Finding the New Normal

Academics and student life continue in a world transformed

PHOTOS BY COLE + KIERA, KRISTIE RAE IMAGES, AND CA STUDENTS

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As chameleons, we place value on the ability to adapt to changing environments. This year, our mascot serves as a symbol of resilience.

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CA students gather on the patio outside the Main School Lobby. As the number of students attending in person grew over the course of the school year, the bustle returned to campus.

Masks. Distance markers. Quarantine protocols. Daily symptom self-screenings and weekly COVID-19 tests. These now-familiar adaptations have changed Concord Academy this year. Two tents dominate the quad, adding space for lunch and class gatherings. And HyFlex technology allows students in the classroom and those attending from home to interact.

This academic year was segmented into STACs (Short Terms at Concord), three per semester, to prioritize health and well-being and meet the needs of all students, in Concord and across the world. Assemblies and announcements take place via Zoom. Singers and ensembles rehearse virtually. Dancers have returned to the studio, widely spaced. Chapel talks are recorded and livestreamed. Students gather for live and virtual events. Both on and off campus, boarders connect with their houses.

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Seniors exit the Elizabeth B. Hall Chapel after a chapel talk.

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Students in class in the Ransome Room.

This has been a year of monitoring, evaluation, modification, adjustment, and cautious optimism as the school term progressed. After CA first welcomed new students to campus at Orientation, athletics and student events were offered in person while classes remained remote. Building on the success of a pilot program for in-person learning in the fall, after winter break many students, day and boarding, began attending in hybrid mode — taking classes in person on some days and remotely on others. After March break, more than 330 of CA’s students were back on campus, attending classes in person four days per week.

Throughout the year, the CA community has shared poems, performances, jokes, self-care tips, calls to action, and notes of appreciation. With gratitude for our community, we have kept connecting in as many ways as we can.

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Students in the advanced film course The Feature Film Project take their cameras on location in the woods between CA’s campus and the Sudbury River.

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Plexiglass dividers in the J. Josephine Tucker Library help students maintain distance while they study.

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MELEAH NEELY ’21

“Vulnerability is strength. It’s doing something knowing that it will be hard, but doing it anyway.”

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Students in one of Kim Frederick’s history classes, in the Great Room and connecting remotely via HyFlex technology.

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Squash players play pickleball on the tennis courts, an adaptation necessary before winter sports resumed indoor practice in January.

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Students paint a mural during an evening activity on campus.

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Seniors listen to a chapel talk from the Chapel pews.

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Students walk on campus around the quad, where tents occupy space near the Main School Building.

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DIEGO HERNANDEZ ’21

This is joy: being able to find meaning in what could be considered meaningless — the small conversations, hellos, or passing smiles.”

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Risk mitigation precautions haven’t stopped students from getting around campus in style.

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Students sit at a distance during a quad day social event in the fall

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The upper Stu-Fac offers more space to spread out during lunch.

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Students line up for snow tubing at Nashoba Valley Ski Area, one of many excursions and events organized by the Student Life Office.

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Zahaan Khalid ’21 and a friend eat lunch at a distance in the Stu-Fac.

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