We’ve learned a tremendous amount over the past few months—about COVID, about learning in a blended environment, and about our own needs and vulnerabilities both as human beings and as a community.
- We learned that our students were indeed able to rise to the challenges set forth in our Community Commitment and protect themselves and each other as COVID raged around us.
- We learned that obstacles often result in opportunity, and we saw our faculty deliver creative adaptations of curriculum and programs that made the most of a blended learning environment and that resulted in real, meaningful growth.
- We learned that the pace of distance learning is different and that we need to continue to adapt our daily and weekly schedules to be sustainable in the long haul.
- We learned that quarantines work in stemming the spread of the virus, but that isolation and uncertainty can be detrimental to the mind, body, and spirit if not managed properly.
- We learned that our community does not define itself by whether we live on campus or off, and that inclusive social activities can play a powerful role in helping maintain our physical and mental well-being.
- We learned that testing can be effective in identifying asymptomatic cases and confirming suspected, but that it is neither an absolute safety net nor 100% reliable and must be part of an integrated, comprehensive risk management plan.
- We learned that we must be vigilant, without fail, at all times, because the consequences of letting our guard down are immediate, swift, and far-reaching.
All of this, as well as many other more granular insights, yields our biggest takeaway—the incredible power of just simply being together in this place and the value of human connection. The second semester represents a reset and another opportunity to sustain this privilege. And like all of the hard-fought gains of the first semester, this will require that we reaffirm our Community Commitment and remain vigilant until the tide of COVID recedes. Goals and Priorities
Our priorities moving forward remain centered on providing the predictability and support of an in-person experience for our students, their families, and our employees. Taking into account the lessons learned in the first semester, the following will be our three primary priorities:
Second Semester Calendar & Activities
- Sustaining a safe in-person learning
- Creating safe, robust residential life and cultural enrichment opportunities on and off campus that include all students
- Positioning our community to safely weather the challenges that lie ahead while also preparing to leverage positive developments when the situation improves
The calendar below reflects several major dates and events that punctuate the second semester to assist with long-term planning. Please note that all dates are subject to change.
- Jan. 9-11: Boarding students return to campus
- Jan. 11: COVID testing on campus for all day and boarding students
- Jan. 12: Distance learning & 3rd Quarter begins
- Jan. 18: MLK Day- distance learning & celebration of Dr. King
- Jan. 21: COVID testing on campus for all day and boarding students
- Jan. 25: In-person classes begin
- Feb. 3: Unity Day
- Feb 6-8: 3-day Weekend
- Feb. 26-Mar. 1: 4-day Weekend
- Mar. 12: Interim planning day
- Mar 13-19: Interim
- Mar. 24: 4th Quarter begins
- Apr. 21: Earth Day activities
- May 17-20: Senior Seminar
- May 18-20: Final Exams
- May 21: Baccalaureate
- May 22: Commencement
As announced earlier this year, Spring Break will not occur as it traditionally would, and instead, we will conclude the school year one week earlier and distribute at least seven days of rest into the semester. These days include the long weekends reflected above, as well as additional days to be determined based on opportunities and the needs of our community.
In addition, we also recognize that blocks of time without structured activities may provide only a pause, and not necessarily the rejuvenating and refreshing break from routine that is intended. With that in mind, in addition to existing programs such as Unity Day, Interim, Earth Day, and Senior Seminar, we are working to develop “days of difference” that will leverage opportunities on and off campus for all students to take part in structured community activities. Examples could include ski trips and other recreational outings if safely possible, days of service learning, or visits to the cultural destinations such as the Olympic Museum that have offered exclusive access to their facilities.
And finally, another important insight gleaned from the first semester was the importance of inclusive weekend activities. Thanks to the generosity of members of our community both past and present, we were able to safely enjoy trips to Wishing Star Farm, Kimball's Peak Movie Theatre, and the Broadmoor Zipline course. We will continue to seek out and cultivate opportunities such as these and others like our “dorm dash” program and on campus activities facilitated by our faculty to enrich the student life experience for both boarding and day students.