Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School is dedicated to the health and safety of our school community.
Please click on the reopening handbook below for more details regarding the Hybrid Learning Schedule.
- October 8, 2020
- July 29, 2020
- April 9, 2020
- March 30, 2020
- March 27, 2020
- March 23, 2020
- March 20, 2020
- March 13, 2020
- March 12, 2020
- March 10, 2020
- March 8, 2020
- February 28, 2020
...and it is critical that we all do our part to keep
ourselves and others healthy and safe.
Provided are a few tips and friendly reminders.
Make sure your family's masks fit well and are worn in all settings, especially when within 6 feet of persons outside of your household.
Montgomery County and Pennsylvania Public Health officials are urging residents who are over 18 to download and utilize the COVID Alert PA app to fight against COVID-19. This free app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
If you are not feeling well, please stay home and seek medical advice.
- Students who are not feeling well should remain home from school.
- Students should not be sent to school after taking medication to reduce a fever.
- After your daughter is absent, please submit a note to the front office.
- If your child visits a health care provider, please request a note for school.
Continue to complete the link sent out via RUVNA Health Tools by 7:30AM before entering campus. It is important that each student and faculty and staff members assess their health each morning.
REOPENING PLAN FOR 2020-2021
Dear Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School community,
I hope that you have had some time to enjoy the benefits of the summer season.
Over the last several months, as we adapted to circumstances, and concluded the last academic year, we were also looking ahead to the next academic year. During this time, we have been researching, collaborating, and planning for the 2020-2021 academic year with COVID-19 top of mind and the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff at the forefront of our deliberations.
Today I share a video presentation (linked) to provide you with our academic plan along with the health and safety measures that have already been implemented at Gwynedd Mercy this summer to safely reopen our beloved campus and community once more.
Student schedules are being finalized. After the schedules are disseminated in the next couple of weeks, we will also issue our Reopening Handbook in mid-August with detailed information regarding the specific policies and procedures for the upcoming school year. Information will be related to COVID-19 safety measures and our commitment to prioritize the health and safety of all in our school community.
We ask that you review the presentation in its entirety, and if you have any questions, please email our COVID-19 Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries will be reviewed and addressed in our mid-August communication. You can also use this email address to share with us any personal needs your family may have as we head into the start of the new school year, including if your student(s) cannot be present for on-campus learning.
We sincerely look forward to seeing our Gwynedd students and families in September. Until then, we ask that our families continue to take precautionary measures. We must all work together and doing our own part to help our community to safely return to campus and allow the Mercy spirit to permeate the red and gold corridors once again.
May God continue to bless all throughout the remainder of the summer.
Mary E. Kirby, Principal
Dear Gwynedd Families,
First, I wish you a blessed Holy Thursday as we prepare our minds and hearts for the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This morning, as you may have heard, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all schools to close for the remainder of the school year. Please know that we are as deeply disappointed as you, as each and every one of us has looked forward to returning to the red and gold corridors with our girls.
Seniors and Senior families, we remain committed to celebrating you and your achievements with a graduation ceremony that honors the accomplishments of our 87 incredible young women of the class of 2020 in the tradition of Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School.
Families, we will continue to update you as soon as plans are developed. As you know, we already have a plan in place for continued learning to resume following Easter break through Friday, May 1. While our physical campus will not be the place where we convene for classes this year, every single member of faculty and staff is deeply invested in providing focused, rigorous learning, fitness, wellness, leadership, music and arts opportunities.
The challenges we have faced over the last month are unprecedented. What I have found inspiring during these weeks are the true displays of heart and character of our young women and our families. One blessing that has emerged is the technology platforms used in our teaching has allowed me to attend and observe many classes. In all my years in academia, I have witnessed more focus, sheer determination, selfless compassion, and pure grit of our Gwynedd Girls. Ladies, I am very pleased. Keep up the great work. Parents, you have much to be proud of in your daughters, who are emerging as intelligent, competent, compassionate women of Mercy.
The coming weeks will continue to unfold, and we will do our best to anticipate and be flexible to adapt and respond to the unanticipated. Through it all, know that your Gwynedd Mercy family is here for you. Together – though separate – we are stronger together. #GwyneddStrong.
Wishing your families all the blessings and renewal that Easter brings.
Miss Mary E. Kirby
Dear Gwynedd Families,
As I am sure many of you have heard by now, this afternoon Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that he is extending the stay-at-home order until April 30, and that the closure of schools will remain in place indefinitely. While we don't know what indefinitely will mean, we hope and pray that in the next month that the disease spread has ended, the infirmed are healed, and the sanction is able to be lifted, allowing us to reunite. At this time, the earliest we will be together once more will be Monday, May 4. While the news is disappointing, we recognize that the magnitude of this epidemic and the gravity of the situation requires these necessary, life-preserving measures. For our student athletes, the PIAA has also issued an update regarding today's news and its impact on athletics, linked here.
