- 2020-21 School Year
As Linden Hall nears the end of classes and graduation, we know our entire community is wondering what the fall semester will look like at Linden Hall. To address these questions, Linden Hall has established a COVID-19 Task Force comprised of Administration and Board Members who are in regular communication with leading public health officials and independent school leaders across the country to inform our decision moving forward. While many uncertainties remain, we want to take this opportunity to update the community about our plans for the coming school year and to outline our process and timeline for making these decisions.
How we move forward in the fall depends on several factors, many of which are beyond our control. However, we will make decisions using the best data and information available. Linden Hall is not alone in facing these difficult decisions. Our resources and collaborations will be extremely helpful as we focus on the array of COVID-related issues and how they will impact Linden Hall.
While this situation continues to unfold, here is what we can share at this time:
Our top priority is to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Every decision we will make will be guided by this principle.
Our mission has not changed. Our commitment to providing an excellent all-girls education will continue and is integral to the life-transforming experience that has defined Linden Hall for 274 years. We will continue to find ways to deliver a unique Linden Hall experience either on-campus or virtually while keeping our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe.
We will announce our plan for the fall no later than July 10th. This will allow us to see how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and to make educated decisions based on the best data available. We have taken the last two months to thoroughly map out various scenarios and plan for the different situations each presents. We know that in order to bring students back to campus, at a minimum, we will need to have the ability to check everyone for symptoms daily, effective contact tracing for any exposures to the virus that may occur within our community, as well as a plan for caring for any student who may become exposed to or who tests positive for the virus. Although we will announce a plan by July 10th, we may have to adjust our timeline depending upon how the pandemic unfolds.
The COVID-19 Task Force is focused on strategic “what if” thinking and implementation planning. This group of Board Members and Administrators is working to provide the greatest amount of flexibility for the upcoming school year, given the evolving nature of this pandemic. The Task Force has identified challenges, is documenting processes, and is developing communications that will be in place to bring students and faculty safely back to Linden Hall in the fall. These include conversations concerning, but are not limited to:
- Adhering to social distancing practices within spaces at Linden Hall (i.e. classrooms, dining hall, residence halls, athletic fields, etc.).
- Welcoming boarding students back in cohorts to adhere to quarantine recommendations as presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health officials.
- Adhering to CDC recommended cleaning procedures throughout the school.
- Testing day students and faculty for symptoms and limiting public access to school spaces and on-campus events.
- Any necessary adjustments to our tuition and fee schedule.
Members of the COVID-19 Task Force include: chair Ralph Simpson (Trustee) and includes, Carol Dague (Trustee), Lauren Dennis (Enrollment Management), Jade Honey (Institutional Advancement), Becky Merritt (Trustee), Jakob Olree (Facility Operations), Anne Rampulla (Human Resources), Natasha Solomon (Student Affairs), Beth Teske (Academics), Michael Waylett (Head of School), Heather Wilson (Chair, Board of Trustees) and Dr. Nan Wodarz (Interim Head of School).
Collaboration with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health network. Penn Medicine LG Health has been an invaluable partner in providing health care to our students on campus this past year. Throughout this current crisis, we have been in close collaboration with them and others in the LGH network, as we determine what we need to have in place to protect the health of our students, faculty, and staff. As we think through the details of future scenarios, it is tremendously reassuring to know that thanks to this relationship, we will have access to testing, treatments, and health care for our students.
Each week throughout the summer, the COVID-19 Task Force will provide an update to the Linden Hall community with additional information for students and parents related to opening in the fall. We look forward to continuing our important work together throughout the next academic year and welcoming our students back to Linden Hall in the fall.