It’s Here: First COVID-19 Case at Northwood 

After more than 2,000 negative COVID tests and six months into the 2020-21 school year without a positive casea member of the Northwood community has COVID-19Yesterday a day-student in the Snowsports cohort tested positive SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Assistant Head of School, Mr. John Spear, notified the school community in an email this morning:  

This is the first positive case of a student or employee while school was in session and the student was attending in-person classes. The school is aware of more than twenty positive cases among students and staff that have occurred during school breaks and were resolved before the student returned to school or the employee returned to work.

Life at Northwood has proceeded as normal today for all students except those within the Snowsports cohort. Mackenzie Hull, a senior in the Girls Hockey cohort said, “It’s a little concerning, but I know that the school and the health board are taking the right precautions to keep studentsafe.”  

One of the students in quarantine also gave us insight on how they’re feeling. “Going into quarantine feels strange but I figured it would happen to some people at school eventually,” they saidI’m at least happy that I’m able to go home for a few days and just have a mental reset before coming back to school, they added. The Mirror will not use the names of students who test positive or are required to quarantine out of concern for student privacy.

The school is assisting the Essex County Health Department with contact tracing and expects the precautionary quarantine to be lifted within a few days. While having a positive case in the school community is unsettlingstudents are all working together to protect our pack” and continue keeping our community safe.  

Sports Need Fans 

(Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)

Sports and spectators are two terms that go together. Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic started these words have started to drift apart. This at this point is getting nonsensical. People can shop in crowded grocery stores and dine indoors in many places, but parents can’t attend their children’s indoor sporting events. Many parents are missing out on a large part of their children’s upbringing which they will never be able to get back. Children usually hope that their parents are proud of their performance, but now indoor sports feel more like a chore. Parents are not allowed to be a part of something that may also bring them a lot of pride. If they are lucky, they can watch the game through a livestream but that is not the same.  

It is going to be extremely hard to grow indoor sports such as hockey and basketball if children are not motivated to get involved. It is hard for young children to be motivated if their parents can have no part. It would seem odd if they can go everywhere else with their parents in even closer proximity but once they are at a sporting event their parents can’t even be within one hundred feet of them. Most stadiums, gyms, and arenas are large enough that parents can easily distance from each other. When children are competing in sports, they are within much closer proximity to each other than parents would ever need to be when watching from the stands. There is no reason for parents to be close to each other when watching a sporting event which makes the chance at the spread of COVID extremely low. If they feel it is safe to let their children inside the building than they should be granted the same opportunity. If they choose to not attend than that is their decision, but ultimately, they should be allowed to make the choice.  

NY State Finally Allows Hockey Games 

Northwood hockey players received good news on January 31st: Essex County will allow high-risk sports, including ice hockey, to play. Mr. Gino Riffle, Athletic Director and Junior Team assistant coach, sent a mass email with the confirmation stating, “The county we are in, Essex County, released information Friday that they will allow high-risk sports to begin at the youth level on February 1st.”  

Members of the 2019-20 Northwood Girls’ Hockey team celebrate at the 2020 New York State Championships (Photo: Kara Wentzel ’22)

The news has Northwood hockey players ecstaticBeneath all the excitement many of us had questions about the fine print. Governor Cuomo stated that in order to be able to train and play games, county health departments must first approve it and provide guidelines, which came from Essex County late last weekMr. Riffle’s message indicated that the school has more work to do before games could be scheduled. “The countyhas included procedures, protocols and stipulations about playing these high-risk sports. We are working through the document and with Essex County officials to figure out what we can and cannot do based upon the guidance. We will have another update this week as we gain more clarity. 

Hockey players are left wondering what the protocols will be. We do not yet know, but we assume they pertain to spectators coming to watch and whether masks will have to be worn while playing or not. Questions remain about how it will work if Northwood wants to play teams in other counties, considering there are no teams to play in Essex County. On top of that, Husky hockey players are curious to see how thnew UK strand of COVID-19 will affect us, since it has made its way into the area.  

UK Variant Found in Essex County

The UK variant of SARS-CoV-2, a highly-contagious strain of the coronavirus, has been found in Essex County, according to the Essex County Health Department, which released the following statement on its Facebook page last night:

The presence of the more contagious variant in the county could affect Governor Cuomo’s order permitting higher risk sports like ice hockey to play games beginning on February 1. In that order, the Governor delegated authority to permit such activities to local health departments and instructed them to consider the presence of more transmissible variants in the area as the first factor to weigh when making their decisions. The relevant part of the Governor’s order on higher risk sports is:

The Mirror will follow this story closely.

