Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Updates and information about The Marvelwood School's continued preparedness and response to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
NOTE: A Special e-Learning section will be coming to the website.
- Health and Hygiene
- Media Release NEW 3/24/20
- Photos & Video
- Visitor Policy & Pre-Registration Form
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Johns Hopkins
- State of Connecticut
- Town of Kent
- U.S. Department of State
- World Health Organization (WHO)
|For the time being, the
CAMPUS IS CLOSED TO VISITORS
except for special and pre-approved circumstances. Any potential visitors must pre-register by filling out THIS FORM before coming on to campus. Please note that the approval process may take 24-48 hours.
This is an interactive PDF which can be filled out and signed electronically. It must be signed and submitted for all students by April 6th.
Please return to: email@example.com
- March 30, 2020 from Dr. Heather Hunt, Academic Dean
- March 28, 2020 from Dr. John Kennedy, Director of Counseling
- March 27, 2020 from Glenn Sanchez P'18, '19, Director of Advancement & Alumni Relations
- March 27, 2020 from Mrs. Hastings, Dean of Students & Dean for Parents (for Students)
- March 20, 2020 from Blythe Everett P'14, '16, Head of School
- March 18. 2020 from Dr. Heather Hunt, Academic Dean
- March 17, 2020 from Glenn Sanchez P'17, '19, Director of Advancement & Alumni Relations
- March 16, 2020 from Blythe Everett P'14, '16, Head of School
- March 11, 2020 from Blythe Everett P'14, '16, Head of School
- March 3, 2020 from Blythe Everett P'14, '16 Head of School & Jayne Janecek P'06, '10, '13, 16, Health Services Director
- February 8, 2020 from Blythe Everett P'14, '16, Head of School
- January 27, 2020 from Blythe Everett P'14, '16 Head of School & Jayne Janecek P'06, '10, '13, 16, Health Services Director
March 30, 2020
Greetings Marvelwood Students and Parents,
In a little less than a week, we will all embark on our online learning journey. Every member of the Marvelwood community has been working diligently for the past several weeks to get this online program up and running. This week, teachers are sending invites to Google Classrooms, testing out their newly attained Zoom skills, and running lessons with each other to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
Along the way, we found that there were things that needed some adjustment, for example, our weekly Online Learning Schedule. This schedule has changed a little from the first version you were sent. We have reduced classes on Wednesdays to a half day. There will be a Wednesday 1 and Wednesday 2 rotation, much like what our Saturday rotation looked like in past terms. We have also added in some time for Community Service and adjusted the advisory time so that students in other time zones, especially our international students, can participate in these live sessions. Please take note of the bottom of the schedule. It shows which subjects will meet live (synchronously) on which days.
We have also decided to adjust our grading policy for the spring term to Pass/Fail. We are doing this in an attempt to increase engagement in the online learning process and at the same time decrease anxiety. Mr. Bingham, Director of College Counseling, wants to assure any anxious juniors and seniors (and their parents) that high schools all over the country are resorting to alternative means of assessing work as everyone is adjusting to distance learning. Colleges and universities will understand, especially since the majority of admission decisions will have been made by April 1st. In the event a question regarding a student's performance should arise, the schools will call us for clarification. Don't worry. College Counseling has your backs! The College Board also put out a statement recently which says, “We're heartened by those institutions that have already made clear, calming statements that emphasize flexibility in admissions at this time—encouraging students to submit as much information as they can and reassuring applicants that they will not be disadvantaged should they have to submit Pass/Fail grades for the spring, have incomplete extracurricular profiles, or miss a testing deadline”. Students and parents will have the option to petition for letter grades; more information on this process will be forthcoming.
In my last letter, I spoke about how faculty will be using Zoom to hold live (synchronous) classes. We will be recording all synchronous sessions (classes, advisory meetings, virtual office hour meetings, etc.) so that students can refer back to these lessons, or if they miss a lesson can watch them at a later date. As a result of having to record, we have updated our Media Release form. Please take a moment to fill out the required Media Release before the start of classes Monday, April 6th.
We have also created a Student helpdesk to help address technical issues that may arise. Students and parents can submit help tickets.
I know this is a great deal of information and that likely, there are many questions. I would like to give you the opportunity to ask those questions this week. On Friday, April 3rd from 6 pm -7 pm I will hold an Academic Office Facebook Live question and answer session on the Marvelwood School Facebook page. If you do not have a Facebook account, I will also hold an Academic Office Zoom question and answer session on Saturday, April 4th from 1 pm -2 pm.
I look forward to seeing you at one of the question and answer sessions. As always, feel free to email me. We look forward to “seeing” you all in classes next week.
