The emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic in late 2019 and its global spread throughout 2020 has forced Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall, like other schools around the world, to reevaluate nearly every aspect of its educational practices. Across the School, teachers, staff members, students, parents and guardians have demonstrated extraordinary resilience and flexibility in adapting to new, shifting, and often challenging conditions. As state-wide and local health conditions continue to be closely monitored in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and businesses and schools prepare to reopen this fall, we look forward to once again welcoming students, faculty and staff back to our beautiful campus. We understand that this transition back to school may come with concerns and complexities, and we are committed to reorienting students, families, and educators to the new school year in the safest and most supportive way possible.
In designing a plan that creates a robust educational experience in the safest way possible for our community, we have made the difficult decision to begin the year without a traditional boarding program. This is the hardest decision we have had to make, as our boarding program is an essential part of making CH-CH a home away from home for so many of our students, faculty, and staff. As you will read below, we are rapidly constructing a Host Family Program to be launched with the new school year that may allow non-local boarding students the opportunity to live locally with CH-CH families and attend classes in-person. There is much more information coming on this as we aim to make this plan work for as many of our students as we can.
Adhering to campus reopening guidelines from the Commonwealth and health guidelines from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we aim to begin the year with a de-densified campus and to limit the time students will be physically present on campus grounds. Delaying the opening of our residential life program allows the School to open on time with greater institutional safety, lower personal health risks, and a commitment to regular assessment of the campus environs vis-a-vis a safe, delayed opening to the boarding program later in the academic year. It is our hope that the dormitories could open after one of our major breaks, possibly in January but more probably in March. This is a decision that will be made as we monitor the situation during the year.
It is impossible to eliminate potential health risks associated with COVID-19 entirely, but based on the counsel of leading medical experts locally and nationally, we believe our plan will allow us to bring students on campus for a few hours each day for important face-to-face instruction and social interaction while providing multiple layers of protection to best mitigate risk. Our plan also provides the nimbleness for us to make adjustments if/when conditions related to COVID-19 change.