COVID Rates Spike in Essex County 

When Northwood Students arrived in Lake Placid in late August COVID-19 cases in Essex County, NY, where Lake Placid is located, were far lower than almost all other counties in New York, and even in the United States. New cases were almost nonexistent in the areas surrounding Northwood. Almost every Coronavirus test being administered in Essex County was coming back negative, hospitalizations and deaths due to virus in the area were so low that residents generally felt safe and weren’t fearful of the virus. 

The Essex Center Center Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Elizabethtown, NY was the center of the first major COVID-19 outbreak in Essex County in August 2020 (Photo: mychamplainvalley.com)

Five months later, in January 2021, COVID-19 cases in Essex County have skyrocketed. The North Country region, on one the 10 regions of New York state and where Essex County is located, is now considered a very high-risk area. At one point, as students were preparing to return to Northwood, there were consistently more than 20 new cases each dayAs of this writing, new cases have leveled off to around 10 new cases per day, and there is some evidence that cases arstarting to decline and the apex of the pandemic in the region is behind us 

According to the New York Times, 1 in 35 residents in Essex County have been infected with COVID19. On average 78 percent of intensive care beds in area hospitals are occupied, according to the Times, many with COVID patients. Hospital capacity may become an issue, especially if positivity rates and cases begin to climb again, because Essex County may have trouble hospitalizing all who need it. As of January 2021, there has been an increased rate of Covid hospitalizations in Essex County from 57-72% of available beds, which is higher than it ever was in 2020. Public health officials will keep an eye on these numbers and will need them to go down in order to keep schools and the economy open. 

Pandemic Effects Mental Health of Student-Athletes 

Since March 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic has been an ongoing series of unfortunate events. From social distancing to lockdowns of schools and businesses, the coronavirus has taken over our lives. 

Sports are central in the lives of athletes. Sports teach social skills and development, giving a healthy way to relieve and cope with stress and everyday life problems. From Little League to National Leagues, the Coronavirus has forced athletic seasons to be canceled. According to a recent study from Stanford University and Strava, a social network of exercise enthusiasts, “22.5% of professional athletes reported feeling down or depressed on more than half of the days of the week in the period between mid-March and August of last year, while COVID-19 restrictions on athletic training and competition were in place, compared to 3.9% of athletes reporting the same struggles earlier this year before the pandemic hit. That’s an increase of 477%.”   

It’s not just professional athletes affected by the pandemic. Even though Northwood students can train with their coaches and teams nearly every day, they have had very little competition in the form of games against outside opponents. Student-athletes at Northwood are suffering. Senior Rachel Hinkley says, “I know that Covid has effected us all, but it’s really hard not being able to play the sport you love. Watching others get to play while we can’t breaks my heart, and while I know it’s for our safety, it’s really hard having to sit on the sidelines when I’ve been playing hockey for fifteen years. While we can’t play games, I’m happy to be with my girls to keep me sane during these hard times.”   

Sports are a type of therapy and the bonds built by teammates are like a family’s connection, which is just one of the many reasons the game is loved by Rachel and millions of other athletes in the world.  Senior Ashlyn McGrath says, “not playing games makes me feel like I’m missing out on my senior year/season.” Throughout your hockey career you look forward to things like your senior night. It only comes once, and for some of us, it’s not coming at all. 

Northwood’s school psychologist, Ms. Tara Wright agrees that sports are important to the emotional well-0being of athletes.  “Diminished opportunity for sports has taken a toll on student athletes’ social emotional health during the pandemic,” said WrightAthletes derive multiple benefits from sports, which affect their mental wellbeing – physical fitness, goal setting and achievement, focus and mental training, and the social benefits that come from team sports. Even with more individual achievement sports such as ski racing or ski jumping, the group training aspect provides student athletes with significant social benefits,” she added 

Wright also noted that online learning exacerbates the isolation that students-athletes feel. “The Covid pandemic has left student athletes to adjust to online or hybrid learning for periods of time, reduce their ability to spend time with family and friends, and made athletic training and competitions fewer or altered to ensure social distancing,” said WrightThe teenage years are a time when students form significant bonds with their peers,” she addedWhile Covid has affected all teens by limiting their ability to socialize, the effect on teams has been particularly challenging.”   

