Boarders to Return for Fall Term 2

Michelle Liu '23, Contributor

After shutting down dormitories due to the pandemic, Loomis Chaffee has announced it plans to welcome back boarding students for the start of Fall Term Two.

The letter sent to the LC community on September 18th explained that the Board of Trustees met to approve the reopening plan. This decision was supported by the current phased reopening of the school in which only day students were allowed to take in-person classes. With the conclusion of the COVID-19 campus retest, the school found zero positive coronavirus cases when testing 582 on-campus students, faculty, and staff. This further opened the door for a reopening of the dormitories.

“We have made the best decision for us in the present circumstances,” Head of School Dr. Sheila Culbert said.

In addition to existing health and social guidelines from Fall Term One, Fall Term Two will see new screening measures implemented to account for the increased student population on campus.

“We continue to have layers of protection for the community and this will include an all-school retest at the beginning of Fall Two and then weekly surveillance testing,” COVID-19 Coordinator and Dean of Student Life Ms. Mary Liscinsky said.
“Once students are on campus, they will not be off-campus. So for example, students may not participate in club athletics…if they’re on a club team that is not affiliated with the school, they can’t go home for the weekend, that sort of thing, once you’re here for the five weeks, you’re really here: we’re going to try to create a bubble,” Dr. Culbert said.
In the dormitories, boarding students will have new protocols once on campus in order to reduce risks of COVID-19 and maintain a safe environment.

“You can’t actually travel between floors, so if you’re on the first floor of Howe, then you are allowed to be on the first floor of Howe. So it’s almost like each floor is its own dorm. And you won’t be allowed to visit other dorms and day students will not be allowed into the dormitories, at all. So, it’s pretty strict,” Dean of Student Life and Dean of Seniors Ms. Jessica Matzkin said.

Both distant and on-campus learners should expect to have minor adjustments made to their schedule for Fall Term Two in order to account for the increased number of students who return to the island.

“Because we are expecting to have many more students on campus, we do expect that an individual student’s schedule will change. It is conceivable that we will only have one or two students in a class, in which case it will become much more like a tutorial, but we are committed to doing the very best that we can for our students,” Dr. Culbert said.

For students, there are many factors to consider when making the decision of returning or not, and they must decide which option is the best for them given the current circumstances.

Helen Shen ’23, a current online student who will remain online for Fall Term Two, said “as an international student with no relatives living near Connecticut, it will be very risky for me to return to campus. If an emergency occurs, for example, if I suddenly have to quarantine in a hotel, I wouldn’t actually be able to do so without…an adult as [my] guardian.”

Other students, however, have decided to transition to boarding status for Fall Term Two, even if it means only five weeks on campus before heading off for Thanksgiving Break.

Dora Lin ’23, who has decided to be a boarding student for Fall Term Two, said “I would be in a completely different time zone if I didn’t come, and with letter grades this year, I believed that coming back would be a better choice.”

As Loomis opens for boarders, this new term will come with changes so that the school can take the utmost care to protect all members of the LC community.

“The community has been great about taking our safety measures seriously, and I am encouraged as we go into Fall Two,” Dean Liscinsky said.