This page serves as the information hub for campus news related to the 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 your partnership as we navigate this challenging time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Oldfields Open for in-person learning for the 2020-2021 Academic Year?
Yes. Oldfields School welcomed students to campus on August 22, 2020. The COVID-19 Task Force enacted a comprehensive Reopening Plan that 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.
Oldfields operated as a “closed campus” through September but upon evaluation of state, local, and CDC guidelines in addition to successful implementation of our health and safety protocols, carefully selected school-sponsored trips and weekend activities are now occurring as well as scheduled campus visits by families.
Have Any community Members Tested Positive for Covid-19 since school has reopened?
At this point in time, no community members have tested positive for COVID-19 since school has reopened on August 22.
.Reopening Information for Fall 2020
In support of our health and safety protocols, we continue to make revisions to the 2020-2021 school calendar. Reducing the risk of an outbreak on campus is key to being able to offer Oldfields' on-campus education program. Based on the necessary changes to the calendar, we will move to a semester system for the 2020-2021 school year. Below is a summary of the current academic calendar including the most recent updates as of October 1, 2020:
- Tuesday, November 24: Students begin Thanksgiving Break when classes end as originally planned. Students may depart campus beginning at 12:15 p.m.
- Monday, November 30 - Wednesday, December 9: Remote learning will be instituted for the final eight days of the semester. We know our Oldfields families would like to have their daughters come home for the Thanksgiving holiday. As our current health and safety protocols would require residential students to undergo a quarantine and obtain a COVID test before returning to campus, we have decided to use an online learning model for this short period between Thanksgiving and the start of winter break. All classes will use a synchronous remote learning model during this time.
Residential students are welcome to stay on campus through the Thanksgiving Break and engage in other in-person aspects of the Oldfields experience during the period of remote learning prior to the Winter Break, which begins December 9 at 3:30 p.m. We will survey families about their plans for the Thanksgiving break at a later date.
Due to our ending the final eight days of the first semester on a remote learning model, there will be no end-of-term course exams this semester. Teachers may assign end-of-term assignments, but they will be weighted as other normal course assignments, not as end-of-term assessments. These changes will be updated in course syllabi on Class Pages and posted for all classes by the end of this week.
- Thursday, December 10 - Sunday, January 10: Winter Break
- Monday, January 11 - Friday, January 15: Online classes will resume on Monday, January 11. In order to allow sufficient time for all students to undergo our campus re-entry protocols, including a self-quarantine process following the winter holidays. We will use a synchronous remote learning model during the first week of classes for the second semester. In-person classes will resume the following week.
- Saturday, January 16: Residential students will return to campus. Additional details on residential student return to campus will be shared at a later date.
- Monday, January 18: All faculty and students will return to campus to participate in community activities honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
- Tuesday, January 19: In-person classes will resume.
How will students learn about Existing and evolving health and safety protocols and expectations?
Students and parents/guardians received information by email titled Reopening Plan for Fall 2020 and updated Oldfields Community Guidebook that outlined the expectations and responsibilities of all community members. Orientation included training on safety protocols for our students and regular guidance is provided throughout the year.
Protocols and policies allow for community members to safely move around campus and take into consideration traffic patterns, occupancy loads, mask-wearing and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols, frequent hand washing, and social distancing throughout campus. Additionally, high touch areas are frequently cleaned and sanitized.
Did students, faculty, and staff need to have a COVID-19 test before school began?
Students, faculty, and staff were required to have a COVID-19 test prior to arrival on campus. Proof of a negative test within a five to nine day time period prior to arrival must was provided to the Oldfields Health Center at HealthCtrNurses@OldfieldsSchool.org in order to join the on-campus community.
If a situation arises when the Health Center feels a test is required, students, faculty or staff, maybe asked to retest.
Did students need to quarantine before arriving on campus?
