This page serves as the information hub for campus news related to COVID-19. Please check back regularly for updates. As always, our number one goal is to protect the health and well-being of our community while remaining adaptable and responsive to changing circumstances. Our goal is to communicate with constituents as accurately, quickly, and effectively as possible. We appreciate your support and partnership as we navigate this challenging time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Oldfields Open for in-person learning for the 2021-2022 Academic Year?
Yes. Oldfields School welcomes boarding and day students to campus on August 28, 2021. The COVID-19 Task Force has outlined procedures and protocols for Health and Safety, Community/Residential Life, and Academics while following CDC guidelines and recommendations from national and local health departments. This information is outlined below.
We are excited to welcome our students back and offer a robust academic and student life experience. While some of our daily routines will be different for the start of the school year, our goal is for many aspects of community life to feel as similar to pre-pandemic school years as possible.
As national rates of COVID-19 and the Delta variant rise, we continue to closely monitor public health guidance, as well as consult with medical experts and counterparts from peer schools. We are prepared to move through various scenarios of campus protocol based on the virus’ spread, new variants, and in accordance with local, state, and federal mandates.
How will students learn about Existing and evolving health and safety protocols and expectations?
Students and parents/guardians receive regular communications, the most recent being an email titled Important COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols for School Opening. Orientation includes training on safety protocols for our students, and regular guidance is provided throughout the year. In addition, this webpage will be updated with any new information.
Have Faculty and Staff been vaccinated?
ARe vaccinations required for students?
Please note that when COVID-19 vaccines move past emergency-use authorization and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Oldfields School will reevaluate our current decision not to require all community members to be vaccinated.
Do students, faculty, and staff need to have a COVID-19 test before Returning to school?
Regardless of vaccination status, all Oldfields students, employees, and campus residents will be required to:
1) Present proof of a negative COVID-19 (PCR only) test prior to arrival on campus. The test must be administered no earlier than August 22, 2021. Any questions pertaining to testing should be directed to the Oldfields Health Center at HealthCenter@OldfieldsSchool.org.
2) Upload Negative PCR test results to Magnus Health no later than Friday, August 27. As the demand for testing is increasing, please verify with their local testing site that results will be available by August 27.
If a situation arises when the Health Center feels a test is required, students, faculty or staff, maybe asked to retest.
Any questions pertaining to testing should be directed to the Oldfields Health Center at HealthCtrNurses@OldfieldsSchool.org
Do students need to quarantine before arriving on campus?
While we will not require a formal quarantine in advance of travel, we encourage all Oldfields students, employees, and campus residents to limit their contact with those outside of their close family and friends before returning to campus.
What is a campus departure plan?
Each student is required to have a campus departure plan in place prior to arrival on campus. This plan is enacted for a positive COVID-19 test, other medical situations, or other circumstances that require the student to depart campus within a 24-hour period. Medical determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Health Center staff and/or local healthcare professionals.
What happens if a community member becomes infected?
Oldfields has an action plan to ensure that we are prepared in the event a member of our community tests positive. Steps will be taken to protect the impacted individual, as well as the community as a whole. We are prepared for testing as necessary. Oldfields will follow isolation protocols, initiate the individual’s campus departure plan, and follow local public health procedures for contact tracing.
What if a community member doesn’t feel well?
Each day community members will be required to perform a self-assessment utilizing the Magnus App on their phones prior to arriving on campus or leaving their dorm/residence. If having any symptoms, non-residential community members should remain at home and contact the Health Center. Residential community members should follow the health and safety protocols that were outlined during Orientation.
If a community member becomes symptomatic while on campus, they will utilize the Health Center Annex, a separate location from the Health and Wellness Center (traditional school nurse’s office). Here students will be temporarily isolated from the Oldfields community while they await a formal assessment from the School Nurse. The nurse who will be performing the assessment will follow all CDC guidelines.
At this time, the School Nurse will inform the AOD and necessary members of the COVID-19 Task Force of the situation and assess the potential risk to the community. Should the Health Center believe the student’s symptoms to be serious enough, the student will remain in an isolated location while the nurse contacts the student’s parent/guardian and initiates the student’s Campus Departure Plan to remove the student from campus as soon as possible.
The COVID-19 task force will take the necessary steps to inform the greater Oldfields community and the department of health for any positive case on campus. The School will maintain communication and provide transparency through the process of contact tracing and mitigating the risk of infection on the Oldfields campus.
What PPE items are required for students for the 2021-2022 school year?
Each student should bring their own supply of masks and keep one with them at all times. For the first two weeks of school, students, faculty and staff will be required to wear masks when inside and outside if closer than 3 feet apart. After the two-week reentry period, we will reassess the need for indoor masks.
How does a community member reenter after a positive covid-19 test? What is the difference between self-Isolation and self-Quarantining?