Dr. Heather Hunt
March 28, 2020
A message for families from Dr. John Kennedy, Director of Counseling
Dear Marvelwood Families,
This global pandemic has separated people from their workplaces, their friends, and their families. Seldom have people living today experienced a crisis of this magnitude and had to alter their lives to accommodate its issues. Not only is this pandemic a threat to our physical health, but due to the fear it has generated and the consequences it has already had on our job security, it is an equally significant issue concerning our collective emotional health.
It is important to acknowledge and address the mental health aspects of this crisis, especially when it comes to our children. The self-quarantining, self-isolating and social distancing that we’ve all been practicing are crucial in attempts to slow the spread of this easily transmittable virus, and while this may be something we parents are equipped to deal with, we must remain sensitive yet firm concerning our children’s needs and desires. By being responsible and taking this seriously, we are doing our part not only to help our families and ourselves but to help the most vulnerable in our communities. By doing this, we are by no small measure saving lives and supporting our health care system as it struggles to treat the growing number of cases.
Feelings of loss, fear, confusion, anxiety and even grief are normal. Fear is a natural reaction, rooted in our fight-or-flight response that in critical situations helps us avoid danger. But when fear becomes a continual aspect of our daily lives, it can take over our minds, paralyzing our ability to take action, and consequently forcing us into psychological ruts. By finding the source of the distress, recognizing it, and subsequently understanding it, we can take control of these fearful and often negative thoughts and develop a healthier, more logical mindset. Natural stress hormones get activated in times of disaster and uncertainty. Isolation also causes humans undue stress, as we’ve been conditioned to be social animals throughout the majority of our lives. Oftentimes, the lack of even a simple conversation with a coworker or a walk downtown is enough to make most people feel anxious and unsettled.
However, the COVID-19 virus has had a very different effect on our younger population. For them, the threat often does not carry the same connotations of trepidation and instability; instead, it is causing them to feel bored, trapped, and relentlessly annoyed rather than fearful. Because of this, many young people have taken to calling it “an old man’s disease” and have continued hanging out with their friends and taking trips to the beach. For them, the call to avoid spreading the virus is not an issue of health but an issue of empathy. Despite youthful immune systems being able to fight off the disease in most cases, they are still active carriers and must be discouraged, whenever possible, from spreading the disease farther than it already has been. Thus, by sitting down and talking to our children about how the disease affects not just them, but the older community and those with compromised immune systems, we can help cement the necessary reality that quarantine isn’t intended to revoke their freedoms and keep them away from the virus per se (although hopefully, that remains a strong motivator), but to help preserve the lives of the less fortunate and infirm.
Technology has made it easier than ever to remain indoors and entertained. Netflix, video games, and iPhones can keep us occupied for hours at a time, but it would be a mistake to suggest that this is where our work at keeping active ends. Studies have found that such activities, while initially exciting, have diminishing returns and lead to decreased mental acuity after high enough exposure. We should take steps to diversify what we do indoors to provide ourselves and our children stress-free avenues for entertainment that are not based on screen time and self-isolation. New or adjusted routines will become important since the typical routines that we have grown familiar with will no longer be useful or appropriate. Deep breathing can have an immediate effect on your emotional state and there are also great meditation apps you can download. Reading, writing, family group activities, or even pursuing hobbies we haven’t had enough time for in the past are other ways to keep productive. Regular movement and exposure to nature are also shown to have a significant impact on our emotional health, so getting outside (albeit away from others) and taking hikes are a great way of changing scenery. Spend time talking with your family members about how to use their time in healthy and productive ways. Most of all, it is vital that we not look at quarantine as wasted time; if anything, we should embrace it as an opportunity to reconnect with what it is that makes us human, and the things that make us interesting and help us feel fulfilled.
This has already become a challenging time for us and we are all managing as best we can to adjust to a very novel reality. It can be scary, and there is a real threat that we need to be aware of, but there are also very specific things we can all do to protect ourselves and to help prevent the spread of this virus. There have and will continue to be sacrifices to make, but we will get through this. Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings, share them with others, and be purposeful in your actions. And as you take care of your family, be sure to take care of yourself.
Please reach out to me with any concerns you might have or for any support I can be to you and your family. I am available via phone or email and would be happy to check in with your child if you feel that could be helpful. Please also be sure to let your child know that they can reach out to me at any time.
All the best and stay safe,
Dr. John Kennedy
Director of Counseling
The Marvelwood School
March 27, 2020
Greetings from Marvelwood! We are certainly living through unprecedented times. Our faculty have spent much of their spring breaks learning how to instruct our students remotely. "Zoom" is a word we have been saying a lot! Throughout the world, we have all had to adjust in major and minor ways, facing new challenges every day.
