News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
September 18, 2020
September Head’s Reflection | 2020 Convocation Talk: Becoming a Truly Antiracist School
On Friday evening, September 11, St. Mark's officially opened the 2020-2021 academic year with the traditional Convocation ceremony, this year shared virtually via Zoom.

Head of School John C. Warren '74 then delivered the Convocation address, entitled "Becoming a Truly Anti-Racist School." In it, he quoted author Ibram X. Kendi's powerful book How to be an Antiracist (One World Press 2019) which many in the St. Mark's adult community read this summer: "To be antiracist is to view national and transnational ethnic groups as equal in all their differences . . . To be antiracist is to view the inequities between all racialized ethnic groups as a problem of policy . . . Being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination." He also quoted from Barbara Brown Taylor's Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others (HarperOne 2019)—"God created the conditions for multiple interpretations of everything that required speech to describe. There was no longer one right way to say a true thing. There were many ways to say it. Torah. Veda. Dharma. Gospel. Qur'an. Even when those words pointed to different things, you could see how much they meant to the people who said them"—and he committed himself and the School to creating an anti-racist community at St. Mark's.

To read Mr. Warren’s full Convocation Talk, select this link
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 All forms need to be returned via email to or faxed to 508-786-6010.
If you have any questions regarding the Insurance Forms Packet, please contact Jack Clemens, controller, by email at

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, please contact Sue Lafreniere at
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 Dean's 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
Important Update Regarding Testing Requirements
All students—boarding and day—must present documentation of a negative PCR test that is no older than seven days old when they arrive on campus. 

  • All students who are taking the SAT on September 23 should present this documentation when they arrive at the test. 
  • Day students should present this documentation when they arrive on campus on either September 23 or 24 for the day student on-campus testing days. Please note that these on-campus tests are in addition to the PCR test, for which a negative result no older than seven days old is required. 
  • Boarding students will need to present this documentation when they arrive at move-in.
  • Students in quarantine at the Residence Inn have already completed this requirement. 
Thank you. Please feel free to contact Director of Health Services Adria Pavletic at with any questions about testing.
Testing on Campus for Day Students 
Day students must arrive on campus with negative results of a COVID-19 PCR test that is no more than seven days old. Day students must arrive on campus with negative results of a COVID-19 PCR test that is no more than seven days old. COVID-19 testing for day students will happen on Wednesday, September 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Thursday, September 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Day students and families should head to the Front Circle (entering from the main entrance on Rt. 85) when arriving on campus for testing. Once near the Front Circle, families will be directed to student drop-off areas and parking. Please be sure to follow the directions of the attendants and to stay in the car for instructions. Testing with St. Mark’s nurses will take place under the large tent in the VI Form Quad. Please be on time for your selected time slot and be sure to wear a mask and social distance. 

To sign up for a day student slot for testing, visit

Drop-off: September 18-20
St. Mark’s will provide an opportunity for boarding students to drop off belongings in their rooms on September 18, 19, and 20. 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. 
  • Saturday, September 19 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 
  • Sunday, September 20 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 

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.

To sign up for a drop-off slot, go to
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.

  • Friday, September 25 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday, September 26 from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. 
  • Sunday, September 27 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 go to Health Services, 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 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 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 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 (for mask washing)

What NOT to bring:
  • Any furniture beyond a small refrigerator, desk chair and plastic storage containers
  • Extra clothing that you will not need (ie Chapel Dress)

To sign up for a move-in slot, visit

Families who signed up for the incorrect House or for multiple spots should contact Liz MacArthur to make adjustments to their plan. 
Social Agreements for Students 
In these unprecedented times of a pandemic, it will take a shared commitment from each and every member of the St. Mark’s community to maintain the health and safety of all. We take great pride in being a caring and inclusive community where we value each other over self-interest and where we live by the standards of RUSH: Respect, Understanding, Safety, and Honesty. Therefore, as a member of the St. Mark’s Pride, students promise to protect their classmates, the St. Mark’s faculty, our families and neighbors, and myself by adopting the practices and attitudes summarized in the agreement.

