. A health professional in full PPE will greet you. If you have not submitted your negative PCR test results, you will be asked to produce them. A rapid test will not be administered without proof of a negative PCR test. The health professional will confirm your cell phone number(s) and then administer your COVID rapid test(s) while you remain in your vehicle.
- After your rapid testing is complete, you will park on Piper Bell Circle (in front of the PAC and gymnasium buildings) to wait for your test results (~15 minutes). We will call/text your cell phone with these results.
- After obtaining a negative test result, you will be instructed to proceed to registration in the Anne Davidson Scott Athletic Center by entering on the ground floor, adjacent to the Calhoun Schoolhouse parking lot. There, you will meet a faculty member, be given a “pass” card, and then enter the registration area.
- Any family who has a member who tests positive while on campus will be required to leave campus immediately. This will mean that even if the student tests negative, the student must return home and follow our full testing protocol before returning to school.
- Once you have obtained your pass and entered the Athletic Center building, your first stop will be with the Health Office staff on the ground floor. All medications should be given to them at this time. Students should be prepared to show the nurses that they have brought a thermometer to school; we will have a supply of thermometers for purchase if necessary. Students coming from a distance will be also asked to confirm the name of their local emergency contact.
- You will then proceed upstairs where you will check in and then meet with representatives from the Business Office, Academic Office, and Communications (be ready for your student ID photo!). New families whose students are enrolled in Learning Support will meet with that department’s coordinator. A representative from College Counseling will also be on hand to answer questions about the college process and/or standardized testing.
- Once you have made the rounds in the upstairs registration hall, please exit the building immediately and head over to Dorm Circle for move-in. Snacks and beverages will be available outside the gymnasium on the Davidson Plaza.
- Please note that traffic on the Dorm and Piper Bell Circles will be one way (counter-clockwise) for opening weekend.
- Face covering must be worn at all times throughout the registration and move-in processes, indoors and out of doors, in addition to maintaining a minimum six feet of distance from others outside of your family.
- After your student has moved in, parents should say their goodbyes and depart campus. We understand that this will certainly be an emotional parting, but it’s important that people do not linger on campus.
Day parents and students should familiarize themselves with our protocols which are posted on the Day Student page of the website. The daily schedule of day student drop-off and pick-up times is also on the Day Student page. Drop- off and pick-up times for opening weekend have been added to the calendar.
While we all love the convenience of Amazon and other online retailers, we’d like you to consider shopping local. Many of the businesses right here in Kent have been hit hard by the pandemic. We’ve partnered with some of them in order to provide the services your child might need while at school. Please see the Student Life page of the website for a growing list of options including groceries, take- out food, birthday celebration options, wellness, and more! All participating businesses offer outstanding products and services and delivery to campus.
Students: if you haven’t done so already, please submit a photo for your registration nametag. A headshot/selfie in either square or vertical orientation is ideal. Text your photo to the AOD phone: 203-788-4985 or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have lingering questions about returning to school this year, please join us Monday, August 31st at 6:00pm for a special Virtual Town Hall for parents, where we will answer your questions live as well as talk about the exciting events we have planned for this year! Please register. You’re also encouraged to check the FAQ page on the website.
At Marvelwood, your family comes first and we hope that we can count on your partnership and support this year as we celebrate the growth and accomplishments of your child.
Yours in partnership,
Director of Residential Life
The Marvelwood School
August 27, 2020
Greetings Marvelwood Families,
We were recently made aware that the availability and protocol of Docs Urgent Care, the company performing the rapid COVID-19 tests for Marvelwood during registration, has changed. Thus, we need to make some adjustments to the upcoming new student and returning student registration days. Prefect registration times and location, on Friday, September 4th, will remain the same.
1. New Registration Time Sign Up:
We are asking all families to please sign up for a new registration time slot using the appropriate link below.
- New Student Registration on Saturday, September 5th will now be from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm.
- Returning Student Registration on Sunday, September 6th will now be from 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
2. Change in Rapid Testing Location:
Due to these recent changes, the location of the rapid testing will be changing from Health Services to another location on campus. Please watch for another email tomorrow with more detailed registration information.
3. PreRegister through Docs Urgent Care Portal:
Docs is asking that all parents register their students, and the one adult accompanying them into registration and the dorm, into their system via their online portal.
When you click on the link, you will see a list of appointment days and times appear at the bottom of the screen. You may select any date and time in order to open up the registration window. This does not mean you will test on this date and time, this step simply opens up the registration window.
