Family Programming Goes Virtual



Mr. Bradley greets parents during the 2019 Family Weekend.

In a departure from previous years, students and guardians will not be putting on funny accessories and posing together at the photo booth during family weekend this year. Due to COVID-19, the school has renamed “Family Weekend” to the “Virtual Family Program,” and all events will be held virtually.

While families will not be allowed on campus for the programming, event coordinators developed entirely new virtual programming that aims to foster the same spirit present during previous Family Weekends. Mrs. Lisa Brown, director of special events and projects, said, “Transitioning any of our regular programs to a virtual [event] comes with its challenges because you lose part of the connection points. You are trying to figure out how to best capture the most important parts of those [programs].”

Last Monday, October 19, saw the first event of the new Virtual Family Program. While family events usually occur over one weekend, the programming this year, including talks by speakers, student performances, and parent-teacher meetings, will extend to Wednesday, October 28. 

On Monday, Head of School Mr. Craig Bradley began Family Week with a virtual address, which was followed by webinars with the class deans. On Tuesday, the college office hosted Jeff Selingo, New York Times writer and author of Who Gets In and Why, to discuss the college admission process, which has been upended by the ongoing pandemic. On Wednesday evening, Senior families met with their students’ college advisors over Zoom. Parent-teacher conferences will be held Thursday through Saturday.

Upcoming events include a webinar next Monday with Mr. Richard Davis, COVID coordinator, and Mr. Steve McKibben P’22, dean of community life, to explain the school’s COVID protocols. There will also be a virtual gathering for students of color and their families next Wednesdaythe Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

In previous years, families joined students on campus to meet and interact with other families, students, faculty and school administrators. Family Weekend has provided insight into students’ daily lives, including an opportunity to watch student performances and sit in on classes. Darina Huang ’23, said, “Parents [won’t be] on campus, so there won’t be the same type of enthusiasm.” 

To continue the spirit surrounding the Virtual Family Program, families will be able to enjoy virtual performances from Calliope, the all-female a capella group on campus, Bluenotes, the all-male a capella group on campus, and the Hotchkiss Orchestra. 

Students will have no classes from Friday, October 23 to Monday, October 26 while their families participate in programming. Following the conclusion of the Virtual Family Program, students can look forward to Thanksgiving Break, which will begin in late November.