Many thanks to those who have supported the Emergency Student Fund, which will run for a few more days. We have raised almost $3,000, which will help subsidize the purchase of computers and other supplies for students who need assistance in order to successfully participate in remote learning. Your gift will make an immediate impact on the lives of our students, and for that, we are truly grateful.
Please join us!! Tune in at 7:45 tonight on Facebook for live-streaming from the Piper Victory Bell, where I'll be answering your questions. We'll also be ringing the bell at 8:00pm tonight and every Friday night until this crisis is over. The bell ringing is happening all over the Town of Kent, and we invite you to join us in solidarity and support of one another.
Until then, be well, stay safe, and take care of each other. Working together, we will get through this.
Glenn Sanchez P’18, ‘19
March 27, 2020
We hope that this email finds you well, healthy, and safe. Staying home and following the guidelines we are given by the CDC and other agencies is the most important thing we can do right now, and absolutely fits in perfectly with one of our core values at Marvelwood - service. Our service in following those guidelines not only helps to keep us safe, but many others as well.
We also hope that you are enjoying the spring break extension but are ready to get back to learning in the new online format we’ve been building here on campus!
Academic Dean Dr. Heather Hunt will continue to be your top resource for the academic side of the spring term. Dr. Hunt will be hosting Q&A sessions next week for students and parents. Schedules and viewing specifics will be coming on Monday.
There is much more to life at Marvelwood than academics - this email provides an overview of what else we are building for all of you so that we may all stay connected.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more updates and fun challenges and pictures. Tag us in your pics - we’ve been using #pterodactylsathome!
Boardingware (you knew I would start there)
All existing Boardingware leave passes have been optimistically updated for the May 5 return to campus. You should be able to see that update if you log in to Boardingware, but you won’t be able to change the existing pass. No need to worry about that for now - we will work more on that mid-April. Please email deansoffice@marvelwood with your current physical location. We will be using that information to chart and accommodate time zones for the online learning experience.
Residential (Student) Life
On Tuesday, March 31st at 7:45 pm, students are invited to “check-in” with their dorm.
How? Each student will get an invitation in their school email from their dorm head via Zoom. We will use this face-to-face time to socialize and get ideas from students about what kind of fun programming ideas you have for us to connect with each other while we are apart. This will also be a great time for all of us to get more familiar with the Zoom platform. All residents from the dorm will be invited as well as all dorm faculty. We hope to see you there!
Important action item for online learning
All students must update their media release by April 6 as we transition to the online format. No need to print - it can be done entirely online. Submit media release
During this online phase, you can (and should!) stay active and fit at home. Mr. Maizel will be offering videos and fitness challenges - keep an eye out on social media.
This Wednesday, students will be emailed information about Community Service for the spring term. This will include an opportunity to sign up for alternative projects as well as suggest any of your own ideas. Feel free to send any questions or ideas in the meantime to the Community Service Team.
College counseling for juniors and seniors will continue virtually - watch for more information directly from the College Counseling office.
Your advisee group will move to Google Classroom! The online advisee classroom will be accessible to you and your parents and will serve as a resource for all of the information here, as well as that which is sent out by email. Advisory meetings will happen daily by Zoom and are built into your class schedule. We hope this will help us all feel connected and will give you the opportunity to check-in, ask questions, and give feedback on what is working and what needs improvement.
The Dean’s Office
The Dean’s Office is establishing online guidelines and expectations for respectful and productive online learning. These guidelines will be available in your advisory classroom for advisors to review with all students. We know that you will all want to be your very best selves in this new adventure - conduct, kindness, and attendance are more important now than ever. Concerns, ideas, and questions can be directed to the Deans Office. The Deans will also be available for video and phone calls or meetings throughout the spring term for check-ins, support, or conduct and attendance review meetings.
Dr. Kennedy will be available for check-ins and counseling sessions - email Dr. Kennedy to arrange a time to speak with him.
Take care of yourselves and take care of each other - we will see you all soon!
Dean of Students
Dean for Parents
March 20, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Students and Families,
Across the country and the world, all of us are feeling inundated by a daily tidal wave of information and outreach surrounding COVID-19. While I am reticent to add to the noise, I am writing with two important updates based on discussions that have transpired in the few days since your last communication from the School.
