Pandemic Prefect: Still an Essential Role

Justin Wu '22, Contributor

Prefect and residential assistant (RA) are two of the most coveted leadership positions at the Loomis Chaffee School. However, while these roles are certainly affiliated with prestige and garner school-wide recognition, some students have quit due to the positions not being what they expected. And who, really, can blame them for doing so?

The unprecedented situation of this academic year has left some Loomis students dispersed all over the world, while others have returned only to find themselves confined within the limits of a minuscule dorm room. Given the rules and regulations of our reinvented Loomis Chaffee, some may even argue that the role of prefects and RAs have become futile. However, I do not, in hindsight, regret applying for the role of prefect. Helping my fellow students, especially during these stressful times, has really helped me grow as a leader.

Today’s pandemic does not diminish the role of prefects; although prefects’ focus may have shifted in certain areas, the challenge of going to school in both an in-person and online setting emphasizes their importance even more.

Linda Hathorn, dorm head of Carter Hall, said the core duty of prefects remains the same despite the presence of new parameters. “I don’t know if the [prefect] role has changed…prefects are still to be a positive role move, to help build our dorm community, to be a support and guide for younger students, and to help students make positive choices.” Mrs. Hathorn said.

Fellow Carter prefect Dejean Sypher ’22 said that “returning to campus [met his] expectations.” Some of the jobs that prefects have been tasked with include setting up dorm events, passing out food at night, and making sure everyone is in their rooms during ‘in rooms’, which has challenged prefects to lead by example.

Even as an online student, being a prefect seems equally demanding as it was last year. While online prefects are not tasked with leading in-person activities or interacting with students inside the pod, I have still had to set up weekly meetings with online freshmen and sophomores.

Particularly, the importance of online prefects rests on their role in helping online freshmen assimilate into the Loomis community. The environment of studying in a new school with no physical interaction can definitely be daunting.

These online freshmen, who have never set foot on campus, are limited to taking online classes with seven other strangers. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance for prefects to continue to step up and offer assistance as much as possible.

By interacting with Carter underclassmen through email and Zoom, I have learned that there truly is a need for online prefects to keep up their hard work. Prefects must, as esteemed ambassadors of Loomis’ warm and welcoming community, continue to reach out and serve as go-to people for our beloved classmates and younger students.