Planning for the 2021-2022 School Year

Opening School in September 2021

As we prepare to offer a school year that’s more like 2019 than 2020, with assemblies and formal dinners, arts nights, and athletic contests, we will closely monitor CDC guidelines and state and federal regulations. Given the undeniable success of the last school year, and the community commitment to vaccinations as a baseline expectation, we are confident that Millbrook is positioned as well as any school in America to provide the safest, closest-to-normal school experience possible. 

As we plan to return to school in September, we will continue to follow the wise words of current parent Dr. Scott Rodeo: "Take a simple scientific approach: start with a reasonable plan based upon the best available current data, assess how things go day by day and week by week, and don’t be afraid to change course as needed.”
All students and employees of Millbrook School are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with any of the U.S. vaccines. An individual is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

We understand that some students are arriving either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated due to lack of access to a U.S. vaccine. Click here to access policies and procedures for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated/partially-vaccinated students during the first two weeks of school. 

Below we provide information and protocols for Millbrook's community during the 2021-2022 school year.
HEALTH & SAFETY

List of 7 items.

  • Arrival Information

    All students are required to provide a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken within three days of arrival at Millbrook.

    Students will arrive according to the following schedule: 
    • Wednesday, September 8, 10:00 AM–11:00 AM:
      Student leaders and international students arrive
    • Friday, September 10, 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM:
      New students and international students arrive
    • Saturday, September 11, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM:
      Returning students arrive
    IMPORTANT: Students who are unable to arrive on campus on their designated day or who encounter travel cancellations, please contact Maggie Haas in the Student Life Office at mhaas@millbrook.org or 845-677-8261.

    International students have received separate communications regarding arrival protocols from Eleni Stefanopolous and the Student Life Office.

    Family members or family friends accompanying a student who is arriving for registration may NOT enter Millbrook dormitories. We ask that all who accompany a Millbrook student wear a mask in all other indoor spaces on campus. If a visitor is unvaccinated, please wear a mask at all times.

  • Proof of Vaccination

    Millbrook School requires all enrolled, age-eligible students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the 2021-22 school year. An individual is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This decision is guided by consultations with health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and our continued commitment to the balance of health and safety and normalcy in our daily routines.

    IMPORTANT: Proof of your student's COVID-19 vaccination is part of the Magnus Health requirements. Please contact the health center should you have any questions about how to provide this documentation.
  • Testing and Tracing

    We request that students take a molecular PCR test within 3 days of their return to school. Students should bring documentation of the negative results with them to school. All students will also be tested immediately upon arrival to campus. 

    If your child has a positive PCR test prior to arrival at school, you will need to contact our health center to develop an appropriate plan to bring your child back to campus based on current data and CDC recommendations.

    All students will be retested 5 days after their arrival to campus. If and when a student tests positive, that student should remain away from campus and isolate in accordance with CDC guidelines.

    All students, faculty, and staff will be tested for COVID-19 periodically after the start of school. We will implement a system of routine testing—weekly to start—for faculty, staff, and students and adjust the testing schedule in accordance with the developments of COVID-19 on campus, our local municipalities, Dutchess County, and New York State. We will be using saliva-based pool testing, and we also have the capability in our Miller Brown Health Center for rapid antigen and PCR testing should the need arise in the case of a symptomatic student or employee.

    We have seven employees who are trained in contact tracing including Jennifer Greiner (Head of Nursing), Alan Tousignant (Director of the Trevor Zoo and Head of our Risk Management Committee), and Jeff Smith (Chief Operating Officer).

  • Masking & Personal Hygiene

    #1 Face Coverings 
    As the Delta variant continues to spread in the U.S., many states are requiring masks to be worn in schools. 

    We will be starting the school year by having all students and school employees wear face masks while indoors. The only exception at the start of school will be when students are in their dorm room with their roommate(s). Once we have two PCR testing cycles completed (day 1 and day 5), we will look at relaxing mask-wearing protocols within the dorms.

    We require that students bring their own face coverings to school. We will also sell reusable face coverings in the school store.

    #2 Hygiene & Sanitation
    Washing your hands five or more times per day decreases one’s risk from spreading the common cold, flu, and COVID-19 by 50%. We will continue to educate our community on this standard, and we will provide opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff to build this habit into daily routines.

    Millbrook has significantly increased resources in custodial services to ensure excellence and the highest of standards with cleaning and sanitizing on campus. We continue to use disinfecting products that comply with all CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations.

