In the Middle of Things - MS News

Dear Middle School Parents,

Reminders and Notices
Early dismissal
If your son has an early dismissal, please inform your son of the time of his early dismissal and email Ms. Phyllis Pollard, ( by 8:30 AM at the latest. Because we have students in the Middle School and Carey Hall, please notify him of the arrangements in advance. Once you have picked up your son from in front of the Middle School, please call or email the main office that you have him.

  • All MS students will learn virtually on Wednesdays.
  • All assignments will be posted to teachers’ Canvas pages by 8:00 PM Sunday.
  • Please remember to submit your health forms daily.
  • If lunch was not ordered for the week, please bring to school a packed lunch. Students will not have access to a microwave or a refrigerator.
  • Students must bring a water bottle to school for drinking water during the school day.
  • Students must bring their noise canceling headphones which are needed for asynchronous classes and morning meeting.

Important Dates for October
Tuesday, October 20: Middle School Photo Day
All Middle Schoolers will get their photo taken for the yearbook and their student ID. The dress code for Photo Day is a dress shirt, tie, and navy blue blazer (please wear to school). The boys will be able to change clothes (regular dress code) after their photo has been taken. Please make sure to write your son's name in his blue blazer. You may also use the photo order form and have your son return it to school and give it to the photographer with your payment on Photo Day.

Middle School Photos for Virtual Learners
Virtual Learners, with a negative COVID-19 test on file in the Health Center, may attend classes in person on Tuesday, October 20 and have their school pictures taken. Virtual Learners also have the option of scheduling a session with Simon Photographers to have student photos taken. Here is the link: Schedule with Irvin Simon Photographers

Thursday, October 22: Author Visit with Nic Stone
We are thrilled to welcome author, Nic Stone, to our campus virtually, on Thursday, October 22, 2020. Ms. Stone will meet with the entire Eighth Grade class via Zoom from 10:55-11:30 AM and will also have an assembly open to all Gilman community members via Zoom from 3:05-3:45 PM. We will provide you with Zoom links as we get closer to the event. Click here for Ms. Stone's full schedule.
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Ms. Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work. Nic Stone is the author of Dear Martin and the sequel Dear JustyceDear Martin was the required eighth grade summer reading selection for 2020. If you would like to purchase any of Nic Stone's books and receive a signed author book plate for your copy, please use this link to order from the Ivy Bookshop.

Friday, October 30: First Quarter Ends
The first quarter ends on Friday, October 30. The second quarter will begin on Monday, November 2. Sixth and seventh graders will go to a new quarter class. Your son’s First Quarter Report Card and teacher comments will be available Wednesday, November 6, by 5:00 PM. An email notification will be sent to you indicating that his report card is available on the Parent Portal.

Saturday, October 31: Eighth Grade Social
Join us for potato picking and farm work at First Fruits Farm! Session is from 9:00 - 11:30 AM. All will be outside in small groups. Meet at the volunteer pavilion.
Location: 20431 Middletown Road, Freeland MD 21053
IMPORTANTPlease sign waiver BEFORE arrival!
Follow this linkLiability Waiver
Bring: mask, water, work gloves, closed toe shoes, layered clothing

Friday, October 30: Middle School Costume Day
8:00 AM-12:00 PM | Middle School
Boys are welcome to come to school dressed in costume. The design of the costume must still include a Gilman approved face mask that covers the nose and mouth. The face mask must still be worn throughout the day. The boys should use their best judgment when selecting their costume. Weapons of any kind, even those that are fake, are not permitted. Please make sure that your son’s costume is sensitive to the diversity in our community and the turbulent times in our country. If boys choose not to dress in costume, they should follow the normal dress code. If your son is unsure of the appropriateness of his costume, please email Mr. Eric Marner, Middle School Dean in advance (

The Gilman Libraries
Read about all that is happening in the Gilman Libraries here: Gilman Libraries Newsletter - Fall 2020

Holiday Travel Update
Please see a holiday travel message from Mr. Smyth

COVID-19 Testing Updates
Travel Advisory: We are currently following the recommendations of the Governor's Travel Advisory issued on 7/29/20 (attached). The advisory asks that all Marylanders be tested for Covid-19 when they return from out-of-state travel. In addition, the advisory asks that Marylanders who travel to hot spots (defined as locations with a test positivity rate over 10%) be tested AND quarantine until the results come back.