Once the registration window opens, you will see a drop down box for “Visit Info”. Please select “Marvelwood” as the reason. You can then proceed to fill out the remainder of the form. You will be asked to confirm your registration by a phone call or via a text message. You will receive a confirmation page once this is complete. Again, you may pick any date and time, this preregistration is to save time on registration day by getting your information into their portal ahead of time.
We apologize for any inconvenience these changes may cause and appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we continue to make you and your students' health a priority. Should you have any questions, please feel free to send us an email.
Dr. Heather Hunt
August 20, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Parents and Students,
Greetings from the Academic Office! Please read this email carefully as it contains a great deal of information regarding student schedules, the academic day, books, supplies, and a reminder about our summer reading books clubs.
The Academic Office appreciates your patience as we continue to compile student schedules. Please encourage your student to check their Marvelwood email frequently in the event a question arises about class placement based on their course selections. We will release schedules on StudentConnect and ParentConnect the week of August 31st. Students and parents will receive an email once schedules are available. If you have misplaced your login information for Student or ParentConnect, please email the Academic Office.
Books & Book Agreement
This year, Marvelwood will rent students the books they will need for each of their classes. A flat rental fee of $300 will be charged home. Students will be asked to sign a book rental agreement when they pick up their books on the first day of classes. If a student misplaces or irreparably damages a book during the school year, the full retail cost of the book will be charged home and a new book issued. At the end of the year, the full retail cost of lost or damaged books will be charged home. Please note that single-use books such as workbooks and most novels will be charged home at full retail price. Students may keep these books at the end of the year.
- The 2020-2021 daily schedule for the fall term has been adjusted in order to accommodate social distancing and hygiene protocols. A few important changes to note:
- Classes will begin at 9 am, and conclude at 3:40 pm.
- Ten-minute passing times have been built in between classes to allow for mask breaks, classroom cleaning, and to accommodate traffic flow.
- There will be two lunch periods this year. Each student's assigned lunch period will be shown on their schedule in StudentConnect.
- Community Service will now occur on Saturday mornings. As in the past, attendance is required.
- There will be a half-day of classes every Wednesday, on a rotating schedule. Every other week, students will participate in an enrichment class as part of this rotation. There is also time built into Wednesday afternoons for those science classes requiring more time for labs, or for AP classes needing additional time for review.
- Athletics will continue to meet after classes Monday through Saturday. Student participation is required.
- The schedule is posted in the Academic section of the website and a downloadable version is on the Forms & Information page.
Families should consult the What to Bring list (‘Student Life’ folder on Forms & Information page) for suggested school supplies. School supplies listed include: pens, mechanical pencils, notebooks, binders, index cards, one folder with pockets per class, permanent marker(s), colored pencils, and a TI-83+ calculator or better with an extra set of batteries. Since we will not be taking students off campus for trips, all necessary school supplies should be brought to campus at the beginning of the year. This document also contains information on suggested laptops, as faculty and students will be utilizing Google Classroom, and corresponding apps, throughout the year to collaborate with each other and to cut down on the exchange of paper.
Summer Reading and the $100 Reading Challenge
Ms. Presti, chair of the English department, is encouraging students to check in with their Summer Reading Book Clubs! Here is a note from her:
As the summer winds down, and we eagerly anticipate seeing one another again, I’d like to invite you to check-in with your summer reading book club members on our Google Classroom sites for one last roundup before school starts. During the first week of school, each book club will create a unique, collaborative poster based on their experience and insights during this group reading. We will print, frame and display these collaborations throughout our school. The theme this summer, “Expand Your Mind,” allowed us to include so many fascinating and important titles for students and faculty to enjoy. The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas were riveting reads, and Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World and the classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had me laughing out loud.
Please make it a priority to finish up summer reading, and remember to visit your book club in the virtual Google Classroom!
This quote by Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison reminds me of the magic and power of literature. Be well, read on, and see you soon! ~ Ms. Presti
Students, don’t forget about the $100 summer reading challenge! Besides the required all-school read, all students are encouraged to read additional books throughout the summer. By completing additional reading and reflecting on their choices in writing, students will be eligible to win a $100 cash prize. Here are the specifics:
- Read at least two additional books of your choice.
- Write 1-2 paragraphs on each of your choices, discussing what the books meant to you.
- Submit your work to the Academic Dean in person or via email by 8:00 pm on September 13, 2020.
- A winner will be selected at random from among all eligible entries during our first All-School Meeting in September.
For any academic questions, please feel free to reach out to the Academic Office. We look forward to welcoming students in just a few short weeks.