Yesterday, we made two decisions that were difficult to arrive at but which we feel are necessary and in the best interests of the school and our school community. In response to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) recommendation that no gathering of fifty or more people take place for eight weeks, the coronavirus projections by leading health experts, and the need for clarity in order to aid in planning for all community members, our hoped-for return date for bringing students back to campus will be pushed back until Sunday, May 3, with a return to classes on Monday, May 4. We are not the first boarding school to make this adjustment, and absolutely will not be the last. Like other schools that have not yet closed outright for the entire remainder of the school year, we continue to hold out hope that students will be able to return to campus in May and that we will be able to celebrate that moment, as well as graduation, on campus. At the same time, we remain painfully aware that those hopes and wishes may go unfulfilled.
Our original determination that we would allow our international students to return to school from their alternative spring break home of Mystic, CT on March 30 was made based on the plan that these students would be joined by their peers soon after that, and that life on campus would return to normal for all students and faculty in mid-April. Since that plan has now changed, we have reached out to our international families to urge them to either bring their students back home or make arrangements for them to join family or friends elsewhere in the US. We are helping to get travel documents, including passports or I- 20s, to the students in the next 24 hours. We had earnestly hoped to do what we could to house and care for these students, but now as we consider the possibility of them being the sole few students on campus for up to eight weeks or more, as COVID-19 continues its dogged, unflagging spread through the northeastern US, we have necessarily changed our positioning. We are certain that it is in the best interests of our international students that they be reunited with their families at the earliest opportunity.
As someone who loves this school and the magic that happens every day on our campus, I find it painful both to write these words and to imagine the campus without students. Our response team members continue to meet daily to strategize, decide, and plan as best we can given the new twists and resultant challenges that face us each day. The decisions we have made in recent days have been difficult, but our path forward has been and will continue to be guided by our deep sense of responsibility to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all members of our student body and our on-campus community.
As you are aware, a tremendous amount of planning and preparation for remote classes is already underway and will continue until all students begin their spring term classes remotely on Monday, April 6. The faculty are energized, optimistic, and eager. It will be necessary for us to adjust to some degree the time schedule of our synchronous class periods to allow students returning to Asia to participate in real-time. We ask that all students remain flexible and stay tuned.
Here are a few other updates I can offer at this time:
We are still operating as a school, albeit an altered one. We are being increasingly responsive to employees' requests to work from home and to concerns about limiting as much as possible the access to campus by those who do not live here. With the exception of essential maintenance and Business Office activities that require a physical presence, all faculty and the majority of staff are working remotely from their residences. We are also looking into adjusted protocols related to student and employee mail/packages and school and office phones and extensions.
Spring Family Weekend (April 24-25) and other on-campus events scheduled for April are canceled. At this time, we hope to be able to proceed with graduation ceremonies on May 3o. It is my fervent wish that we will be able to gather together as a school community to celebrate our seniors and all that they have accomplished and become.
In order to keep campus safe, students may not return to campus for their belongings or for any other reason. Any questions about this policy should be directed to Heather Hastings in the Dean’s Office. We understand that may pose a real inconvenience—I do not in any way minimize it—but we simply cannot have handfuls of students or families on campus at this critical moment in the pandemic. As conditions change, and certainly if we find ourselves unable to reopen the campus in early May, we will work on a plan to allow students to safely retrieve their belongings.
We have already begun the work of creating community even while we are apart. Team members are working with faculty, alumni, and student leaders to create new ways for the community to celebrate and connect. Advisors, Strategies teachers, college counselors and others who provide vital academic, social and emotional support will continue their important work with students, albeit remotely. We will also be reaching out via social media to offer imaginative ways for faculty, students and staff to gather virtually, support each other, share stories, and bond together.
There are many other questions we are working to answer, and I ask for your continued patience and understanding. Please be sure to use the COVID-19 Update page on the website as a resource.
Over the past two weeks, I have received many messages of support from students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff, and local residents, and have found myself deeply moved and inspired. The strength, compassion, and resilience of the Marvelwood community are powerful tools upon which we can rely. We are in this together, and together -- as a Marvelwood family -- we will get through.
As before, I extend my best wishes to all of you in these trying times.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
Dear Marvelwood Families,
From Monday, April 6th through Thursday, April 9th, we will be asking students to engage in remote, online learning. We remain hopeful that we can still welcome students back to campus on April 13, but we also recognize the increasing likelihood that that may not remain a realistic goal. As a result, a large team of faculty and staff have been working tirelessly to put together an engaging, supportive, and mission-aligned online learning program for our students. This email contains a great deal of information regarding this program. Please be sure to read carefully.
We have come up with a new Online Learning Schedule that is attached to this email. Important things to note about this new schedule:
- We will use this schedule for the four remote learning days Monday, April 6th through Thursday, April 9th. In the event our remote learning continues beyond April 9th, classes will be held Monday through Friday.
