I am continuing to write to you from Storm King Mountain as our community transitions to online learning. There are few events in our history as a school that have impacted us like the coronavirus. Please remember that we are not alone in this moment. The country and the world are joined together in experiencing the impact of this crisis and working through how best to respond. Our school community moved quickly to safeguard our students and faculty, and we continue to do all we can to protect our community members.
Yesterday, our faculty met (while observing the necessary social distancing) to discuss the tools we have that will allow us to provide the online program and deliver our curriculum for the next thirty days, and quite likely, through the end of the semester. After ensuring the health of our community members, moving forward to complete our spring semester courses is our next big priority. Faculty and staff are preparing to begin courses on Monday, March 23, 2020, using Blackbaud, and possibly Zoom and Skype, and you will hear more from Dr. Lance about this in the coming days.
In offering our program online to students all over the world, there will be some variations in when and how students “come to class.” Please remember it is important that you do all you can to “attend” classes as they are scheduled, and do so with the understanding that some of you may need to attend by logging in at a different time of day than the scheduled class meeting at our time. Also remember that once you receive instructions from Dr. Lance and your teachers on how to connect and participate, you must contact them right away if you are having any problems logging in or connecting to your classes.
Another very important goal over the next two and a half months is to do all we can to stay together as a community. In our normal day-to-day routines, we go to meals together, play sports with teammates, rehearse for plays and other performances, and share common experiences like walking in Black Rock Forest or
crossing campus together in whatever weather Storm King throws at us on a given day. We are, of course, sad that we can no longer come together in person for regular events like Thursday night dinners, the Spring Arts Weekend, end of the year awards, and the most important for our seniors–graduation. But, we do have an opportunity to find new ways to share and join together from the many places across the globe we now find ourselves.
To help keep us together and for attendance purposes, we will continue to ask you to meet with your advisors on a regular basis. We are also considering ways to create group events online for important events including the annual ‘Take-the-Plunge’ and a modified version of our musical. It is almost certain that during your lifetime as students and adults you will be using online learning and sharing information in ways we can only imagine. With all of the worries and threats that this crisis carries, it also provides us with the opportunity to learn in a new way and build skills and experiences that will still be important and valuable to all of us in the future. It is my sincere belief that learning to join together as a community across international boundaries and the limitations of physical space will not only make us a better school, but better people.
For the remainder of the week and while our school continues its work, I encourage you all to stay positive and engage in safe activities that will help you revitalize for completion of the rest of the semester. If you are having trouble communicating with us, please reach out and tell us how to contact you. Make sure to keep on the lookout for more updates from me and your teachers, and most importantly, stay healthy and connected. We will all make it through this together.