To our Gwynedd Girls, please do not be discouraged. You are right where you need to be and doing everything that you need to do to sustain yourself and those you love. This inconvenience is challenging but temporary. Eventually, life will return to a semblance of normal, and you will be the stronger and more resilient, as a result.
As Mercy foundress, Catherine McAuley, a woman of true courage and perseverance counseled, "Strive each day to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way." I believe that she would undeniably agree that each and every one of you is achieving that very task, and you are making her—and your Gwynedd family—exceptionally proud. Though these recent weeks do not the reflect the springtime at Gwynedd that any of us had envisioned, perhaps this further highlights the fact that our lives are in the hands of a much higher power, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ladies, as you continue to grow and move through life, keep this time in mind to help provide some perspective. Things will not always go as planned. There will be times that you will not be able to "fix" a situation. In those times, remember that you are stronger than you realize, and that God is watching over and will guide you through the challenge. All of us are in this—while separate—together. I pray for each of you and ask that you also pray for me. Always know that we are stronger together. #GwyneddStrong.
Later this week, Miss Kirby will send an update to the schedule that will begin after break. Be well and stay safe.
Mrs. Denise C. Marbach '72
Dear Gwynedd Parents and Students,
As week 2 of Virtual Learning concludes, I hope that this note finds you and your family well. The term "virtual learning" is somewhat a misnomer. Virtually we are able to connect and join together for classes, group projects, brainstorming sessions, and professional development, for example. Over these past few weeks, I've seen the bonds of Mercy grow and fortify in new and unexpected ways. Through the technology that enables these virtual gatherings, our dedicated faculty now virtually welcome our students into their homes each day. Our faculty are engaging with students who are learning in a whole different format, but one that may, in some way, help prepare them for their post-Gwynedd life all the more. Once again, I have been truly impressed by all of the regular classroom teaching and learning that is taking place. Our Gwynedd Girls' levels of focus, strength, creativity, and true Mercy spirit has shone bright during this extraordinarily challenging time, and I'm immensely proud. Well done, Gwynedd Family.
Please review the following updates for important information regarding the coming weeks:
Currently, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has mandated the closure of all schools through at least April 6. However, we have been in regular contact with area school districts. Due to a number of the school districts who will not be providing busing the week of April 6, the Gwynedd campus will remain closed through Easter and spring break holidays. Monday and Tuesday, April 6 and 7, will be regular class days, as reflected in the schedule below. Then on Wednesday, April 8, we will gather for a virtual prayer service to prepare ourselves for Holy Week and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We hope to return to the red and gold corridors on Monday, April 20.
In compliance with the governor's order, the Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School campus is closed. In an effort to keep our community healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19, Gwynedd's school building, athletic fields, multi-sport complex, tennis courts, and open areas are closed until further notice. The campus continues to be monitored by Gwynedd Mercy University's campus safety and security cameras, and the Lower Gwynedd Police Department will continue patrols of the campus. We all look forward to returning to campus, but now is not that time.
End of Quarter 3
As originally scheduled, the third quarter ended on Wednesday, March 25. After consultation with the faculty, it was determined that each teacher had collected enough grades to conclude the third quarter prior to our school closure. During our recent virtual learning phase, there may have also been opportunities for students to achieve additional points in some classes that their teachers may include in their third quarter grades. According to schedule, report cards will be posted to Rediker Plus Portals at 4:00pm on Friday, April 3.
Assessments and Grading
Although the length of our extended school closure remains uncertain, we realize that a potentially significant amount of the fourth quarter may occur via virtual learning. In preparation for this possibility, the administration has been engaged in weekly discussions with academic department chairs to discuss the path ahead, which will include adaptations to the ways that we assess and grade our students' performance. Tests and quizzes will still be used to assess student learning and will occur through digital platforms including Microsoft Forms and Rediker. The faculty has also been asked to be creative in their forms of assessment in ways that will evaluate the application of each student's skills and knowledge through their assignment of projects and written assessments. Our intention in providing multiple forms of assessment is to offer each student various opportunities to achieve success in an environment for learning that is still new to us.
Last Friday, March 20, the AP Program announced that AP students will be taking their AP exams at home via a 45-minute, online, free-response exam. Two testing dates will be available for each AP subject, and we encourage our AP students to speak with their AP teachers for specific guidance about the testing dates and how to prepare for the test. The complete exam schedule and specific free-response question types for each exam will be available by April 3 on AP's webpage for students: AP Updates. On this page, you will also find access to free, live AP review courses led by AP teachers.
