Saint Mary’s students and teachers returned to classrooms on campus Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, for the first time in almost six months. The entire school community is eager and excited to get back to our traditional, yet innovative, ways of teaching and learning together after the longest absence of in-person education in the school’s 179-year history.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 last spring, Saint Mary’s transitioned to virtual online classes in March, following Spring Break, for the remainder of the year and has opened the 2020-2021 year with a two-week period of virtual learning to allow students time to self-quarantine and to prepare and test the new systems on campus. By all accounts, Saint Mary’s navigated the virtual learning space successfully, and will return to that model with a few weeks of online classes between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday breaks to minimize travel to and from campus for boarders within the same month.
With the health and safety of all members of the school community as the priority, extensive measures and modifications to classrooms, campus spaces, and daily procedures are in place. Administrators and staff spent a busy summer working tirelessly to set the campus up for a successful reopening, following the closing of the campus on March 13.
“As we open the year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital for everyone in our school community to consistently follow a shared set of protocols and expectations for behavior both on and off our Saint Mary’s campus,” says Head of School Brendan O’Shea.
Extensive health and safety precautions, protocols, and guidelines in accordance with state and local agencies and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are in place, including mandatory face coverings; social distancing of six feet apart even while wearing masks; ample time between classes for hand washing and sanitizing; daily temperature and health checks with mobile app reporting before coming to school; extensive and constant cleaning; and modifications to classrooms, campus spaces, and procedures, including food service.
Visitors to campus will be limited and by appointment only, so please check before coming to campus. Any parents visiting campus will complete Saint Mary’s COVID-19 screening form and adhere to Saint Mary’s health and safety protocols while on campus, including wearing a mask/face covering, maintaining social distance, and washing hands frequently.
Students and parents have signed a pledge to adhere to all safety protocols and expectations, and student leaders have created a social media campaign on Instagram using the hashtag #saintsdoyourpart to encourage their peers to help keep the campus open by mitigating the spread of the virus through healthy practices.
“With everyone doing their part, we believe we can do this and be on campus together until Thanksgiving,” says Dean of Students Tim Healy. “Think about the pride we will all feel being part of a school that stayed together in person as we have planned. So, let’s all do our part and jump right in!”
Complete COVID-19 updates here.