Greetings, Miss Hall’s Families!

I write looking back on the 2020-21 school year with pride at what we accomplished — safety, health, connectedness, and growth — and with unending gratitude to all faculty, staff, students, and families for our partnership. Together, we have been innovative, student-centered, and focused on what matters most: learning and our community.

Looking ahead to 2021-22 — our 124th school year! — we are eager to be whole again, with all students and staff back on campus for a fully in-person program. This communication provides information for the upcoming school year — what’s new, what’s exciting, and what are the important need-to-knows.
Introducing New MHS Adults & New Roles

Anticipating the return to campus, we have filled several key roles in our adult community. Joining us this summer are: 
Cherèva McClellan, Dean of Students, joins the School’s Leadership Team and provides vision and oversight to all aspects of student life.
Erica Washburn, Director of Horizons, oversees our signature experiential learning program as we return to in-person learning and activism.
Kristen Milano, in the newly created position of Director of Health and Wellness, is focused on all aspects of student wellbeing.
Telia Marks-McCall, Director of Athletics and Auxiliary Programming, leads our sports offerings and coordinates all supplementary on-campus programs.
Former Dean of Students Christie Higuera moves to a new role as Director of Residential Life & Student Leadership Coordinator, overseeing student travel and collaborating with Class Coordinators as they work with student leaders.

We are excited to welcome these fantastic leaders in our community, and we look forward to working with Christie in her new role. Click here to read more about these amazing adults!

“Back to School” 2021-22 Schedule

We cannot wait to bring everyone back in the fall, to experience the campus full of life and energy, and to rebuild connections among new and returning students and MHS adults. While we have shown resilience in adapting to hybrid learning, remote learning, and Zoom events, there is no substitute for learning and living together. 

We begin this school year with an innovative weekly schedule that uses time and space to our full advantage. A scheduling committee, in collaboration with students and all members of the community, met through the winter and spring to develop a schedule that centers our strategic priorities and builds on what we have learned in the past year. It returns Miss Hall’s to robust, in-person teaching for deep academic engagement, creates space for collaboration, and prioritizes connections between students and faculty. 
Importantly, the new schedule provides time for engaging in multiple extracurricular activities — clubs, ensembles, leadership positions, theater, athletics, music lessons, Academic Skills Center support, and meetings with teachers — allowing students to explore many areas of interest. Additionally, ample community time is planned each week for advisor group and individual meetings, opportunities for grade levels to work together, and ever-important gatherings of our full community.

After more than a year of meeting on Zoom, making space for in-person connection is more important than ever.

In a few weeks, you will receive a communication from the Deans that includes your student’s course schedule, advisor, dorm, and roommate assignments, orientation information, and a calendar of community events.

Health & Safety Protocols
We continue to develop campus plans and protocols with guidance from local, state, and national health authorities. The Massachusetts Department of Education has already said that schools will not need to adhere to 6-feet distancing this year, which means that classrooms, common spaces, and movement around campus will return to pre-COVID patterns. 

Miss Hall’s is requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and we strongly encourage all students to get vaccinated. Research clearly shows that widespread vaccination is the best way to achieve “herd immunity” and to ensure the health and safety of our community. This will also allow us to take students off-campus for activities with other schools, welcome guests onto campus, and embrace the close-knit culture we all cherish and have missed so much during the past year. We ask that all students upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card or other proof of vaccination in their SchoolDoc account.

Unvaccinated students must comply with safety protocols outlined by the School and informed by local, state, and federal guidelines. This includes wearing a mask at all times when in public and following social distancing protocols. Unvaccinated students may not be able to participate fully in athletics, weekend activities, and all-school events.
Testing & Quarantine

If your student is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when they arrive on campus, they will not need to undergo testing or quarantine, and they can fully participate in all programs.

If your student is not fully vaccinated, they will be required to provide a negative COVID test result from up to 72 hours prior to arrival. Unvaccinated boarding students will also quarantine for up to 7 days, until they receive a negative test result from on-campus testing. Currently, there is not a requirement for unvaccinated travelers arriving in the United States to quarantine, but, depending on local and state conditions at the time of arrival, this may change.  We will let you know as arrival nears.

If you cannot access the vaccine in your home country, Miss Hall’s can help your student obtain a vaccine here in Massachusetts after they arrive. Parents/guardians must complete a waiver giving the School permission to coordinate the vaccination.

Vaccination rates in Massachusetts in general, and Berkshire County in particular, are approaching 70 percent, which provides confidence in maintaining public health, yet we will remain vigilant about community safety. Though local, state, and national public health conditions have improved dramatically as we have emerged from the pandemic, we will continue to monitor trends as fall approaches, and we will consider the need for testing and other health measures as conditions evolve.
Travel & Logistics Throughout the Year

In a previous communication, you should have received the 2021-22 School Vacation Calendar.

Students traveling internationally may arrive on campus as early as August 26. Returning students should plan to arrive on September 3, and new students should arrive on September 4.

If your student is unvaccinated, we encourage you to schedule their arrival no later than September 1, so they have time to complete quarantine prior to the first day of classes, September 9. If your student will be delayed due to reasons outside your control, we will do our best to accommodate.

If you have not yet done so, please complete and return the travel forms on your MyBackpack account so that we can appropriately plan for student arrivals.

Important: All families must identify a designated caregiver and an emergency departure plan for their student. This is an essential safety measure, required for boarding and day students. If you are struggling to identify a designated caregiver, please contact the School for assistance.
Regarding school-sponsored transportation before and after breaks, costs for these services have gone up during the past year. You will find more details in the Student-Family Handbook you will soon be receiving, but the following are fees for the coming year:

  • Hartford/Albany Airports — $65 each way
  • Boston/Riverside T station (Newton, Mass.) — $110 each way
  • New York City/Lincoln Center — $110 each way
  • Logan Airport (Boston) — $120 each way
  • JFK Airport (New York) — $120 each way

In terms of breaks, Miss Hall’s dormitories and the Dining Room will be open during Long Weekends. In the event that there are international students who are unable to travel home due to COVID-related travel restrictions, campus will be open during the Fall, Winter, and Spring Breaks on a limited basis. Students who need this option must obtain permission from the School in advance and will be required to pay additional fees. More information to follow.

It has always been a meaningful and positive experience for students to stay with host families over the breaks. If you are interested in hosting a student, please be in touch with Director of Residential Life Christie Higuera at chiguera@misshalls.org by September 1. Miss Hall’s will gladly put families in touch with one another to communicate about details.
Photo by Isabelle Ely ’24

Ready for the Year Ahead!

From the outset of the pandemic, I have looked forward to the day when we could welcome everyone back to campus. That day is rapidly approaching, and I could not be more excited. We learned a great deal during the past 16 months, but there is no substitute for the in-person connections that are such a big part of this community. I am always excited for the first day of school — this year, even more so!

Be on the lookout for a follow-up communication from the Deans around August 1. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Best,
Head of School
Contacts and Resources
 
Lisa Alberti, Dean of Academics and Faculty, 413-395-7108

Paula Lima Jones, Dean of Equity and Inclusion, 413-395-7117

Cherèva McClellan, Dean of Students, 413-395-7015

Christie Higuera, Director of Residential Life & Student Leadership Coordinator, 413-395-7016

Kristen Milano, Director of Health and Wellness, 413-395-7073