With vaccinations across the state ramping up and the possible end of COVID times on the horizon, Concord Academy, as well as many businesses and schools, see this time as an opportunity to re-open. Now offering four days a week of in-person classes and sports, the campus seems more alive than ever. 

Students seem to echo this sentiment as well. Elyse Barry ’24 states, “I love it! Being able to interact with other students, especially in a year like this, has been extremely rewarding, it was bizarre coming to CA with the virus so [present]… I felt disconnected from others and sometimes found it hard to see myself as a member of the school.”

Despite this favorable increase of social encounters over the past couple of weeks, it is crucial to consider the effects of in-person learning, and how it coincides with yet another spike in cases. According to healthline.com, Massachusetts currently sits at around 2,142 new cases per day, with the number only growing. With the CDC’s controversial recent ruling of requiring only three feet of social distancing, in addition to the new B.1.1.2 COVID-19 variant making its way onto Cape Cod, some are beginning to question if Concord Academy opened too soon.

“It’s harder to follow COVID litigations because sometimes you get caught up in the mix of things,” Elyse comments, “it’s never intentional breaking of the rules, but a lack of distancing is present.” 

The CDC notes that transmission rates within schools are not exceptionally high, and states that students are “not the primary sources of exposure.” However, they do emphasize the importance of distancing “consistently and correctly.”

So, what does this mean for in-person students? The current head of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, states, “We are at a critical point in this pandemic… a fork in the road where we as a country must decide which path we are going to take.” That path impacts what is left of the 2020-21 school year, and CA has made it very clear of their wish to keep all as safe as possible.

Photo courtesy of Concord Academy