One of Hackley’s many strengths is our sense of community. In addition to ensuring the smooth continuity of our academic program, we are giving special consideration to the ways in which we maintain our connections to one another during this time.
Having vigilantly monitored recommendations and alerts from public and private health organizations since early news of the outbreak hit, we have implemented and communicated a series of decisions as the situation has evolved. On Monday, March 16, during the first week of Hackley’s spring break, the spread in the New York region encouraged us to decide to keep campus closed for two additional weeks after spring vacation and to move to a virtual teaching environment as of Monday, March 30.
Distance learning will be new for all of us--students and teachers--and we will be learning and adjusting as we go along. While we hope conditions improve soon, Hackley faculty are prepared to use our distance learning approach for an extended period if needed. We recognize that there is no exact substitute for the kind of learning that happens in Hackley’s deeply relational environment where curious kids and inspiring teachers interact. However, we know that when we are unable to come together physically, by staying true to who we are and what we stand for as a community, Hackley teachers will be able to engage students in effective and meaningful learning.
Division directors, teachers, and I will endeavor to maintain a sense of community for our students and families, despite the fact that we will not be together on the Hilltop. Teachers and advisors will continue to check in with individual students and entire classes, creating touchpoints and maintaining relationships. Such structures are vital to maintaining a sense of continuity throughout this period.
The hope is to resume campus-based instruction on Monday, April 13, yet school leadership will continue to evaluate this date, likely adjusting in one or two-week increments as we continue to seek guidance from medical professionals and public health officials. When the time comes to have students and employees return to campus, we will be clear about the measures in place to continue protecting the health and safety of our community.
In the meantime, while we recognize the desire for our students to see one another, we urge families and students to heed advice regarding social distancing. Social distancing not only keeps children safe, it keeps all those with whom they come in contact safe, especially those who are immune-compromised and in other vulnerable populations. This moment requires all of us to act in our shared best interest.
Even as it seems at times like little is in our control, it is important that we remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be part of a remarkable community, one whose unique character and strength draws upon our connection to and relationships with one another. Although remaining connected to one another might require that we temporarily do so “at a distance,” the relationships formed on the Hilltop persist.
Michael C. Wirtz P'29, '31
Head of School