Fordham Preparatory School Fall 2021 - Opening Plan

Our Ignatian Values

Fordham Prep has no higher priority than the health and safety of our community, which includes all students, faculty, and staff.

We prepare to begin the 2021-2022 academic year deeply rooted in Catholic and Jesuit values; our mission of faith, scholarship and service; and a 180-year-old tradition of providing an outstanding experience of college preparatory education. At the heart of this mission and experience is our focus on cura personalis: our Ignatian commitment to care for each student.

During the past years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fordham Prep community demonstrated extraordinary resiliency, flexibility, and care for each other and our neighbors, as well as a commitment to educational excellence.

We hope this year’s comprehensive re-opening plan results in a strong and healthy community grounded in our values, true to our mission, and, with God’s grace, ready to meet and overcome new challenges that we may face.


Committed to the ideal of 'cura personalis', one of our core values, the health and safety of each member of the Fordham Prep community (students, faculty, and staff) is our top priority.

This year Fordham Prep will offer a daily in-person schedule of classes for all our students and faculty. We are planning no regular remote learning options at this time.

In order to help mitigate viral spread, Fordham Prep will implement indoor physical distancing of 3 feet wherever possible, and require all students, faculty, staff, and any campus visitors to wear face masks* at all times while indoors, except when eating lunch.

Every member of the Prep community--e.g., faculty, staff, student--must either disclose proof of vaccination or weekly negative COVID-19 test results, with some exceptions: all participants on Fordham Prep’s athletic teams must disclose proof of vaccination, as must participants in other special co-curricular activities, programs or events, as determined and communicated by the Administration. Exceptions which mandate universal vaccination are the result of policies at external facilities on which Fordham Prep programs rely (e.g., athletic facilities), or may be due to the specific risks involved in these activities (e.g., international travel in our Global Education Program).

The measures and policies Fordham Prep has adopted follow or exceed guidance from New York State and New York City public health officials and they align with recommendations from our own medical advisors who are specialists in related fields.

Fordham Prep’s 2021-22 reopening plan is based on the most recent guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH), the New York State Department of Education (NYSED), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). If and when conditions change and New York State releases new guidance, and as any further details of our plan become available, Fordham Prep will update our plan and communicate revisions to our community.

Each fall, students and parents / guardians are required to review and sign the parent/student handbook. This year, the handbook once again contains a section on expectations of the community during the pandemic. Fordham Prep requires all students and adults to comply with these expectations in order to come to campus.

No plan or set of safety measures can guarantee absolute prevention of COVID-19 transmission or completely eliminate any risk of contracting the virus. However, we have invested significant resources to create a healthy and safe learning environment.

We invite all members of the Fordham Prep community to embrace the Ignatian practices of flexibility and cura personalis during the course of the school year.

*The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on masks are:

  • A properly worn mask completely covers the nose and mouth.
  • Cloth masks should be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source).
  • Mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.
  • Mask should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures.

Academic Program

Full In-Person Learning

  • Weekly/Cyclical Schedule - As we have in the past, Fordham Prep will continue to utilize a 6-day cycle in our class schedule (A through F days). All students will attend in-person classes daily. There will be no hybrid or full remote options this year.
  • Course Offerings - The return to full in-person learning also maintains all counseling classes, service, ministry leadership team, etc. In-person vocal and instrumental music courses and activities will take place and follow safety and health guidelines. Physical education classes will comply with state recommendations and take place either outdoors or indoors. Consultation periods will take place in-person at the end of each school day, with the exception of E Days on which Activities Period will be held.
“Fordham Prep not only made my son a better reader and writer, but a better person.” - parent of member of the Class of 2021

Academic Program

Daily Schedule

  • Student Arrival and Departure - Each morning, students must use their IDs and, upon request, demonstrate proof of vaccination to enter campus through the Rose Hill security gates. They may present their official CDC vaccination card, or a hard or digital copy of it. The NY State Excelsior Pass and NYC Covid Safe also provide acceptable proofs of vaccination. It is a federal crime to manufacture, sell, or use forged CDC vaccination records.
  • Students will gain access to the Prep building beginning at 7 am. Those who have opted for weekly Covid tests are only permitted to enter and exit the Rose Hill Campus via the Southern Blvd. pedestrian gate nearest to Rowen Field, in the rear of the Prep campus. The guards at this gate will have a list of those students who attend Fordham Prep and do not need to show proof of vaccination in order to enter campus. Unvaccinated students are not permitted access through other campus gates as proof of vaccination is required at these points.
  • Seniors are not required to arrive at school until their first scheduled class of the day. All other students should be in the building no later than 8:20 a.m. as the first class begins at 8:25 a.m.
  • AM attendance will be taken as students swipe their ID cards upon entering the building. Students will be required to remain until the end of the school day, regardless of whether they are scheduled for a class in the last block or not. Those students who do not have a class in the last block will check out with the deans beginning at 2:25 p.m.
  • Class Schedule - Each school day consists of three 60 minute blocks and four 40 minute blocks. This year's schedule features different meeting times for classes throughout the cycle, so it is important for students to know their schedule. Passing time between periods is 3 minutes. Only those students who are scheduled for lunch may use the Commons during that period. Students may not enter the Commons during one of their free periods unless it is Period 1 or 2 in the morning.