After a student, faculty or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, they may only return to campus after they have submitted proof of a negative COVID-19 test and are without symptoms. If symptoms persist beyond 72 hours, Oldfields will recommend that the community member get another COVID19 test and a respiratory panel to rule out influenza, pneumonia, or other viral or bacterial respiratory infections. Medical clearance from a personal care physician or a family doctor will be required to return to school.
What precautions is the school taking in regards to cleaning, disinfecting, and Air quality?
Academic buildings are frequently cleaned and disinfected. High touch surfaces (including but not limited to door knobs, handles, push plates, bars inside and out, bathroom fixtures, handrails, and classroom desks) are disinfected daily.
Dorms are cleaned and disinfected daily. Bathrooms and high-touch surfaces are disinfected again mid-day. The gym is cleaned and disinfected daily, with additional disinfecting when the schedule for utilization is finalized. This includes the bathrooms, weight room, cardio room, Pilates room, and high touch surfaces. Common areas receive daily cleaning and disinfecting, with high-touch surfaces receiving an additional disinfection mid-day.
The indoor air filtration system in the Rodney Academic Building has been modified to reduce the number of small particles circulating through the building, providing cleaner air. Plans are in place to expand similar filtering systems throughout the dorms and common areas.
What are the best preventative measures for COVID-19 and the flu?
- Wash your hands often.
- Adhere to physical distancing practices of six feet or more.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect often.
- Monitor your health daily.
What if I have more questions/concerns about the health and safety of my student during the 2021-2022 school year?
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Health Center at HealthCenter@OldfieldsSchool.org.
Will Oldfields adapt its health and Safety plan if circumstances change During the 2021-2022 School Year?
Oldfields will monitor the ever-evolving situation, and adjustments will be made following the guidance of the State of Maryland, local health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control. We will make adjustments to policies and protocols throughout the year as appropriate for the health and safety of our community.
Is Oldfields a "closed campus"?
Our campus is open with restrictions/requirements. Requests to leave campus will be considered on an individual basis and may require the completion of campus reentry protocols. Questions about this policy should be directed to Assistant Head of School Caroline Blaum at BlaumC@OldfieldsSchool.org.
Are Families allowed to visit their Students?
Visitors (family and friends) are welcome to spend time on campus with their Oldfields student(s).
- Each visitor must provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR COVID-19 test prior to their arrival. Documentation should be sent to email@example.com.
- Each visitor must complete the Campus Visitor Screening Form located on the Oldfields School website prior to their arrival.
- While on campus, we ask all visitors and their Oldfields student(s) to spend time outdoors as much as possible. While indoors, masks are required at all times.
- Visitors are not permitted to enter dormitories for any reason, at any time.
When are Campus Departures allowed?
Students are welcome to depart campus for a few hours with a friend or guardian.
- Students must request permission to leave campus by filling out a pass request on the Orah application.
- Create an account through Orah and "connect" with your student. Instructions can be found here: https://success.orah.com/en/articles/1882711-getting-started-parent-guide.
- Each family will receive an email from Orah inviting them to the platform.
Essential Student Appointments - Parent(s)/Guardian(s) must contact the Health Center as far in advance as possible to discuss the need for any essential, off-campus appointments such as doctor visits, orthodontist appointments, etc. To lessen the risk of exposure, School staff will be the first preferred option for transporting the student to and from the appointment. We highly encourage families to schedule these types of appointments while students are home over breaks.
- Campus Departure Plan - When a student’s campus departure plan (completed during the enrollment process) is enacted, the School is requiring the student to depart because the student needs to heal/recover from an illness at home or is sent home as a precaution as a result of the contact tracing process, such as a symptomatic roommate, failure to follow protocol, etc.
In both of the above situations, the Health Center will be the family’s main point of contact, checking in with the family on a daily basis to be updated on the progression of the student’s symptoms and to guide the family to an eventual plan for return.
We understand at times there are extenuating circumstances which may require necessary voluntary departures. Families should contact Director of Academics Jeremy Jernigan at JerniganJ@OldfieldsSchool.org with any questions concerning a students school work requirements.
Can packages be sent to students on campus?
Yes, Oldfields is still receiving and processing mail and package deliveries.
Will there be daily wellness checks?
Morning procedures will be similar to last year, with all community members performing a daily wellness check prior to leaving the dormitory or arriving on campus. In partnership with Magnus Health, all Oldfields students, faculty, and staff will install the Magnus COVID-19 Daily Symptom Screening application on their smart phone or device (more details will be provided during Orientation).
What does dorm life during COVID-19 look like?
Dormitories will be restricted to residents of that dorm and a few select adults. Visitation between dormitories will not be allowed at the start of the year. Sanitation stations will be set up at dorm entrances and should be used every time a student enters the dorm.
Can boarding students leave on weekends?