You can determine your destination's level of COVID 19 infections by going to, clicking on the state and then the county. Please note that the state may have a low positivity rate but the area you are traveling to may be high. If the test positivity rate is not available for your specific destination, you can also look at the rate of cases per 100K. Below 10 per 100K, is best.

COVID-19 Dashboard: We want to be forthcoming with suspected and confirmed cases on campus, while not overwhelming your inboxes with updates that do not directly impact your family. To that end, we have created a dashboard that will keep our community updated. Rest assured that families will be notified directly if their son has been exposed. Impacted employees will be notified directly, as well. This dashboard will be updated daily, seven days per week. Please click here to view our COVID-19 Dashboard.

Gilman requires all students, faculty and staff to be tested for COVID-19 as part of the return-to-campus plan. Please click here to read the letter sent to the Gilman Community on Thursday, September 3. This letter can also be found on the Reopening page of the Gilman website.

Daily Screening: Each morning you will receive a text message and email with a link to complete your daily health screening. You do not need to download an app to have access to the link. The link will be pushed out to you at 5:30 AM. If you do not fill out the screening by 6:30 AM, you will receive a reminder. Once the screening is complete, you will be presented with a digital “pass” (QR code) or a message stating that your son should not come to school. If you receive the latter and have questions, please reach out to School Nurse Edie Meacham.

It is very important that you complete the screening prior to arriving on campus as you will need to present the digital pass on your phone or son’s Ipad to a faculty or staff member prior to your son getting out of the car. For students who walk or ride to campus, if you take a picture or snapshot of the QR code, the date and name must be visible. Please click here to learn more about the screening process.

Students Arriving Late to Campus
If your son will be arriving late to campus, please notify Ms. Phyllis Pollard, via email ( Students arriving late to campus, after 8:05 AM, should report to the middle school main entrance doors to have his daily QR code checked and will proceed to class.

Daily Absences
If your son will be absent for the day, please notify Ms. Phyllis Pollard, via email as soon as possible (

Dress Code: Just a friendly reminder of the updated dress code. As long as weather permits, khaki shorts can be worn. Athletic shorts made from mesh material are not allowed. The traditional polo style shirt is allowed in any color. A shirt with no collar of any color can be worn if it has the Gilman name or logo. All shoes must have a closed toe and be in good repair. Hair must remain above the collar and above the brow.

Arrival and Dismissal Instructions: Please see the attached diagrams which detail how arrival and dismissal will work each day. Rest assured that Gilman faculty and staff will be outside to help. (Please see attachments at the bottom of the email)

After entering campus, do not take any pathway that bypasses health checkpoints. Once on campus, your health pass only needs to be checked once.
  • Students may arrive on campus at 7:35 AM. Please do not arrive at campus any earlier than time to go directly to your first synchronous classroom.
  • Students arriving late to campus, after (time), should report to the middle school main entrance doors with their QR code or a copy of their QR code. Once their QR code has been checked, he can proceed to class:
    • Sixth Graders will enter through the front of the Middle School using the left and right door.
    • Seventh Graders will enter through the rear of the Middle school. Both doors may be used.
    • Eighth Graders should take the designated pathways to the Terrace Level of the Upper School.
  • Dismissal time is 3:45 PM. for all grades but the eighth graders will be dismissed from the lower lot.
  • Sixth Graders will dismiss through the front of the Middle School using the left and right door.
  • Seventh Graders will dismiss through the rear of the Middle school. Both doors may be used.
  • Eighth Graders are being dropped off and picked up from the lower lot and should take the designated pathways to the Terrace Level of the Upper School. 

MS General Schedule

Decision Tree: We want to take this opportunity to provide some additional information and reiterate what you can expect moving forward:
  • Please make sure to review our Decision Tree that we first shared with you in early August. This will continue to guide our decision-making process.
  • Your partnership and flexibility are paramount. We are doing all that we can to keep our community healthy and safe by adhering to CDC and MDH protocols and will communicate in as timely a manner as possible.
  • The number of faculty and staff who are in direct contact with the person with symptoms will also impact our decision-making.
  • Please understand that there remains a possibility that an entire grade will need to stay at home. Contact tracing will determine the number of affected people but in special circumstances, we may need to err on the side of caution.


Enjoy your weekend,

Shonique L. Alexander
Interim Head of Middle School