Faculty/Staff and Visitor Access to Campus

Access to the Rose Hill Campus and the Prep: All faculty, staff, parents, and visitors 12 years of age and older are required to present proof of vaccination to enter the Rose Hill campus. They may present their official CDC vaccination card, or a hard or digital copy of it. NY State Excelsior Pass and NYC Covid Safe also provide acceptable proofs of vaccination. It is a federal crime to manufacture, sell, or use forged CDC vaccination records.

Visitors younger than 12 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and are required to wear a mask at all times, both indoors and outdoors.

Health and Safety


All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before and after meals and after using the restroom. In addition, they will be required to keep physically distant (3 feet) from each other at all times whenever possible and to wear face masks at all times, except during lunch. Signage throughout the campus will remind the community about hygiene and physical distance.

Health and Safety


  • Campus Cleaning - Fordham Prep has supplemented our staff’s regular cleaning services with an outside contractor that has expertise in disinfection practices and specialized products. All procedures and cleaning products meet CDC standards and guidelines.
  • Personal Hygiene Resources - Sanitizing dispensers as well as disinfecting wipes have been installed in each room in the building. In addition, there are multiple stand-alone dispensers located throughout the building.
  • Air Ventilation Enhancements - The Prep’s HVAC system was cleaned and disinfected by an outside vendor. The system was inspected to ensure cleanliness. All filters comply with NYSDOH recommendations. We will continue to increase the frequency in which new, fresh air is ingested into the HVAC system. In classrooms and spaces with operational windows, faculty/staff are asked to keep windows open at all times, except during extreme weather conditions, and to keep doors open in order to promote additional ventilation.

Health and Safety


*Fordham Prep will follow protocols recommended by public health officials and our medical advisors in relation to testing and confirmed incidents of COVID-19 in the school building.*

Students who have opted for weekly Covid tests in lieu of vaccination

  • COVID Testing Specifications and Resources: Students may make an appointment for a free rapid Covid-19 virus test at the NYC Health Department’s COVID Express Sites located throughout the city. These tests are PCR-based laboratory diagnostic tests which are the most accurate type of test available. Test results are available within 24 hours of the visit.
  • In addition, pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens also offer $0 out of pocket costs for those with health insurance. They too provide the PCR/NAAT tests with results typically taking 1-2 days. An additional option is to use OTC - take home tests such as Binax NOW, Ellume rapid test or Quidel Quick Vue rapid test. The cost for such tests range from $24-39 per test.
  • Reporting Results: A Google Form will be sent to each family who has opted for weekly testing. The document will ask for the student's name, ID#, year of graduation and date of test. It also will allow the test result to be uploaded. Test results must be uploaded each week by Thursday at noon, beginning at noon of Sept. 9. Likewise, those who prefer to turn in the paperwork from the testing site, must present these results to Mrs. Casaccio-Ortiz in the Attendance Office by Thursday at noon. For those weeks in which the school is closed on Thursday, an email will be sent at the beginning of the week with clear instructions.
  • Access to Campus: Students who have opted for weekly COVID tests are only permitted to use the Southern Blvd pedestrian gate nearest to the Prep campus to enter and exit the Rose Hill campus. The guards at that gate will have a list of those students who attend Fordham Prep and do not need to show proof of vaccination in order to enter campus. Unvaccinated students are not permitted access through other gates which require proof of vaccination.

On Campus Illness

If a student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day, he will be isolated and supervised by an adult. The student must remain in isolation until he is picked up by an authorized adult. Ill students will not be allowed to travel home on their own.

Testing Positive for COVID-19

Anyone in the school community who experiences symptoms of COVID-19should stay home and consult with a primary care physician to determine whether a diagnostic test is necessary as well as an appropriate treatment plan.

In the event of a positive test result, it is critical to report this outcome immediately to our nurse or to Mrs. Casaccio-Ortiz in the Attendance Office for the purpose of contact tracing.

CDC guidance defines a “close contact” as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the CDC definition of a “close contact” excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.

This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

Several Fordham Prep staff trained by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will assist our community as contact tracers. To help them keep our community safe and healthy, please cooperate with them should they contact you seeking information. Fordham Prep is committed to protect students’ and faculty/staff members’ right to privacy as afforded under FERPA and HIPPA provisions.