- The academic day will begin at 11:00 am and will conclude at 4:30 pm. This is intentional in order to give consideration to those students living in different time zones.
- Blocks that were normally 40 minutes have been shortened to 25 minutes and the hour-long blocks have been shortened to 45 minutes.
- There is an hour break for lunch.
- A 15 minute advisory period has been built into each afternoon.
- You will notice a grid on the bottom which shows a synchronous class rotation schedule. What does this mean? Synchronous learning experiences happen in real-time. For example, on Mondays, English/ESL, Math, and Strategies will meet in real-time using the Zoom video platform. (See more info below on Zoom). Most classes will meet twice per week synchronously with the exception of math, which will meet three times per week.
- Strategies will meet synchronously every day in an effort to support our students in their remote learning.
- It will be up to the discretion of the AP teachers to determine how often they need to meet synchronously in order to cover their AP curriculum.
Zoom has been chosen as the video platform faculty will use to hold synchronous learning sessions. In the week before school begins, your student will be sent an invite to a Zoom meeting by their advisor. This invite will prompt the student to download the application (available on ios and android), or a quick file on to their computer. They should follow the on-screen instructions which will allow them to enter the session. Links will be provided to each synchronous class period through your student’s Google Classroom.
Your student will have a Google Classroom for each of their classes as well as for their advisory group. Many of the faculty have already been using Google Classroom with students. As the faculty set up their Google Classrooms, your student will begin to receive invites, through their Marvelwood Gmail account, to join. They should accept these invitations. No content will be available until April 6th.
If you, or your student, would like to learn more about Google Classroom please review this Google Classroom Tutorial for Students and Parents.
Homework & Classwork
Homework will be assigned on the days a class meets synchronously, or face-to-face, via Zoom. On the days classes meet asynchronously, work (classwork) will be assigned, that your student should be able to complete during the regularly scheduled block. Asynchronous means that work is not completed during a face-to-face interaction, but independently.
Teachers will continue to take daily attendance. On the days a class meets synchronously, via Zoom, teachers will mark students present if the student logs in to the Zoom session and takes part in the activities associated with that session. On the days the class meets asynchronously, students will be assigned independent work that they should complete and turn in by the end of the class period. When that work is turned in, students will be marked as present for that day.
If your student falls ill and is unable to attend classes or complete work, please email the nurses to report them as absent. We will make accommodations and give extensions on any work for those students who may fall ill.
Please stress to your student the importance of attending and engaging during class. We recognize the new challenges posed by this transition but will uphold our minimum attendance requirements for credit. Please refer to your Student-Parent Handbook for these guidelines.
Faculty will still post assignments and relevant materials on StudentConnect. Students should continue to use their StudentConnect to check their daily attendance, find class materials, and check for missing assignments. Spring term electives will be scheduled by early next week. A separate email will come out letting students know when their schedule is ready to be viewed.
It is our hope that this email will begin to answer some of the questions we know you all have. There is still more information forthcoming. Some parents have asked if there is anything that their student can work on during that last week of the break since it has been extended. This Suggested Activities for Students by Subject, includes activities students can complete. This is by no means mandatory but is encouraged to get students back into a school mindset.
We appreciate your patience through this process, and we recognize that there will be a learning curve for some. Please feel free to reach out to me, or Heather Hastings, Dean for Parents, if you have any questions. We are here to support you, and your student, through this new online learning process.
Dr. Heather Hunt
Dear Marvelwood Families,
Like you, I have been watching the COVID-19 news develop, magnify, surprise, and alarm us over the past several days. I wish I could offer clarity and reassurance about how this virus will impact us locally and globally over the next weeks and months; the best I can do, however, is provide an update regarding the conversations and planning that are taking place on a daily basis on Skiff Mountain.
We know that you are reading or viewing the news from higher education, local/national government and school districts, not to mention professional athletic organizations and even Broadway. Likewise, our peer boarding schools have been sharing communication regarding delayed returns from spring break and online learning modules for the spring term. Over the past two weeks, members of Marvelwood’s Response Team -- comprised of myself and representatives from the Health, Student Life, Communications, Facilities, Academic, Finance and Safety departments -- have joined conference calls, webinars and video conferences with fellow administrators and team leaders from CAIS (Connecticut Association of Independent Schools), NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools), as well as our town government, regional school districts and hospitals, local health district, and members of our Board of Trustees to carefully monitor a very fluid situation.
As parents and educators, we are asking the very same questions as you: How do we best mitigate the risk of exposure? What will be the impact of COVID-19 on our spring and summer events? How can we plan for the safest possible return to campus, and when might that be? Please know that we are working in earnest, every day, to make informed and rational decisions.
