How do we return to campus after months of political unrest and record-breaking COVID-19 cases?

Photo+by+Ryann+Holladay+%2724

Photo by Ryann Holladay ’24

With great unrest in the world, there is no doubt that the last few months have made it more difficult to be physically separated as a school community. Between the Capitol insurrection, President Joe Biden’s inauguration, record-breaking COVID-19 cases and months of political unrest, what is it going to be like as students flock back to campus? How do we return, and what should we expect? 

Students will return to school in the spring in a similar manner to how the Hill community returned in the fall — still in the midst of a pandemic and in the aftermath of more political unrest.  Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Rev. Kristi Adams offered her thoughts on the upcoming spring term and how the DEI Committee plans on moving forward. 

Though we live in a tight community here at Hill, we would be remiss if we ignored the reality that what happens in larger society and the world does affect us as individual citizens and human beings,” Adams said. “Our focus right now is getting our students and employees back safely and in good health, but we are also aware that these issues will need to be addressed in various spaces when the time is right to do so.”  

According to the Co-President of DEI, Naomi Ude ’21, students should expect many exciting events and speakers in the spring specifically centered around the voices of women of color. Ude stated, “As we approach this spring, the DEI is focused on amplifying the voices of those silenced. There are so many stories to be shared and lessons to be learned.”

This amplification of unheard voices echoes the sentiment shared to the Hill community on Jan. 6 by Headmaster Zachary Lehman, who wrote of healing as a country, as a school, and as individuals. 

Dean of Students Ari Baum said, “I think Mr. Lehman’s messages to the Hill community throughout H-term are good reference points for the school’s perspective regarding the political unrest and events that occurred when we were away. There is a spectrum politically, and boundaries, which we must hold one another accountable for, including any disrespectful discourse or actions, just as previous years before. As Dean of Students, I look forward to being back on campus and living that vision of a pluralistic society within the appropriate boundaries for discourse, together in person.” 

When asked about their thoughts or any plans for the upcoming spring term, SGA Co-presidents Sasjha Mayfield ’21 and Andrew Chirieleison ’21 issued this joint statement:   “We’re very excited to get back and be together again. And we fully understand that returning to campus after months away means that there will be an adjustment, but we have full confidence that we can all work together once again to ensure the safety and health of our entire community. Although we are not entirely sure of all the details surrounding this spring, we have no doubt the student body will continue to make the most of our on-campus experience, together.” 

Yet, how are the students feeling? Many are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and nervous about returning due to the given COVID-19 circumstances. Lauryn Fudala’ 21 said, “The thought of having a senior spring really excited me, and 6th formers are in such a transitional period in our lives in terms of high school to college, so I’m trying to live in the present as much as possible. But it is definitely challenging when stress and anxiety come to my day-to-day life.” 

No matter what the circumstances, political or health-related, will be as students arrive back to campus, make sure to check for updates from the SGA, DEI Committee, Student Life Association and The Hill News for updated events, procedures and what students should expect for the spring term.