Saint Mary's Front Gate with Blue Ribbons

Welcome to the 2021-2022
Saint Mary's Community
COVID-19 Updates and Resource page.

We hope you will find this a useful resource as together we navigate the 2021-2022 school year and the changing circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page will be updated regularly to reflect the most current information regarding health and safety protocols, schedule changes, etc. 

The 2021-2022 academic year

Saint Mary’s School has spent several months preparing for the re-opening of campus for our students, faculty, and staff for the 2021-2022 academic year. After a successful 2020-2021 year in-person, we are confident in our team and in our community in helping us have another great year. We will continue to rely on experts in the public heath, infectious diseases, epidemiology, and environmental health fields, as well as the latest best practices and our experience in managing and planning for continuous operations. We will also prepare contingency plans and commit to staying on top of the ever-evolving global pandemic situation. Anticipating that vaccination efforts will prove effective in preventing serious or deadly illness, and that restrictions for public gatherings and prevailing public health guidelines for physical distancing will be adapted as needed, Saint Mary’s is preparing for a fully in-person fall 2021 semester.  To learn more about the re-opening plan for Saint Mary's, click here.

Saint Mary’s School plans to operate as normally as possible for the 2021-2022 school year with guidelines in place to foster the health and safety of our community, as COVID-19 remains a factor in our state, nation, and world. Saint Mary’s will once again base our COVID-19 playbook on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the National Association of Independent Schools (NCAIS), and the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, amongst other credible organizations. We will continue to respond to the changing environment and modify these guidelines as necessary throughout the year.

Saint Mary’s will open under moderate risk conditions beginning with the opening of the 2021-2022 school year.


  • Masks will be required inside campus buildings for everyone.
  • Masks will be required at mass outdoor gatherings and events where there is extended close    contact for 15 minutes or longer.
  • Masks are optional outside during casual free time or walking about campus.
  • Masks are not required of roommates in their dorm room.

Dining Hall

  • The dining hall will serve three meals a day with social distancing in place at the dining tables.
  • In addition to seating in the dining hall, the Poyner and Tyler rooms on the second floor of Chan-Poyner, and the outdoor Rankin Terrrace will be available for dining. The library is not a dining location this year.


  • Athletics will compete interscholastically. Spectators at home games will be limited to parents of Saint Mary’s athletes and members of the campus community, with masks required both       indoors and outdoors and limits to crowd size in Bacon Gym. Triangle Fitness will continue with outdoor activities. The cardio room will be limited to 50 percent capacity, and the wellness room (weight room) will be closed.
  • Athletes will travel to away games by bus, with masks required and windows open.

Residential Guidelines

  • About Town Permissions (ATPS) for boarding students will be restricted to Wake County with  masks required in all vehicles.
  • There will be no visiting homes off campus by boarding students.
  • Weekend overnights will be restricted to a boarder’s own home or the home of their roommate.
  • Boarders may visit other dorm rooms with a limited capacity of four girls per room. Day students may not visit the dorms.
  • Parents may not visit students on dorm. They may meet outside and may drop off items for their daughter on the front porch of Smedes Hall.


  • Visitors will be limited inside campus buildings. Visitors may meet their student outside, and a drop box for parents to leave items for their daughters will be located on the front porch of Smedes Hall.
  • There is no advance screening process for visitors.
  • Tutors and therapists/counselors are allowed to meet with students on campus.

School Travel

  • Currently, school trips, both domestic and international, are suspended. Field trips will be considered on a case by case basis.

Student Activities and Campus Events

  • Activities that encroach on the three-foot social distancing threshold will be limited. Activities will be held outdoors when possible.
  • There will be no outside guests at major events and a three-foot social distancing threshold will be followed at all events. Events will be held outdoors when possible.

International Students

  • International students will be tested between day three and five after their arrival on campus.


  • Classrooms and indoor spaces will be set up for social distancing. Desks and furniture are not to be moved.
  • The maintenance staff will continue with routine and enhanced cleaning measures each day and week. Hand sanitizer and wipes will be widely available.