Dr. Heather Hunt
Other Important Information
A note about sports and afternoon activities:
A new sign-up is now available for afternoon activities. Due to the coronavirus and limitations on competitive athletics, we will offer a variety of options in place of regular fall offerings, based on student’s areas of interest. If restrictions change, we will return to the original fall offerings. In the meantime, please fill out this form to indicate which option you would like to participate in. Every two weeks, we will assess if it’s appropriate to allow for off-campus travel, more robust training beyond individual drilling, and/or changing groups. Wellness initiatives, yoga and other decompression techniques will be incorporated into each group. For our more dedicated athletes, there will be small group, individualized training with an emphasis on skill development. Afternoon activities will meet for an hour each afternoon, Monday through Friday, and for two hours on Saturdays. Please also fill out the regular athletics/afternoon activities form if you have not done so already, for if and when we return to a regular sports/afternoon activities schedule. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Director of Athletics Zach Maizel ‘04 via email at email@example.com.
A note about registration:
All required forms and other helpful information is on the Forms & Information page of the website, including a checklist for your purposes. We’re asking that ALL required forms be submitted prior to arrival on campus to cut down on the exchange of paper, and to make the registration process as streamlined as possible. Please return forms to Executive Assistant Barbara D’Ioiro. Questions about registration may be directed to Mrs. D’Iorio, as well.
Forms can be returned to:
Executive Assistant Barbara D'Iorio P'10
860-927-0047 ext. 1003
Photos for name tags:
Students: please email or text a headshot/ selfie of yourself for your registration name tag. Square shape is optimal. Returning students: your ID photo from last year will be used if you don't submit a new photo.
Submit your photos: firstname.lastname@example.org / 203-788-4985 (AOD phone)
We can't wait to get the school year started but in the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer!
August 14, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Students and Parents,
We’re in the final phases of planning and are excited that we’ll be welcoming our students back in just three weeks. The registration schedule appears below and on the School calendar. Families may now sign up for a registration time slot (forms below). It is critical that you arrive on time for your scheduled 30-minute registration window.
Friday, September 4, 1:00-3:00pm: Prefects only
No sign-up necessary
Saturday, September 5, 12:30-3:30: All New Students
New Student Registration Sign Up
Sunday, September 6, 12:30-4:30pm: All Returning Students
Returning Student Registration Sign Up
Registration Process and Schedule (New and Returning Families)
Immediately upon arrival to campus during your scheduled registration window, all students and families should report directly to the Health Services office.
Students are required to present proof of a negative COVID-PCR test administered 7 to 10 days prior to arrival on campus. One parent may accompany their student into registration and/or the dorm, and must also present a negative test result and will be administered a rapid test on campus.
All students and any parent planning to accompany their child into the registration hall and/or into the dorm will be given a rapid COVID test at the Health Office.
While waiting for rapid test results, our Health Office staff will confirm that all required health-related paperwork has been received.
Once students/parents are cleared via the rapid COVID test, they will be issued a color- coded pass to proceed to the registration hall in the Anne Davidson Scott Athletic Center.
At the end of the registration process, students will be given their room key and a color-coded pass which will allow them into their dormitory.
Registration Process and Schedule (Prefects Only)
Immediately upon arrival to campus during your scheduled registration window, all students and families should report directly to the Health Services office.
Students are required to present proof of a negative COVID-PCR test administered 7 to 10 days prior to arrival on campus. One parent may accompany their student into the dorm, and must also present a negative test result and will be administered a rapid test on campus.
All students and any parent planning to accompany their child into the dorm will be given a rapid COVID test at the Health Office.
While waiting for rapid test results, our Health Office staff will confirm that all required health-related paperwork has been received.
Once students/parents are cleared via the rapid COVID test, they will be issued a color- coded pass which will allow them into their dormitory. Please note that there is no formal table registration process for prefects this year.
Important Reminders about Preparing for Your Registration Appointment:
- The Student-Parent Handbook has been updated with a COVID Addendum and the Marvelwood Compact and is available on the Forms & Information page of the website, along with all registration forms. Students and parents should review the handbook, addendum, and Compact, sign the Handbook Acknowledgement Form and Compact agreement, and return them to School. You’ll also find a checklist to help you organize your registration form submission.
- Families are urged to submit all paperwork via email, fax, or mail prior to arrival on campus. A checklist is on the Forms & Information page. Registration will be a much shorter process this year.
- All students are asked to submit a headshot of themselves, which will be part of their nametag. Returning students can use last year’s student ID photo. With everyone wearing face coverings, getting to know each other will be different this year, but we’re doing everything we can to make the adjustment to campus life as comfortable as possible. Photos should be submitted by Monday, August 31st and can be texted to the AOD phone (203-788-4985) or emailed to the Director of Communications: email@example.com.
