Cluster of Positive Cases at Northwood

The front page of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise featured a story by reporter Elizabeth Izzo.

After several rounds of negative COVID-19 tests following spring break, Northwood reported a positive case from the boys’ soccer cohort on April 25th. Following the positive case, the entire cohort was put into quarantine and tested again which resulted in identifying additional positive cases within the cohort. All the positive cases had either mild or no symptoms. The soccer cohort remained in quarantine while the rest of the student body continued in person classes.  

Following the multiple cases within the community, students were anxious about the possibility of an outbreak within other cohorts and how it would affect end of the year activities including prom and graduation. Ashlyn McGrath ‘21 said, “I wasn’t concerned to contract the virus because I had it over spring break. My only concern with all the positive cases arising was prom, graduation and the rest of the year. It’s my senior year, and I want to be able to enjoy the rest of it and have fun with all my friends.”  

While the soccer cohort and close contacts remained in quarantine, surveillance testing on Tuesday, April 27th confirmed a positive case within the girl’s hockey cohort. After receiving the news all students were placed in quarantine until the results of an all-school testing came back. The whole community was tested on Thursday, April 29thResults of that clinic revealed more positive case within the boy’s hockey cohort along with two staff members. The school remains in quarantine until a second testing is conducted and the results come back.  

As of Monday, May 3rd. 22 cases have been confirmed. The contraction of the virus is still unknown with many roots of the outbreak being possible. Nearly all of the school’s faculty is fully vaccinated, and many students have received the first vaccine. The school continues to work closely with the Essex County Health Department about the outbreak.  

In-Person Commencement is On! 

Will there be a Northwood Commencement Ceremony this year?  

That has been the question in the minds of many seniors and their families for many months, as the 2020-21 school year starts to come to an end. After abruptly leaving campus during the 2019-20 school year with news that there would be no inperson commencement due to the coronavirus pandemic, commencement festivities have been a question for school officials, students, and families.  

Many aspects of the ceremony will be like any non-pandemic year, including ringing the victory bell. (Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge from commencement on May 14, 2016)

Early in 2021 the school announced that there would be commencement, but that seniors should expect a very different ceremony from the typical Northwood graduation. A typical Northwood graduation includes a senior banquet with graduates and their guests, along with Northwood underclass students and staffThe banquet also included awards and yearbook signing. The next day commencement ceremony would be held with again graduates, their guests, and Northwood underclassman and staff. Seniors knew that banquet was canceled, but they were uncertain about the other details about commencement, including how many guests would be allowed to attend.  

Recently Assistant Head of School, Mr. John Spear, updated the Northwood Community in a school-wide emailGraduates would be permitted to bring up to four guests, but all guests must be fully vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19. School for students in grades 9-11 will end several days before graduation and will not attend commencement unless they are invited guests of a graduate. The other elements of commencement – speakers, awards, the procession/recession of graduates, ringing the victory bell, and bag pipes – will be nearly identical to a traditional Northwood graduation.  

After receiving the email, Northwood seniors shared their opinions amongst each other. Some were happy that up to 4 guests were allowed and commencement would be somewhat normal, but some were disappointed that friends and fellow classmates from other grades would not be able to attend, unless as one of the four guest per graduate. After catching up with a few seniors here are their thoughts:  

I am very grateful to have a graduation this year,” said Amelia Brady ‘21. While I wish we could have the graduation ceremony that I experienced in my first two years at Northwood, I know Northwood will do their absolute best to make it memorable. I think considering the vaccine and outdoor ceremony, this will be a very COVIDsafe event, Brady added.  

Obviously I wish everyone was able to go to grad, but with the circumstances of COVID, having my parents be able to watch me walk the stage is pretty cool!” said Lars Kroes ‘21. “It is better than nothing. My brother is graduating from Cornell this spring, and none of my family can go, so we should feel fortunate to have it in person with our parents,” added KroseThe biggest part of grad is being with our class and experiencing it together, that is the most important thing for me!” 

