News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
January 9, 2021
NEW: Important Return to School Information
The Health and Safety Task Force continues to meet to examine and discuss local, state, national, and international COVID-19 data. As noted on December 29, St. Mark’s remains committed to a return date of Tuesday, January 19, for in-person learning. Following are some important details to note as we prepare for a return to in-person classes.

  • Credits for boarding refunds will be posted by the Business Office during the last week of January or the first week of February. 

  • If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, please inform Health Services by emailing healthservices@stmarksschool.org. Students who have tested positive will not be tested for 90 days because the antigen remains in the body and the individual will continue to test positive.

  • Students who have tested positive will need to have a physician’s note in order to participate in athletics at St. Mark’s. Please contact Health Services at healthservices@stmarksschool.org with this documentation.

  • Testing during the week of January 11 will take place as follows: 
Monday, 1/11—Tuesday, 1/12: Faculty and staff 
Wednesday, 1/13—Thursday, 1/14: Day students 
Saturday, 1/16—Monday, 1/18: Boarding students

Please remember that students must have a negative PCR test that is no more than seven days old before they will be allowed to move into residence halls or begin classes as day students. 

Day students can sign up here for a 10-minute testing slot on January 13 or 14 between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. on campus. The location will be communicated to students early next week. Please direct any questions related to testing to the Director of Health Services, Adria Pavletic, at adriapavletic@stmarksschool.org.


If you would like to make a change to your child’s living and learning status, please use the Affirmation of Intent form to record any changes.
NEW: Updated Day Student Expectations
An updated list of expectations for day students is now available. Please familiarize yourself and your family with this list. We are asking all families to adhere to these expectations as we work to keep the School safe for all members of our community. Day student expectations include the items below to ensure the health and safety of the students and the entire community. We ask families to assist in ensuring their students are able to adhere to these expectations:

  • Students should avoid large gatherings to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. These gatherings should be avoided regardless of location, whether at home or outside the home at another location.

  • Students should remain committed to wearing a mask and practicing social distancing whenever they are outside the home.

  • Students should avoid dining at any indoor establishment.

  • Students should avoid use of public gyms, training facilities, and/or weight rooms, including working with trainers or coaches.

  • Students should not hold part-time jobs in which they interact with the general public or with other employees while attending classes in person. Risks associated with exposure, even with the best efforts, are too high and we ask that part-time jobs are avoided while the student is attending classes in person.

  • Students should not participate in group activities that include large groups indoors, such as outside organized athletics or other activities that involve large groups. Trips for medical appointments and other essential activities are acceptable.

  • Students should maintain the same level of vigilance in upholding the School’s safety plan away from campus by limiting exposure to a limited number of people from outside the home as possible and adhering to social distancing and mask requirements if meeting.

Questions about items that fall outside of these guidelines or need further clarification should be directed to the Dean’s Office, which may request consultation from the Health and Safety Committee.
NEW: Move-in Details

Similar to the move-in/move-out in the fall, we are asking students to sign up for a 30-minute slot here to return to campus between January 16-18. Available time slots are as follows: 

  • Saturday, January 16 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Sunday, January 17 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 
  • Monday, January 18 from 9:00 a.m.-noon 

Students will be tested upon arrival and then can complete the move-in process. Please reach out to the Dean's Office or Luke Chiasson at lukechiasson@stmarksschool.org with any questions.

 
We will be following required safety protocols, which will include providing specific time blocks for families, as well as social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer, and escorts in and out of the Houses. In order to keep Houses de-densified, we ask that only one parent and one student are involved in this process and that families adhere to the 30-minute slot when moving in.
 
Families should arrive approximately 15 minutes before their scheduled time slot to check-in. Families will need to demonstrate the completion of a student’s negative PCR test (taken within the last seven days). At that time, a PCR test will be administered by a member of the St. Mark’s nursing staff. Families will then be directed to the appropriate House, where they will be guided to the student’s House and room.  
 
We ask that families are on time for their appointments and that they stay in their cars until we can ensure that the screening area and House are clear and available. If you are late or cannot make your assigned time, please contact the Dean’s Office. Appointment times are scheduled to maintain the appropriate density on campus and cannot be extended or changed without prior approval. If you are late for your start time, you will only have whatever time is remaining from your assigned appointment. 
 
After moving in, students will need to be quarantined in their House rooms until their PCR test results are returned. Our testing facility continues to report a 24-hour turnaround.
 
In their rooms, students will be able to set up their rooms and prepare for the upcoming in-person school week. The School will provide meals while students are quarantined in the Houses and will have someone checking in on them periodically while they wait for the test results.  
Academic News

NEW: Daily Schedule Changes for 2021
Dean of Academics Mr. Waters shared an update with the community about some schedule changes for the upcoming semester. You can find the updated daily schedule here, along with an explainer video. We have worked to make appropriate changes based on our experience and feedback from the fall, along with some of the special considerations for our operations this winter (athletic practice schedules, health and safety protocols, etc.).  
 
Full implementation of the new schedule will begin on January 25. During the week of our return to in-person and remote classes, January 19-22, we will run a modified schedule that offers each class the opportunity to meet synchronously for 60 minutes, and add one additional asynchronous preparation. As Window Two and Semester One close on Friday, January 22, this schedule offers us time and space to manage workloads at a traditionally stressful period of the academic year, and to readjust to the routines we will be operating here on campus for the remainder of the year.  
 