No, students can not leave campus for weekends. This policy will be reevaluated as we move through the start of school.
How Have Dining Services been affected?
Dining services will adhere to strict health and safety protocols. We will open the school year with the table partitions in place to mitigate risk. We will eat outside as often as possible.
What will students do on weekends?
The Activities Committee plans a variety of engaging small group/outdoor activities and on-campus events for students. In addition, off-campus trips may include: a trail walk, a trip to a local coffee shop, or to local stores. We will be making decisions and carefully selecting trips on a weekly basis based on the current situation surrounding COVID-19. Community Service projects are also available.
How Do day students attend school?
- Day students complete a brief self-screening process at home before coming to school each day and are screened upon arrival.
- Day students participate in all academic, school-life, and athletic activities following health and safety protocols, and depart campus following the end of scheduled activities.
- Day students may also take advantage of partial-year boarding packages. These students are subject to the current protocols for boarding students. Interested families should contact Assistant Head of School Caroline Blaum at BlaumC@OldfieldsSchool.org.
Will day students be able to stay in the dorms?
According to the current protocols, day students will not be allowed access to residential dorms.
Where will day students store their belongings?
Day students have a designated area, the Day Student Locker Room in McColluch Commons, to store their belongings.
Do students have to wear masks in class?
Yes, at this point in time all Oldfields students, employees, and campus residents will be required to wear a mask indoors until we can confirm that our community has been symptom-free for the first two weeks of the school year. While masks will not be required outdoors, all community members should feel supported in wearing a mask at any time. Please bring your own supply of masks to campus.
Will there be Fall athletics?
Yes! Oldfield students and coaches are looking forward to a return to interscholastic sports through the IAMM for the 2021-2022 school year. Home sporting events are back on! Offerings will be similar to years past with a reintroduction of soccer! Our Riding Program is as strong as ever and will continue to work in collaboration with the Athletic Department to meet our health and safety guidelines. We will follow protocols and procedures, including IAAM regulations, to keep our student-athletes safe in practices, games, matches, meets, and shows.
In order to limit exposure and risk to our residential community, we require that athletes, coaches, and spectators wear masks and practice physical distancing when possible.
No masks are required outdoors as long as athletes, coaches, and spectators are not within 3 feet of each other for 15 minutes or more.
Are the outdoor spaces or indoor facilities open to the public at Oldfields?
At this time, Oldfields indoor and outdoor facilities are closed to public use.
What if I have more questions about student life during the 2020-2021 school year?
If you have additional questions, please contact Dean of Students Claire Guidera at GuideraC@OldfieldsSchool.org.
What does learning look like for the 2021-2022 academic year?
Our goal is to offer a robust academic and student life experience. While some of our daily routines will be different for the start of the school year, our goal is for many aspects of community life to feel as similar to pre-pandemic school years as possible. Our students will continue to experience engaging, in-person academics, join student-led clubs, participate in daily athletic activities, dedicate time to community service, and connect with friends.
If my student needs to leave campus for a period of time, IS remote learning available?
The Oldfields experience is an in-person experience. It extends beyond the classroom, encompassing our full education program. Students engage this experience on campus (and off campus through our athletic and experiential learning programs), where their classes are supplemented by time with friends and teachers and participation in other areas of our education program like clubs, advisory, arts, and athletics. It is a holistic education program that cannot be replicated online. While we are prepared to return to offering remote learning options similar to those offered at the end of the 2019-2020 school year and through the 2020-2021 school year if and when it becomes necessary, we currently anticipate all of our students participating in in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year.
A remote learning option will be considered only in the case of a documented medical circumstance related to COVID-19 where the School requires a student to quarantine off campus due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to a positive COVID-19 case. Students will not use remote learning for other absences, but rather will work with their teachers to make up missed work upon their return to school. We remain committed to providing the support your student needs to maximize their Oldfields experience. If you have any questions about Oldfields absence policies, please contact Director of Academics Dr. Jeremy Jernigan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (443) 662-1004
Will Oldfields have a May Program this year?
Oldfields is committed to offering our signature experiential learning May Program this year in addition to the new Winter Program that will take place in January. Faculty are currently developing a diverse portfolio of offerings which will be shared with you later this fall. All trips are subject to change given the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What if I have more questions/concerns about academic life during the 2021-2022 school year?
If you have additional questions/concerns, please contact the Director of Academics Jeremy Jernigan at JerniganJ@OldfieldsSchool.org.
Please contact the appropriate department listed below with questions:
- Health and Wellness - Director of Health Services Darla Carter HealthCenter@oldfieldsschool.org or 443-662-1029
- Academics- Director of Academics Jeremy A. Jernigan, Ph.D., JerniganJ@OldfieldsSchool.org
- Student/Residential Life and Campus Community - Assistant Head of School Caroline Blaum, BlaumC@OldfieldsSchool.org