Humans of Northwood: Gabby Cote ‘21 

Northwood has been my home for the past 4 and a half years. Northwood has pushed me to try many new things and has prepared me for my future life. I skied raced for all my years at Northwood, and now for my spring co-curricular, I’ve gone back to dancing, which I pursued before I came to Northwood. I’m still waiting to hear back from one college for next year, but my goal in my next couple of years is to hopefully go to med school! 

As told to Mackenzie Hull ‘21. (Photo by Mr. Michael Aldridge) 

Students Share Spring Break Plans

After being at school for almost two months since our last break, many students are looking forward to spring break, where they can enjoy nice weather and relax stress-free. Students will be on break for two and half weeks starting March 25. The Mirror caught up with some students about their plans:

“I’m looking forward to spring break to get a break of the hard work we’ve all been doing in school. Especially learning online this past month, it’s nice to get a break before we can finally be in person again. While I probably won’t travel for anything other than State Championships for hockey, it’ll be nice to get outside and do things during the day I couldn’t do because of classes.”  – Rachel Hinkley ‘21 (Photo provided)

“I’m excited for break because the soccer team is traveling to Dallas, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada during the time to play games. It nice to play so we can get down to business and I can make the most of my senior year while playing my best so I can find the best placement for college. I’m looking forward as well to spending the last weeks with my teammates before I graduate in warm weather at competitive soccer tournaments.”
– Calil Neme Filho ‘21 (Photo provided)

“I’m going to Canada for spring break with hopes that we can all come back and have graduation together.”
– Chloe Zhang ‘21 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

“My plans for spring break is to continue with my hockey training and getting better. I am also looking forward to going back home to Texas and spending most of my time at the lake house and on the water with my family.” – Madison Lawrence ‘23 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

“A friend of mine, Jazzy, is coming home with me so we plan on biking around town and going to the waterfront in Burlington and window shop. We also plan on going to the UVM track to work out every day.”
– Elise Loescher ‘21 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

“I am looking forward to going back home and eating some good food,”
– Eli Jean- Francois ‘21 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

Pandemic Presents Challenges for Northwood Admissions Office 

The Husky greets new and returning students on opening day in September 2019. (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

A few weeks ago, the Northwood School admissions team sent out decisions to applicants to the school. In previous years, applicants and their families were strongly encouraged to visit during the application process and were invited back to campus for a revisit day before making their final decisions. The coronavirus pandemic has made it almost impossible to conduct the usual admissions programs without breaking the safety bubble of the students and staff. Admissions office staff told The Mirror that the pandemic did not seem to negatively affect the application pool or process at all. In fact, the pandemic may have made it stronger.  

The application pool was filled with many strong candidates for admission which made the admissions process highly selective and competitive this year. Jeff Miller, a senior member of the admissions team, said “The Northwood 2021-2022 applicant pool was one of the strongest in recent history, with the overall number of applications up 20 year over year.”  

Each year, Northwood becomes more well-known, driving up inquiries. The increased interest comes in part from the school’s social media platforms, word of mouth from current students and alumni, and our strong athletic teams. Miller went on to say, “The admissions committee saw a lot of depth in the applicant pool this year as well, with a high number of qualified candidates.” The deep pool of many strong candidates made admissions decisiondifficult, but it is an exciting time at Northwood 

After learning of the decision, admitted students and families were invited to a virtual revisit day. Miller said, “the admissions office is looking forward to hosting our virtual revisit days for accepted students and their families on Tuesday, March 23rd and Thursday March 25th. Normally students and families are invited to attend in person on campus shadowing a current student throughout their day. This gave students a better feel for the Northwood experience.  

Similar to all aspects of our lives since the pandemic struck a year ago, revisit days and other admissions events have gone virtual. Potential future Huskies will get to know Northwood through Zoom and Teams calls and virtual campus tours. We wish these prospective students the best of luck with this important decision and hope to see them on campus in the fall. 

Seniors Have a Night Dedicated to Fun and their Class

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With athletic teams heading in different directions between now and spring break and Northwood Seniors coming close to their graduation, Friday, February 26 was a night dedicated to fun and the class of 2021. From 8 -10 pm seniors were invited to the indoor turf field where there was food, drinks, and several fun activities set up. Some of the games included Spike Ball, Twister, Football, Can Jam, JengaCorn Hole, and Badminton.  

