University High School announced on Friday, Nov. 20 that it would transition to e-learning after Thanksgiving Break to close out the fall semester. The school will be in e-learning from Monday, Nov. 30 through the end of final exams on Thursday, Dec. 17.
Below is the text of the message sent to University students and families on Friday, Nov. 20:
Dear University families,
On a daily basis, we continue to monitor activities in the school to make sure our students are safe, cared for, and receiving the best possible University High School education. This week, we spent significant time reviewing and weighing our attendance and quarantine trends, the rising prevalence of COVID-19 in our greater community, and expected travel and gatherings over Thanksgiving Break. In these critical final weeks of the semester, it is vital for us to deliver a consistent educational experience for all of our students, and we believe moving all classes to e-learning will be safest, most consistent, and most equitable for our community. Therefore, University High School will transition to e-learning following Thanksgiving Break (starting Monday, Nov. 30) through the end of the fall semester.
The hybrid model will remain in place through Tuesday, Nov. 24. Today will be the final day on campus for Cohort B students. Cohort A students will be on campus as planned next Monday and Tuesday. We will return from Thanksgiving Break on Monday, Nov. 30 with our first day (an R1 day) of full e-learning.
This decision was not made because our safety measures have failed. In fact, we have seen very few cases in our school community so far, and transmission on campus has been minimal. We believe that maintaining social distance, wearing a mask, and limiting large group meetings still makes our school a safe place for faculty and students. But the realities of the surging pandemic, the upcoming holiday season, and this critical end-of-semester time lead us to believe that this is the best and safest choice for all.
Unlike our transition to e-learning in March, however, our buildings will not close. While our classes will be taught fully through Zoom and we are asking students to do e-learning from their homes, our faculty will largely remain on campus, following the same safety protocols that have been in place since August. We are also working with a small group of students who have specific academic or technological needs to allow them to Zoom into classes from a monitored, socially distanced space on campus. Additionally, winter sports will continue their seasons with the current safety protocols in place (though coaches may make changes to their schedules as needed).
There are a few details about this change that we are still working through. We will send detailed updates — including a revised final exam schedule and updates to January Term — via email no later than Wednesday, Nov. 25.
In this year wrought with uncertainty, the strength of this community remains our greatest asset. As we make this transition to end the semester, we will continue to work together and support one another even when we are physically apart. Thank you to our faculty and staff who have continued to place students’ needs at the center of their work. Thank you to our students who have engaged in schoolwork each day, whether in person or by Zoom, and brought with them a desire to learn and connect. And thank you to our full community for doing your part to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all of us.
Head of School