Reopening Plans for Fall 2020
Marymount aims for a return to school that creates the best, safest possible circumstances for robust teaching and learning. The School plans to maximize in-person, on-campus learning with modifications to support enhanced health and safety protocols. With students spread out across our campuses and with a hybrid schedule for older students, we can safely accommodate all of our students in person with the required physical distancing.
Note: These webpages will be updated as needed if we make any changes to our plan.
New York State has announced that schools can reopen if their region is in Phase 4 and the daily infection rate remains below 5% using a 14-day average. Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises above 9% (using a seven-day average) after August 1. We expect further guidance from the State during the first week of August.
In Nursery-Class V, students will have consistent class cohorts and will attend school in person, five days a week. Students will remain in their individual classrooms at most times. Grades will be housed at:
Nursery - Class II: 1026 Fifth Avenue
Classes III & IV: 2 East 82nd Street
Class V: 1027 Fifth Avenue
In Classes VI-VIII, students will have consistent class cohorts. Students will attend school in person four days a week with one day of distance learning. The Upper Mid will be housed at 116 East 97th Street.
In Classes IX-XII, students will follow a block schedule based on course placements. During their assigned rotation, students will attend school in person four days a week with one day of distance learning. During their week at home, students will participate in full distance learning. The Upper School will be housed at 1026 Fifth Avenue during their in-person weeks. The cohorts are as follows:
Cohort A (Classes IX-X) attend in-person classes on Tuesday-Friday during A week
Cohort B (Classes XI-XII) attend in-person classes on Tuesday-Friday during B week
A small cohort of students, Cohort C, has classes that overlap A and B weeks; these students will be welcome to be in-person both weeks, with some flexibility.
Student Cohort D are students that will be learning exclusively online.
Specific details for each division can be found in the links below.
No reopening plan can eliminate all COVID-19 risk, but our strategy strives to mitigate and manage risk while providing a rich learning experience for all of our students. Our planning is being done in consultation with public health and government officials, as well as infectious disease experts in our community.
The health and safety of our community is a shared responsibility, and each of us has an important role to play in protecting the well-being of ourselves and others. Now more than ever, we ask for your help in keeping our community safe by keeping your child home when they do not feel well and following all of our health and safety protocols as outlined below. The School is asking all members of the community to sign a Community Care Pledge, acknowledging that they read and understand our new health and safety protocols and agree to abide by them.
Marymount hopes that most students will return to school in person this fall; however, we remain committed to offering a distance learning option to students who are unable to physically attend school due to illness, quarantine, or family preference. The online learning platform will look different in each division, but in general, students will be able to access course content in Seesaw or in our course management system. Lessons may be conducted with a combination of asynchronous lessons and synchronous class meetings along with students who are in person. We will make every effort to help students who are not able to be in school feel a sense of community, but online learning will not be able to replicate what our students are experiencing in person. If the School moves into a Marymount@Home model, then all learning will be optimized for distance learning.
Families choosing an exclusively online education will have their next opportunity to opt their child into in-person learning at the end of the first semester (January 2021). Please note that if students must quarantine, online learning will be available to them until they have medical clearance to return to school.
During the coming year, there may be times when the School needs to close due to rising infection rates in our state, city, neighborhood, or school that need to be addressed. Marymount has preserved flexibility in all of our planning to allow for a seamless transition to Marymount@Home. Our faculty has been preparing for both in-person and distance learning with over 350 online professional development experiences to date.
to protect the health and safety of our community
to provide productive and engaging teaching and learning
to maintain our strong sense of community
to support the social-emotional growth of our students
to preserve flexibility in all aspects of our planning
Every day before school, all students and staff will be required to take their temperature and complete a short health screening which will be sent to their smartphones (or email if a family does not have access to a smartphone). Questions will include if you have a temperature over 100.0℉ degrees, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, and if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive in the past 14 days. If you answer “yes” to any of the items in the questionnaire, you will be told not to come to school and to follow up with the school nurse for further instructions. Anyone who does not complete the questionnaire will not be allowed into the building.
Everyone who enters our buildings will be required to wear a cloth face covering or surgical face mask that covers the nose and mouth throughout the school day, unless eating or drinking. Masks with exhalation valves and neck gaiters are prohibited, and face shields are not adequate without a nose/mouth covering as well. Face coverings should be cleaned or disposed of after use and must not be shared. Short “mask breaks” will be scheduled throughout the day when students and staff can maintain an appropriate physical distance.
Any color face mask is acceptable, but masks in school colors are available through our uniform provider, Lands’ End. We recommend that you pack an extra face covering each day, but the School will have extra child- and adult-sized masks on hand in case a mask is lost or damaged during the day.
At most times during the school day, students and staff will practice physical distancing, keeping at least six feet apart. Desks and tables will be arranged in the classroom so that all students face the same direction, and workstations will not be shared unless they are cleaned and disinfected between each use. In situations where six feet of distance may not be possible, clear barriers or other physical dividers may also be used in addition to masks.
