The New Normal at Flint Hill

By Abi Baker, Contributor

Because of everything unprecedented about this upcoming school year, I asked Headmaster John Thomas about what to expect when we return to school at Flint Hill. 

 

Over the summer, facilities staff at Flint Hill have been reconfiguring classrooms, installing temperature kiosks, and designating new lunch areas. Despite all of the change, Mr. Thomas says students can expect “the same core values and commitment by teachers to give the students the same positive experience.” 

 

While in school, one of the most important things you can do to stay safe is wear a mask. To further help prevent the virus from spreading, there are hand sanitizer stations all over the building and touch-free soap and towel dispensers. Teachers will wipe down tables and chairs in between classes to take extra precautions. Regular classrooms can now only accommodate up to 12 students, and places like the Learning Commons and regular Commons will be used for larger classes. There is also a new dress code that includes a more relaxed version of the preexisting one to allow students to wear jeans! 

 

The students that have opted for virtual learning will still be included in live classes via an iPad set up in the school classroom. They can ask questions and follow along with their classmates and through continuous surveys, accommodations will be made as needed to help the students and address concerns. 

 

Mr. Thomas also said that he is thinking of new ways to continue celebrating some of our unique school traditions and events either virtually or while being socially distant. He said, “I want us to keep doing the things that were normal at school while we are living through very abnormal times.” 

 

In regards to everything that has unfolded during the months we have been out of school, Anne Peterson, the Assistant Head of School for Finance and Operations, has been working with Katie Koestner, an activist against sexual assault, following the walkout that took place earlier last year. It is a priority that this is taken seriously. Mr. Thomas says “it has to be a whole new beginning.” Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Peterson are working on policy changes and implementing new programming for students. 

 

To conclude, Mr. Thomas wanted to reiterate his desire to open school safely.  He said, “I am trying to have the students’ best interests at heart,” that he understands the importance of human interaction, and that, in his words, “there is real value in getting together, as long as it is safe.”