Important Health-Related Guidelines about Your Return to Campus:
The safety of our campus depends on disciplined individual adherence to a set of shared guidelines designed to mitigate risk. An essential part of our reopening plan is that Marvelwood will ask all students, faculty, and staff to follow “safer at home” protocols for two weeks before arrival on campus:
Self-isolating within a reasonable driving distance of campus;
Taking every precaution for reducing coronavirus exposure for two weeks prior to returning to campus;
Returning to school without using any public transportation;
Students who typically fly to school are encouraged to self-quarantine with a friend, relative or other contact nearby.
All students and faculty will be required to provide proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19, performed after August 23rd.
Students traveling from certain designated states are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the State of Connecticut. The list of ‘red states’ is updated frequently. It is our expectation that families will check the State of Connecticut Travel Advisory website and make their plans accordingly. In addition, The State of Connecticut requires people entering the state and staying for more than 24 hours to complete an online Travel Health Form, if they have been in a state on the Travel Advisory list for more than 24 hours. Failure to do so may result in a fine of up to $1000. We strongly advise families living at a distance to make arrangements for their students to quarantine inside Connecticut if at all possible.
Do not come to campus for registration if:
You are not feeling well
You suspect or know that you have been exposed to someone with a positive COVID diagnosis within the past two weeks
Your at-home COVID PCR test did not produce a negative result
Please consult the COVID-19 page of our website for up-to-date information and helpful resources, including the Frequently Asked Questions page and the Ask a Question form. As always, if you have any specific questions about the registration process or the information provided in this letter, please reach out and ask.
We look forward to welcoming you back to campus in September, and to a safe and rewarding school year!
July 24, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Families,
Since March, Marvelwood’s board of trustees, faculty, staff, and administration have been planning the ways we will return to campus for the 2020-2021 school year. In fact, we have been preparing to open school with its full residential component since the very first day we were not permitted to have students on campus. While plotting our direction forward, we created a planning task force and deputized several subcommittees, including representatives from the faculty, staff, and trustees, to gather the best current data to help us open safely and in compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
With Marvelwood’s mission front and center, we adopted these three guiding principles:
- Preserve Community: Health and safety is our top priority as we keep our community together. Community is the bedrock of our mission and our greatest strength.
- Confront Reality: Become as well informed as possible about the myriad challenges posed to our community by COVID-19. Develop a frank and accurate assessment of Marvelwood’s circumstances. Examine the advantages and disadvantages of our location and resources. What must we face? What can we change? Make decisions responsibly in the face of uncertainty and while acknowledging that decisions and plans may need to change.
- Collaborate and Communicate: This is the most important component of maintaining and preserving community. In addressing the unknown, we must always be available to, and honest with, each other.
I would like to take a moment to thank the 30 or so families who joined us for our parent webinar (which you can watch here) on Tuesday evening, as well as the students who joined the residential life Zoom meetings last night. During these presentations, we attempted to answer questions we had anticipated – and some we hadn’t – that were on your minds as back-to-school approaches. We hope you gained reassurance from these unfiltered conversations and the opportunity to see firsthand how closely and genuinely our administration works with students and families. By the end of this weekend, we will complete a significant update to the Reopening Campus page of our website, adding a great deal of new information based on our most recent decision-making. We encourage all families to bookmark the page, review it carefully and often, and reach out with questions, concerns, or requests for clarification via email to an administrator or by using the “Ask a Question” button on the Reopening page.
Please be reminded that, in the interest of preserving community health, Marvelwood’s plan is to adopt a very conservative, cautious stance at least for the opening weeks of the school year. All of us will need to adapt and do things that are uncomfortable to us, for the safety of the community and to have a shot at establishing a sustainable congregate living scenario. We ask all members to understand that every piece of our reopening plan is a moving target and subject to change as guidance and requirements continue to evolve.
Marvelwood’s core values – honesty, respect, responsibility, and service to others – could never have more meaning or a better forum for practice in our daily lives than when we gather and work to remain together on campus this school year. We will serve the other members of our school community most appreciably during this time by accepting the need for an increased measure of personal responsibility in our choices, actions, and behaviors. We will demonstrate highest possible respect for each other by complying willingly and thoughtfully with the school’s expectations and rules about hygiene and health monitoring, social distancing, and travel. Honest communication about symptoms of illness or instances of possible exposure will be of paramount importance.
