Entering the Proctor community this year, whether in person or remote, will be different from any other year in the history of the school. It is going to require more of you and more from us. Together we will do the work of community during a pandemic, and it will ask of you grace, circumspect, and resilience. The opportunities of Proctor haven’t changed, but the way we go about accessing them on a day to day basis has been significantly altered by the way we will need to adjust to maintain the health and well-being of everyone.
We all have that person in our lives. The one who is our first call when a major life event happens. The one who we can wake in the middle of the night without a second thought. The one whose hug is the best medicine. For many of us, our parents or our best friend serve as that person. At Proctor, the advisor doesn’t seek to replace the parent or best friend, but becomes another person for each of our students.
The blur of a COVID-19 induced summer quarantine is upon us during these seemingly endless days of summer. We each have settled into our own summer routine: exercise, work, reading, house projects, family time, swimming, sleep, repeat. And while we can hardly complain about the luxury of living in lake-laden rural New Hampshire during one of the hottest and sunniest July’s on record, our annual anticipation of returning to a school-year routine is starting to creep into our existence.
I write today to share the details of Proctor’s return to school plan in a document that follows this letter. Making the decision to reopen in September for face-to-face learning has been and must continue to be a deliberative, not reactive process. We have done our work internally, gotten advice for experts externally. We have partnered with other ISANNE schools to develop what we think of as shared, responsible practices. Reopening for in person learning is a decision that takes into consideration our unique geography, the data within the state, the health and wellbeing of our faculty and staff, and our belief that we can collectively do the work of establishing and maintaining a healthy community.
Traffic continues to flow down Route 11 to local lakes and mountain getaways, and daily admissions tours on campus provide a sense of normalcy. Our intense focus since June has been on developing a return to school plan that will allow us to safely and responsibly repopulate campus in September, a most abnormal way to spend our summer and one that has challenged us to think critically about every aspect of who we are and what we do as a school.
The 4th of July in the town of Andover, New Hampshire looked a little different this year. Not just because COVID-19 canceled festivities on the Town Green, the parade through campus filled with local fire departments and scout troops, or fireworks over Carr Field, but because of a much needed reframing of our understanding of Independence Day in America.