As you are already aware, we have decided that our most responsible approach to the current landscape is to delay the return of the majority of our students, to train our faculty in online learning best practices, and to begin the spring term by conducting classes through a virtual learning model. To be sure, our decision was not made lightly, and it centers squarely on the health of our students as well as the entire Marvelwood community.
Unlike some other schools, Marvelwood will welcome our international students back onto campus as of March 30 and make arrangements to house and care for them here on Skiff Mountain, rather than requiring them to find other places to go. We feel this is the most compassionate response to members of our international community, many of whose families have expressed both relief and gratitude that we will look after their children in this time of so much global uncertainty.
Online classes for all students will begin on Monday, April 6. Later this week, you will receive a separate communication with details from Dr. Heather Hunt, our Academic Dean, who has been working with department heads and other faculty to plan for this unprecedented but exciting chapter in the history of Marvelwood academics! I have every confidence in our academic team and commend the work they have already undertaken. I can also assure you that our faculty are committed to ensuring that your children continue to progress along their required academic trajectories and meet their obligations this term. Be sure to check the COVID-19 Update page, which is being updated regularly, including ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ in the Academics resource folder.
Schedules for spring athletics and community service are logistically on hold for the time being. However, we are including in our discussions some innovative thinking and planning for evening academic support and office hours, regular advisory check-ins, and some additional evening programming to engage our students. We will share these details as the picture sharpens.
Our goal is to bring students back to campus on Monday, April 13th. However, as the data around COVID-19 continues to shift, our decision-making is impacted almost hourly by new information and advisories. We recognize the near-impossibility of making accurate predictions and know that there is every chance that we will have to propose a new plan, and that there is a chance that the spring term will be further disrupted, beyond April 13. There are countless “what ifs” to manage during this complicated, dynamic, and unprecedented period.
With this in mind, we continue to rely on, deeply value, and be grateful for the direct, proactive, and honest partnership we share with Marvelwood parents, students, faculty and staff; this partnership is perhaps the most critical component of our ability to successfully navigate the path “through” this unprecedented set of circumstances. I am both personally and professionally grateful for the relationships that serve as the foundation of this community and remain hopeful that we will all be together once again in the near future.
In the meantime, please continue to do all that you can to stay healthy, and don’t hesitate to contact me or our Response Team (firstname.lastname@example.org/ 203-788-4985) with questions or concerns.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
March 11, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Students and Families,
I am writing to update you on several decisions we have made today regarding Marvelwood’s response to the evolving COVID-19 situation. These decisions relate to spring term academics, the wellbeing of employees and students, and School-sponsored events.
In brief, we have extended the spring break until March 30 for faculty and until April 6 for students, with their return to campus delayed until at least April 13. Please read this letter carefully for details..
A page has been added to the Student Life/ Health Services section of the Marvelwood website with resources, contact information, and copies of all COVID-19-related letters to families.
Health and Safety Considerations, and Returning to Campus
Based on our ongoing consultation of and with a variety of public health resources, we understand that the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is likely to continue to rise in the coming weeks. In a concerted effort to protect our community and preserve our academic program, we have decided on a phased approach to the opening of the spring term.
Individuals are instructed to self-quarantine for two weeks prior to returning to campus if:
They have traveled to or from an area designated by the CDC with a level 1, 2, or 3 advisory within 14 days prior to returning to campus;
They have traveled on a cruise within 14 days prior to returning to campus;
They have been in contact with a person being tested for, possibly exposed to, or diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days prior to returning to campus;
They have been to an area where there has been a high degree of community transmission of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to returning to campus.
No one should return to School if they are not feeling well. Students, faculty and staff should expect to be screened by the Health Office upon returning to campus.
Plans for Students: The current spring break has been extended and will now conclude on Sunday, April 5. Students will begin the spring term by taking classes remotely from Monday, April 6 - Thursday, April 9. The majority of students will not return to campus until Monday, April 13.
International students, most of whom have spent the spring break in a rental home on the Connecticut shore, will return to campus on March 30. Faculty will be back on campus by this time.
If there are extenuating circumstances that would necessitate a student’s earlier or later return to campus, please contact our Response Team, which is handling all questions and communications about the School’s response and preparedness.
Plans for Faculty and Staff: All asymptomatic/healthy faculty have been asked to return to campus on Monday, March 30th.
Administrators and staff members who have been working on campus through the break continue to follow best practices for avoiding the spread of germs, and have been advised to avoid entering public spaces such as the dormitories and dining hall.
