In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School will move to virtual learning through the remainder of the school year. “We have a duty to keep our students and community safe,” said Head of School Karl Sjolund. “We believe this is the best course of action at this time.” Already on a two-week Spring Break, SAS teachers will return to work, as they are able, on March 23 and resume instruction on March 26 after several days of training and preparation. International boarding students will remain on campus only until they are able to return home. Afternoon programs, including spring athletics, and all large gatherings scheduled for campus will not resume this school year. School offices will have limited staff onsite.
Academic Dean Kelley Black and Educational Technology Coordinator Viva Reynolds have been working diligently to prepare for distance learning. “Of course, nothing can fully replace the in-class experience,” said Black, “especially at SAS where our classes are small and very hands-on, but we have some ideas for how to meet the challenges we are facing. Our faculty members are creative, resourceful, and dedicated, and we know that they will make the most of a difficult decision.” With the knowledge that some of its students may have limited access to reliable internet, the school has promised patience and grace as everyone adjusts to this year’s suspension of in-person classes.
A day and boarding school, the pandemic has presented particular issues for the school’s boarding population. International students are being given the option to remain in residence as long as necessary to ensure safe passage home. The school’s Robinson Dining Hall and Health Clinic will remain open as long as there are students in residence. Residential faculty will continue to see to their care and social activities.
To limit the campus’s exposure to COVID-19, the school has implemented CDC recommendations and is asking that faculty and staff work from home if they are able to and limit travel. Employees returning to campus will be required to complete a health screening and daily temperature check.
“At SAS, we speak of the importance of challenge, balance, and joy. While this is not the challenge we anticipated, this is a good opportunity for us all to model the resiliency that we hope to instill in our students. We will continue to balance precaution and optimism,” said Sjolund. “And we PROMISE to find opportunities for joy, even if we have to share it virtually for a while.” This includes opportunities to celebrate community through virtual Chapel gatherings. A group will meet (virtually) next week to discuss alternative modes of celebration for year-end rites of passage such as Prom, Honors Day, and Commencement.
Questions? Contact Director of Communications Sherri Bergman.