Below is a schedule that will take us through the next two weeks of school, which will then be followed by our Easter Break. Please note that we are currently working with our ministry team to plan a school-wide virtual prayer service on April 8.
Prior to transitioning to virtual learning, the administration and academic department chairs had been preparing courses for the 2020-2021 school year, along with a timeline for course selection that was set to commence for the students after Easter Break. We are still on target to begin course selection upon our return from Easter Break, even if this process needs to occur virtually. Stay tuned to future communications for additional details.
Lastly, I'd like to leave you with a prayer:
"Prayer for a Pandemic"
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.
- Cameron Wiggins Bellm
Miss Mary E. Kirby
Dear Gwynedd Mercy Parents and Students,
This afternoon, due to the continued spread of COVID-19, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has mandated the closure of all schools for an additional two weeks. In compliance with the mandate, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School will remain closed until at least April 6. All events, sports, and activities during this period of closure are cancelled.
I am currently working with members of our administration to discuss any additional calendar adjustments that will be needed based on this latest news. We will continue to follow the daily schedule provided on Friday, March 20 for all classes through Friday, April 3. Students should continue to monitor their school email and to use Microsoft Teams and Rediker to access classes, lessons, and assignments.
Students, keep up the great work and positive energy. Your enthusiasm, smiles, and encouragement of one another fuels all of us during these unimaginable circumstances that keep us from gathering. Together as a community of Mercy, may we continue to pray for the healthcare workers and public servants who are working so diligently to address and halt the spread of COVID-19, as well as the lives impacted or lost from the global pandemic.
Miss Mary E. Kirby
Dear Gwynedd Mercy Parents and Students,
At last, it is Friday, and what an unanticipated but rewarding week this has been! While the safety and wellness of our community remains of the utmost importance, the element of connection has played a critical role in the continuity of teaching, learning, and the shared bonds of the Mercy sisterhood.
As an experienced educator, what I have observed and experienced over the past 9 days has been truly inspiring and truly speaks to the power of our shared connection. Our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to provide a continuity, all for our girls. Curriculum has been adapted and reformatted for digital delivery; schedules have been redone; technologies have been implemented and leveraged; classes, science labs and experiments, fitness training, and music lessons have continued. Our sports teams have found ways to continue training together and motivating each other. Each day, I've been able to observe 15-20 of our classes in progress, and I am pleased to say that level of creativity and innovation being shared in the sessions, by the faculty as well as the students, was truly impressive.
I extend my sincere thanks to each of our Gwynedd Girls for the continued focus and the strength that you have demonstrated in dealing with all that you've been handed during these unprecedented circumstances. Next, I thank and commend our Gwynedd parents, many of whom are juggling above-normal responsibilities and challenges. Your continued support of your daughters is so important, as they balance different responsibilities, scheduling, and norms of their daily lives.
Understanding that our current circumstances have placed added stress to all members of our households and families, each day we are sharing on Gwynedd's social media accounts morning and afternoon prayers for your personal reflection. Also, all are invited to join the the evening live Rosary, to pray for the end of the Coronavirus, as shared in an email message last night from Mrs. Marbach. I encourage each of you to seek opportunity for balance and wellness as we all adjust to new routines.
With that in mind, I provide the following updates for next week:
Update to Daily Schedule
In recognition of the amount of work associated with the Virtual Learning Plan for students and faculty, and conscious of everyone's screen time, we will be making an update to our daily schedule that will involve adding Cyber Days into our rotation. This break from the B/C days will allow students to take time to process the new material, complete any assignments/projects that were started within their B/C classes, and reach out to teachers on an individual basis if they have questions or a need for clarification.
Our new schedule will begin on Monday, March 23. Please see the chart below for details. You will see that it includes the week of March 30, if necessary.
End of Quarter 3
Additionally, we recognize that the end of the third quarter is approaching on March 25th and the administrative team is actively in discussion with our department chairs to identify a resolution that best serves our students. Please know that we will have an update regarding the end of the third quarter in next week's communication.
Upon the completion of our first week of virtual learning, we are deeply grateful to everyone in our community for your cooperation and flexibility.
Miss Mary E. Kirby
Dear Gwynedd Mercy Parents and Students,
What a week we have all experienced in a number of unexpected and unprecedented ways. The continuity of teaching and learning is second only to the safety and security of the members of our Gwynedd community.
With that in mind, the administration, faculty, and staff have worked diligently to develop a strategy that leverages existing tools and faculty development. As promised in yesterday's communication, I write to provide additional details regarding the next two weeks.