The night was dedicated to giving seniors the opportunity to spend time with other seniors outside their cohort and get to know new people who they would be graduating with. The pandemic has made this school year unlike any other, and Senior Class Dean Mr. Jeff Nemec, along with several Northwood seniors, decided a night for seniors in the turf would be a good way to have some fun as a class 

We had the one virtual gathering of the class of 2021 at the start of school. With fall and protocol and all the different directions plus the importance of using senior time for the college process, we never carved out a time to properly get together,” said Nemec“Led by the longer tenured seniors, Friday’s gathering was a quick effort to offer a basic senior shoutout with folks soon to be going in different directions.” 

Mr. Nemec shared some appreciation for others involved in the effort. “Thank you in particular to Ms. Christine Ashe for all of her help,” he said. 

Winter Schedule Has Fans and Foes 

Northwood students and staff have adjusted to winter schedule, which has changed this year due to the pandemic. Winter schedule at Northwood consists of Mondays and Friday’s classes starting in the morning at 8:00 am with cocurricular starting after the end of the academic day. Tuesdays through Thursdays have classes beginning at 12:30 pm with cocurricular starting in the morning before the academic day. Winter schedule has been around in one form or another at Northwood for generations and it is particularly beneficial for Snowsport athletes who can ski on the mountain without missing academics or having training cut short because of limited daylight 

Dean of Academic Affairs Ms. Noel Carmichael (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

This year, winter schedule has been a little different for returning students with classes being an hour long every day, a change that has gotten mixed reviews 

The Mirror checked in with a couple of students to hear their opinions on the new schedule. Leah DeFilippo ‘22 said, “The winter schedule is nice, especially as a skier. I personally really like skiing in the morning, so that we can be done with training and focus on school for the rest of the day.   

Calem Luke Tommy ‘22, a soccer player from South Africa, said, “I like how the classes start later because it gives us enough time to prepare our minds for the day and classes ahead, the hourlong classes are a bit of a stretch and is not always enjoyable, but I feel as if we get a lot more work in than we did previously with the 45-minute-long classes.  

Other students have said that they are still getting used to the hourlong classes that came along with winter schedule and are not sure why they are hour long. Dean of Academic AffairsMs. Noel Carmichael, explained why class length was increased this year. “Hourlong classes three times a week allows us to maintain the same number of minutes of class time as we had in the fall trimester while cutting down on the transition time in between classes. This helps us complete the academic day before dinner time.  

Although it might be hard to sit through hourlong periods, students understand they are actually getting the academic day completed earlier and faster.  

Teachers Share Vaccination Experiences

Many Northwood faculty and staff are getting vaccinated. As a matter of fact, nearly 80% of Northwood School employees have received or are scheduled to receive their first dose. Nearly 30% have received their second dose of the shotThese numbers are encouraging, considering less than 14% of the US population has received at least one dose.   

The Mirror caught up with five faculty and staff members to ask about their experience getting vaccinated:  

Mr. Tony Miller said, I reacted to the first dose like a normal flu shotmeaning just my arm was sore. The second dose made me feel like I had a severe case of the flu, but I felt a sense of relief afterward. We’ve all been living in fear of getting sick. It was the first time I felt any sense of relief or comfort in a year.” (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

 

“Mr. John Spear said “I had no reaction to the first dose, which I was lucky enough to receive the week before students arrived back to school in January. The second dose really knocked me down for a full day, but it was worth it. I’m so excited that so many of my colleagues are able to get the vaccine.” (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

 

Ms. Katie Gilligan said, “I feel really, really lucky to be fully vaccinated this early in the year, though the second vaccine definitely kicked my butt. I woke up with just a sore arm and thought that would be the worst of it, but then around 11:00am I hit the couch hard and didn’t move for at least 6 hours. Fever, body aches, headache, stomachache — I had every symptom in the book. But the day after I was totally fine! Again, I feel super lucky and it was totally worth the 12 hours of not feeling good.” (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

