A Note About the Reopening of School
From the President’s Office at Oak Hill Academy
September 11, 2020
I am pleased to announce that our school community is now in Phase 3. Social distancing, capacity limits, and mask-wearing are now eased across campus for students—particularly in dormitories, athletic arenas, and outdoors. The cafeteria is now open for in-person dining, OHA-sponsored off-campus trips are permissible, and students may begin to visit with one another in their dormitory rooms.
Students will continue to be required to wear masks in the academic building only through Thursday, September 17. Adults will continue to wear masks on campus throughout the entirety of the First Semester. (For full details of Phase 3, see below; also see the plans posted in July for the entirety of OHA’s “Re-Open School Plan.”)
To date, our medical staff has administered 240+ tests for COVID, collectively taken the temperature of our students more than 3,400 times (every student, 2x a day, for 20 days), and medically screened each student morning and night. I want to express publicly my appreciation to our nurses (Betsy Anderson and Anita Perkins) and the chair of our Re-Open Task Force (Mr. Aaron Butt) for their tireless efforts to ensure Oak Hill Academy’s safe transition to Phase 3.
What is Phase 3?
After successfully completing a 14 day period with a negative test result until 4 weeks after the opening of school.
- Social distancing, capacity limits, and mask-wearing eased across campus, but students must wear masks in the academic building, cafeteria, or any other indoor gatherings with 25+ persons.
- No large indoor gatherings above 50 persons except in the cafeteria.
- Students may be moved from individual rooms to have a roommate.
- Approved off-campus trips may begin (masks must be worn in vehicles, no food or drink).
- Students may resume normal activities in indoor athletic facilities (gym, weight room) with a 25 person limit using appropriate disinfecting/cleaning supplies.
- No dorm visitation.
- Meals will resume in the cafeteria at a 65 person capacity. 3 persons per table, and students must wear a mask unless seated and eating. Cups may not be reused.
- Faculty family and approved guests eat during a designated time after students depart.
- Dinner will be in the cafeteria on two shifts.
- The medical station will be at the chapel.
- Certain interactions may require students to wear a mask and social distance, in order to protect personnel at high risk.
- OHA employees will continue to wear masks and social distance throughout the semester.
We are inching ever so cautiously and optimistically toward normalcy at OHA. I notice this “normalcy” most readily by the sounds that are beginning to envelope our campus: the laughter that so naturally fills the campus store deck each day after school, the familiar thump of basketballs bouncing inside historic Turner Gymnasium, the chatter from the game/TV rooms in the dormitories, and the ringing of the bells to signal the onset of nightly study hall as students prepare for their next day at school—a next day at school that shall be in-person, face-to-face with a teacher, growing into the person we all know they can be.
In 2020 a return to normalcy takes extra effort and a healthy dose of patience… and it’s worth it every day at OHA! Into Phase 3 we go, onward and together.
Michael D. Groves, Ph.D.