Academic Continuity for the Spring Term
Our plan to maintain educational continuity for the spring term relies on remote teaching and learning modes as classes begin on a delayed schedule. From March 30-April 3, faculty will receive training in remote teaching and learning options.
The first day of classes will be Monday, April 6, and this first week of instruction will be conducted remotely. Faculty will be on campus, while the majority of students remain off campus.
Remote instruction will include online teaching and video tools; it may also include class assignments and homework communicated by teachers. Details on the class schedule and accessing course content will be provided in the coming days. In the meantime, please take a moment to complete a brief survey to help us in our preparations.
It is our hope that asymptomatic/healthy students will be able to return to campus Monday, April 13, and that regular classes will resume on campus on Tuesday, April 14. However, given the ever-changing landscape of the spread of COVID-19, as well as warnings and other guidance from public health agencies, government agencies and other sources, it is possible that our plans for a return date may have to be adjusted, in which case we will be prepared to continue with remote instruction.
We are working to make decisions about on-campus events involving outside guests, as well as all Marvelwood-organized events off-campus, including field trips, community service, and our spring sports schedules. We also continue to monitor the actions of other organizations whose decisions may impact students (College Board, etc.). These discussions and developments are ongoing; we will share information as soon as possible.
Although the duration of the spring break has been extended for both faculty and students, no one should look to make new travel plans based on this determination. These decisions have been made with the intent to maximize a level of protection for all members of our community that will be based on a responsible and realistic approach to travel in all forms. For this reason, we remind you to follow best practices with regard to minimizing your exposure to illness and the spread of germs. We also strongly discourage unnecessary travel on public transportation. As members of a close residential community, the choices we make may have serious implications for others.
We greatly appreciate your support and compassion for the health of our school community. We will continue to monitor the latest information on COVID-19, and we will be in touch if new information causes us to modify our plans in any way.
As always, we are incredibly grateful for your patience, flexibility, and support as we navigate these extraordinary circumstances.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
March 3, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Families,
Marvelwood continues to monitor and address the ever-changing landscape associated with the spread of influenza and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are following guidelines and utilizing resources from the CDC, the WHO, and our local health department (Torrington Area Health) as well as school organizations including The National Association of Schools (NAIS) and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). The resources and support from all of these organizations have been instrumental in our ability to address the rapidly-evolving situation with the most accurate and up-to-date information.
In addition to the organizations listed above, we are in regular communication with our school physician, Dr. Roman Alder. A message from Dr. Alder to families appears at the end of this email.
As we do throughout the year, especially during cold and flu season, our school community proactively follows precautionary guidelines, and encourages others to do the same:
1. Wash hands often
2. Clean and disinfect as much as possible
3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
4. Stay at home when you are sick
We have been very fortunate that, as of the beginning of spring break, we have had no confirmed cases of Influenza A/B among our students or staff.
Our planning and monitoring of the situation will continue over spring break. We ask that families contact the Health Services Department at over break if you, your student, or another member of your immediate family:
Is aware or concerned that they have been exposed to any infectious disease
Becomes ill at any time over the break
Has traveled to or from a Travel Advisory Level 2 (L2) area or higher
Has been or may have been in contact with some who was in a Travel Advisory Level 2 (L2) area or higher
If there has been suspected exposure, individuals should consider self-quarantine or may be asked not to return to campus for 14 days from point of contact. We will academically support students who cannot return to school due to illness or quarantine.
We are counting on families to be vigilant and to be forthright with the School about any of these potential scenarios. Our efforts to prevent the spread of infectious illness on our campus is paramount and guides our precautions and decision-making at this time.
In the unlikely event that we cannot open as scheduled after spring break, we are working on a plan to maintain educational continuity through remote access learning. We do not anticipate having to do this, but all schools have been encouraged to formulate a plan.
As far as we are aware, no one in our community is traveling to Travel Advisory L2 areas or higher, including Asia and Italy, over the break. Many of our international students will be staying as a group with faculty at a rental home near the shore in Connecticut.
We will, as previously mentioned, continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments to our plans and preparedness as necessary. Please expect and look out for at least one update from the School before students return to campus on March 25th.
If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 and/or other health-related issues, please do not hesitate to reach out to Health Services or Assistant Head of School Caitlin Lynch P’13 over the break. It should be noted that our student body has been incredibly cooperative, mature, and supportive of one another during this time of uncertainty.
Thank you, and we wish everyone a fun and safe break with their students.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
Jayne Janecek, P’ 06, ‘10, ‘13, ‘16
Director of Health Services
Dear Marvelwood Families,
As the Medical Director of The Marvelwood School, I would like to assure you that I have been working with the Head of School, Director of Health Services, and school administrators as well as monitoring all information coming from the CDC, WHO and the Torrington Health District about the COVID-19.
