COVID-19 Information and Updates
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
Will Oldfields reopen for the 2020-2021 academic year?
Oldfields School will welcome new and returning students to campus on August 22, 2020.
Revised 2020-2021 Calendar
In support of these health and safety protocols, we have made 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. Whereas our normal calendar was designed in part to facilitate ease of travel during breaks, residential students and faculty should plan on staying on campus through the fall once they arrive in August. Based on the necessary changes to the calendar, we will move to a semester system for the 2020-2021 school year. First semester exams will take place during the three days preceding Winter Break, allowing a natural stopping point.
All dates and events are subject to change.
How will students learn about health and safety protocols and expectations?
Students will receive information by email prior to the start of school and will also receive an updated Oldfields Community Guidebook that outlines the expectations and responsibilities of all community members. Orientation will include training on safety protocols for our students and regular guidance will be provided throughout the year.
Protocols and policies will 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 will be frequently cleaned and sanitized.
Do students, faculty, and staff need to have a COVID-19 test before school begins?
Students, faculty, and staff will be required to have a COVID-19 test prior to arrival on campus. To return to campus, proof of a negative test within a five to seven day time period prior to arrival must be provided. Families should plan accordingly to allow ample time to receive results.
Students may be tested again upon arrival to campus. Detailed information regarding student testing will be sent to families.
Do students need to quarantine before arriving on campus?
Yes, students will be 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 are considering 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.
We will communicate details with requirements for quarantine specific to each group. This will allow the Health Center to ensure proper timing of quarantine and testing.
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 will be required to have a campus departure plan in place prior to arrival on campus. This plan could be 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. The form will be forthcoming.
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. 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 will be outlined during orientation
What PPE items are required for students for the 2020-2021 school year?
Each student will be required to purchase 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. Mask packs will be distributed at registration and be charged to each student's debit account.
Should students bring any additional PPE items?
Each student must bring:
- Minimum of two (2) masks for use during the weekend and social activities.
- Hand sanitizer
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 reopening plan if circumstances change before the start of classes?
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.
When will students arrive on campus?
We plan to welcome all new and returning students to campus on August 22, 2020. Onboarding details for boarding and day students will be sent to enrolled families. All schedules are subject to change based on the situation surrounding COVID-19.
Will access to dorms be limited?
Yes, access to dorms will be limited. Details regarding dorm access will be sent to boarding families.
Will there be fall athletics?
At this point in time, the IAAM Conference has not made that determination. The decision will depend on local and federal health department guidelines. Oldfields is preparing alternate safe activities in the event interscholastic sports do not occur.
Will Oldfields allow visitors (parents/guardians) to campus?
We will use newly developed visitor management protocols during the 2020-2021 school year. Most visitors will need to contact the school in advance to schedule an appointment and ensure all health and safety protocols are followed. Policies and protocols will be subject to change based on the situation surrounding COVID-19. More details on the most up-to-date protocols will be shared with families in August.
Can packages be sent prior to a student’s arrival on campus?
Yes, Oldfields is still receiving and processing mail.
What will dorm life during COVID-19 look like?
Roommates and dorms will live as family units. Because dorm rooms will be sanctuaries for students, face coverings will 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 will follow health and safety protocols and access to dorms will be 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?
No final decisions have been made. However, we are encouraging boarding students to remain on campus once they arrive in August. Currently requests to leave campus will be considered on an individual basis and may require the completion of campus re-entry protocols.
What will students do on weekends?
The Activities Committee is currently planning 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.
How will day students attend school?
Day students will be asked to complete a brief self-screening process at home before coming to school each day and will then be screened upon arrival.
Day students will participate in all academic, school-life, and athletic activities following health and safety protocols, and will depart campus following the end of scheduled activities.
Day students may also take advantage of partial year boarding packages. These students would be 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 will have a designated area to store their belongings. Details will be made available to day students in August.
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 about events like Family Weekend?
Oldfields will continue to follow our state guidelines, regulations, and mandates for all on-campus events. Policies and protocols will be subject to change based on the situation surrounding COVID-19 and events will be modified as necessary.
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 face-to-face instruction on a daily schedule very similar to what has been used in recent years. Health and safety protocols will be new this year and include physical distancing in classrooms and buildings, and there will be new disinfectant stations throughout campus, but classes at Oldfields will continue to be personalized, challenging, and engaging in-person learning environments.
If my student needs to leave campus for a period of time, will remote learning be 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 have several synchronous and asynchronous online instructional models prepared for next year. 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.
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 - Health Center Director Ashleigh Pfleegor, HealthCtrNurses@oldfieldsschool.org or 443-944-5860
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
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 >