365 days later: Students return to campus for social, emotional connection

Sophomore+students+take+a+socially+distanced+selfie+with+English+teacher+Stephanie+Nicolard+in+her+classroom.+Students+were+welcomed+back+on+campus+to+reconnect+for+social+and+emotional+learning%2C+as+well+as+to+continue+their+remote+classes.

Photo credit: Daisy Marmur

Sophomore students take a socially distanced selfie with English teacher Stephanie Nicolard in her classroom. Students were welcomed back on campus to reconnect for social and emotional learning, as well as to continue their remote classes.

By Rose Sarner, Staff Reporter

The Archer doors opened for the first time in over a year, due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic closing Archer’s doors on March 13 of 2020. On Monday March 8, new and old students arrived on campus to spend a full day attending school individually yet still together for social and emotional connection.

“I was not hesitant at all. I was actually really excited and looking forward to it because we’ve been making plans for months and our health and safety committee has been working on this for a year, we were ready to have some version of reopening safely,” Upper School Director Meghan Tally said. “I’ve had total confidence.”

As students arrived on campus, junior Olivia Jarvie noted how she was no longer “hesitant” nor “nervous.”

“Everyone was very very safe, everyone got their temperature checked and once I got there I had no worries at all,” Jarvie said.

Students were assigned cohorts grouped by their advisories who they remained with for the entire day from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Cohorts were given both indoor and outdoor classroom space for students to social distance, were all required to wear masks and attended their classes over Zoom. During lunch time, cohorts sat at their designated outdoor spaces and at the end of the day, students are given time to finish homework with the company of their mentors and classmates. Despite the drawbacks of not being able to fully socialize with a variety of people on campus, sophomore and class representative Jaqueline Traenkle noted how she has noticed a shift in her classmate’s engagement and energy. 

“On Zoom it’s so hard because people turn off their cameras and you can’t really connect to them and talk to them heart to heart, but when you’re in person and you’re looking into their eyes, everything changes and you feel the energy from them, which is a lot better,” Traenkle said.

Jarvie echoed Traenkle’s sentiment and further developed her thoughts on rising and more enthusiastic energy amongst her peers. 

“I think throughout Covid I’ve been more tired and just not as productive,” Jarvie said. “I think my energy peaked back up to how it was when we were back on campus. I was just excited to be there and to be back.” 

Not all students were able to return to campus this week for social and emotional connection due to a variety of personal reasons. Students engaged in outside of school activities such as sports or band practices in particular are unable to return to campus to maintain Covid safety regulations. 

“One of the things on my mind, certainly is that not all students are coming back for these opportunities in these three weeks so we want to be really inclusive of everyone and mindful of the fact that you know this isn’t our entire school population,” Tally said. 

Moving forward, Tally noted how faculty members are planning ways to even better support students as they either return to school or choose to engage from their own homes. 

“As these shifts happen over the weeks ahead, I am constantly thinking about how can we more fully support students,” Tally said. “It’s so important to just feel connected and feel motivated about school.”