Marvelwood has devoted an immense amount of time, effort, and resources to preparing a sustainable and safe reopening of school. It is our expectation that all members of the Marvelwood family will join us in our determination to keep our campus safe and to protect the collective health of our school community by signing The Marvelwood Compact. This Compact represents a promise on the part of all of us – students, parents, employees and their families – to do our best to comply with measures, guidelines and expectations established for our protection, and to support each other in meeting this goal. Marvelwood will go to great lengths to teach, model, and encourage thoughtful commitment to this Compact in recognition of the important role and responsibility all members of our community share to safeguard both ourselves and each other. You can find the Compact on our website here; please print it, discuss it together, and return signed copies to the school (firstname.lastname@example.org
Many families are being forced to make difficult decisions about where and how to educate their children this year. We believe Marvelwood School is one of the safest choices available. As always, but perhaps now more than ever, we are grateful for your partnership.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
July 3, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Student and Parents,
I hope you’ve had time to review the material from my last letter so that you are following where Marvelwood is in terms of our COVID planning for reopening the school in the fall. On June 24, the governors of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey jointly announced a travel advisory, which requires a 14-day quarantine for visitors from U.S. states whose COVID infection rates meet certain thresholds indicating significant community spread. As outlined in my previous letter, ALL students are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival on campus, limiting public exposure, and having close contact with family members only. Ideally, those traveling from outside the tri-state region will quarantine within the state/driving distance, but if that is not possible, they may self-quarantine at home before traveling to Marvelwood and limit contact with others during travel, wearing masks and practicing physical distancing and hand hygiene. A two-week on-campus quarantine option is available for those who are unable to make other arrangements; families should contact the Dean’s Office to discuss these concerns.
Marvelwood will require proof of a negative PCR test from all students (and from any parent or guardian who may wish to accompany their student through registration and/or into the dormitory), regardless of point of origin, in addition to a negative antigen test administered at registration. Our medical guidance will be monitoring updates to national and international hotspots cross-referenced with our enrollment and may make updated quarantining guidelines as needed.
To expand our regular communications with families, highlight new initiatives, and keep you informed of our COVID preparedness planning as we move through the summer, Marvelwood will host a series of virtual Town Hall-type sessions, including an informational session for international parents on July 10th, a session for parents (new and returning) on July 21st, residential life meetings for students on July 23rd, and an orientation for new families on August 4th. Students will receive login information via email on July 20th. Parents should register via the links at the end of this letter.
If your family is interested in learning more about the new Marvelwood/Mount Snow Academy Partnership Program, we’re hosting an information session on July 22nd, with representatives and a current student from Mount Snow Academy. In addition, the Office of Admission is hosting a ‘Mountain Talk’ Info session on July 29th. Please feel free to invite anyone who may be interested in learning more about Marvelwood. Registration links are below.
Meanwhile, we’re already getting excited about the new school year, and we’re directing a lot of attention to our facilities and a variety of summer projects in preparation to welcome students back to campus in September. All of the classrooms in the schoolhouse have been freshly painted, bringing an end to a project we’ve chipped away at during vacation periods over the past year. The Strategies department has moved from their outbuilding to the schoolhouse, into the large office suite that was vacated when the Admission and Advancement offices relocated across the street to their new home in the Sundt House. The new space, which will be christened the Clark Center for Learning Support, comprises four tutorial rooms, a large conference room, a spacious central meeting area, and a small resource library. The Clark Center will offer a warm and welcoming environment and is sure to become an active hub during the school year.
Our first set of weeklong “Summer Sessions” classes concludes today, with over 40 students (many from outside the Marvelwood community) learning about music recording and mixing, gardening, statistics, the history of space, and the art of war. These online sessions continue through the week of August 3; if you haven’t already signed up, hurry -- while most classes are full, a few spaces are still available. The registration link is below.
Our biggest summer project involves the Performing Arts Center. A long-awaited major “refresh” of this building has been underway since the spring and will conclude before students return to school in September. Plans for the renovation were developed under the guidance of Stephen Forneris '86, a member of Marvelwood’s Board of Trustees and a partner at Perkins Eastman Architects, a highly-acclaimed international architecture firm. The work will include dynamic improvements and upgrades to the inside of the building as well as to the façade. Our excitement at having students back on campus is heightened by the promise of our community-wide enjoyment of this beautifully refurbished building!