It’s safe to say this is a very challenging time for everyone, especially the studentathlete population 

Photos of Northwood student-athletes enjoying the social benefits of athletic training and competition. (Source: The Mirror)

Tips and Tricks for Online Learning

Online learning and teaching can be very challenging for many students and teachers. At Northwood, students are usually able to engage in new material in a traditional classroom setting. Now, students have been introduced to remote learning via technology and online.

Don DelNegro, who is in his 27th year as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Boston Bruins, spoke with Ms. Fagan’s Honors Biology class on April 30. (Photo: Ms. Marcy Fagan)

Some students may be able to learn very quickly and easily this way; however, some find it very challenging to grasp the material. Not only is it a different way of learning, but also there are also no exact class times, study halls, or schedules.

Online learning may be intimidating, but you may find the following tips and tricks very helpful to not only make learning more successful but to manage your time more easily and efficiently.

The first tip is to stay focused on the right mindset. Before starting your work, make sure you are in a clean and comfortable workspace with no distractions. As Dr. Finnerty Paul says, “Get out of your pajamas! Get dressed and brush your hair and teeth as if you are going to your physical class.” Having a positive and confident mindset on your schoolwork will make you more likely to get it done on time and less likely to avoid it.

Having a schedule is very helpful. Schedules help get work done and aid you in steering clear of procrastination. Make sure to add personal hobbies and activities along with school on your schedule. Having a schedule gives students and teachers a better understanding of their duties and keeps them energized and motivated to get their work done. Google Calendar helps big-time at creating schedules. Having a list is also very beneficial in getting your work done because it allows you to check things off making you feel accomplished.

Although online learning may seem challenging at first you will soon get the hang of it. If you have a hard time grasping new material, do not be afraid to reach out to your teachers. We are all in this together through the whole process, just be sure to take advantage of your resources.

Looking for more tips? Try this article from edX, a leader in online education founded by Harvard and MIT.

Maher: Face shield project wraps up

NOTE: This column, written by Head of School Michael Maher, was originally published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

The newly married Leigh and Gino Riffle help make face shields at Northwood School’s Innovation Hub in Lake Placid. (Photo provided)

As fears of the virus and a lack of personal protective equipment for health care workers began to swell in our region, new uses for 3D printers began to circulate. Our Associate Head of School Tom “Brody” Broderick quickly jumped into a leadership role, teaming up with local entrepreneurs and teachers to bring together the Northern NY 3D Printing Network, a collaboration between North Country high schools, volunteer printers, residents and businesses.

Forty-five days later, the initiative has concluded at the Innovation Hub at Northwood School on Main Street, and we are proud to announce that with the tremendous support of the community of volunteers, 3,000 face shields were made and delivered.

The initiative and 3D printer network spread into three regional hubs, of which the Innovation Hub at Northwood School supported the Tri-Lakes, Beekmantown Central School District supplied the Lake Champlain area, and a group of community leaders banded together to manage production for St. Lawrence County. We delivered 1,600-plus hospital-grade facial shields to Adirondack Health, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Clifton-Fine Medical Center, Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, Elizabethtown Community Hospital and Hudson Headwaters Health Network. We delivered 300 first-responder-grade face shields to Lake Placid, Keene Valley, Wilmington, Colton Rescue, Essex County Emergency Services and Warren County Emergency Services. We delivered 650-plus first-responder-grade face shields to nursing homes in Lake Placid and North Creek, Will Rogers at Saranac Lake, and throughout St. Lawrence County through United Helpers. Lastly, we also delivered 125-plus face shields of first responder quality to individual groups, alumnae and/or community members. Groups included North Country Life Flight, North Country Life Net, local doctors, urgent care of Saranac Lake, animal hospitals and others.

The North Country community came together in a remarkable way. We would like to recognize and thank Tom “Brody” Broderick alongside the members of the core group including Andrea Audi, Brad Rafferty, Jeff Erenstone, Debbie Erenstone, Brian LaValley, Dan Mannix, Nathaniel Horn, Matt Burnett, Sarah Galvin, Marc Galvin, Michael Aldridge and Darcy Norfolk.