  • Mental Health

    The National Association of School Psychologists has said,
    Local education agencies and individual schools planning for students and staff to return following COVID-19 closures must prioritize efforts to address social and emotional learning and mental and behavioral health needs. Equally important is ensuring staff feel their physical and mental health needs are supported.”
     
    With the recommendation of the NASP in mind, Millbrook supports the mental health of our students and employees in the following ways:
    1. We have two full-time counselors on staff: Director of Counseling Sarah Stanton ’89, LCSW and Assistant Director of Counseling Billy Thom, LMSW.
    2. Our beautiful new mental health center was completed in the spring of 2021 and offers a warm, safe space for students to meet with a school counselor.
    3. We continue to provide professional support and development for our faculty and staff from a variety of professional development organizations, including nationally recognized school psychologist Dr. Michael Thompson, Millbrook Class of '65.
  • Quarantine in 2021

    There are currently no required quarantine protocols for fully vaccinated domestic students arriving for the start of school.

    International students and partially vaccinated students are required to follow the following quarantine protocols.
     
    Quarantine Off Campus Before Arrival
    Millbrook is requiring partially vaccinated and unvaccinated students to quarantine for seven days, either locally or on campus, see below, (as arranged with the health center or international student advisors). 

    Students must:
    1. Have a negative COVID PCR test 1-3 days prior to the start of the quarantine. If flying internationally, the PCR test should be completed 1-3 days prior to flying.
    2. When quarantining off campus, students should not spend time with others outside of their immediate family and should refrain from going into any public spaces with the exception of medical care or for required testing. Immediate family members should take similar precautions to limit possible exposure.
    3. Students need to complete a PCR test on day five of local quarantine. While testing, students should maintain physical distance and remain masked.
    4. As long as both PCR tests are negative, the student may arrive on campus after completing the 7th day of local quarantine and will need to provide health center staff with proof of both negative PCR tests.

    Quarantine On Campus
    Millbrook will permit international students to complete their seven-day quarantine on campus. 

    Students must:
    1. Have a negative COVID PCR test 1-3 days prior to the start of the quarantine. If flying internationally, the PCR test should be completed 1-3 days prior to flying.
    2. When quarantining on campus, students will remain in their dorm room for the entire seven days and must:
      1. Wear a mask at all times when not in the dorm room (i.e. bathroom).
      2. Avoid the bathrooms during times of high traffic.
      3. Not attend classes in person.
      4. Have meals delivered to their dorm room.
      5. Not participate in school gatherings of any nature, including athletics, assemblies, orientation activities, etc.
    3. Students need to complete a PCR test on day five of their on-campus quarantine and return immediately to their dorm rooms While testing, students should maintain physical distance and remain masked.
    4. As long as both PCR tests are negative, the student may exit quarantine after completing the 7th day.
    Millbrook understands that quarantine requirements can present a challenge to families who reside far away from Millbrook’s campus. Ideally, a student will quarantine locally with a family member or a trusted family contact before coming to campus. Please be in touch with the school if we can be of assistance.

    In the case that a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student will isolate away from campus. We request that every family prepare and identify a plan for their child should they need to be isolated from school. Our health center has already published a form via the parent Magnus Health portal that will allow you to share those plans with us.

    Those who have come in close contact with any infected student or adult will be quarantined according to the CDC's time-based and/or testing guidelines.
  • Vaccination Process at School

    Millbrook School will coordinate either the completion of the vaccination process for partially vaccinated students or the full vaccination process for unvaccinated students. 

    Until students are two weeks post attaining full vaccination status, they may be subject to the following:
    • Mask requirements. At a minimum, students will be required to mask whenever indoors (unless eating/ drinking) until two weeks after attaining full vaccination status. There may be outdoor mask requirements as well. 
    • Weekly surveillance testing (depending on prevalence rates at the time).
    • Restriction of athletics/ athletic alternatives or further testing before participation in sports.
    • Restriction in certain weekend activities or other school-sponsored events.
    • Possible quarantine or testing if they leave campus.
    Once full vaccination status has been reached (two weeks after the final vaccine dose), the student may adhere to the same protocols are the remainder of the fully vaccinated school community.
ACADEMICS & RESIDENTIAL LIFE

List of 6 items.

  • Community Gatherings 2021

    Community gatherings are at the heart of what makes Millbrook, Millbrook. Ask any student or alum, and they will fondly recall assemblies, temperature checks, formal dinners, and forums.