With full appreciation of the volume, intensity and speed of information that we have been receiving throughout this week, I'll endeavor to keep this message focused and comprehensive. Please know that there are some topics that will require further consideration over the next two weeks.
Virtual Learning Plan
Gwynedd has developed a Virtual Learning Plan for the potential of an extended school closure that is now a reality in response to the spread of COVID-19. This Virtual Learning Plan will require students and faculty to collaborate through Microsoft Teams - the digital platform through which the faculty and students will meet remotely for class sessions. Specific details about the implementation of our Virtual Learning Plan can be found here, and a Student User's Guide to Microsoft Teams has been created to provide step-by-step instructions for students as they transition to online learning.
Please know that the members of our Technology Department have been working with our faculty to ensure their preparedness for leading classes in Microsoft Teams. In addition to the Student User's Guide for Microsoft Teams, the Technology Department will also be emailing students with a link to a tutorial video that will provide students with detailed instructions on how to navigate Teams.
As we all continue to prepare for the transition to a digital platform, we will be following the "Daily Schedule" that is stated in the Virtual Learning Plan by having another Cyber Day on Monday, March 16. This additional Cyber Day will afford our faculty and students an additional day to prepare for their virtual class meetings, which will begin on Tuesday, March 17.
Rest assured that we are all here to support one another – especially the students – during these challenging times. Our virtual efforts will not be without obstacles or technological difficulties, but our faculty and staff will be ready to support all members of our community as we make every effort to provide continuity of instruction and learning for our students.
Please don't hesitate to email email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns related to the technicalities of virtual learning.
According to the governor's orders, extracurricular activities are not to take place during the two-week school closure. There will be no sports practices or games.
Students should monitor their email for updates for SAT testing and college/university closings. Some colleges/universities are offering virtual visits, so if it is a school you are interested in, make sure you register for those.
SAT – 3/14
It is safe to assume that all tests that were to be administered in Montgomery County will or have been canceled. The only school that has reached out to Gwynedd directly is Souderton confirming that they are not offering the SAT tomorrow. CollegeBoard will work on either rescheduling the test or issuing refunds. As this is an ongoing issue, please be flexible with CollegeBoard and know that universities are aware of the situation and will work with students in the coming months as well as we move through the application process.
Notice from CollegeBoard:
CollegeBoard Coronavirus Update: What to do if you are registered to take the March 14 SAT:
Test center closings: http://spr.ly/61841Sdne
Coronavirus updates: http://spr.ly/61851Sdn5
Press release: http://spr.ly/61861Sdng
Visual Arts Field Trip
Senior Mother-Daughter Retreat – 3/22
Demystifying College Admission Testing Night – 3/24
Junior/Senior Prom – 3/27 New date is Wednesday, 5/20
The Junior/Senior Prom has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 20 and will be held at Presidential Caterers. We do not know right now what the school schedule will look like on that day but rest assured that juniors and seniors would be dismissed no later than noon.
TechGirlz – 3/28
College Fair – 4/2
The Commonwealth has now taken some rather severe steps to address the COVID-19 pandemic. While these steps may slow the progress of the disease, there is the possibility that it will be with us longer, even if we are ultimately better able to cope with it. The balance between the right to privacy and responsibility to the community can be a difficult one to strike at a time when some people's reactions are so extreme and panicked. If anyone in your home has symptoms or tested positive for the Coronavirus, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to help us understand and better manage the situation at Gwynedd.
Again, Monday will be a Cyber Day for students as faculty prepare for Virtual Learning beginning on Tuesday. We will plan to provide a weekly Friday communication over the next two weeks. However, we will certainly be in contact with our families sooner should circumstances deem it necessary.
As we prepare for the weeks ahead, may we find peace and comfort in God's enduring mercy, inspiration in the abundant care and support of our Gwynedd family, and renewal as we repent and reflect during this season of Lent. I will pray for each of you until we are together in the red and gold corridors once more.
Miss Mary E. Kirby
Dear Gwynedd Mercy Parents and Students,
This afternoon, given the continued spread of COVID-19 across Montgomery County, Gov. Tom Wolf has mandated the closure of all Montgomery County schools for the next 14 days. In compliance with the mandate, Gwynedd Mercy High School will remain closed through Sunday, March 29 and will plan to re-open on Monday, March 30.
In the meantime, all events, sports, and activities during this period of closure are cancelled. However, we are looking into options to potentially reschedule the Junior/Senior Prom to an alternate date in May.
