Week in Pictures: Pandemic Leads to Suspension of Campus Activities and Moves Classes Online

Olivia Paul ‘21 is the only Lake Placid resident on The Mirror’s staff, who hasn’t dispersed back home throughout the world. While students are away from Northwood’s campus, Olivia will write regular dispatches that portray what she sees on campus and around Lake Placid. This is her first post.

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On the evening of Wednesday, March 11th, students were informed that they would be sent home in an effort to control the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic. Students were shocked and had little time to process the news before they had to pack. It was strange to see the dormitory hallways appear as if it was the end of the school year. Some students took everything home. Others packed their rooms completely and took only what they could bring on the bus or plane. And some students left their rooms intact — as if they were going home for spring break.

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There were a lot of sad goodbyes throughout the school community as everyone left campus for their homes. The sudden departure was most difficult for seniors, who leave campus uncertain if they will have a traditional Northwood graduation.

Even though the students had left, the teachers were still working. Faculty spent two days in workshops to learn how to move their courses online to GoogleClassroom. Online classes began yesterday.

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Local schools are closed too, and some faculty children were hanging around campus entertaining themselves as their parents attended workshops about online teaching. Many Northwood teachers will homeschool their children while they teach their online classes. Most are doing both for the first time.

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We had the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Lake Placid area on Tuesday, March 17. Everyone has been advised to stay home and hunker down to minimize the spread of this virus. Lake Placid is a ghost town. Many businesses are closed. Bars and restaurants, if not closed altogether, are serving takeout only. Whiteface Mountain and all Olympic venues, including the hockey rinks, are closed. Major events, like the ECAC hockey championships, the World Synchronized Skating Championship, and Can/Am Hockey Tournaments, have been canceled. The library is asking patrons to not return books. Parking is usually difficult to find in Lake Placid, but today village parking lots are empty.

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This year was supposed to be the first spring that Northwood School had a track team, but the track season — as well as lacrosse, tennis, crew, white water kayaking, golf, and rock climbing — may not happen at all.

A small number of international students remained on campus for a brief period while they made arrangements to go home or find a place to stay off-campus. Northwood’s nursing staff prepared guidance for faculty on campus in the event that a student developed symptoms of COVID-19. Nurses also prepared personal protective equipment kits to help teachers stay safe while assisting a sick student. Thankfully, as of today, no students or staff have become ill.

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The Hannaford grocery store that students go to on their Sunday “jitney runs” has empty shelves, as local residents stockpile toilet paper, hand sanitizer, fresh fruit, and vegetables.

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The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the college search, especially for juniors. Northwood canceled the March 14 administration of the SAT. The College Board canceled the May SAT worldwide, and the status of the May AP exams is uncertain. Colleges everywhere are canceling campus tours and information sessions at a time when most juniors are typically scheduling campus visits.

Photographs by Mr. John Spear, Mr. Chisondi Mzese, Ms. Ingrid Van Slyke, Mr. Jim Dingle, and Olivia Paul ’21.

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