Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, Loomis Chaffee has continued to prioritize the health and safety of LC community members and the larger community by recognizing the potential long-term effects of the pandemic. Making choices for the benefit of the common good is encouraged on campus, and Loomis’ continued efforts to mitigate the effects of the virus are certainly consistent with this key value. Although it is unfortunate that campus will be closed for the rest of this school year, the administration’s recognition that this would be the case in mid-March was admirable.
By encouraging increased sanitation practices during the regular flu season and conducting a deep cleaning of the school during Head’s Holiday in early February, Loomis showed a clear dedication to protecting the health of its community members.
When the Loomis community was informed that the spring term was canceled on March 16 in an email from Dr. Culbert, many students and faculty were devastated that they would not be able to say their final goodbyes for the year, or from Loomis altogether. Some students voiced support for a wait-and-see approach and even signed an online change.org petition urging the school to reconsider its decision to close for the spring term. However, this approach clearly would not have worked, especially given that Loomis is home to more than one hundred international students.
Seeing as numerous countries have started increasing travel restrictions and instituting new quarantine measures for those entering from the U.S., it would be gravely unfair to them to take a wait-and-see approach. International students would then be presented with the choice of either staying in the U.S. with a slight possibility of going back to school as returning home becomes more inaccessible or returning home only to have the possibility of missing out on returning to school.
Fortunately, Loomis made the commendable decision to cancel the spring term, keeping students and families informed and giving international students the chance to plan a journey home before any stricter travel measures were put in place.
Looking back on this decision a month later — at a time when all schools in Connecticut have been closed until at least May 20 — it is clear that the administration’s vigilant and decisive action protected the interests of not only Loomis students and faculty but the wider community. As one of the first among our peer boarding schools to cancel for the year, Loomis is an upstanding example for other schools to follow.
It is clear now that Loomis has responded to the coronavirus outbreak in a timely and efficient manner that is consistent with its core value: protecting its community and the common good.