Over the past couple of months, the Concord Academy community has just begun to understand ways to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Students and faculty have incorporated different methods and habits into their daily lives in order to abide by safety guidelines, whether this meant socially distanced sports practices or in-person school schedules. These events have been highlights, allowing a place for students to connect with each other and their community. Saturday events, such as Wit’n’Grit, Adventure Day, or Quad days, were popular events that succeeded with limiting time spent indoors.
Unfortunately, as we transition into colder months and into STAC 3, which will be completely online, CA’s ‘new normal’ will change yet again. Transmission rates are lower outside, especially when given the opportunity to space-out six feet apart. Even with masks on inside, COVID-19 transmission rates are significantly higher, making community events harder to implement. Colder weather not only limits the flexibility of outdoor events, but can also be deadly in terms of the disease. Many other respiratory viruses, such as influenza or other coronaviruses, thrive in the winter season. While scientists believe that it is too soon to determine whether COVID-19 will follow a similar trend, there is growing evidence that the next few months ahead will lead to higher transmission rates, and therefore large outbreaks in communities that don’t take the proper precautions.
While the amount of in-person activities will lessen as we inevitably shift to harsher weather, it is important for CA students to stay connected and safe. Being virtual and not interacting with friends can cause a lot of stress, as well as feeling isolated from the school community among students. Some of the ways that students can stay connected virtually is through Facetime calls, attending Zoom club meetings, and class lunch parties.
Zahaan Khalid ’21, the Student Head of School, noted, “council is currently thinking about creative innovative ways to keep students engaged through lots of virtual events, students can expect a lot of virtual engagement.” Even with a hybrid STAC 2, we have already seen lots of virtual activities planned from council as well as the Student Life Office, such as TED talk watching parties, virtual game nights, and online Zoom socials. Zahaan also stated that with the whole school being virtual, it will be easier to plan virtual activities instead of juggling both the virtual and in-person activities, so we can expect more events to come.
Shihab Moral ’22, the Junior Class President for 20-21, also said: “We are planning a lot of events, both with council and just within our grade. This STAC we opened the class Minecraft server and we are going to start hosting more frequent lunch parties during the all-virtual STAC 3.” In addition, the junior class will host a virtual talent show on the night of Nov 20th, where students will be encouraged to participate with either singing, dancing, cracking jokes and whatever talent that comes to mind. Every participant will have the chance to win a prize through free raffle tickets.
Even though we are shifting towards colder weather and virtual learning, the community will continue to find ways to stay engaged with one another. Whether it is by attending virtual student life activities, staying connected with friends, or even just getting outside and enjoying some fresh air, we will all get through this hard and crazy time together.