    We are planning to return fully to our traditions of these community gatherings, always keeping the safety of our community in mind and adjusting in-person gatherings as necessary.
  • Dormitories

    Maintaining Reduced Density
    The addition of Farm House dorm for boys in the fall of 2020 increased our housing capacity by 40 beds, thus reducing density in all of our dorms.

    Day Students
    Returning to a tradition that allows day students to spend the night, as needed, this group will once again be assigned to dorms and have a bed. We will adjust our overnight policy for day students should there be a worsening COVID environment.
  • International Students

    We require that all international families identify a family friend, guardian, or caretaker within a day’s drive (350 miles) of Millbrook's campus. In the extreme case that we may be forced to shut down campus, we want to make sure all Millbrook students have a safe place to go until arrangements to return home can be made. Our international student advisors have been in touch to gather information and help with any questions you may have.

    For specifics related to quarantine and U.S. vaccinations, please see the Health & Safety section above.
  • No Remote Learning

    There is no remote learning option available this year. Should a student leave campus, whether healthy or ill, they are responsible for reaching out to their teachers and making up any school work they miss while off campus.
  • Visitors to Campus

    Our current plans are to keep campus open to visitors including parents, alumni, and prospective families.

    All visitors will need to adhere to the New York State, Dutchess County, and CDC COVID-19 guidelines, which recommend wearing a mask in indoor settings at schools and to socially distance from others. In most instances, we will ask visitors to remain outdoors when school is in session and students are on campus.
  • Weekends

    While we have published a schedule of open and closed weekends, we are asking that all boarding students consider remaining on campus, and when there are essential reasons to leave that they follow a process and protocol directed by our Dean of Students Office.

    When students do leave campus for a weekend, they will follow a return testing protocol.

    The Dean of Students Office, Director of Weekend Activities Maggie Haas, and Directors of Friday and Saturday Student Programs Kathy Havard and Davida LaCosse have planned for meaningful and dynamic weekends.  While Friday evenings and Saturday mornings enable us to have more time for all-school and individual form meetings and events, Saturday afternoons and Sundays will be filled with entertainment, socialization, and rest and rejuvenation opportunities.
ARTS, ATHLETICS & THE TREVOR ZOO

List of 3 items.

  • Arts

    We do not envision individual artistic pursuits (i.e. painting and drawing, photography, ceramics, music and composition, playwriting), in class or out of class, looking much different this fall.

    Theatre, dance, and instrumental and voice ensembles might continue, however, to look a bit different. We will have thoughtful approaches to practice, presentation, and performance that will keep the highest standard of COVID-19 safety measures in mind, and we will adjust these practices as conditions allow.
  • Athletics

    We remain on track to have regular interscholastic competitions this fall and throughout the school year.

    Almost all of the other boarding schools against whom we compete are requiring vaccinations for their students. All competing schools are requiring COVID tests.

    Millbrook students will be tested weekly.

    Masking is required of all student-athletes and spectators for any sport being played indoors. Parents are welcome to come to games and do not have to mask when spectating at an outdoor event unless they are unvaccinated.
  • Trevor Zoo

    In addition to being our largest on-campus community service program, the Trevor Zoo typically hosts tens of thousands of visitors a year. While COVID-19 initially drastically reduced the number of zoo visitors, that number has climbed closer to pre-pandemic levels, thanks to extensive safety measures put in place.
    1. The bulk of our family visitors come during the months of June, July, and August, with much more limited numbers as we get into the fall and winter.
    2. We are currently on a reservation-only system, greatly limiting the number of zoo visitors at any given time.

    The Trevor Zoo is following all required state guidelines in terms of cleaning, providing sanitation stations, etc. Zoo visitors will not be permitted to cross School Road onto the main campus, nor will they visit while students are doing their animal care work.

    We continue to monitor all recommendations from the CDC, state, and county offices, as well as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for animal welfare concerns.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me or to any of our administrators with questions - see the complete list of contacts below.

Jonathan Downs '98
Headmaster
jdowns@millbrook.org
845-677-6684

The Compass Committee & Planning

Our Medical Advisory Committee continues to meet regularly to help plan for and adjust our protocols related to COVID-19 and its variants.

Meet the members of our team:
Dr. Mark Smith ’68
Dr. Christine Frissora P’22
Dr. Scott Rodeo P'22
Medical Director Dr. Caroline Salas-Humara
Assistant Medical Director Kathleen Malara NP
Head of Nursing Jennifer Greiner BN, RSN

Click here to learn more about these medical professionals.