Yes, students were required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days prior to traveling to campus. Due to government regulations and CDC guidance, information on quarantine and testing procedures can vary for our student groups We consider students in four categories: (1) international students, (2) domestic boarding students within driving distance to campus, (3) domestic boarding students who will need a flight or public transportation to arrive on campus, and (4) day students.
What is the difference between self-Isolation and self-Quarantining?
According to the CDC, quarantine “separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.” This means that individuals should avoid unnecessary travel, avoid non-essential social interactions and activities, limit contact with individuals outside of their immediate household, and stay at home as much as possible.
According to the CDC, isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. If a student has symptoms or diagnosis that requires isolation, her campus departure plan will be enacted and she will not be able to leave the designated isolation area, where she will be monitored by a healthcare professional until she can be safe in the care of her parent, guardian, or designated host.
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
What PPE items are required for students for the 2020-2021 school year?
Each student purchased a school mask pack for $10, which includes five (5) different color masks—one for each day of the academic week—and a laundry bag. Each mask includes a place for personal labeling. In addition, special masks for athletic and after-school activities are provided and collected after each activity for sanitation.
What precautions is the school taking in regards to cleaning, disinfecting, and Air quality?
Academic buildings are cleaned and disinfected every night. High touch surfaces (including but not limited to door knobs, handles, push plates, bars inside and out, bathroom fixtures, handrails, and classrooms desks are disinfected mid-day.
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?
We encourage you to read How to Protect Yourself from the CDC and know how it spreads. Additionally:
- 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 2020-2021 school year?
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Health Center at HealthCtrNurses@OldfieldsSchool.org.
Will Oldfields adapt its health and Safety plan if circumstances change During the 2020-2021 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"?
In line with what was best practice at boarding schools this fall, Oldfields operated as a "closed campus" beginning with student registration on August 22 through the month of September. In October, some restrictions have been lifted, allowing for limited off-campus activities, opportunities for food deliveries to campus, and family campus visits. While the full details and processes are still being finalized, the core expectation is still that residential students should avoid non-emergency campus departures during this time.
Students are not allowed to depart campus except on school-sponsored trips and individual trips will be pre-approved on a case-by-case basis. This is a necessary step to ensure our community can fully adjust to our campus health and safety protocols and to allow us to assess and adjust those protocols in the early weeks of the school year. Questions about this policy should be directed to Assistant Head of School Caroline Blaum at BlaumC@OldfieldsSchool.org.
Are Families allowed to visit their daughters?
Beginning October 10, scheduled on-campus visits will be allowed. While we are not yet able to accommodate a large number of guests or visitors on campus, we will begin providing families with the opportunity to visit their girls during scheduled, on-campus visits.
Parent (s)/Guardian(s) will be able to schedule a weekend visit via a scheduling tool in the Parent Portal.
Visits must be scheduled by 3:00 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to the weekend of arrival.
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 5-7 days of arrival on campus to HealthCenter@oldfieldsschool.org.
- In preparation for their visit, parents should quarantine to the best of their ability for 10 days prior to coming to campus.
- The weekend Administrator On Duty will meet the family and show them to the designated space on campus for their visit.
- In order to accommodate as many families as possible, visits will be limited to 90 minutes.
- Food may be brought on campus to share with your student, but students may not leave campus for a meal or any other reason during the visit.
When are Campus Departures allowed?
While we understand that some campus departures are unavoidable, limiting off-campus trips is one of the reasons we have successfully sustained in-person learning. Please review the types of off-campus events and the health and safety protocols for each:
- 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.
- Campus Departure Plan - When a student’s campus departure plan 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. Director of Academics Jeremy Jernigan will contact the family to determine an appropriate remote learning plan.
- Voluntary Departure From Campus - All Parent(s)/Guardian(s) requests for voluntary off-campus student departures will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Families may be asked to go through extensive re-entry protocols, including obtaining negative COVID tests and observing off-campus and on-campus quarantine periods prior to returning to campus and in-person learning. Under these circumstances, the family should contact Director of Academics Jeremy Jernigan at JerniganJ@OldfieldSchool.org to request a remote learning plan.
