Remote Learners Return to Campus for Spring Semester



Students check in while arriving during Opening Days.

Remember when Bucky the Bearcat greeted you as you drove into the MAC parking lot for orientation? New students who weren’t on campus last semester had a different experience on their first days at the school. On February 21, students returned after a three-month absence, including eight Preps who had never set foot on campus before as students. After arriving, all students entered a 12-day quarantine period, during which they attended online classes from their dorms, ate meals in their rooms, and exercised outdoors individually. 

During the fall semester, over 80 students chose to learn remotely. For Peter Berlizov ’24, a new student from Russia, the closure of U.S. consulates in Russia due to the pandemic meant that he could not obtain his F-1 Visa. Safety concerns with international travel led Mehar Bhasin ’23 to choose to learn remotely.

Many former remote learners are excited for in-person classes after having to overcome challenges with Zoom. Bhasin said, “It was hard to continue joining class on Zoom while my friends were on campus, as I felt that I was missing out. I’m excited to have theatre class in the Black Box. Theater is all about acting and moving, so it was especially difficult on Zoom when my classmates were on campus.” 

The promise of COVID-19 vaccines and the school’s stringent safety measures contributed to students’ decisions to return for the spring semester. Berlizov said, “I chose to [return] because the online experience is obviously not the same in terms of social interaction, sports, and clubs. I’m also confident that the school is effective in case prevention and quarantine, so I’m not too worried about infection.”

In an effort to maintain community health and safety, the school is testing all community members for COVID-19 twice a week. On Monday, March 8, students began attending in-person classes, dining in designated spaces, and participating in modified extracurricular activities. 

New students admit there are challenges entering the school community at a later time. Berlizov said, “I expect to face some challenges when meeting people for the first time as I am coming into the community later, but campus is beautiful and everyone in my pod has been [very welcoming].”

If health conditions allow, students will stay on campus for the remainder of the academic year. Upper Mids, Lower Mids, and Preps will depart on June 3. Graduation events will be held for the Class of 2021 on June 5.