Isolation guidelines for symptomatic or positive students

Any student, regardless of vaccination status, with a positive COVID test OR with the following unexplained symptoms should isolate by staying home and notify SMS. Remain in isolation and do not return to school until you have met the criteria for return to school and have received approval from a Binder Health Nurse.

Symptoms: any of the symptoms below which are unexplained 

Stay at home with these symptoms, and contact Binder Health Center 919-424-4043

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Sore throat
  • Cough, new or unexplained
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Unexplained headache
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unexplained Muscle or body aches
  • Nasal/sinus congestion

Criterion for end of isolation and return to school, with approval from Binder Health Center before return

  • Negative PCR test
    • AND fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications and
    • AND feeling better for 24 hours
  • Without testing
    • It has been 10 days since the first day of symptoms
    • And it has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine)
    • And other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.
  • If diagnosed by test or through symptoms, must stay home until answer yes to all 3
    • At least 10 days since onset of symptoms
    • 24 hours fever free without meds
    • Symptoms have been improved for at least 24 hours
  • Confirmed alternative diagnosis

Quarantine guidelines for suspected or confirmed exposure

  • Students and/or families are required to report any known exposure
  • Exposure is defined as
    •  Contact with a household member diagnosed with COVID-19  
    •   Being within 6 feet for 15 minutes of a presumed, or diagnosed case, or a person diagnosed within two days after contact
  • Exceptions for need to quarantine after exposure
    • Vaccinated students are not required to quarantine following exposure,
    •  Students who are not fully vaccinated after a close contact in a classroom or other class-type school setting do NOT have to quarantine if masks were being worn appropriately and consistently by both the person with COVID-19 and the potentially exposed person. *Non-vaccinated students will quarantine after exposure as defined.
    • Students who have tested positive for Covid-19 within the past three months and recovered and do not have symptoms do not have to quarantine.
  • Students should remain home from school, in quarantine, until the following criteria are met
    • 14 days have passed since the last exposure
    • Symptom free
    • If symptoms develop then full exclusion criteria for isolation
    • Prior approval by Binder Health Center nurses before return

Please also note:

It is clear the best safeguards we have at our disposal for a normal school year are the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Saint Mary’s School highly encourages all students and employees to be vaccinated. A high vaccination rate on our campus will help stem spread in our community and allow us to function as normally as possible. Be it the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, DHHS, or the CDC, our guiding organizations agree vaccines are our best protection for a more normalized year.

Additionally, we will follow guidance from the CDC: we are not requiring vaccinated students to test, nor quarantine, in the case of a suspected or known exposure. Please note that SMS is requiring all vaccinated students to upload their COVID-19 card under the “Immunizations” requirement in Magnus. This is necessary to grant exemption from exposure requirements as quickly as possible, as well as to determine the overall immunity of the community.

Please also note:

  • SMS will not offer a virtual learning option this year. At their discretion, faculty may record a lesson but will not be required to do so. This further increases the importance of being vaccinated to lessen the risk of being out of school due to a known or suspected exposure or a positive case of COVID-19.
  • SMS will require all students who have NOT been vaccinated to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival at the start of the year. Students with a documented case of COVID-19 within 90 days of arrival do not need to submit a test but must submit proof of a positive diagnosis to The Binder Health Center.
  • With regard to any mask requirement for schools this fall, we continue to await additional guidance from the State of North Carolina. We will follow all mandates and guidance from the State of North Carolina and the CDC regarding masks.

As we navigate the year, we ask that you remain supportive and helpful. Our number one priority is to keep OUR school open, and together, we know we can have an amazing year!




Contact Us

Jaye Deberry '02                    Administrative Assistant

Student Life
Tim Healy
Dean of Students

Residential Life
Abby Wahlstrom
Director of Residential Life

Binder Health Center (BHC)
Sharon Holmes, R.N. 
Director of BHC