Greetings from Storm King Mountain to all of you around the world! During my 11 years at SKS, I have been asked many times about our school and what sets it apart from others. My answer has always included two characteristics– its diversity and its size.
With a student body numbering less than 200 hailing from nearly 30 countries, Storm King students and faculty live rich, connected lives on campus. Our small community is uniquely fitted to continue to deliver on these ideals during this global pandemic. Our small teacher to student ratio and large campus footprint allow us to both supervise our students closely and to spread out safely around our 51-acre campus.
As mentioned in Headmaster Lamb’s communication on July 1, we will be employing a variety of strategies intended to keep our community safe and functioning throughout the academic year. This, as Mr. Lamb has said, is our highest priority.
To that end, we expect our boarding student population to be approximately 30% smaller in size. This decrease will allow us to 'dedensify' our dormitories. While we cannot guarantee single occupancy rooms for all students, we are planning to convert smaller doubles to singles and many larger rooms will have one less occupant.
Safety also necessitates that we have a dedicated isolation space on campus for boarding students who are symptomatic or who test positive for Covid-19. Stone Hall will serve this function until it can safely be returned to a dormitory. We are also required to have space on campus for students to quarantine upon arrival. Most students will be able to quarantine in their rooms, but we will also use Spy Rock House as a separate quarantine space until all of our students have arrived this fall.
The primary strategy that we will use to shape our residential life program this fall is 'cohorting.' Simply put, campus cohorts will be groups of students who live together on a specific floor of one of our dormitories. The use of cohorts will enable our boarding students to maintain a sense of normalcy and social interaction.
Listed below are some of the specific aspects of cohorting that will be employed on campus this fall:
- Students will not be permitted to enter the space of another cohort.
- Each cohort will have its own dedicated restroom and entry/exit door. Our key card entry system will be programmed so that students will not be able to enter another cohort’s space.
- Within each cohort space, students will not be required to wear a mask and social distancing restrictions will be relaxed.
- Each cohort will have at least one student leader (RA) that will help supervise and model important safety behavior.
- A dedicated Dorm Parent will be assigned to each cohort, as will at least one other member of the faculty that resides on campus. This will ensure that a limited number of adults are working within each cohort.
- Cohorts will share some community spaces such as laundry and lounge areas. However, the usage of these spaces will be strictly scheduled, routinely cleaned, and closely monitored so that cohorts do not intermingle.
- Age, academic courses, after school activities, and special interests will all be factors in the creation of these cohorts.
In an effort to create cohort groups that will be manageable, effective, and more enjoyable we are asking all of our boarding students to complete the online questionnaire below regarding rooming preferences. Please fill out and submit this survey as soon as possible so we can consider your preferences while assigning rooms: