UPDATE: It has been announced that OHS will be closed until at least May 4.
For the first time in the history of Oak Hall School, a virus is forcing it to close its doors, but only temporarily. This afternoon, Head of School Dr. James Hutchins sent an e-mail to parents, informing them that school will be closed beginning Monday, March 16. All extracurricular activities and athletics have been cancelled starting this afternoon.
The e-mail states, “Every step we’ve taken over the past week has been taken only after thoughtful consideration and thorough discussions with many who are invested in both the education and well-being of our students and the entire Oak Hall community.” Hutchins first met with the faculty and staff, in order to prepare them for any questions the students might have the rest of the school day.
“I think, given the ever-changing, evolving situation with the Coronavirus, we need to be mindful of community spread, and we need to do our part that we limit exposure,” said Hutchins. Monday through Wednesday of next week is reserved for teachers to continue to prepare lessons through online learning, with classes resuming online beginning Thursday. Each division is using specific programs and apps to continue educating the students:
Lower School: Zoom, Seesaw, e-mail, and apps accessed through Clever
Middle School: Zoom, e-mail, Canvas, and apps accessed through Clever
Upper School: Canvas, Microsoft Teams, and e-mail
For students using a school-issued iPad, the iPad must be dropped off at the respective division office today (Friday, March 13) to ensure it can be updated with the appropriate technology for online education. The iPad can be picked up on Wednesday, March 18 at a time to be determined. Teachers have been asked to be cognizant that students might not have technology available to them at home, and to work with students if that is the case. In an e-mail sent to the parents, separate from the initial closing e-mail, it states, “If you struggle with technology at home or lack devices or internet access, we will provide continuous learning opportunities in other forms.”
“Let’s be preventative in this sense, help the community, be mindful of them and do our part,” added Hutchins.
As far as the re-opening of the school after Spring Break, Hutchins said that is yet to be determined.