Campus Closes and Classes Go Online in Response to COVID-19

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Image: CDC

For just the second time in Northwood School’s 115-year history, the school is closing its campus in response to an emergency. Head of School Michael Maher announced the move via email on Wednesday, March 11 and Assistant Head for School Life Mr. Spear elaborated and answered questions at a hastily-announced school meeting that evening. They explained the move was intended to help stop the spread of the global pandemic known as Coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The last time school operations were suspended in response to an emergency was during World War II.

Maher’s letter to the community is below. The Mirror will have continuing and extensive coverage of the situation beginning this week.

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Mr. Michael J. Maher
Date: Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 7:30 PM
Subject: Important Message from Mr. Maher Re: COVID-19
To: Northwood Community
Dear Northwood Community,

The COVID-19 virus has continued to spread, and many parts of the United States and the world have been impacted. All of us are concerned about how the virus will affect our daily lives over the next weeks and months. To best protect the health and well-being of our campus community, we need to focus on reducing its possible effects.

While New York State and Essex County have both declared states of emergency, currently there are no confirmed cases at Northwood School, or in Lake Placid and Essex County.  Given the rapid spread of the virus and its proximity to our dense residential community in Lake Placid, itself a destination for millions of visitors each year, we have made a series of decisions we believe are in the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff. The aim in all our deliberations has been to move quickly and thoughtfully to minimize, as best as we can, the risk of exposure for members of our community while continuing to fulfill our educational mission.

I have consulted with Northwood School trustees and school leaders, as well as experts in public health, and colleagues at other boarding and college institutions. I have concluded, after careful analysis, that Northwood School will cease all on-campus programming and transition all instruction online as of today, March 11, 2020. Tomorrow we will prepare students for online learning and assist them with their travel arrangements. Student departures may begin as early as 2:00 pm.

We plan to resume on-campus instruction and other programming on Monday, April 27, which will leave four weeks for classes, AP exams, and other year-end activities, including commencement and LEAP. Of course, resuming on-campus programming at that time depends on the status of the coronavirus. We will monitor the situation closely and communicate regularly with everyone in the Northwood community.

We come to this decision with mixed emotions. We believe it is the most effective approach to protect our students, faculty, and families. This allows us to do our part to contain, prepare for and cope with the spread of the virus.

As social distancing is becoming a new normal, distance learning is an effective means to continue to educate and be responsible for outcomes for our students. Northwood School is fully equipped to migrate to online learning and we are confident that students and faculty will transition effectively. We are committed to supporting our students and teachers throughout this process.

We recognize that this communication raises a significant number of questions, which we will address in communications to follow. We ask for your patience as our students adjust to this news and we properly formulate individual return and transition plans.

If you have any questions, you can reach John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life or Dr. Laura Finnerty Paul, Dean of Academics.

Thank you all for your understanding, your patience, and your partnership during this challenging time.

Regards,

Michael Maher

Head of School

Clear Majority of School Community Favors Trump Impeachment

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Donald Trump leaves Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on September 26, 2019. (Reuters Pictures / Jonathan Ernst)

Two-thirds of Northwood School support the impeachment of President Donald Trump according to a recent poll of Northwood students, faculty, and staff, which was conducted this week by Mr. Jeff Miller’s statistics class. No matter how the community is sliced — faculty/students, male/female, domestic/international — a clear majority of all subgroups is in favor of impeachment.

ALL NW

The 67% of the Northwood community in favor of impeachment is significantly higher than support for impeachment in national surveys, which currently hovers at just 50.2%.

On Wednesday, December 30, 2019, President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives which passed two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — on a mostly party-line vote that illustrated just how divided Congress and the nation are today. Trump’s impeachment came after a formal House inquiry found that he had solicited foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election to help his re-election bid and then obstructed the inquiry by instructing administration officials to ignore subpoenas for documents and testimony. The inquiry concluded that Trump withheld military aid and an invitation to the White House to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in order to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Trump’s political opponent, Joe Biden, and to promote a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind interference in the 2016 presidential election. The president is accused of withholding military aid to pressure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to start a corruption investigation into Biden, and his son Hunter.

Being impeached by the House does not remove the President from office, but rather refers to the US Senate the decision about whether or not the President should be removed from office. Most political experts believe the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate will vote to acquit President Trump as soon as this Wednesday, one day after his scheduled third State of the Union Address.

