The Elisabeth Morrow School
Inspiring Achievement and Character in Students for 90 Years.


The Elisabeth Morrow School will have students back on campus in Fall 2020.

The Staff, Administration, and Board of Trustees would like our entire Elisabeth Morrow School (EMS) community to know that all of our plans and strategies start with the overarching goal of having your children in EMS classrooms, taught by EMS teachers.

Our re-entry plans for the fall are built around our commitment to deliver a full academic schedule to our students, as well as to provide the EMS experiences before and after classes that create a full social experience for your children.

We have a fierce belief that our committed community, deep experience as educators, and the sheer size and expansiveness of campus have helped us develop a pandemic response that is unparalleled by any school in the vicinity. 

The 6 Goals of Reopening EMS

  1. Commit to meeting or exceeding CDC/state guidelines
  2. Provide a healthy and safe environment for our community  (students, parents, faculty, and staff)
  3. Commit to five-days per week
  4. Commit to full school day from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  5. Commit to our original academic calendar, including planned breaks
  6. Provide additional and continual professional development for faculty

A Mutual Understanding

As educators, we believe in the science that is constantly revealing new information about COVID-19, the risks associated with it, how to mitigate those risks, and the real nature of the data being presented by groups like the Centers for Disease Control. We have concluded that with deliberate design, we will be able to provide a healthy and safe environment for our community (students, parents, faculty, and staff) while planning for every contingency and family circumstance. 

The keys to our success will be trust, agility, and preparedness – from staff and families.

We hope that we will be able to answer all your questions, and if you have any remaining concerns, you have avenues to engage with EMS leaders about them.

We can’t wait to see you all.

Why We’re Prioritizing On-Campus Learning

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020. Lengthy time away from school and associated interruption of supportive services often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits. Beyond the educational impact and social impact of school closures, there has been substantial impact on food security and physical activity for children and families.

“COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry” - American Academy of Pediatrics

While our priority is students, EMS staff recognizes remote learning has a profound effect on parents as well. We are acutely aware of the inequitable burden childcare may place on many families in an already stressful time. Additionally, most parents have struggled with the burden to adapt to the time commitment and stress involved in becoming an educator to their child. On-campus learning is the option that we, at EMS, believe will result in the best outcomes for our families.

Who We’re Listening to, Reading, and Taking into Advisement:

We’ve based the decision to emphasize on-campus learning on extensive research and consultation with academic, medical, and psychological experts.
The Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS)
New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS)
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS)
National Business Officers Association (NBOA)
American Academy of Pediatrics
Centers for Disease Control
New Jersey Department of Health
New Jersey Department of Education
Arts Ed NJ 

This list is not exhaustive, as every member of staff additionally participated in discussions, webinars, readings, and conferences within their specialties about how to best serve students under the circumstances.

Who is Making Decisions for EMS?

While it would be impossible to mount the effort we have undertaken without participation from every member of administration and staff, we have two important teams that have comprised the decision-making process. The first is the COVID-19 Steering Committee, outlined below. They primarily designed the strategy and plan for the 2019 spring response, and the 2020-21 school year, which was approved by the Executive Board COVID-19 Committee. The implementation of this plan was handled by the Health, Safety & Logistics Task Force. The task force was composed of key members of the EMS community that could address the monumental technological, facility, safety, and organizational issues of our plan.

COVID-19 Steering Committee


Health, Safety & Logistics Task Force

Maureen Fonseca   Mike Virzi (Facilities and Operations)
Lauren Bedell (CFO)   Jim Ruff (Facilities and Operations)
Michele Bower (SSP)   Lauren Bedell (CFO)
Beth Brennan (LS)   Sarah Rolle (Technology)
Phil Cox (MH)   Keila Pernia (Human Resources)
Amelia Gold (Arts)   Michele Bower (Academics)
Liza Hards (Auxiliary)   Betsy Tyras (Nurse)
Laura Heffron (Advancement)   Desere Diaz (Nurse)
Lauren Mactas (CH)   Liza Hards (Auxiliaries)
Caitlin Read (Enrollment)   Caitlin Read (Enrollment)
Sarah Rolle (Technology)    


Privacy Protection Policies

Privacy protection rules as part of online access policy: During these challenging times, The Elisabeth Morrow School (“EMS”) has implemented measures to continue providing exemplary academic instruction to all students.  Toward that end, EMS will be providing remote classroom instruction using Google Meet and other technology.  Some of this instruction may be asynchronous, meaning that students would not be required to meet live but can instead access the instruction at a later time, consistent with their teacher’s instructions for that class.  In that event, the classroom instruction will be recorded live and made available for student viewing at a later time in the event the student is unable to participate at a specific time, or feels that additional review of the classroom instruction will be beneficial. Currently this will be accomplished by the teacher’s sharing of the recorded instruction through Google Drive.  This access serves to enhance the educational process and provide much needed flexibility during these times.  

EMS expects and requires that all students and parents continue to adhere to the EMS privacy policies. For remote learning access, it is the school policy and it is the obligation of all students and parents to ensure that the classroom instruction information is used by the student only for the student's own educational requirements and is not downloaded, recorded, copied, or distributed to any third party. All students will be notified of their obligations to comply with this policy with each invitation to access any recorded classroom instruction.  Please note that a violation of this policy is a disciplinary violation under the EMS policies. We thank you for your assistance in complying with this policy and remain available to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have.