Rising freshman Drew Donatello, left, and Tom Broderick of Northwood School help make face shields at the school’s Innovation Hub on Main Street, Lake Placid. (Photo provided)

Thank you to all of the printers, printing volunteers, schools, organizations and businesses that have supported this initiative, including Lake Placid Central School District, Saranac Lake Central School District, SUNY Canton, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Loreman’s Screenprinting, UPS Store, Compass Printing, Bookstore Plus, Adirondack Foundation, Adirondack Daily Enterprise, North Country Public Radio, Sun Community News, Post-Star, Paul Strack, Scott Shipley, Cathy Tedford, Bill Short Jared Bandru, Bob Bever, Bob, Jennifer Bourdette, Scott Brightwell, Logan Coggins, David Craig, Terry Fishlock, Calista Fraser, Kaden Jewell, Emma Keilmeier, Kyle Lapan, Aaron Miller, Corey Moussea, Elliot Mousseau, Dylan Murnane, Kaleb Pecoraro, Brian Post, Randy Pray, Jonathon Santamoor, Kate Sears, Jo Skiff, Ben Smith, Lief Sorgule, Randy T. Todd II, Michael Walters, Sam Baker, Amelia Brady, Brian Brady, Matthew Brady, Alicia Brandes, Brian Brandes, Kate Broderick, Angie Carlisto, Dan Carlisto, Olaf Carlson, Kelly Carter, Josh Dann, Andy Donatello, Carrie Donatello, Drew Donatello, Zach Dupree, Francis Eisenger, Laura Finnerty-Paul, Lori Fitzgerald, Peter Frenette, Tricia Garrett, Trevor Gilligan, Lisa G., Woo Jeon, Mary Jane Lawrence, Sydney Lawrence, Lia Loomis, Jeff Martin, Jason McComber, David Miller, Karen Miller, Meredith Miller, Tony Miller, Chase Ormiston, Matt Paul, Olivia Paul, Wendy Poole, Trish Preston, Amy Quinn, Gino Riffle, Leigh Riffle, Alex Russo, Cammy Sheridan, Elise Stosiek, Brian Vasser, Jason Wamsganz, Carrie Wardlaw, Tait Wardlaw, Teegan Wardlaw, Wyatt Wardlaw, Ellen Yousey, Ken Yousey and Zach Zienko, and so many others that may not be named here.

We live in an incredible community, and during this challenging time, we have generously shown that we are #inthistogether.

Dispatch from South Korea: Su Hae “Jessica” Jang ‘20

Note: The Mirror’s editor-in-chief Su Hae “Jessica” Jang ‘20 has been home in South Korea since the pandemic led to all students departing campus in March. She shares her personal experience f the pandemic in this essay.

JESSICA (SU HAE) JANG ’20

Both South Korea and the United States confirmed their first cases of COVID-19 on the same day, January 20, 2020. Now, three months later, the U.S. has the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the world, whereas Korea has seen a sharp decline in the number of cases reported daily since its peak in late February. On April 19, Korea announced a single-digit number of new cases. How did Korea manage to flatten its curve?

On March 11, WHO, the World Health Organization, declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Later that day, Northwood ceased all on-campus programming and transitioned all instruction online. I had been expecting the news from some time before, as I had already witnessed my home country Korea experience the worst of the outbreak when the number of daily infections reached close to a thousand. Nevertheless, I was stunned and overwhelmed. As of March 12, Korea had about 8,000 total confirmed cases, while the States had less than a thousand. Does it make sense to leave a safer country to go back home where the virus poses a serious threat to public health? Should I pack everything in my dorm room just in case? Is it even possible to do so in less than two days without anyone’s help? What will happen to my family in Korea if I catch the virus at the airport on my way back home? Will I be able to handle online learning at home? (Korea is 13 hours ahead of the States.) What if I can’t come back for graduation? What about college? But I was most scared to find the answer to this: Will I ever see my friends and teachers at Northwood again?

Despite the numerous questions floating around in my head, I still believed, or at least hoped, that I would return to Northwood to celebrate the end of my high school career with my family and friends. So when I left Northwood, not knowing that I wouldn’t be able to set foot on campus for the next three months, I said neither “Goodbye” or “See you later” to my friends. Instead, I told them, “Have a nice spring break!”