Twelve feet of space will be required for special classes that require heavy breathing (like PE) or projecting the voice. These classes will be held in our remaining large gathering spaces to allow for appropriate distancing or outdoors in Central Park when possible.
To facilitate physical distancing and reduce bi-directional traffic flow, there will be designated stairwells for ascent/descent and for use by different grade levels where possible. The use of lockers or cubbies will be restricted to ensure no accidental crowding occurs around these spaces.
Students and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and signage will be added as reminders. All who enter the school buildings will be asked to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the front door and to thoroughly wash their hands when they reach their classroom, office, advisory group, or first period class. Students and staff will also be asked to wash their hands at regular intervals throughout the day, including before and after snack/recess/meals and when using shared spaces/materials. No-touch dispensers for soap, sanitizer, and paper towels will be provided throughout our campuses, and additional portable handwashing or gel sanitizing stations will also be installed in common areas and near entrances/exits.
Marymount’s facilities team will thoroughly clean and sanitize the School daily, and teachers will be equipped with CDC-approved cleaning wipes for disinfecting high-touch surfaces in their classrooms throughout the day. Other high-touch surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons, railings, and public bathroom fixtures will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. If there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 at school, Marymount will close off all areas used by the person and will use e-mist electrostatic machines to clean and disinfect those areas.
All of our buildings are equipped with HEPA filters in the HVAC systems. Filters will be maximized for equipment capabilities, using nothing less than MERV 7 or MERV 10 and up to hospital-grade MERV 13 filters where they can fit. If a room does not have forced air and has a window air conditioning unit instead, we will use the best possible filters in those units, along with free-standing air purifiers when necessary. Additionally, teachers will be encouraged to open windows to allow fresh air into the classroom as weather conditions allow.
The nurses’ offices in each of our buildings are being reconfigured or relocated to include an isolation room for any student or staff member showing symptoms of COVID-19. Where possible, these medical suites will be located away from the rest of the community, with a separate restroom, and with easy access to an egress. Nursing personnel will be supplied with enhanced PPE, including KN95 masks, face shields, goggles, and gowns.
Nurses’ offices will separate children with COVID-19 symptoms and children with non-COVID issues. When possible, the nurse will visit the student outside the classroom to handle non-COVID problems, rather than asking them to visit the office.
If a student or staff member has potential COVID-19 symptoms, they will be put in the isolation room in the nurse’s office. Students will wait in the isolation room and must be picked up from the School within one hour by their parent/guardian or designated emergency contact. They will be instructed to consult their primary care physician for further evaluation.
Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days from the time of the first symptom. After 10 days, if there is resolution of symptoms and no fever for 72 hours without fever-reducing medications, the individual can return to school after being cleared by the school nurse and by their primary care physician. Asymptomatic individuals who test positive must isolate for 10 days after the test and watch for symptoms. If no symptoms present after 10 days, the student or staff member may return to school.
Marymount is responsible for notifying staff or families of students that they have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19. Any student or staff member who has had contact in the last 14 days with a COVID-positive individual will be referred for testing and must quarantine for 14 days from the last contact and watch for symptoms.
Any student or staff member who had symptoms but was not diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to school once they have been fever-free for 72 hours without fever-reducing medication and symptoms have resolved, and with a written note from their physician.
Students and staff are expected to adhere to all local government regulations about quarantining after travel internationally or to regional COVID-19 hotspots. Currently New York has a mandatory quarantine policy for people traveling in from 34 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. Please stay aware of these ever-changing regulations.
The School will restrict non-essential visitors inside the buildings, including parents. Pick-up and drop-off will occur just outside the school building, and parent meetings will be conducted virtually.
Most extracurriculars will not happen on campus for at least the fall semester. Some clubs may be offered virtually for students at home after school. Some smaller Upper School clubs may be offered during the school day.
Interscholastic sports are canceled for at least the fall semester. The Athletics department is currently researching other lower-risk fitness options, including outdoor or physically distanced intramural sports or running clubs. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Many Marymount families live near our campuses, and we will encourage those families to walk to school whenever possible. As of now, the Department of Education is prioritizing busing for special needs students, and it is unclear if the yellow bus service will be an option for general education students. Marymount is exploring the possibility of offering students and faculty private bus transportation to designated stops in downtown Manhattan and in the surrounding boroughs. More information will be provided once possible routes are determined and when we get a final determination from the DOE on yellow bus service.
All school-sponsored travel – field trips, retreats, exchange programs, or other overnight journeys – is on hold at least through the end of 2020. We will reassess our plans for second semester based on public health guidance later in the fall.
Our school psychologists and counselors will continue to provide support services that address the mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students. They will continue to offer individual and group counseling, as well as weekly parent support groups and parent education about the impact of COVID on emotional health. They will provide weekly faculty support groups and oversee faculty training on student response to trauma and caring for the social-emotional health of students during crises and in a distance learning environment.