Any student who feels uncomfortable or is unwilling to follow these standards and protocols, or feel that these standards and protocols are not sufficient, can choose to attend school remotely.

A student who does not fully comply with these standards and protocols will be required to attend school remotely for the time period (likely 14 days, but potentially the entire fall term) defined by the Dean of Students. 

Students: Please visit this link to agree to the social agreement:
Quarantining at Home
As previously noted, all students must quarantine at home for 14 days before arriving at St. Mark’s. Here are details on quarantining at home:

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. That is the purpose of quarantine. Stay home!   

You can go outdoors to exercise, but you need to maintain physical distance at all times. 

Maintain as much physical distance as possible as you can with people in your home who frequently leave your home for work or have frequent contact with other persons outside your home. Try to avoid hugging or kissing. As always, avoid sharing food or drinks. 

Leave home only when absolutely necessary. If you do need to go out, please do the following:

  • Wear a mask at all times, keeping it over the mouth and nose.
  • Practice physical distancing.
  • Avoid any crowded situation.
  • Use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving, or riding by car, either alone or with household members).
  • Wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds immediately after returning home.
  • Please do not use public transportation. If you need to ride in a car with members of different households, be sure to limit close contact and create space between others in the vehicle as possible. Improve air flow in the car by opening the windows or placing air conditioning on non-recirculation mode.
  • Do not have any visitors to your house. Stay just with your family. If someone must come into your home, tell them you are under quarantine, wear a mask and keep six feet (two meters) between you and the visitor.

You can socialize with others outside your family as long as:

  • Everyone wears a mask at all times.

  • You maintain a distance of six feet.

  • You are able to visit outside or in a well-ventilated space.
Academic Support - Tips for Remote Learning 
This week, students received this helpful video and .PDF from Academic Support with tips for engaging in successful remote learning. Ask your St. Marker about their workspace and which Academic Planner they are using! 

Tips Remote Learning 2020-2021 - Watch Video - Download .PDF
Academics News
We were glad to welcome students to our remote classrooms this week, and are busy building common routines and rituals that will serve as the foundation for our coursework in the 2020-2021 academic year. We encourage students to connect with their advisors and teachers if they are having difficulty or confusion with the expectations in courses. Students should email our Help Desk ( with any technology challenges like access to Canvas or Zoom. We also would like to know about challenges related to computers, hardware, or internet connectivity, as we may be able to support and problem-solve around these issues.  
Add/Drop Period
While we have worked very thoroughly all summer to arrive at the correct mix of courses for each student, we recognize that in some cases we will need to make adjustments. We have been focused on placement-related moves for the balance of this past week, and will continue to work with students and advisors to ensure that students are placed correctly. 
During the formal Add/Drop period, September 21-25, we will consider requests for changes more broadly. As always, given the complexity associated with building the schedule, we cannot consider requests based on teacher or block preference.
The advisor is the first point of contact for all schedule changes. In lieu of the traditional add/drop form, advisors will work with students to ensure that all of the necessary approvals are in place before reaching out to request a change with our office. A member of the College Counseling Office must sign off on all V and VI Form requests. Once all signatures are in place, a member of the Academics Office will take the request under consideration. (Mrs. McBride for III and IV Formers; Mr. Waters for V and VI Formers). As a reminder, we aim to strike the appropriate balance between challenge and performance when considering a student's optimal course load. All students should follow their current schedules until they are notified by the Academics Office that an add/drop request has been processed.
Book Distribution
As an update to a previous communication, we are now planning for distribution of textbooks to in-person students here at school when in-person classes begin on 9/28. As a reminder, we stock all of the textbooks that students will need in their courses in the bookstore, and record those charges to a student's Lion Card. Many thanks to our Bookstore and Advancement staff who coordinated the mailing and delivery of textbooks to students who are studying remotely this fall. Questions about textbook ordering or other school materials may be directed to Mrs. Carol Peterson in the bookstore:
Experiential Learning
Director of Experiential Learning Mr. Camp reached out to the community earlier this week with the schedule for fall experiential programming. The VI Form began their core course work with the College Counseling Office this past Tuesday, and will have another meeting on Tuesday, September 22. III and IV Formers will begin their experiential meetings after our in-person opening, with the first meetings on Tuesday, September 29. As a reminder, each Form will be active in two seasons this year. The V Form has their "off" season this fall, and will begin their experiential coursework in January.  
Students received notification of the following dates for experiential programming this fall: 
III Form (led by Ms. Bates): The III Form Core course begins on Tuesday, September 29.
Dates--9/29, 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/10, 11/17
IV Form (led by Mr. Camp): The IV Form Core course begins on Tuesday, September 29.
Dates--9/29, 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/10, 11/17
VI Form (led by Mr. Monheim): The VI Form Core course begins today, Tuesday, September 15.
Dates--9/15, 9/22, 9/29, 10/6, 10/13, 10/27, 11/10

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.

Orientation Update 
Thank you for joining us for another week of Orientation events! If you were unable to join us live, recently recorded sessions are linked below. For a list of all available recordings, select this link.
Please note that new sessions, with topics such as health and safety, masks, and social distancing, will be held the week of September 21.
If you have any questions, please contact

Recent Recordings:

Monday, September 14, 2020
All Parents & Families: 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT - Town Hall - Community and Residential Life

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
V Form Parents & Families: 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT - Town Hall - College Counseling (V Form)

Thursday, September 17, 2020
VI Form Parents & Families: 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT - Town Hall - College Counseling (VI Form)
E&R Laundry
For the 2020-2021 academic year, St. Mark’s School and E&R – The Campus Laundry will once again partner to provide laundry services to all interested students to better meet our community’s needs. For many years St. Mark’s School has partnered with E&R Cleaners - The Campus Laundry. This has been a way that E&R can help ease students into campus life by offering them a break in their increasingly busy schedules. Today, the service E&R provides students is more valuable than ever. We are fortunate to have E&R’s nearly 100 years of cleaning expertise available to you and strongly recommend that you take advantage of their services to help your student keep as clean and safe as possible.

For more information and to view E&R Laundry’s October promotion, select this link.
VI Form Chapel Talks | "No Better Time Than Now" By Lily Wang Lou '21
Please take a moment to check out VI Former Lily Wang Lou’s Chapel talk titled, “No Better Time Than Now.” Link:
Senior Teacher: Barbara Putnam Makes
St. Mark's History
This fall, veteran art teacher Barbara Putnam—entering her 42nd year on the St. Mark's faculty—assumes the mantle of Senior Teacher. This is an historic transition for the School, as Ms. Putnam will be the first woman to hold that title in the 150-plus-year history of St. Mark's.
Admission Fall Open House | Saturday, September 19
The Admission Office is holding their first big event of the year this Saturday, September 19. From 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EDT, the Admission Fall Open House will take place virtually. This is an event for families interested in learning more about our school and in most cases, having their 'first look'. If you or someone you know is interested in attending, you can register via this link:
Parents’ Association
The first 2020-2021 St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff book club meeting will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, October 7 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT.  
Please join us for some book discussion and a bit of socializing.
The two summer reading titles we will discuss are The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali and This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.  
Interested in attending?  
Email Laurie Kalapinski at or Joanne Flathers at to receive the Zoom link invitation the morning of Wednesday, October 7. As always, interest does not mean obligation. We understand that circumstances can change quickly.
There’s no pressure to have read or finished both books either. At the end of this meeting, we will choose one book title to discuss at November’s virtual meeting. 
Not available to join, but would like to be added to the book club meeting reminder email distribution list? Please contact or to have your email address added.
We look forward to getting together!
Laurie Kalapinski
Joanne Flathers
Co-chairs 2020-2021
Calendar News:
September 19 - St. Mark's School Virtual Open House
September 24-27 - Move-In Days for Boarding Students
September 28 - In-Person Classes Begin
October 3 - St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff book club meeting