News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
September 11, 2020
Return to School Updates
Please note the following updates to the return to school plan released on August 31, 2020. Questions and feedback can be submitted to return@stmarksschool.org or through this form

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.
ACTION NEEDED: 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 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.

PLEASE NOTE: Students will not be able to move into their dorms if these forms have not been completed. Additionally, since the return to campus will include COVID-19 testing and timed move-ins, there will not be an opportunity for the Health Services team to review missing health records upon arrival.
Boardingware Update
At this time, Boardingware sign-ups are not yet available. When everyone in the community has completed their Family Information Form (FIF), the Boardingware invite will be released.

New families will receive a Boardingware email invitation to the address provided via the FIF. Once you receive and accept the invitation to use Boardingware, parents and students will be able to sign out, give permissions, and host students through our online check-out system.
ACTION NEEDED: Family Information Forms
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 (sent from noreply@noreply.psrsupport.com), please contact Sue Lafreniere at suelafreniere@stmarksschool.org.
ACTION NEEDED: Advisor Information Form
Working as closely as we do with students, the more we understand about a student's background, expectations, and potential areas of difficulty, the better prepared we can be to work effectively in supporting the student's success at St. Mark's. This information is primarily for the Faculty Advisor but will be made available in the Deans' Office to other adults who work closely with the student. We invite you to share whatever information will enable us to better understand and assist both you and your child. Please complete the Advisor Information Form found here.
Lion Card
The Lion card is the official identification card for all students and grants them access to the main buildings. The Lion Card comes with a prepaid spending account feature called Lion Cash that is the student incidental accounts. Students can use their card to operate student washers and dryers, buy textbooks, and other items from the bookstore as well as eat at the Lions' Den. There are no fees to use the Lion Card and you can add as much value to your card as you would like.

Incoming families received an email on September 10, 2020, with registration details. If you did not receive this email, please contact Sue LaFreniere by email at suelafreniere@stmarksschol.org.
2020 Convocation, Orientation Events, and Recordings
Below you will find tonight’s (Friday, September 11) Orientation programming and Zoom links. These events and links are also available on our website at this link.

Please note that Convocation is tonight, Friday, September 11, at 8:00 p.m. Convocation is an all-School event. Parents and families are welcome to attend.

Friday, September 11 

New Students, Parents & Families: 7:30 p.m. EDT - Athletics Connections & Opportunities

All Students, Parents & Families: 8:00 p.m. EDT - Convocation

Recordings for past events and information on upcoming events are available on our website at this link.

If you have any questions, please contact deanofstudents@stmarksschool.org.

Upcoming Town Halls
We are pleased to offer the following upcoming Zoom Town Hall sessions to address specific areas of interest. You will receive an invitation with specific information in the coming days. As a reminder, please sign in to the Zoom sessions with your full name and no phone entries.

Community and Residential Life: Monday, September 14, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT

College Counseling (V Form): Wednesday, September 16, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT
  
College Counseling (VI Form): Thursday, September 17, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT  
Dress Code
St Mark’s dress expectations have always asked students to dress differently for the academic day in order to give respect to people and the work being accomplished. 

During the pandemic, however, the safety of our community members is the highest priority. The most effective way to mitigate risk is to wear cloth masks. Thus, the most essential piece of St. Mark’s dress expectations is your mask. Students should follow the St. Mark’s mask guidelines and wear masks that follow the R.U.S.H.(Respect Understanding Safety Honesty) expectations particularly concerning respect for yourself and for others and safety for all. 

Due to the hybrid environment, St. Mark’s is altering our normal and customary dress expectations to a more casual framework. St. Mark’s has adjusted its clothing policy for health, comfort, and practicality; the School presumes that students and faculty will comply with the overall framework.

Whether students are remote or on campus, student dress is expected to be “neat and clean” and be appropriate for the work and respectful of the community. Dress, whether in person or on a computer screen, should not be distracting.

There are some restrictions. In an academic setting, sleepwear (i.e. pajamas, bathrobes, and slippers) is not allowed. Underwear is not outerwear. Hats inside buildings are not permitted. Clothing with graphics should avoid inappropriate messages including, but not limited to, alcohol/drug/tobacco promotion, sexual innuendo, and offensive language. 

