News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
August 7, 2020
Return to School Updates
Please note the following updates to the return to school plan released on July 15. We are still in the process of finalizing details for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year and will be in touch with more updates in the coming days. Questions? Email return@stmarksschool.org.

Please note: The School calendar is subject to change based on changing conditions. Please do not make travel plans for vacations and breaks that cannot be changed. Please make sure you purchase travel insurance in case you have to change or cancel a flight.
Updated Boarding Model and Campus Restrictions

We are now able to offer boarding students (both within and outside a 30-mile radius of campus) a boarding slot to start the school year. The 30-mile radius framework is no longer a factor in determining boarding or temporary day student status. If you were in the 30-mile radius area and selected that you wanted to board in the surveys, we have put you on the boarding roster. For the first three weeks of school, boarding students will stay on campus (no off-campus trips). We will reevaluate this plan in October. Questions? Email the Office of the Dean of Students. 
 
St. Mark’s will not be pursuing the “family group” concept that was mentioned as a possibility in earlier communications. Instead, we will focus on mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing throughout the School, including in the houses. Students and adults in the houses will need to wear masks and social distance except when showering, brushing teeth, and being in one’s own room. Adherence to these safety rules in houses will better protect both students and adults in that environment.
 
For the start of school, we will engage in a hybrid model with boarders in the houses and day students coming to campus. We require that all students and adults adhere to the three essential tenets of safety mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand washing everywhere on campus. In addition, we will ask all students (boarders and day students) as well as St. Mark’s adults, to commit to a safety pledge and to adhere to the community’s expectations around behavior on and off campus. Those who cannot adhere to the safety guidelines will be required to take academic classes remotely. Details of the safety pledge are being finalized and will be sent in an upcoming communication.

Club Sports

We are asking all boarding and day students who will be attending classes on campus to refrain from participating in club sports for at least the first three weeks of classes. Fully remote students can participate in club sports, as they will not be coming to campus. We will revisit the potential of allowing club sports for other students after the first three weeks in advance of October 1 and will communicate this decision to families.

Flu Shots

Because of COVID 19, we are requiring all students to have a flu shot before coming to school. In past years, we have been able to provide this immunization on campus, with state-supplied vaccine. Unfortunately, we cannot be sure that the vaccine will be available early enough in the fall to properly protect our students, which is why we need your help in having this done before arrival. We can help you locate a pharmacy near St. Mark’s that will administer the vaccine to your student. Questions? Email Director of Health Services Adria Pavletic.

Quarantine Guidelines

Despite recent changes to Massachusetts requirements regarding quarantining, St. Mark’s is adhering to the quarantine guidelines shared in our July 15 communication with families. Details can be found here: https://www.stmarksschool.org/campus-life/getting-ready/return-to-campus
 
A 14-day pre-arrival quarantine is still a requirement. Students who live in Massachusetts can quarantine at home (see “How to Quarantine” below). Students arriving from outside Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, or Vermont must quarantine in one of those states. PLEASE NOTE: Massachusetts rules regarding arrival from Rhode Island have changed. Travelers arriving to Massachusetts from Rhode Island must now quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in Massachusetts.
 
Upon arrival at St. Mark’s, students must present evidence of a negative PCR test completed within the previous seven days. 
 
Students and parents arriving from outside Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, or Vermont must complete a Massachusetts Travel Form on line or risk a $500 fine. The form can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order#massachusetts-travel-form- 
 
The current structure of our residential houses does not support the capability to provide this 14-day quarantine on campus in our residential houses or faculty housing. St. Mark’s has secured a block of rooms at the Residence Inn Boston Framingham between August 25 and September 10 at rates of $89-$99 per night. While the deadline to book online has passed, rooms can still be reserved by contacting Director of Admission Anne Behnke at annebehnke@stmarksschool.org. We are working with a concierge service to provide supervision. If you wish to make your own arrangements for a quarantine stay, please refer to the local lodging options on this page.
 
How to Quarantine:

We all need to be mindful about possible contact with people who might be sick with COVID-19 in order to stay healthy as we come back to campus. Here are some tips for quarantining at home.

  • Think carefully about whether any errand is essential before leaving home, and if it is, make sure to wear a mask!
  • You can go outdoors to exercise, but need to maintain physical distance at all times.
  • Take your temperature once a day.
  • Watch for symptoms including fever, respiratory illness (cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath) mild flu-like symptoms (fatigue, chills, muscle aches) and or loss of sense of taste or smell.
  • Stay home as much as you can.
  • Do not take public transportation (this includes taxis and ride-shares).
  • Do not have ANY visitors to your house. Stay only with your family.
  • If someone MUST come into your house, tell them you are under quarantine, wear a mask and keep six feet (two meters) between you and the visitor.

Things to Bring

All students should bring a seven-day supply of masks that are at least a double-layer of fabric covering the nose and mouth and that can be easily washed. St. Mark's will also have masks available for students.
 
St. Mark’s will be supplying each student with two gaiters for sports use, which will need to be washed daily. We recommend students obtain extra gaiters, as they cannot be worn two days in a row.