But by the time I safely arrived home, the tables had turned. Americans watched the exponential growth in their number of new COVID-19 cases with growing alarm. Meanwhile, Korea, which has been a country with the second-highest infections after China, noticed its curve beginning to plateau. All of a sudden, Maybe I won’t be able to go back to the U.S. became I probably shouldn’t go back to the U.S.

Although Korea extended its social distancing measures until May 5, it has recently eased restrictions on shops, restaurants, religious services, and other facilities to allow local economies to recover from the pandemic. Yet I haven’t witnessed drastic changes in people’s lifestyles. We continue to wear masks at all times. Emergency text alerts continue to inform the routes of patients who have tested positive in the area we live in. (The patients remain anonymous.) All students, from elementary school to college, continue to take online classes at home.

What surprised me most about Korea’s response to the pandemic was the absence of any lockdowns. From lessons learned from the MERS outbreak in 2015, Korea was able to quickly contain the virus without restricting the movement of people. By tracking locations of phones, records of credit card transactions, and footages of surveillance cameras, health officials identified and tested people the patients had been in contact with. Once tested positive, the patients were promptly treated. This method of contact tracing, which is used only during disease outbreaks, along with the widespread availability of test kits, which were developed and distributed early on, and drive-through and walk-in testing centers allowed the testing of up to 140,000 samples a week. As of April 27, 601,660 tests have been performed.

Another striking aspect was the absence of hoarding. As I read “Week in Pictures: Pandemic Leads to Suspension of Campus Activities and Moves Classes Online” on The Mirror, I realized that Koreans, including myself, did not stockpile toilet paper, hand sanitizers, face masks, or any type of daily necessities. Before leaving the States, I had heard from my family and friends that they had to line up at pharmacies to buy masks and were allowed to purchase two per week. Now, I can buy up to three masks a week and check the number of available masks at nearby pharmacies with an app. Without panic buying, the public has managed to remain calm.

South Korea, my home country, has been maintaining a comparatively low fatality rate of 2.26%. As of April 27, there has been a total of 10,738 confirmed cases—8,764 have been released from quarantine, 1,731 are still isolated, and 243 have died. Only 10 new cases were added to the data on the 27th. Yet the United States, where I study and where my friends and teachers live, is experiencing a surge in new cases with 999,237 accumulated cases—137,243 have recovered, 56,173 have died.

As health officials around the world warn the possibility of a new wave of coronavirus outbreaks if vaccines are not developed soon, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. I eagerly anticipate seeing my friends and teachers at Lake Placid sometime in the near future.

Classes Incorporate Pandemic Into Curriculum

The global COVID-19 pandemic will soon appear in history and biology textbooks and will eventually be something future generations of students study, along with the Great Depression and the Spanish Flu of 1918. Several Northwood teachers are using the pandemic as a teaching opportunity today, while students are taking classes online as a result of the outbreak. Students in Statistics, Biology, Macroeconomics, Entrepreneurship, and Journalism classes have studied the pandemic from the point-of-view of their respective disciplines.

In Mr. Jeff Miller’s Statistics class, students have used the rapid growth of COVID-19 cases in the United States as a way to study exponential and logistic growth and linear regression:

Ms. Jill Walker has also been teaching how easily the virus can spread and who will most likely suffer the most from the disease in her Human Biology class. According to Ms. Walker, the virus can change so often that when the doctors and scientists come up with a cure, it may not last very long because the virus can mutate.

Dr. Laura Finnerty Paul teaches Entrepreneurship and Macroeconomics, and both classes have been including the virus in their studies. Zachary Ellsworth ’20, who is in Macroeconomics, said, “We’ve been discussing government’s stimulus package, looking at how the government is using expansionary fiscal and monetary policies in an effort to pump the economy back up. Although what’s happening right now is horrible, it’s nice to be able to apply Macroeconomics to understand what is going on in the world.” Meanwhile, Entrepreneurship has been studying about what the virus has done to education systems around the world and how life will go back to normal after the pandemic. As a student in Entrepreneurship, I’ve been talking to other classmates and reading articles online, which has helped me realize that the virus is promoting online learning and that this change has been hard not only on students but on teachers.

Of course, Northwood’s journalism class and The Mirror has been chronicling Northwood’s response to the pandemic by publishing articles that explore life from a student’s perspective.

Despite the uncertainty, the students and faculty of Northwood have been making the most of their online classes through useful discussions about COVID-19, which has been changing the world day by day.

 

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