On the eve of the July 4 holiday, a time for remembering and celebrating the history of America, I have exciting historical news to share! Over the past year, Marvelwood has become associated with several local historical groups, including the Kent Historical Society and an organization called Connecticut House Histories, in an effort to identify the origins of the large red barn structure that sits opposite the playing fields at the entrance to campus. For many years, this structure has served the school as a warehouse of sorts -- largely as a processing plant for campus recycling and then a storage facility for athletic equipment. After shoring up the roof last year, we reached out to these local organizations for help in identifying whether the barn was old enough to be of historical significance. Following several visits to the site, experts have concluded that the “barn” is, in fact, the original circa 1806 residence of the Goodsell family, who constructed not only the dwelling itself but a complete homestead comprised of the original house, a smokehouse, a general store and barn, an ice house, a well house and a forge -- and later (around 1850) the adjacent large white farmhouse, their fancy Victorian replacement dwelling.
The fact that the gateway to The Marvelwood School is an intact 19th-century farm where one family across three generations struggled and succeeded and lived and died would seem to set it apart. Certainly, the possibilities for future study and student engagement abound. In an email to me, one of the historical experts imagined half a dozen topics right off the bat, including how to date a building by careful observation of the tiniest details. “The Goodsell barn complex is a thing of wonder; more of an agricultural cathedral, really,” he wrote with obvious enthusiasm. “How was it used? How did it evolve? In what order? And why? What explains the eccentric support structure in the ‘west barn’? It's highly probable that there are important below-ground resources on the site which a student-led archaeological survey, assisted by the Office of the State Archaeologist, might document. An examination of women's legal status in the early 19th century could be in order; they couldn't really own property, yet they were accorded very specific rights under the law upon the death of their husbands. Cornelia [Goodsell] had a whole roster of dower rights, including which buildings she was entitled to use and, of course, which bedroom was hers.” Needless to say, Marvelwood is pursuing the process of having the entire homestead listed on the Connecticut State Historic Register. Certainly, the Goodsell farm is a unique resource that has so much more to give, including the ability to further foster intellectual curiosity and critical thinking among Marvelwood's students and faculty.
In closing, Independence Day sounds the call both to appreciate and celebrate the generational fortitude of families like the Goodsells, but also to pause and reflect upon the fact that we as a nation still have far to go in order to ensure that the fundamental values and hopes upon which this country was founded -- the guarantees of life, liberty, the opportunity to achieve security in our individual and collective happiness, and that ‘all men’ are created equal -- extend, indeed, to all.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
- Town Hall Informational Session for International Parents (Friday, July 10, 9:30am EST)
- Town Hall Informational Session for All Parents (Tuesday, July 21, 6pm EST)
- Marvelwood/Mount Snow Academy Partnership Program Info Session for anyone interested in this unique opportunity (Wednesday, July 22, 6pm EST)
- Mountain Talk Info Session for Prospective Families (Wednesday, July 29, 6pm EST)
- Orientation for New Families (Tuesday, August 4, 6pm EST)
- Summer Sessions
Other important links:
June 24, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Families,
As communicated to you in last Friday’s update letter, Marvelwood’s COVID Planning & Compliance (CPC) task force and other back-to-school planning teams have been actively working to outline how school can safely re-open in person this fall. Guidance and plans from the State of Connecticut and other schools and professional organizations have helped to set out a framework for repopulation of boarding school campuses. These plans offer excellent guidance, but also allow for the fact that different schools should set forth protocols uniquely suited to their needs for the safe resumption of in-person classes and activities.
In some ways, our intentionally small size, expansive campus and remote location work to our great advantage in terms of COVID planning. But like many schools and colleges, Marvelwood is taking a number of strategic measures to allow for the maximum in-person experience for students, while also building in the flexibility to adjust our plans, if necessary, to accommodate new information about the virus, testing, vaccines, and other factors. These measures will include adjustments to our school calendar, new health protocols, increases or adjustments in residential and classroom space to reduce density, changes to our dining procedures, the ability to offer simultaneous in-person and online learning and/or to switch between these as needed, and many more. While there are still many specifics to work out, we want to share some of Marvelwood’s preliminary plans and fall dates with you as early as possible to help in your family’s planning.
Return to Campus: It should be understood that the safety of our campus depends on disciplined individual adherence to a set of shared guidelines designed to mitigate risk. In terms of our process for reopening the school, one essential part of our plan is that Marvelwood will ask all students, faculty, and staff to follow “safer at home” protocols for two weeks before arrival on campus. We will send more detailed guidelines on these protocols at a later time, but in broad strokes, this means self-isolating within a reasonable driving distance of campus, taking every precaution for reducing coronavirus exposure for two weeks prior to returning to campus, and then returning to school without using any public transportation. (Students who typically fly to school are encouraged to self-quarantine with a friend, relative or other contact nearby; see below.)