We encourage students to reach out to their teachers and advisors with questions about how class and campus routines will change with the updated schedules.


Update on January-May Modified Class Schedule 
With the cancellation of spring break this year, faculty members and administrators have worked to develop a schedule for the January-May time period that maximizes the effectiveness of teaching and learning throughout the winter and spring and includes short breaks to provide essential rest periods for students and faculty members. Realizing that successful teaching and learning depends on physical, mental, and emotional well-being, these breaks have been scheduled intentionally and thoughtfully to ensure the greatest opportunity for rest and recuperation for the greatest number of people. In addition, the schedule mixes weekend and weekday rest days to distribute time off in a balanced way.
 
The rest days are scheduled as follows:

  • Friday, February 12—Monday, February 15 (Lunar New Year and President’s Day Weekend)
  • Thursday, March 4
  • Tuesday, March 16
  • Friday, March 26—Monday, March 29 (Midsemester Weekend)
  • Tuesday, April 6
  • Monday, April 19 (Patriots Day Weekend)
  • Wednesday, May 5
  • Thursday, May 20
Please note: Pink ovals are midweek “no class” days, while long weekends are indicated with blue squares. 
 
You will note that we have scheduled some rest days around public holidays that previously existed in the schedule—Presidents' Day and Patriots Day. To keep the semester balanced, we have also shifted the close of Window Three from Friday, March 12 to Thursday, March 26, and created a four-day weekend at this important juncture of the academic calendar.  
 
We are currently finalizing specifics around adult supervision for students on these rest days, and are also exploring other steps beyond days off to promote the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of our students and all of our community members. We look forward to sharing more information in January. 
NEW: January Head's Reflection

Resilience and Adaptability: Our Daily Challenge
Chapel Talk
John Warren
January 5, 2021

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

“Adaptability is the simple secret of survival.” 
―Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn

I have spent a lot of time this academic year repeating the mantra resilience and adaptability, two characteristics I value highly. Resilience, as commonly defined, is the capacity to keep going in the face of difficulty, and adaptability is the ability to adjust to new circumstances. I am proud of the way everyone in our entire School community―students, faculty, and staff―has displayed resilience and adaptability in the face of a multitude of challenges. 

Read the full January Head's Reflection here.
NEW: Yearbook Recognition Ads

Are you looking for a way to celebrate your graduating VI Former? What better way than to purchase a recognition ad in the yearbook! There is a range of sizes and costs available— and you can design and pay for your ad all in the convenient Jostens website! 
 
Click here to access the ad website (click on "Recognition Ads") and get started.  
 
You can read this pamphlet if you need more information on the logistics. 
 
The deadline to purchase ads is January 31.
Admission Announcements
Do you know a family or student interested in attending St. Mark’s? If so, please share our upcoming opportunities to connect with admission representatives, faculty, and current students to learn more about the topics below. Please register in advance below. After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Athletics - Admission Virtual Open House
Saturday, January 9, 2021, 10:00-11:30 a.m. EST
Join John Levandowski, director of athletics, members of our Athletic Department, and student-athletes to learn more about how the St. Mark's community embraces athletics as an integral component of our students’ overall education, designed to teach resilience, teamwork, goal-setting, and a lifelong commitment to health and fitness.
Register Now:
*This event is for prospective students interested in applying to St. Mark's.

NEW: Application Deadline Reminder
Admission and financial aid applications are due by the end of the day on Friday, January 15. Our deadline for Slideroom media submissions is also January 15. The admission office will continue interviews between January 16-30 with appointment priority given to applicants who have otherwise met the application deadline.


Parents’ Association
 
NEW: January 13, 2021 - Learn & Lead Series: Fitness for St. Markers
LIVE from the Coolidge Center with Strength Coach Pat Hagerty. Learn how Coach Pat works with students and then participate (or watch) as he provides a 30-minute circuit workout for you. The event begins at 5:00 p.m. EST. A Zoom link will be sent to registrants an hour before the eventRegister here.
 
January 13, 2021 - St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff book club
Our meeting will be from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST via Zoom. The January title is The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. At the end of this meeting, we'll choose a book for February. 
 
Interested in attending? Please email Laurie Kalapinski (lauriekalapinski@stmarksschool.org) or Joanne Flathers P’15, ’19, ’21 (joanne@flathersfamily.net) to receive the Zoom link the morning of January 13.
 
Other book titles suggested by members, in no particular order:
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir by John Bul Dau
  • Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow
  • Woman on the Other Shore by Mitsuyo Kakuta
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum
  • And They Called It Camelot: A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Form Parent Chats
  • III Form Parent Chat - Wednesday, February 3, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST
  • IV Form Parent Chat - Thursday, February 11, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST
Calendar News:
January 13 - St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff Book Club
January 13 - Learn & Lead Series: Fitness for St. Markers, 5:00 p.m.
January 19 - In-Person Learning Resumes
January 22 - Window 2/Semester 1 Ends 
January 26 - Grades Posted
February 3 - III Form Parent Chat, 7:00-8:00 p.m. 
February 11 - IV Form Parent Chat, 7:00-8:00 p.m. 
February 15 - Presidents' Day, No Classes
February 25 - Community & Equity Day