Will there be fall athletics?
Oldfields School believes that the safety of our students, faculty, and our campus community takes precedence over this coming athletic season and therefore has decided not to participate in the IAAM competitive sports league this fall. After-school activities and sports remain an important part of the Oldfields experience, and we are offering a wide variety of alternative, safe options. We hope to return to normal sports and activities by winter.
View After-school/weekend activities and suggested gear
Can packages be sent to students on campus?
Yes, Oldfields is still receiving and processing mail.
What does dorm life during COVID-19 look like?
Roommates and dorms are living as family units. Because dorm rooms are sanctuaries for students, face coverings are not be required in rooms. Movement, however, among floors or other dorms will be limited in an effort to mitigate risk. Additionally, common area spaces follow health and safety protocols and access to dorms is limited to residents and a few other key personnel. Policies and protocols will be subject to change based on the situation surrounding COVID-19.
Can boarding students leave on weekends?
We are encouraging boarding students to remain on campus through the end of September when we will reevaluate. Currently requests to leave campus will be considered on an individual basis and may require the completion of campus re-entry protocols.
How Have Dining Services been affected?
Dining services will adhere to strict health and safety protocols, and we use cohort meals to reduce the number of people in the dining hall. All meals will be "check-in" meals and students are free to take their meals outside or back to their dorms is they desire to do so.
What will students do on weekends?
The Activities Committee plans a variety of engaging small group/outdoor activities and on-campus events for students. Off-campus trips will be monitored and decisions will be made on a weekly basis based on the current situation surrounding COVID-19. Community Service projects are also provided.
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 to store their belongings.
Do students have to wear masks in class?
Yes. Face coverings are likely the most effective defense in containing the spread of infection and will be required by all community members as will be outlined in our health and safety protocols. To wear a face covering is to show consideration for others, especially the most vulnerable in our community.
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 2020-2021 academic year?
As an intentionally small school, we enjoy several advantages that will allow us to maintain an academic experience similar to what we have always offered at Oldfields. Our small class sizes and 140-acre campus allows girls to engage in in-person instruction on a daily schedule very similar to what has been used in recent years. Health and safety protocols are new this year and include physical distancing in classrooms and buildings, and there are new disinfectant stations throughout campus, but classes at Oldfields continue to be personalized, challenging, and engaging in-person learning environments.
If my student needs to leave campus for a period of time, IS remote learning available?
We realize that students and faculty may need to separate from the community for a time as per our community health and safety protocols. We are using several synchronous and asynchronous online instructional models. These models are designed to ensure that each girl can continue and succeed in her classes despite potential disruptions to in-person instruction. We will work with families to ensure seamless transitions between on-campus and remote learning based on individual needs.
Requests for or questions about remote learning plans should be made directly to Director of Academics Jeremy Jernigan at JerniganJ@OldfieldsSchool.org. Please note that initiating a remote learning plan typically requires 24-hour notice.
Will Oldfields have a May Program this year?
Oldfields is committed to offering our signature experiential learning May Program this year. Faculty have developed a diverse portfolio of offerings. Rather than select a May Program early in the academic year, girls and families will be provided with May Program options later in the year when we are more certain of which trips we can and cannot offer.
What if I have more questions/concerns about academic life during the 2020-2021 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 - Darla Carter, School Nurse, HealthCtrNurses@oldfieldsschool.org or 443-662-1029
- Academics and Remote Learning - 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
Recent Updates and Communications
- 10/05/2020 - Academic Calendar Update Read more >
- 9/30/2020 - Health and Wellness Update Read more >
- 8/1/2020 - Reopening Information for Fall 2020 Read more >
- 6/26/2020 - School Update for Fall 2020 announces return to on-campus learning on August 22. Read more >
- 6/09/2020 - Update from Chair of Board and Head of School Read more >