Additionally, all students and faculty will be required to provide proof of a negative test for COVID-19, taken up to four (4) days prior to arriving on campus. This measure will help pave the way for us to reassemble as a community as safely as possible, regardless of the availability of reliable viral or antibody testing, a subject which the medical community continues to debate. Certainly, if there is reliable testing available, we plan to use that as part of our reopening and ongoing school program, in addition to other kinds of screening and safety measures, like mask wearing and social distancing.
International and domestic boarding students who typically travel by airplane to school are strongly encouraged to identify a “local” contact -- a friend, family member, or other resource in the nearby area -- and to spend the two weeks prior to the opening of school self-quarantining locally. The school can work with you to help identify potential contacts. In cases where this is not possible, these students will be given the option of arriving early on campus to complete a two-week self-isolation in one of our dorm rooms. While meals and supervision will be provided, there will not be organized programming during this time. We offer this as a service only to families whose students do not have options for quarantining at other nearby locations for this two-week period. If you think you might need this option, please contact Heather Hastings in the Deans’ Office as soon as possible to review your concerns. There will be a separate charge for this service.
In addition, students who need to do so will be able to petition to remain on campus through all school breaks and/or for the winter interim period for travel limitations/restrictions and safety considerations. This opportunity is being offered free of charge.
Registration & Orientation: Families will sign up for a registration time “reservation” that will allow us to decrease density throughout the process and manage traffic on campus. Where possible, we will ask that only one family member accompany each student to registration. Students will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (administered within four days of arrival) in order to register. Our current expectation is that all students will also be re-tested for COVID at registration. Faculty and student leaders will assist with move-in and room set-up for boarding students, as parent access to dormitories will be restricted. Parent meetings with advisors will take place virtually, prior to arrival. Depending on the conditions and recommendations in place at that time, a parent orientation for new families will either take place on campus or virtually in the days following students’ arrival.
In many ways, orientation this fall will be more important than ever as we focus on the operational behaviors necessary to protect our community. In August, students and parents will receive and be asked to review and sign a Marvelwood Compact, which will outline safe habits and expectations for hygiene protocols, movement around campus, travel, and communication. Faculty, faculty families, and staff will also follow these expectations. It is incumbent upon each member of our school community to work together, understand the need for these accentuated protocols, and take personal responsibility to do what they can to minimize risk and exposure and to safeguard the health of all. We will be communicating with students about this throughout the summer.
Fall Calendar: Our first day of classes will be Monday, September 7 (Labor Day). Below are details about our staggered, safe arrival, and other fall dates.
- August 22,23: International and domestic boarding students with specific travel restrictions or an inability to self-isolate within driving distance of school can return to campus to allow for a two-week period of self-quarantine.
- September 4: Student leaders arrive (afternoon); staggered registration 1-3:30pm
- September 5: Staggered arrival (by appointment) for all new boarding and day students; registration times TBA
- September 6: Staggered arrival (by appointment) for all returning boarding and day students; registration times TBA
- September 6: Orientation activities for all new students (morning); back-to-school activities on campus (afternoon/evening)
- September 7: Academic orientation activities; classes begin; all-school Labor Day picnic
- October 9,10: Midterm & ”Virtual” Parent Conferences
- October 12: No classes (all boarding students on campus)
- November 14,15,16: Fall Term Exams; term ends November 16 after last exam
- November 17: Travel Day
- November 30: IDEAS Winterim begins (online from home for most; in person for any student with permission to remain on campus)
- December 11: IDEAS Winterim ends, and Winter Break begins
- January 2021: On-campus classes resume, at a date still to be determined
Academics and the Year’s Calendar: With the above dates in mind, and acknowledging that the IDEAS winterim will be conducted remotely, with most all students participating from home during that time, Marvelwood has adjusted the year’s calendar to reflect our commitment to delivering a full “traditional” year’s worth of on-campus teaching. During the fall term, we will be able to offer simultaneous in-person and online learning and/or to switch between these as needed. While our goal is to primarily teach in-person, this “hybrid” approach will allow us to be flexible and meet the needs of students who are unable to return to campus due to travel restrictions or health issues. Our academic leadership is also working on a revised daily schedule that will incorporate considerations for updated cleaning, passing time, and lunch protocols.
Campus Life: In an effort to reduce student density in residence halls, we are reimagining the use of our dorm spaces. At least to begin the year, we will create a day student-only dorm and three boarding student dorms: one for girls, one for boys in grades 9-10, and one for boys in grades 11-12. We are also expanding the square footage of the health office, and have identified two quarantine spaces on campus, for use if needed. The dining hall will also be reconfigured to minimize density and community members will follow new guidelines for all meals.