I have every confidence that the school is following all recommendations from all sources.
As the situation keeps evolving, so does the school’s preparedness. Marvelwood’s administration has been proactive in addressing the situation and has every intention of keeping families up to date and informed. This process will continue if and when adjustments need to be made to travel precautions or other advisories over the upcoming spring holiday or to the normal routine of the school once they are back in session. The school’s first priority remains the students and their well-being.
Dr. Roman Alder
February 8, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Families,
I write today to keep you informed about how Marvelwood continues to address the ever-changing landscape associated with the spread of influenza and the coronavirus. Given how quickly the situation is changing day-to-day, we are acting as proactively as possible to protect, assess and support the ongoing health needs of our entire school community.
We have been very fortunate that, to date, we have had no cases of Influenza A/B among our students or staff. 95% of our students have been vaccinated against the flu; if you would like your child to receive the vaccine, please contact our Health Services Office at (860) 927-5321.
Flu symptoms are primarily respiratory but often include headache, body aches, sore throat, and fever. Symptoms begin suddenly and seem to peak on days 2-3. If your child develops flu symptoms while at home, please keep them home and make an appointment with their personal physician. If a student develops symptoms on campus, our nursing staff will recommend that those who live close by return home. If your child tests positive for either Influenza A or B, they should remain home for five days from the onset of symptoms. Any student who is symptomatic but is unable to return home will be evaluated by the school’s physician, and appropriate treatment will be provided on campus.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitor cases of coronavirus around the world and in the U.S., information and recommendations are constantly changing as these officials learn more about the virus and how it is spreading. At this time, these organizations do not consider coronavirus to be an active threat in the U.S. Our Marvelwood response team is closely monitoring all updates, communicating with local public health officials and providers, and regularly checking in with neighbor schools and independent school organizations across the country.
At this time, the WHO and CDC have advised that citizens should avoid all travel to China. Be aware that travel advisories may become increasingly restrictive and/or broaden quickly to include other areas and regions of the world.
Marvelwood has been in close contact with our Chinese students and their families for several weeks and is in the final stages of making alternate arrangements for all of these students to remain in the U.S., off-campus with supervision, during the upcoming March vacation. This has required these families to modify their students’ travel plans, and we are grateful for their cooperation.
Because we recognize that any student may have plans to travel during the upcoming break, our expectation is that families will provide us with accurate details about any student who travels to China or has direct contact with anyone who has recently traveled to/from China. Even if they are able to re-enter the country following travel to or contact with others from restricted areas, these students may not return to campus until at least 14 days following said travel or contact. Marvelwood is not equipped to provide quarantine space for students who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.
As we continue to actively monitor the spread of both influenza and coronavirus, we are focused on doing what we can to prevent both illnesses from gaining a foothold here on campus. Our housekeeping staff disinfects surfaces and doorknobs on a daily basis, and we continue to encourage all members of our community to practice effective personal hygiene to curb the spread of germs. Proactively addressing student illness is an important part of our plan; please encourage your child to visit the Health Center promptly if they are not feeling well.
We will continue to provide updates as we weather the flu season and work to ensure that we are as prepared as possible to protect the health of our community.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
January 27, 2020
Dear Marvelwood Families,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a new coronavirus, ‘2019-nCoV’, first Identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The CDC is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO). While infections are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States, it is important to know that based on current information, the immediate risk from 2019-nCoV to the general US population is deemed to be low at this time.
We are also in communication with top administration officials of both the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools and the Association of Boarding Schools about trends and practices being recommended by these organizations and/or adopted by other boarding schools.
Marvelwood’s administration and Health Office will continue to follow the CDC’s directives and track any travel advisories regarding the virus. If you have any questions about 2019-nCoV or your child’s health, please contact our Health Office at 860-927-5321 or by email.
As a reminder, we are in the middle of cold and flu season and continue to encourage the school community to engage in standard precautions:
Wash hands often.
Clean and disinfect as much as possible.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay at home when you are sick; return to school only after being fever-free for 24 hours.
Day students who experience flu-like symptoms should remain home. Boarding students who are not feeling well should come to the Health Office to be evaluated. Boarding students who live within driving distance will be asked to go home if they become sick, and cannot return to school until symptoms subside.
With the Winter Long Weekend Break and March vacation approaching, we will reach out again if conditions change or impact travel plans.
Blythe Everett P’14, ‘16
Head of School
Jayne Janecek, P’06, ‘10, ‘13, ‘16
Director of Health Services