As Concord Academy’s reopening looms in the near future, it is essential to ask ourselves as individuals can assist the school in a safe reopening. As a large majority of the school population, students have a huge impact on the community’s well-being. Some other school’s student bodies have risen to the occasion, while others have fallen a bit flat, such as a small collection of students at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.

In early September, dozens of students gathered to party in the basement and in the yard of a Sudbury home. When police arrived, they discovered the dozens of teenagers packed in the home’s basement, most with beer cans in hand. Many violated the state’s mandatory mask order and barely any practiced social distancing. Most of the teens fled the home, around fifteen ran into the dense woods surrounding the house, and around thirteen others gave fake names. 

In total, there were estimated to be around forty to fifty high-schoolers in the house that night. It was reported that many of the identified and likely many of the unidentified teens at the party were to attend Lincoln-Sudbury High School, which was set to open for hybrid learning only a few days after the event with a few in-person classes. The lack of identified partygoers caused multiple difficulties for both local health officials as well as school administrators: “The lack of information of who attended the event and the inability to consult directly with those students, the risk to the school community cannot be adequately assessed,” Sudbury’s Board of Health announced in a statement. 

As a result, Lincoln-Sudbury decided to delay their hybrid model and cancel any in-person school until the 29th to allow students to quarantine for fourteen days. “It was a little shocking to hear,” Rob, an LS student, said, “but sadly, I wasn’t too surprised.”

“After the intensity of hard work and planning that has been done to be able to start school with students in-person, we are profoundly disappointed at this sudden change of plans,” Bella Wong, the high school principal as well as the district superintendent, stated, “I know you must be as disappointed.” 

With over 129,000 confirmed cases over the year in Massachusetts alone, a number that is only growing, schools around the state are taking the smallest amount of risk possible to stay safe under these conditions. “I was so excited for this year to start, I thought things would be less monotone than usual,” Rob continues, “but I’m fine with online school, for now, I guess it helps me get back into the groove of things.”

As many of the Massachusetts schools open this year, it is important to note what the community can do to help CA rise to this immense challenge. Most essentially, out-of-school activities directly impact the hundred of students attending CA. While hanging out with friends is fun, especially when you have not seen them for months, COVID-19 does not pick and choose who it infects. For the time being, anyone is susceptible, and making the right choices, like mask-wearing to social distancing, can affect entire communities.