Campus Prepares for Fall Term Reopening
To ensure a safe reopening during the Covid-19 pandemic, the School has adapted classes, extracurriculars, and social events to integrate necessary health and safety protocols into daily life on campus.
To ensure a safe reopening during the Covid-19 pandemic, the School has adapted classes, extracurriculars, and social events to integrate necessary health and safety protocols into daily life on campus. Day students and boarders who have not already moved in will return to campus on September 25 and 26 to complete their first round of on-campus testing, and in-person hybrid classes will begin on October 1.
The hybrid-class model will ensure that classrooms do not repeat their typical capacity and that students and teachers will maintain at least six feet of distance. Using 360-degree cameras, students will be able to see everyone participating both on Zoom and on projector screens in the classroom.
According to Dean of Academics David Laws, Ph.D. P’21 ’23, “The key to hybrid learning for everybody is to dive in and accept the reality that we have...I do think it’s going to be a good experience for us actually having people back in classrooms. It’s going to take some time getting used to, but the best thing about our faculty is our adaptiveness and drive, which is really assuring going into this term.”
Throughout the term, teachers will determine the rotation of students who are in-person and those who are not on any given day, allowing for flexibility in students’ schedules. The administration plans to keep options open to best accommodate all Lawrentians and their circumstances. According to Dean of Students G. Blake Eldridge, Jr. ’96 H’12, “We’re going to have to wait and take a lot of guidance from the students, because they’re the ones who are going to feel what the rhythms are of the day and where they want to invest their free time.”
Despite these challenges, faculty and students have come up with unique events and activities to stay connected during the Fall Term. Even though there will be some minor differences in effect due to Covid-19 regulations, fall sports and House sports will run as usual. In addition, while most clubs will have to hold their first few meetings virtually, the School has set up 19 tents outside for students to use to gather in person in the coming weeks.
Associate Dean of Students Emilie Kosoff H’88 ’96 ’00 ’18 P’19 has been working closely alongside Student Council to organize socially-distant events to connect the community. According to Kosoff, “We obviously don’t have the capability to do an all-school dance, but a movie night in The Bowl or on the Crescent Green or on the Circle could be possible. We’re working on ways in which we can provide ample opportunities outside of the Houses for the community.”
Eldridge agreed, emphasizing the willingness of the administration to support student interests, saying, “Obviously we’re going to be able to support and assist students, and we do have a couple of events that we’re already considering, but really we want to be responsive to the needs and the interests and the ideas of the students. It’ll be up to the ingenuity and the inventiveness of the students.”
Even though these restrictions might seem to conflict with the usual connectedness of the Lawrenceville community, Laws is confident about the upcoming year. “We know these are strange times. We’re all gonna have to adapt, but we’re all here to do the same thing, which is to learn together, grow together, and experience Lawrenceville in life together...As long as we come in there with that kind of attitude, we’ll be able to get through this and really have some good, thoughtful, and meaningful experiences this year,” he said.