Northwood’s statistics class surveyed members of the school community about their opinion of President Trump’s impeachment, and the results of the survey show clear majorities of the Northwood community — when examined by age, gender or country of origin — are in favor of Trump’s impeachment.

Female members of the community favor impeachment significantly more than males, and males are more likely to have no opinion on the matter:

GenderA larger majority of faculty/staff favor impeachment than students, and students are more likely to not have an opinion on Trump’s impeachment:

Fac vs Students

More than a third of international students have no opinion of the impeachment, but just 4% oppose it:

Intl vs USA

At tables in the dining room, in class discussions, and on the couches in the living room, Northwood is talking about the impeachment of President Trump.

Zach Sedlacek ‘22 is opposed to the impeachment. “I think the whole thing is due to the fact that they lost the 2016 election and how they [Democrats] can’t get over it they are stuck in the past when they should be working with Trump and the Republican congressmen to further American development,” said Sedlacek. “He should not have been impeached because he was just trying to make sure that an American wasn’t using his father’s power in Washington to gain financial benefit,” he said. “Honestly, the impeachment doesn’t even matter because he not gonna get convicted because the Republicans have control of the Senate,” added Sedlacek.

Mr. Jeff Nemec ’05, the chair of the social science department and senior class dean was in favor of impeachment, “because I think a person in that position should be held accountable and if the representatives or government feels that it is an impeachable offense we need to go through the process to hear it out,” he said. “I don’t think he will be removed from office because of the Senate structure,” added Nemec.

“I think Trump is a good president and does a lot for our country,” said Anneliese Munter ‘22. “I don’t think he should have been impeached,” she added. Munter acknowledges the President’s imperfections but doesn’t think they rise to the level of impeachment. “Despite lying, I think he has done a lot for our country and I think he has been blamed for a lot of things,” she said. Munter pointed to high-profile summits and meetings with world leaders that Trump has had. “I think that was very important in his presidency, the steps he took to make our country better,” Munter said.

“I agree that Trump should have been impeached because he’s been abusing his power and him being the president doesn’t seem to be benefiting America, even though he says ‘Make America Great Again”, said Miranda Bookman ‘20. “However, I don’t think he will be removed from office but the right thing for America, in my opinion, is that Trump should no longer be our president,” Bookman added.

Students in Mr. Miller’s statistics class conducted the poll as a class project to apply the statistical concepts they are studying to real-world problems. The poll was an internet survey open only to students and staff with Northwood School email accounts. Responses were limited to one per account and were collected between study hall on January 29 and the afternoon of January 30. The survey was sent to all 68 faculty/staff with email addresses and all 189 students. 107 people (42% of the population) responded.

The poll did not ask for respondents’ opinions on Trump’s removal from office, so it’s unclear whether this poll predicts sentiment on that issue.

 

Northwood Honors MLK

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Dr. Martin Luther King (Photo: Wikipedia)

Today is the annual observation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King was the most prominent leader of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  He lived from January 15, 1929 until April 4, 1968 and was a Baptist minister and activist whose speeches and writing about justice, equality, and freedom were the foundation of the movement for racial and economic justice that King led from his arrival in Alabama in 1955 until his assassination in Memphis in 1968.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, a philosophy inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi and American Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. In 1955, King led the Montgomery bus boycott, and in 1957 he became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama. He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which is widely considered one of the most inspiring and influential speeches of all time. This speech is still quoted by many people to this day.

This spring, a group of Northwood students and faculty members will have the opportunity to walk in King’s footsteps and learn about the Civil Rights Movement up close and personal. As a part of the school’s LEAP program, they are going to the cities of Selma, Birmingham, and Montgomery in Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia for one week. They will visit King’s birthplace, sights of his most important acts of protest, and the churches where he worshipped, preached, and organized. It is going to be an enlightening and educational experience for all of the students.

In recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, two Northwood students Angelia and Adelia Castillo, both juniors who are the President and Vice President of the Multicultural Students’ Club (MSC), have organized a viewing of King’s famous speech followed by a discussion. It will be held today at 5:00 pm in the Multicultural Affairs Office in the Student Center.

Martin Luther King died a hero and we need to make sure his legacy lives on and that he is never forgotten.

Young Alumni Speak to Students About College Life

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From left to right: Morgan Broderick ’19, Sarah Coombs ’19, and Sara Donatello ’18 at the young alumni panel on Monday, January 13 (Photos: Michael Aldridge).