Chapel Dress (SM more formal dress expectations) has been suspended temporarily.
 
On Wednesday, Saturdays, and Sundays, students may dress casually in relaxed weekend attire.

Should I bring a blazer or dresses to school in the fall?
No. Chapel Dress (SM more formal dress expectations) has been temporarily suspended. Do not bring clothes that need to be dry cleaned.

Can I wear clothes other than SM sweatshirts or collared shirts/blouses?
Yes. While it is almost always appropriate to show off your SM pride, non-SM sweatshirts are allowed. 

Why no pajamas or sleepwear?
When preparing for an academic setting, students should transition to clothing that represents the work. 

Will we be going outside?
Weather permitting, some of our classes may be held outside, so be prepared. In addition, our mask-free zones are outside, and taking a break from one’s House room by taking advantage of the outdoors may necessitate warmer clothes. It’s New England, where fall is a beautiful season but where temperatures can vary greatly. Layers are a good idea.

Drop-Off and Move-In Updates:
*Please note that housing information will be sent in the coming days. 

DROP-OFF: September 17-18 & September 19-20

Over the course of four days—the late afternoons of September 17 and 18 and the morning and afternoons of September 19 and 20—St. Mark’s will provide an opportunity for boarding students to drop off belongings in their rooms. This opportunity sounds just like it is: “a drop-off.” Families may sign up for 15-minute slots in order to drop off minimal belongings to their rooms, and we ask that only one parent and one student are involved in this process. 
 
  • Thursday, September 17 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. (Main and Thieriot House)
  • Friday, September 18 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. (West Campus)
  • Saturday, September from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (Main and Thieriot House)
  • Sunday, September from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (West Campus)

Families do not need a negative PCR test before coming for the drop-off opportunity. We will be following the safety protocols required, which will include providing specific time blocks, as well as social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer, and escorts in and out of the Houses.

Families should come to the Front Circle upon arrival to check-in. We ask that families are on time for their appointments and that they stay in their cars until we can ensure that the House is clear and available.


MOVE-IN: September 25-27

The September 25-27 move-in period is almost here! 

Over the course of two and half days—late afternoon of Friday, September 25 and on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27—boarding students and families have the opportunity to move themselves and their belongings into their House rooms. Students will also be asked to check in with Health Services and will then be directed to a tent where they will complete the required COVID-19 PCR test.

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.

Here is the SignUp Genius link for families to sign up for a 30-minute slot on our move-in days:

  • Friday, September 25 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday, September from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. 
  • Sunday, September from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. 

Approximately 15 minutes before the one’s time slot, families should come to the Front Circle upon arrival in order to check-in. At the Front Circle, families will head over to the Health Service area where they will need to verify that their health records have been submitted and demonstrate the completion of a student’s negative PCR test (taken taken within the last seven days). At that time, a PCR test will be taken by St. Mark’s nursing staff. 

After visiting the nurses, families will 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 Health Services Area and House are clear and available. If you are late or cannot make your assigned time please contact the Deans’ Office as appointment times are allocated to maintain the appropriate density on campus and as such cannot be extended or changed without prior approval. If you’re 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 COVID PCR test results are returned. Our testing facility continues to report a 12-to-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.  

What to bring:
  • Seven double-layer cloth or two-ply masks (see SM mask guidelines)
  • Enough hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to last at least the first two weeks of school
  • A fan 
  • Clothing that meets St. Mark’s dress code requirements (which has been adjusted for the 2020-2021 school year), in addition to comfortable clothing
  • A digital thermometer
  • At least one extra set of sheets
  • Laundry detergent

What NOT to bring:
  • Any furniture beyond a small refrigerator, desk chair and plastic storage containers
  • Extra clothing that you will not need
Calendar News:
September 11 - Convocation, 8:00 p.m. EDT
September 14 - Remote Classes Begin
September 14 - Community and Residential Life, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT
September 16 - College Counseling (V Form), 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT
September 17 - College Counseling (VI Form), 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT
September 24-27 - Move-In Days for Boarding Students
September 28 - In-Person Classes Begin