According to CDC guidance, people who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they do not have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

Social and Emotional Support

It is vital during these challenging times for us to continue to support our students both inside and outside the classroom. We are committed to meeting our students where they are. Our school and college counselors as well as our clinicians are available to our students at all times.
  • Counseling Services - Counseling services will be available to all students through our Counseling Department. Students will have access to all school and college counselors, the school psychologist, social worker, and the ADAPP counselor, and they will continue to meet in groups in counseling classes throughout the year.
  • Mental Health - We encourage students and their parents to practice good mental health habits during this challenging and stressful time and to reach out to our counselors, clinicians, or any other Prep faculty or staff if they require assistance.

Food Service

Our food service vendor will continue to provide lunch each school day. The barriers installed in the Commons serving area remain in place. Lunch will take place in physically distanced dining areas. As always, students may bring in their own lunch from home with microwaves available. Seniors will not be permitted to leave the Prep campus during their lunch and free periods. Breakfast will be available.

Transportation and Commuting

We expect public officials will ensure riders that using public transportation (.e.g., Metro North, subways, public buses) is safe and healthy. Students and families should be familiar with the state-issued public transit guidance and continually monitor it for any further requirements on trains, subways, and buses including the wearing of face masks and physical distancing.

From time to time, our deans receive calls and video files from passengers which pertain to our students’ conduct on Metro North, including their non-compliance with face mask requirements. Please keep this in mind and encourage good conduct and compliance with all requirements as our students represent their families and Fordham Prep during their daily commutes.

Fordham University has mandated that unvaccinated Prep students may only use the Southern Blvd pedestrian gate to enter and exit campus. The guards at that gate will have a list of those students who attend Fordham Prep and do not need to show proof of vaccination in order to enter campus.

Campus Life

Participation in Campus Ministry programs, Mass, Retreats, Christian Service, Clubs, and Global Education is a vital aspect of the Fordham Prep experience and is a key factor in helping students form community and develop their social and spiritual lives.

Students participate in over 70 clubs and extracurricular activities ranging from ESports, Sports Analytics, Mandarin, Investing and UNICEF. Students are also encouraged to establish a club or activity and attend many of the school’s student led forums facilitated by faculty members. Our global education initiatives include service-learning and exchange programs with Jesuit schools in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

During the initial stages of the pandemic in the spring, our community was able to utilize technology to celebrate the Mass together, organize service projects, and perform together in artistic endeavors. This was due in great part to the dedication and ingenuity of our faculty and staff. In the second semester last year we were pleased to resume overnight retreats and this summer our service immersion trips to Tennessee also resumed.

This year, we will continue to offer our students opportunities to participate in daily prayer and spiritual formation as well as co-curricular programs and activities while ensuring everyone’s safety. Co-curricular activities will resume in-person meetings every E-day. Overnight retreats are currently planned for all four years. Our seniors will also be resuming in-person service at local agencies and our Global Education program also plans to resume international trips for fully vaccinated students.

More information about each programs offerings can be found at the following website pages:


The Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA), Catholic High School Football League (CHSFL), and other sports not governed by these leagues will all follow state health guidelines. The fall sports seasons will begin at their regularly scheduled dates.

Any participant on a Fordham Prep athletic team is required to disclose proof of vaccination in order to practice and compete.

Important Dates

  • Friday, August 6 - Class schedule and book list available
  • Friday, August 27 - Final deadline for submission of student proof of vaccination or weekly testing option.
  • Saturday, August 28 - Welcome Event (Class of 2023 and 2024 Parents/Guardians)
  • Tuesday, September 7 - Transfer Student Orientation
  • Wednesday, September 8 - Student Orientation (Freshmen, Juniors, Seniors)
  • Thursday, September 9 - Student Orientation (Freshmen, Sophomores)
  • Friday, September 10 - First Day of Classes
  • Tuesday, September 14 - Welcome Event and Senior Parents College Admissions Night (Class of 2022 Parents/Guardians)
  • Sunday, September 19 - New Family Orientation (Class of 2025 and Transfer Student Families)

For any questions on the information contained in the plan, please contact Fordham Prep's principal, Dr. Joseph Petriello '98, at petrielloj@fordhamprep.org.

A Prayer During COVID-19

by Megan Sheehan, Marquette University

Dear Lord, As the coronavirus (COVID-19) affects our world, we continue to pray. We invite you into our hearts, Lord - hearts that have so much on them now. Amidst our fear, disappointment, confusion, uncertainty, grief, anger, frustration and more. We invite you in, Lord. We know you are bigger.

May we be given a peace and understanding of cancellations and social distancing rules. May we act with humility to not just preserve our own safety and health, but to look beyond ourselves and think of how our actions will affect others. May we be alert to the ways we may help those around us, and give us the grace to step forward without hesitation to be men and women for and with others, for Your greater glory.

Come to our aid, Lord. Open our ears to hear your voice in these troubled times, may we listen and be prudent and may we draw ever closer to you. Amen.

Ronald Castillo '96, APRN, is one of many Prep alumni, parents, and friends who are living out the call to be "men and women for others" on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Created with images by Anshu A - "untitled image" • Kelly Sikkema - "Container of cleaning / sanitizing wipes"