News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
May 21, 2021
Facilities Update

NEW: Visitor Lot Closed Monday, May 24
On Monday, May 24, the construction fence around the landscaping project in from of the Main Building will be removed. At this time, we will begin to set up the tent for Prize Day ceremonies. Because of the resulting vehicular activity, the front drive and visitor lot will be closed for the entire day, beginning at 6:30 a.m. Please use the MFAC parking lot or the Student Commuter Lot for student drop-off and pick-up on Monday, May 24. Thank you!

Health Services 

NEW: Vaccine Waiver and Release
A waiver and release regarding St. Mark's COVID-19 vaccination requirements for 2021-2022 will be sent on Monday, May 24. Please sign and return the waiver and release by June 18, 2021.

NEW: St. Mark's Moving to COVID-19 Green Phase
St. Mark’s changed its Campus Operational Phase Level from Yellow to Green. The School has not had any positive adult or student COVID-19 tests within the last week. We will remain in the Green phase as long as we do not have any new positive test results within our community. As the Green phase description notes, “All campus operations continue to run as per the current plan.” All members of the School community will continue to maintain a high level of awareness about ensuring all baseline health and safety protocols are in place.
 
The latest COVID-19 updates and information can be found on our website
 
REMINDER: St. Mark’s and Recent CDC Guidelines
St. Mark’s is aware of the CDC’s recently released guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. The St. Mark’s Health and Safety Task Force has been in touch with our external consultants at EH&E about these guidelines. The School’s current thinking is that we will continue with our current mask-wearing and social distancing protocols through Prize Day. Our thinking is influenced by the fact that St. Mark’s is a congregate setting and that a number of our students are not fully vaccinated.
 
In addition, the School’s current approach to Prize Day, Baccalaureate, and the Class of 2020 diploma ceremony will remain in place. Details of that approach can be found on the Prize Day section of the St. Mark’s website.
 
The heads of the Independent School League have decided that the current mask-wearing approach for players and spectators will remain in place through the end of all Spring 2021 interscholastic athletic competitions. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we do everything possible to maintain the health and safety of every member of the St. Mark’s community.
 
REMINDER: Documentation of COVID-19 Vaccine Immunizations
Please submit a copy of your student’s vaccination card if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. These copies should be submitted by emailing Director of Health Services Adria Pavletic at adriapavletic@stmarksschool.org
 
Campus News
 
REMINDER: Off-Campus Activities for Boarding Students 
Boarding students who are fully vaccinated can participate in off-campus activities without a 14-day quarantine and without having to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test, beginning on Thursday, May 27. Beginning on this date, the campus will be de-densified to the point where the School is comfortable with vaccinated boarding students having this flexibility. The vaccination is essential to this process. Boarding students who are not vaccinated will not be eligible to leave campus before the end of the academic year. 
 
This decision was made in order to provide some flexibility for student visitation with families—for example, to leave campus for a meal with parents—as we approach the end of the academic year. Given the success rate of the COVID-19 vaccines to date and the fact that the boarding population of St. Mark’s will decrease significantly on May 27, we feel this is a safe and appropriate change. Please contact the Office of the Dean of Students with any questions about off-campus activities.
 
End of School Year & Underform (III, IV, V Form) Departure Dates
The last academic day of the 2020-2021 School Year is Thursday, May 27. Day students will depart campus after their last commitment, and move-out for boarding students will take place that afternoon and on the morning of Friday, May 28. Students will be allowed a maximum of two parents/guardians/family members to help them assist them in the move out process only on May 27 or 28. If your student is leaving before these dates, no guests are allowed in the Houses. We will not be requiring families to sign up for a move-out time. Students will coordinate their move out plans with their house head.

Students are allowed to depart after their last commitment on May 27. We are asking that the move-out happens within the window of 1:30 and 5:00 p.m. to help support the evening activities planned for the VI Formers, or from 9:00 a.m.to noon on May 28.
 
Moving and Storage
Moving and storage will be provided for students through On Demand Storage. Families and students will receive a direct web link to secure services and packing materials will be provided for students using this service.
 
Day Student Weekend Access to Campus
Over the course of the spring, St. Mark's has gradually opened the campus, inviting day students on weekends. Day students have been able to come to campus for morning practices and specific events. Here is the plan moving forward:
 
May 22 and 23: All Forms
Health checks and check-ins will take place during brunch and dinner as well as in the morning during athletic practices. Day students must be given a bracelet to be on campus for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Due to capacity limitations, day students cannot join smaller trips to locations such as Target, Chipotle, etc. 
 
2021 Prize Day 
 
NEW: IMPORTANT UPDATE 
In previous communications about Prize Day events, we made note of a remote viewing location on campus to accommodate unregistered guests. After further examination of this plan, in the interest of the health and safety of the St. Mark’s community and our guests, the School has determined that it will not be possible to offer a remote viewing location for the ceremony on campus. The Class of 2020 diploma ceremony, Baccalaureate, and the Class of 2021 Prize Day ceremony will all be livestreamed.
 
As a reminder, registration is required for this year’s ceremony. Graduates are able to register up to six (6) guests. Because of the limited seating capacity in the tent, St. Mark’s must enforce the six-guest maximum for the Prize Day ceremony, as well as for Baccalaureate. Only registered guests will be allowed to attend these ceremonies. We are not able to accommodate requests for additional guests. If you need to make changes to your guest list, please email Marissa Papazian at marissapapazian@stmarksschool.org.
 
