On September 2nd, PCD students began attending school in person for the first time since March. Students and faculty alike were delighted to meet face(mask) to face(mask) after six months apart. "The students and faculty were thrilled to see each other," says Head of Middle School Jen Caletri. "It was a very smooth transition for students as they learned the new protocols and met with teachers to prepare for classes." Head of Upper School Jen Aitken agreed, calling the first day of school "a great success."
The on-campus experience is a very different one this fall as students work in outdoor classrooms and everyone follows the three Ws: wearing masks, watching distance, and washing hands. Safely reopening campus took months of preparation, with many faculty and staff volunteering as part of PCD's Re-Entry Taskforce. The group put in long hours over the summer to meet continually evolving requirements. Over the last few months, they created outdoor learning spaces with internet connectivity, health and safety practices and guidelines specific to navigating COVID-19, and courses that fit in-person, hybrid, and virtual learning models.
The months of hard work and careful planning are worth having students back on campus, says Head of School Kevin Folan. "The overwhelming feedback I've gotten from students is they're just so thankful to be back on site and not learning remotely," he says. History Teacher Rachel Donnelly agrees, adding how much she looks forward to working with everyone in person. "Moments of human connection are so charged full of joy and they create the building blocks for our tight-knit PCD family," she says.
As the school year continues, however, Folan emphasizes that it is important for all members of the PCD community to continue acting responsibly both on and off campus. "The only way we can be successful long term," Folan says, "is if we all do our part."