Students will be required to supply their own water bottles for sports. We
are asking that the water bottles have a separate spout for drinking vs.
filling up. For example, bottles that open up to drink out of are not
acceptable. The bottle needs to have a top with a drinking spout attached.

Please note: Masks and gaiters must be appropriate and meet the spirit of St. Mark’s dress code standards. Questions? Email the Office of the Dean of Students. 

Health & Insurance Forms Due ASAP
Health & Insurance Forms

In preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, please complete both the Health Form and Insurance Form packets listed below ASAP
 
 
If you have any questions over the summer regarding the Health Forms Packet, please email Leslie Dowst, School Nurse, at lesliedowst@stmarksschool.org. All forms need to be returned via email to lesliedowst@stmarksschool.org or faxed to 508-786-6010.
 
 
If you have any questions regarding the Insurance Forms Packet, please contact Jack Clemens, controller, by email at controller@stmarksschool.org.
Family Information Forms - Due ASAP 
If you have not yet submitted your Family Information Form, please do so ASAP. The form was due on August 3. If you have any questions or need to access your snap code, please contact Sue Lafreniere at suelafreniere@stmarksschool.org.
Update on Billing
Billing statements will be mailed this week. The statements are based on your original status per your signed contract. St. Mark’s will post any refunds for room and board fees in September.
Housing Notes
For New and Returning Local Boarders
The week of August 31 will be an opportunity for boarders to drop off belongings in their rooms. This will allow families to move in and settle ahead of registration. In doing so we hope that your arrival on registration day is not as hurried and allows your family to focus on the milestone of joining the St. Mark's family!
 
For Returners
Due to new arrangements in place for the sake of health and safety, please note that housing assignments from the spring may change. It is our goal to allow for maximum space in our residential houses and while we will use spring assignments as a guide it is likely that student house assignments will change. Thank you for your understanding.
 
For All Students
Move-in time is almost here! As you begin to decide which items to bring from home, we are asking that you only bring necessities. While extra furniture and decorations help to make for a cozy space, boarders will be asked to pack belongings in November. Bringing fewer items in September will help to make the November packing process much easier and also support our facilities staff in the work of deep cleaning our spaces over vacation.
Music Updates
Please note the following updates to this year’s music program. Questions? Email Director of Music James Wallace
 
Private Music Lessons
The private music lesson program will continue as usual with weekly lessons, though they may be only 30 minutes in duration to fit into the schedule once it is finalized.

Piano, guitar and strings may have lessons in person with their teachers on campus, or via Zoom or Facetime as agreed by student and teacher. Wind instruments and singers will have private lessons via Zoom or Facetime only.

If you will be on campus and will need to rent an instrument, please contact Rachel Truman at racheltruman@stmarksschool.org.

Ensembles
Due to pandemic restrictions, it is not possible to gather an audience for concerts. All performances this fall will be offered via video. Private lessons are strongly recommended for members of all ensembles. 

For Choir, directed by Mr. Wallace, students will rehearse with special singers’ masks and social distancing on the stage in the Class of ’45 Hall. The curriculum will also include participation in music modules. There will be no evening chapels this year. Recordings of prepared choral music will occasionally be shared with the school in morning chapels. We are currently investigating the possibility of having Choir sing live in morning chapel broadcasts. We will have a Lessons and Carols service, though it will be remote and music will be pre-recorded. Choir members who are learning remotely will practice individually, submit recordings and participate in the music modules. 
 
Since Jazz Band, directed by Mr. Fell, consists almost entirely of wind instruments, the band will not meet and rehearse together. Players will practice individually, submit recordings and participate in the music modules.
 
Rehearsals for Orchestra (directed by Mr. Wallace) will be strings only with masks and social distancing, one to a stand, on the stage in Class of ’45 Hall. The curriculum will also include participation in the music modules. Wind players and remote learners will not take part in group rehearsals. Wind players and remote learners will practice individually, submit recordings and participate in the music modules. 

All ensemble members will be placed in a smaller studio group for sectional work both on campus and in remote learning.

Ensemble Music Modules
Participation in music modules is required for members of all ensembles. Each module is roughly three weeks in duration. The first module is required, and all modules are electives after that. All ensemble members must choose one module in each session. Note that students wishing to do individual music practice with private lessons may do that module as many times as they like. Please email Director of Music James Wallace for specific details. 
Parent Town Halls
If you missed our Town Hall sessions for parents, you can watch the sessions here. Additional Town Halls will be scheduled for later in August; we will send details when they are finalized.


  • The full return to school plan is available here. Please be sure to review our FAQ section.
Commission a Student Artist in Support of BLM
Support the BLM fundraiser, organized by Head Monitor Lily Wang Luo '21, by commissioning our St. Mark’s student artists! The fundraiser has raised over $850 dollars in the past month and a half. To make a contribution to the movement today, visit https://stmarks-blm-donations.carrd.co/
Calendar News:
September 7 - Student Leaders Arrive
September 8 - New Day Student Registration
September 9 - New Boarding Students Arrive
September 10 - Returning Students Arrive
September 11 - Convocation
September 12 - Parent Speaker Series
September 14 - Classes Begin