At Monday’s school meeting, three young Northwood School alumni spoke to current students about life in college and the transition from Northwood to their current schools. The event was organized and moderated by the College Counseling Office and Mr. John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life.

The panelists were Morgan Broderick ‘19, a first-year student at Goucher College, Sarah Coombs ‘19, a first-year at McGill University, and Sara Donatello ‘18, a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire. All three alumni spoke about how Northwood School prepared them well for college, even if they weren’t aware that they were being prepared at the time.

“The structure of Northwood sets the stage for the transition and the new freedoms and structure of college,” said Sara Donatello ‘18. “Northwood habits transition with you, they are ingrained within you.”

Morgan Broderick ‘19 was excited to get back to her alma mater. “I was really happy when Mr. Spear sent me the email asking to be part of the panel,” said Broderick. “When I got to the auditorium and saw Sarah and Sara it just felt like old times. I got the same little bit of nervousness I did before we went out on stage just like I used to before making an announcement,” she said. Broderick said the discussion at school meeting felt similar to conversations she’s had with friends since starting college. “When it came to the questions students asked, it felt similar to conversations I’d already had with some of my friends who are currently seniors. It also felt similar to the advice that had been given to me. It was nice to be back on the Northwood stage again.”

On the Firing of Hockey Legend Don Cherry

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Don Cherry pictured at the CBC Winter Launch in 2010 (Photo: Wikipedia)

On November 9th, Don Cherry, a legendary ice hockey commentator, made some controversial comments during a Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada. During Cherry’s Coach’s Corner, the former NHL coach made remarks that suggested Canadian immigrants benefit from the sacrifices of veterans and do not wear remembrance poppies. Cherry was fired after almost four decades of broadcasting NHL games.

Remembrance Day is a holiday in Canada similar to Veteran’s Day in the United States. On this day and the weeks leading up to it, red poppy pins are worn by many as a sign of respect. During the broadcast, Cherry asserted that immigrants in Canada fail to recognize Remembrance Day. He said, “You people love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you can pay a couple of bucks for a poppy or something like that. [The veterans] paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price.”

Northwood students have mixed feelings about the incident. Most agree that Don Cherry deserved to be fired but they are disappointed that “Coach’s Corner is no more,” as stated by co-host Ron MacLean.

Ray Fust ‘21, who has lived in Canada for most of his life, said, “Don Cherry is a very old-fashioned and arrogant guy, but he’s also a great hockey guy. Without Grapes, there’s no more Hockey Night in Canada!”

Regardless of the controversy, those who have seen Don Cherry every Saturday night for the past 38 years will have to get used to his absence in Hockey Night in Canada.

Review: Marvel Avengers: Endgame: “Worth it or Wasted it?”

Eleven years have passed since the first movie of the Marvel Comics Universe premiered on the big screen. After twenty-two movies, the Infinity saga has come to an end. The epic started with Iron man and then Captain America, and continued to introduce new characters until the team of Avengers was assembled. Now, the “Endgame” will put an end to the Avengers series. [Read more…]

Update: Northwood’s School Safety Plan

On December 12, 2018, Kevin Quinn 19’ published an essay in The Mirror about how Northwood should prepare its students in an event of a school shooting. Quinn had suggested that Northwood adopt the same safety measure used by Oakland University–to equip all students with hockey pucks so that they can throw the pucks at the shooter. Now, of course, this is a bit of a long shot, but any plan is better than no plan at all. So what steps has Northwood School gone through to assure the safety of its students? To figure this out, I sat down with the Assistant Head of School Tom Broderick.

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Assistant Head of School Mr. Tom Broderick (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

My first question for Mr. Broderick was what he thought about the idea of students at Northwood carrying around hockey pucks. He said, “What I’ve learned over my time studying the Fort Hood massacre, studying Newtown, and studying other active shooter events, is that when students flee, they often have a greater chance at survival.” He added, “Also if you are confronted with an active shooter, distraction is a major thing. In reality, though, you don’t need to carry around hockey pucks to create a distraction for the shooter. Any object, say, a stack of paper, can be enough of a distraction to disrupt a shooter’s accuracy.”