In addition, as we have communicated previously, St. Mark’s will require that all graduates, faculty and staff members, and guests wear masks at all Prize Day weekend ceremonies. Our decision to employ this protocol is driven by our continuing commitment to doing everything possible to ensure the health and safety of everyone on our campus and is guided by advice from our consultants at EH&E. This protocol will remain in place whether or not any agency guidelines change between now and Prize Day.
 
REMINDER: VI Formers Placed on "Probationary-Like" Status
As of Friday, May 14, all VI Formers have been placed on a "probationary-like" status until after Prize Day. Any Level I, II, or III rule violation may jeopardize their privilege of attending Prize Day and/or possibly graduating from St. Mark's. This is something we have traditionally done for a number of years in order to keep VI Formers focused on Prize Day and finishing the year, and their St. Mark's careers, in a positive manner. Prize Day will be here before we know it and we ask that parents encourage students to make smart choices on and off campus as we approach the big day. We want everyone to have a wonderful few weeks culminating in receiving their diplomas.
 
Please refer to the Prize Day website for information about the upcoming celebration.
 
Prize Day Digital Swag & Printables
To help the Class of 2021 celebrate their upcoming Prize Day, St. Mark's has curated a collection of digital swag and printables. Check out the graphics online and show your Lion Pride in all of your posts, stories, snaps, and yards until Prize Day and beyond. 
 
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about the upcoming Prize Day festivities? If so, please check out our new Frequently Asked Questions webpage. Be on the lookout for a registration email next week. 
 
Schedule of Events:
  • Athletic Awards Ceremony | Tuesday, May 25
  • VI Form Formal | Thursday, May 27 - Please Note: Parents and guardians are invited to come to campus to take pictures before the VI Form Formal. A designated photo area will be set up in the Library Quad. Students may remove their masks briefly for photos in the designated photography areas. A professional photographer will be on-campus to take VI Form Formal pictures which will be made available to students, parents, and guardians.
  • Cum Laude Induction Ceremony | Friday, May 28, 9:00 a.m.
  • Class of 2020 & 2021 Dinner & Social | Friday, May 28, 6:00 p.m.
  • Baccalaureate | Saturday, May 29, 8:00 p.m.
  • Class of 2020 Diploma Ceremony | Saturday, May 29, 10:30 a.m.
  • Class of 2021 - 156th Prize Day Ceremony | Sunday, May 30, 10:30 a.m.
For more information, please visit the Schedule page of the 2021 Prize Day website.


Athletics News
 
NEW: Important Note from Director of Athletics John Levandowski
As we head to the finish line, please note that both St. Mark's and Groton are committed to mask-wearing for all players, coaches, and fans until season's end. This protocol is in place regardless of what the state announced recently, or any changes in state or federal guidelines that may be forthcoming. 
To provide some additional context, Groton has agreed to play St. Mark's with the stipulation that the mask-wearing protocol will be in place and enforced!

Please help us wrap up our spring season on a positive note and support both St. Mark's and Groton this Saturday by adhering to our mask-wearing guidelines.
Lastly, do share this note with the other member of your family who may be planning to attend Saturday's game. Thank you in advance for your support!
 
NEW: Final Week of Athletics!
St. Mark's is excited to partner with Groton and Dana Hall this weekend. Please refer to the Athletics website’s Upcoming Games page to confirm gameday, times, and home/away game schedules.
 
Game Day Guidelines:
  • SM home games are limited to two family members per player.
  • St. Mark's and Groton are not allowing visiting team spectators.
  • Family members/spectators are not allowed to access campus buildings. Temporary bathrooms will be made available outdoors.
  • No tailgating or gathering allowed before or after the games.
  • You may want to bring a chair as the bleachers are not available for use.
  • Varsity home games will be filmed and made available on our Athletics YouTube Channel (film to be uploaded after the game): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2LTNTe8Ie3xoTSFYHCU2dg/video


NEW: Tuesday, May 25, 7:30 p.m. EDT | Athletic Awards Ceremony (Virtual Event)
Please join us on Zoom for the annual Athletic Awards Ceremony. During this ceremony, teams and individual athletes will be recognized and honored for their achievements. More information, including a Zoom link, will be sent on Monday, May 24. 
 
Admission & Business Office News 
 
NEW: A Heartfelt Thank You 

Dear Parents & Guardians,
 
As we near the end of school, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of you for your ongoing commitment to St. Mark’s this year! This has been quite a journey and we are so grateful to all of you and your children for making the best out of a very difficult year. Some days were harder than others and there is light at the end of the tunnel as we think about the fall.  
 
Thank you to all those who returned your enrollment deposits along with the enrollment contracts for the coming school year. We are looking forward to having your children back next year and we can’t wait to hear how the first year of college goes for our graduating VI Formers. We want you to know how much we value you and how much we appreciate you as continuing members of our St. Mark’s community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.  
 
-Anne Behnke, Admission Office & Rob Kuklewicz, Business Office
 
Parents' Association News
 
New: May 17 Parent Speaker Series Recording Now Available
Special thanks to all those who attended Monday’s Parent Speaker Series event, and to Head of School John Warren ’74, current Parents’ Association Chairs Tom and Michelle Davis P’21, and next Parents’ Association Chairs Marisa and Robert Randazzo ’88, P’24 for participating.

As a follow-up to our discussion, please email return@stmarksschool.org for questions related to the return of school in the fall, school operations, or the School’s response to COVID-19. For more information about the Parents’ Association and how you can become involved, please email St.MarksPA@gmail.com.

Calendar News:
Weekend Activities - May 15 & 16
May 17 - State of the School, 7:30 p.m. EDT, Register Here
May 20 - No Classes, Spring Day Off
May 24-30 - Prize Day Week
May 24-30 - Window Four closes