 

Ms. Noel Carmichael said “I feel much more comfortable about the vaccine. There’s a lot we don’t know, and a lot we are assuming about how much it will protect us and for how long and from which strains. I’m still going to be cautious about wearing a mask and being careful about where I go. For instance, during spring break, I plan to go see my mother and she will also be fully vaccinated and so it’s exciting and a huge deal for my family. We haven’t seen my mom in over a year, so that one thing alone is huge in terms of our quality of life.” (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

 

Ms. Tara Wright  said, “I’m very fortunate to have been able to get both vaccines. I had very little reactions which I was also very fortunate, but I still feel like I don’t have a total sense of security because my kids are not vaccinated, and my husband is only partially vaccinated, so I’m continuing to do things as I was prior to being vaccinated.” (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

 

Hockey Teams Get Approval to Travel for Games 

After several months of struggling with safely scheduling and holding hockey games during the COVID-19 pandemic, Northwood School has finally found a solution that allows its teams to travel to games while still protecting the school’s bubble 

After months of very few games, Northwood’s hockey teams will drop the puck for games throughout March.

On Sunday, February 7, Athletic Director Mr. Gino Riffle sent players and parents an email informing them of the school’s “Two Month Plan,” which entails players from all three teams leaving campus for competitions and overnight stays but has them stay away from campus between contests. The players will go home between matches where they will continue their academic studies virtually and train on their ownDoing this allows players to travel, stay in hotels, and return without quarantining unless required to do so by their state health department. Northwood’s protocols would require students doing such travel to test twice and to quarantine for six days before returning to training, competition, and on-campus activities 

At this point in the hockey season, a typical Northwood hockey team would have played approximately fifty games, but our teams have played fewer than 10 games thus far. The new plan could see teams playing between 10-20 games before the start of spring break on March 26. 

After receiving Riffle’s email, many players shared their excitement to finally play games. Marina Alvarez ‘21 said, “I’m super excited that the school is giving us this opportunity to go home so we can play games again and get back to it. I look forward to what we have in store and to be playing against some of the most elite teams in the country over break. We are going to get to establish ourselves as a team and I can’t wait to compete together. I am not concerned about doing online school and I know that we all will be keeping up with our work.”  

Carson Hall ‘22 plays on Northwood’s Junior Team and he was thrilled with the news. “I’m excited for this opportunity to play games in the upcoming weeks as I’m sure all my teammates are,” said HallWith Covid, this year has been challenging; however, my teammates and I have stayed determined and had a goal of getting better every day on and off the ice for when opportunities such as the games in the upcoming weeks present themselves,” he saidThe team has certainly earned it and are ready and excited for this tremendous competition upcoming in the future, added Hall. 

Coaches shared the player’s excitement about the planMr. Trevor Gilligan, Head Coach of the Girls Hockey Team, said, “I am really happy for our players and the boys to have the chance to compete in games in March. I can’t commend our athletes enough in how mentally resilient they’ve been in these trying times. A full slate of competition coming up provides a great opportunity to show off the work they’ve put in on and off the ice since September. They’ve certainly earned it. 

Humans of Northwood: Tomas Restrepo Gaviria ‘21 

I am a postgraduate from Medellin, Colombia. This is my second year at Northwood and I am a soccer player. Northwood has been a great experience for me. Ive been able to meet interesting people and learn from many different cultures. At the same, time Northwood has allowed me to play and develop in the game that I love without dropping my academics, and that is something I value very much and will be forever grateful for.  

The current situation with COVID has impacted muniversity plans. Though truthfully it has helped me to stop thinking so much about the future and start focusing more on the present, doing and working as much as I can with the things that I can control, and I certainly think that this is the best thing I can do.  So, my plans are not very clear yet…maybe college in USA? Colombia? Seek pro soccer career? Travel? I don’t know. I just want to enjoy the process and see what comes…but I’m sure wherever I end up, this Northwood experience is going to be in my heart. And I’ll be grateful forever. 

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