I then asked Mr. Broderick if there is a reason why Northwood has never conducted drills to prepare for the possible event of a school shooting. He replied, “The school has tried to come up with the best way to run an active shooter drill. The problem is that right now, our school does not have at its disposal a warning system for this sort of thing. Northwood’s safety task force has been looking into purchasing an appropriate warning system.” He continued, “We can’t use the fire alarm for this sort of thing because a shooter might use it as a way to access more targets all at once. And since we are so efficient with fire drills, within two minutes an active shooter could have all the students and faculty out in the field. So using a fire drill would actually put people at greater harm. We are going to have some meetings with students as we go into the spring to talk about these sort of things, and hopefully, determine our plans of action rather soon.”

fire-alarm-systemFinally, I asked Mr. Broderick what current steps the school is taking to secure school buildings. He said, “At this point, the school has been authorized to secure most of the [entry] doors in the Allen building, in Bergamini, and in the Uihlein classroom building, and the Friedlander science center. Next year, when students return to campus, all students will be required to carry around what is called a fob, which is a small electric key that can open doors. They will not be able to enter school buildings without one.”

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The school safety plan will call for more locked doors, which may mean more keys and fobs (Photo: Kyle Bavis ’19).

“Now, all this being said, Lake Placid is a very safe place. I still leave my house unlocked. I still leave my car unlocked. The problem with the age that we live in today, though, is that we can not assume our safety. And so that is why these new measures and many more still to come, plan to be implemented here at Northwood School,” Mr. Broderick said.

We are living in a dangerous world. With the recent rise in the number of school shootings, school safety has never been more important. But with many school faculty like Mr. Broderick looking out for us, the Northwood community can all breathe a little bit easier.

Black History Month at Northwood

black-history-month-2017-imageBlack History Month started in 1926 after Carter G. Woodson, the leading scholar of African-American life and history at the time, called the second week of February the “Negro Week.” Black History Month is a celebration of the accomplishments of Black Americans. In the United States and Canada, Black History Month is celebrated in February. In the United Kingdom it is celebrated in October. Mr. Woodson’s goal with this celebration was to not only commemorate Black people’s accomplishments, but it was also to show White America and the world how important the Black race is to the founding and history of the United States.

Black History Month is celebrated in multiple ways, depending on who is celebrating. Some schools have plays or watch movies about some major Black historical characters. Nike and other clothing brands even release signature Black History Month Collections.

The new Black Student Union has taken the lead on celebrating Black History at Northwood and hopes that the celebration of Black history will continue all school year. Director of Multicultural Affairs Kelvin Martinez said, “At Northwood, our Black Student Union utilizes film as a means to bring community members together to view and discuss. Recently, BSU sponsored the viewing of Selma, which resulted in a meaningful conversation with members of our community. Next will be PBS film series “The Rise of Jim Crow” and a speech by Dr. King titled “Your Life Blueprint,” one of his rare speeches directed to school-age students. BSU does not intend to restrict this celebration to February, and I am in full agreement with their stand.”

 

How To Prevent And Treat Frostbite

frostbite-treatment-featured-image-1-750x420It may be the end of February, a month that saw the famous groundhog see his shadow indicating an early spring, but Lake Placid is still in the grips of winter. The Adirondacks is one of the coldest regions in the United States. Both locals and tourists enjoy outdoor activities here in Lake Placid even when it’s freezing. But spending many hours in the cold increases the risk of getting frostbite, which can not only interfere with your winter fun but also damage your body.

Frostbite is a condition in which the tissue below the skin freezes. Since humans are composed mainly of water, when exposed to cold for too long, cells that make up our skin tissues can actually freeze solid, leading to both pain and possibly permanent damage to the tissues.

Luckily, frostbite is easily recognizable. The skin first turns pink and then red. Once the tissue actually freezes, the skin turns white. If the frostbite is serious enough, it can even turn black, meaning that the skin tissue has actually died. If you think that you have frostbite, let your body warm up naturally. Never put warm or hot water on the area affected, as this will further damage the tissues.

However, frostbite can be avoided by simply wearing hats, gloves, scarves, and warm boots, as it usually occurs on areas of open skin, such as fingers, ears, necks, and on extremities.

Even though you may not look “cool” wearing layers, if you stay safe and warm, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to enjoy the winter of the Adirondacks longer.

Northwood’s Favorite Super Bowl Commercials

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Well, the Super Bowl came and went this past Sunday, and by all accounts, the game itself was very boring to watch. Even the Halftime show felt strangely stale. There was one saving grace that night, though: the commercials. Some were funny, some were exciting, and some were touching, but there is no doubt that they were entertaining. Here are some Super Bowl ads that Northwood students found most appealing.

[Read more…]

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