Last August, when members of the Concord Academy administration announced that the school would adopt a STAC schedule for the upcoming year, they also mentioned that all STAC 3 classes would be conducted remotely. Although much about CA’s plan has changed in the past four months, the school’s decision to halt in-person learning for STAC 3 has not. This does not mean, however, that all on-campus programming has been discontinued. In fact, both in-person athletic practices and community-building events hosted by Student Life were able to resume following Thanksgiving break, and they have been well-attended by students able to travel to campus.

Throughout the fall, Student Life sponsored weekly on-campus events such as Grit ‘n Wit and Club Day in order to bring members of the CA community together in an outdoor,  physically distanced setting. This practice will continue into STAC 3 for as long as it remains safe to do so, and events will be planned in accordance with the Concord Pact and Massachusetts state guidelines regarding COVID-19. Hosted each Friday evening, these events represent an opportunity for students to maintain and strengthen connections with their classmates, whom they otherwise might not see until mid-January. They also feature fun activities and can provide a much-needed break from the monotony of constant Zoom classes. For example, on December 11, CA welcomed students to campus for an evening social, complete with a Ben & Jerry’s treat truck, music, and firepits.

While CA’s weekly on-campus events can be a fun way to stay engaged with the broader school community, concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic remain at the forefront of many people’s minds. As COVID-19 cases surge across the United States, the need for physical distancing, mask-wearing, and unwavering adherence to all coronavirus safety measures has become even more obvious. In an email to students preceding the December 11 evening social, Sally Zimmerli, Dean of Students, wrote, “We are still kind and caring…AND we show this by giving this structure. We will not mess around with a lack of careful attention to these protocols.” Nevertheless, in-person events remain popular. In spite of COVID-19 regulations, challenges posed by winter weather, and a reduction in attendance due to boarders’ departure from campus, students are grateful for the opportunity to spend time on campus and connect with their friends.