Tomorrow and Monday, March 13 and 16, will be Cyber Days for students while faculty and staff prepare for Virtual Learning next week. Students should continue to monitor their school email and to use Rediker to access lessons and assignments. Additional information will be emailed to students tomorrow related to the Virtual Learning. We will continue to communicate updates as we have information to share.
We are grateful for your continued support and understanding during these unprecedented circumstances. As a community of Mercy, please continue to pray for all the lives who have been touched by this worldwide pandemic.
Dear Gwynedd Mercy Parents and Students,
Today, we received official notification that one Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School student has been exposed to somebody who has tested positive for Coronavirus COVID-19. Though our Gwynedd student has not shown symptoms, she has been mandated to isolate and self-quarantine for 14 days in accordance with recommendations of local and state health officials. Please note that there are no known people in our school who have tested presumed positive for the virus. The Montgomery County Office of Public Health has advised us that the CDC guidelines indicate that this individual poses no risk of transmission since she is not showing any symptoms.
The health and safety of our students and all persons affiliated with Gwynedd is of the utmost importance to us. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we are taking additional preventative steps that go above and beyond standard cleaning procedures. We have enlisted the services of a company which specializes in the cleaning and microbial control of surfaces with hospital-grade cleansers and disinfectants, so that we can take an aggressive measure to provide for the health and welfare of our school community. In order to complete this work, Gwynedd will be closed Wednesday, March 11 through Sunday, March 15, 2020, for disinfection and deep cleaning. All events and activities scheduled within the Gwynedd building, as well as Spring sports are also cancelled through Sunday.
Per the PIAA advisory (linked here), and in conjunction with the PA Department of Health, basketball and swimming and diving championship events will continue as scheduled.
Beginning tomorrow and for the rest of the school week, Gwynedd students will have Cyber Days, meaning students will access lessons and assignments through their Rediker portals. Students are also asked to regularly check their Gwynedd email.
For any student registered to take the SAT at Germantown Academy on Saturday, updates will be provided directly from the College Board. Students should monitor emails for communications from the College Board.
We will remain in contact with the Montgomery County Department of Health and will continue to communicate updates as we have information to share. Please remain diligent and continue to utilize the prevention strategies of cover, wash, contain, and clean.
Thank you for your continued vigilance and understanding
Miss Mary E. Kirby
Good evening, Parents, Students, Faculty, and Staff,
This afternoon, Montgomery County reported a confirmed case of Coronavirus COVID-19 in Lower Gwynedd Township. Upon hearing this news, we immediately contacted the Montgomery County Office of Public Health, which issued this linked statement, indicating, "that there is no evidence of community transmission in Montgomery County".
We have been in communication with local school district and public health and safety officials and will be in touch with you if we should hear that any additional measures have become necessary to protect our students and staff. We will continue to monitor the situation very carefully and share any additional information we get as soon as possible.
As a reminder, if you are experiencing symptoms of the Coronavirus (fever, runny nose, dry cough, sore throat), please stay at home and contact your healthcare provider.
Miss Mary E. Kirby
Dear Gwynedd Parents & Guardians,
We are writing to communicate with you about how Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School is addressing the Coronavirus. As always, we are focused on ensuring the health and safety of our school community.
Our health policies align with the guidance of the Health Services Department of Wissahickon School District. We have a nurse from Wissahickon on the premises weekly who is in regular communication with our school nurses. We also receive regular communication from the School Safety Officer for Montgomery County who provides us with resources specific to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
As shared in a communication from the Wissahickon School District below, you can learn more about this virus and preventative measures from the Centers of Disease Control as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Statement from the Wissahickon School District:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The CDC website is updated frequently with information about the coronavirus.
The CDC recommends a set of typical, common-sense precautions such as washing one's hands, staying home when sick, etc. The CDC website (see above link) has additional details on these precautions as well as information that pertains to topics as international travel or pre-existing healthcare situations.
Procedures are in place in our schools, and always have been as a matter of prudent emergency planning, to respond to any reports of communicable illness such as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The Pennsylvania Department of Health issues guidance and direction to health-care providers and schools when necessary. Guidance has been provided to health care providers in the state for suspected cases of this virus. The Wissahickon School District complies with the direction of health agencies such as the Office of Public Health of Montgomery County and the PA Department of Health in matters of communicable illness. If there were a confirmed case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in our community, the Office of Public Health would immediately notify us and provide guidance and information for distribution to our families.
Should a situation arise in which we are made aware of a case in our region, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School is prepared to move to a cyber school format for a period of time. We will continue to communicate as needed as the situation progresses. We appreciate your help and support as we navigate this international health concern. As a community, we pray for all those already significantly impacted.
Mary E. Kirby