In-person instruction to resume under new guidelines

Will Sherwood and Melody Tang

For the first time in 404 days, students and teachers will be able to return to classrooms together for in-person instruction on Monday, April 19.

In an email sent to the upper school parents and students Head of Upper School Beth Slattery detailed changes to the previous school reopening phase which ran from March 9 until the start spring break and grouped students into “pods.” Each pod was allowed to attend their classes virtually from designated spaces on campus. Like in the previous phase, the school will allow only one grade level on campus each day. Students will still be routinely tested for COVID-19.

When students were last allowed on campus, they were not permitted to interact with peers outside their designated “pods.” However, they will now be able to switch classrooms throughout the day in accordance to their class schedules, and interact with students outside of their “pods.” The school’s policy also reflects new Centers for Disease Control school guidelines, which allow students to be a minimum of three feet apart inside when wearing a mask. Students will still be required to stay six feet apart while eating outdoors.

Slattery said it is likely that classes will take on different forms depending on whether the teacher, and how many students, opted-in to the in-person schooling model.

“Each class will look a little different, depending on how many students are in the classroom, whether the teacher is on campus and the content of the class,” Slattery said. “In some cases, an entire class may be present, allowing the class to run completely in-person. In other classes where not all students are present, teachers may choose to group students in classrooms to work without screens while remote students work in virtual breakout rooms on Zoom.”

Graydon Schulze-Kalt ’22 said he looks forward to working with her peers in a live classroom and thinks that the return to campus will forge stronger bonds within the community.

“I’m excited for the chance to spend time in an actual classroom with my classmates and my teachers,” Schulze-Kalt said. “Zoom has made it hard to develop a lot of those connections between the people in my classes, and hopefully going back to school will let me do that. Although it’s already the fourth quarter, I’m grateful for any opportunity to have some form of junior year experience.”

Aiko Offner ’23 said she is excited to return to campus and connect with the community members she has not been able to meet in-person.

“More than anything, I’m excited to meet and connect with my teachers because I think that has been one of the barriers of online learning,” Offner said. “I don’t expect hybrid learning to be flawless from the very beginning, but I do know that no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may feel in the beginning, we will all be in it together physically, and that is an incredibly comforting thought.”