Arts, Academics & Community Programs Information
Academic classrooms are being transformed for the new realities of school in the COVID era. Modifications include installation of new camera and microphone technology, new classroom furniture, new plexiglass barriers, and air purifiers in each room. As is true for students around the country, classrooms will look different as we put health and safety first.
It is important to note that students returning to campus may have some of their classes, or some portions of their classes, remain online as we phase in new procedures and pedagogies. Restrictions on class size, sectioning, staffing, and teaching considerations will be taken into account in determining which classes will be in-person, which will be online, and which will have a mix of online and in-person students, a mode commonly referred to as “HyFlex.” It is very important for us to keep in mind the needs of both those students on campus and those students remaining online. These restrictions and considerations, in addition to the necessary health and safety protocols, will make academic classrooms look and feel different this year.
We ask all students coming to campus to be sure to bring a laptop or equivalent device and a quality pair of headphones, preferably with a microphone. Regardless of mode, these tools will be essential to keeping Walnut Hill together and functioning as we manage time, distance, and health concerns.
We are looking for opportunities to improve on the plans and systems we established in Quarter 2. Specifically, we are looking at improvements to teaching and learning technology and pedagogy, student and parent communication, and the scheduling and mix of synchronous and asynchronous work which we know has been a significant adjustment for everyone, students and teachers alike. We will have more information about the daily schedule for academic classes closer to the beginning of the quarter.
Our arts programs have taken a nuanced approach to reopening plans. Among other factors, we are taking into account the viability of the artmaking and medium, meaning that each art department is assessing balancing the needs of the students with the health and safety guidelines that COVID requires, and the distribution of remote versus on campus students in a given class. Each art major will communicate more information about their individual program in the coming weeks as we know exactly which students plan to return in-person.
Also in Quarter 3, our popular ART360 classes will be back in the spring. This year, students from any grade will be eligible to take an optional ART360 class on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30-5:45pm. ART360 is a great way to meet other Walnuts and make art with your peers outside of your major. ART360 Classes will run from February to June and, depending on the course, can be remote, hybrid, or in person. We are especially excited to offer an all-new affinity curriculum ranging from arts outreach and psychology, to Black Film History, as well as popular arts classes across majors.
Overall, the focus will be on coming together and finding ways to make art without compromising health and safety. Additionally in Quarter 3, we are anticipating a limited number of live performances that will be recorded for distribution for parents.
Following safety protocols put in place, we have reviewed all community-wide programming to best accommodate all students, faculty and staff, both remote and in-person. All-school assemblies, Class Meetings, Group Advisory, and Community Council meetings will remain remote. Freshmen Foundations will move to a Hy-flex model. Individual advising appointments and small group gatherings related to student organizations and clubs will be permitted to meet either remotely or in-person.
As we enter Quarter 3, we acknowledge that our community remains spread out across time zones and continents. We will continue to stress the importance of community engagement and we will strive to incorporate all members of our community, students, faculty and staff, in all aspects of the Walnut Hill experience, regardless of remote or in-person status.