News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
October 16, 2020
From the Dean of Students
Thanks for the apples! A shout out of thanks to the Parents’ Association for the apples on Thursday. Bags of locally grown apples were available for faculty and staff to pick up as a gesture of appreciation from the parent community. On behalf of the faculty and staff, we say “thank you” for the apples, for the continued support, and for thinking of us! 

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

2020-2021 Directory
The 2020-2021 St. Mark’s Directory has arrived. For those who were not able to pick up a copy on campus, a PDF is available for download here
Fall Advisor Conferences: October 21-22
Your child’s advisor will be in touch with you to schedule a 20-25 minute Zoom conference. This is an opportunity to get updates on your child’s progress and share information with advisors. Our goal is to advance our partnership in the care and concern for your child.
Policies for Boarding and Day Students
We are now reaching the end of our first three weeks of hybrid learning, and are very pleased to report that we have not had any individual (student or adult) test positive for COVID-19 in our community. We believe that our conservative approach to off-campus activities and travel is one reason for our success to date. Thank you to all of our boarding and day families for adhering to our guidelines and helping to keep us all safe. 

At the beginning of the year, we indicated that we would evaluate our policies regarding student restrictions after three weeks. Our goal is to keep St. Mark’s open so that we can offer an exceptional in-person learning experience for those who are able to join us on campus this fall. Thus, after careful consideration, Head of School John C. Warren has accepted the following recommendations from the St. Mark’s Health and Safety Task Force:

  • After consulting with experts including an epidemiologist from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Science and consultants from Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&E), the Health and Safety Task Force has recommended that, due to the congregate living environment of our boarding students, current restrictions regarding boarding student travel home will remain in place through Thanksgiving break. Because our boarding students live in a congregate setting with greater exposure to one another, they are at greater risk of transmission. We are also aware that infection rates have risen in local communities outside the School and in surrounding states. Re-entry to residential living after an extended time at home also increases risk of exposing the congregate setting. 

  • Parents who wish to visit their children on campus may do so as long as they follow mask-wearing and social distancing policies and do not enter the residential Houses. Families are encouraged to enjoy time together outdoors on campus, and are welcome to picnic on the grounds or enjoy a walk on the cross-country trail.

  • Our current policy regarding off-campus travel for activities including club sports will also remain in effect. Students who wish to participate in club sports or who wish to engage in off-campus travel (college visits, etc.) must choose the remote learning option. While we have not had a case of COVID-19 on the St. Mark’s campus, Southborough and many neighboring towns, including Marlborough, Framingham, and Hudson, are in the “red” category on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Community-Level COVID-19 Data Reporting Map as of October 14. Based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each city or town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. 

  • The School is finalizing details of approving food delivery from some local vendors to boarding students, and we will share details as soon as they are ready.

RAVE Alert Notification System Test
RAVE Alert emergency test notifications happened earlier this week. If you did not receive a RAVE message earlier this, please let the Technology Department know. Please note that the mailing list for this newsletter and the contact list for emergency notifications are not the same.

Looking for a way to celebrate your graduating VI Former? Take out a celebration ad in the yearbook!
Click here to go to the Jostens website, where you can design and pay for your ad. Purchase your ad before November 30 and you'll save 10 percent! Ad purchases close January 31. 

Club Meetings
Click here to learn about this week's club meetings.

Pathways and Classics are hosting a screening of Antigone at Ferguson this Saturday, October 17, at 6:00 p.m. in the VI Form Tent. Here is the link: 
Antigone in Ferguson is a groundbreaking project that fuses dramatic readings by acclaimed actors of Sophocles’ Antigone with live choral music performed by a diverse choir, from St. Louis, Missouri and New York City culminating in powerful, healing discussions about racialized violence, police brutality, systemic oppression, gender-based violence, health inequality, and social justice. The project was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014, through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, Missouri, and premiered at Normandy High School (Michael Brown’s alma mater) in September 2016 and has since toured the country and the world.

Parents’ Association
It’s important that parents stay engaged and feel connected to St. Mark's through enriching programs and events. Below is a list of upcoming events that we hope will do just that. In the meantime, please reach out to Parents’ Association Co-chairs Michelle and Tom Davis P’21 at if you have any questions or concerns.
St. Mark’s Philanthropy Days
Tuesday, October 27-Thursday, October 29
Look for more details in an upcoming email about this important opportunity to support St. Mark’s. 
Learn & Lead
Topic: Navigating the III Form: Advice From Veteran St. Mark’s Parents
Thursday, November 5
8:00-9:00 p.m. EST
The first year of high school is a big transition for students and their families alike. Join a few veteran St. Mark’s parents to hear their advice on navigating this time with your child. 
Parent Speaker Series
Topic: State of the School and an Update on Academics
Tuesday, November 10 
7:30 p.m. EST
Join Head of School John C. Warren ’74 as he reflects on the start of the 2020-2021 school year, and then hear updates from other School leaders about St. Mark’s academic programs. You will learn more about the faculty’s summer professional development, and our continued efforts to deliver the best learning experience for your children in the current environment. The evening will also include brief updates from Parents' Association volunteers. 
Parent/Faculty/Staff Book Club
Topic: A Discussion About The Red Address Book
Wednesday, November 11
3:00-4:00 p.m. EST
Contact Joanne Flathers P’15, ’19, ’21 (
or Laurie Kalapinski ( for more information.
Service of Lessons & Carols 
Wednesday, December 16 
8:00-9:00 p.m. EST
Join us for the traditional service of Lessons & Carols, presented virtually this year. While we are still determining specifics of the event, please save this date and plan to tune in for this St. Mark’s tradition.
Important Note: Topics, dates, and times are subject to change. You can find updated details about these events in the Deans’ Weekly, and in upcoming parent emails.
Weekend Activities 
What's up this weekend? Select this link to view this weekend's campus activities.
Spiritual Reflections
Twice a week, we gather for prayer, meditation and reflection, St. Mark's School style. The Chaplains at St. Mark's would like to offer that same kind of reflection to you, twice a week, by email. Reflections will be short and inclusive: mindful of the present, but rooted in the eternal. Sign up if you are interested, and spread the word!
Calendar News:
October 17 - Admission - Virtual Open House - Community & Equity
October 21-22 - Advisor Conferences
November 5 - Admission - Explore St. Mark's
November 11 - Parent/Faculty/Staff Bookclub Meeting