Athletics and Afternoon Programs: One of the hallmarks of Marvelwood's education is the breadth of opportunities students have in the afternoon. Although it is too soon to know what independent school fall competitions will look like (particularly since Marvelwood competes with schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York), our Director of Athletics is working with the league and other schools, actively pursuing ways to maintain competition with peer schools. They are planning for several possible scenarios, including resuming a full interscholastic athletics program, resuming a partial program, and the addition of sport-specific training, scrimmages, and/or intramurals on campus. In other afternoon activities like theatre, the hurdles for safely continuing school programs are less daunting, though again we will adhere to Center for Disease Control and local government guidelines.
Marvelwood is fortunate to be located in an isolated, rural, low-population density area of New England. We plan to capitalize on our open 86-acre campus, our outdoor facilities, and our immediate access to hiking trails, state parks, nature preserves, bike trails, ropes courses, lakes and ponds to provide a wealth of safe, engaging outdoor activities throughout the fall term and the school year.
Scheduled Breaks, Student Travel, and Visitation: All current medical recommendations, and the unique safety that our geographic location provides, suggest that keeping students on campus and in the local area will best serve our community. School-related student travel off campus (field trips, community service, weekend activities, athletics) will be restricted or canceled, and it is likely that we will similarly restrict or prohibit boarding students from traveling home for weekends, at least for the fall term. The traditional on-campus Fall Family Weekend will be replaced by virtual conferencing; we will also reduce the length of the mid-fall break and enjoy it on campus as a group instead of sending students home or off to more metropolitan areas.
Visitation to campus by family, friends, and other outsiders will also be limited, if not prohibited, for a period of time.
With much of the national conversation about COVID-19 focusing on a second wave, we are building a calendar that proactively addresses this topic while providing for needed flexibility. As such, we are planning to conclude our fall term at the Thanksgiving break, provide a co-curricular interim program for a few weeks in December, and reconvene on campus in early January. While some experts point to Connecticut’s cautious and careful re-opening as an indication that any second wave or resurgence of the virus may be “minor” in the state, we plan to maximize in-person class time during the fall term while being prepared to flip to distance learning if advisable at any point. As the weeks pass, we achieve increased clarity regarding the timeline and our ability to be in person this year, but uncertainty remains with respect to what will happen in the state or region, or what the CDC guidelines may be as we head into the winter months. It is likely we will shorten our March vacation to allow for a full two terms’ worth of in-person academics between January and the end of school. It’s also possible that we may need to adjust our planned return in January and/or extend the school year into early or mid-June.
We ask families to be flexible in planning travel for the second half of the year, as much could change between now and then. It is strongly recommended that you purchase refundable airline tickets in consideration of these possible changes. We pledge to provide any information about calendar changes in as timely a manner as possible, but reserve the right to make necessary adjustments up to two weeks before any previously-scheduled dates.
Marvelwood is confident that our blueprint for resuming traditional operations will give us the best chance of controlling our environment and being in person and on campus together. We recognize there is much we don’t know about the COVID-19 conditions that may exist just prior to and during the school year. We are outlining flexible planning possibilities to account for changes in conditions as we continue to discuss the upcoming year.
Since our announcement last March about moving to online learning for the remainder of the 2020 academic year, our faculty, administration, students and families have yearned for a return to the traditional school experience. The heart of our community lies in the relationships between teachers and students, coaches and players, roommates and peers who spring from different corners of the world and form lifelong friendships. We are all eager to welcome returning students back to campus, and to introduce new students and their families to what we believe to be a uniquely caring, nurturing, and inspiring community in which students grow and thrive.
Students’ return to campus is being designed with tremendous thought, care, and expert health advice. Marvelwood’s single highest priority is the physical and emotional health and safety of our students. As we continue to make decisions and refine our plans based on the latest health information, discussions with peer schools and experts, and the continued work of our administrative planning groups, we will provide you with updates as quickly as possible and throughout the summer. Please be on the lookout for our bi-weekly newsletters, and feel free to reach out to any of us with questions.
The CPC Task Force
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16, Head of School
Timothy Carpenter ‘71, Chair, Board of Trustees
Mark Esposito P’11, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Heather Hastings, Dean of Students/Dean for Parents (Task Force Coordinator)
Caitlin Lynch P’13, Assistant Head of School
David Fiorillo, CFO
Barbara D’Iorio P’10, Executive Assistant