All Students Back on Sage Hill Campus

As COVID-19 cases recede, the school reopens to its entirety.


Eric Xie

The Sage Hill community gathers in Town Square for the annual Convocation Ceremony on Aug. 23.

Ingrid Luo

Excited chatter, joyous shouts, and the loud rumble of more than 500 footsteps could be heard on the day the Sage Hill campus reopened. After being cooped up at home or abiding by strict safety guidelines the past school year, Sage Hill students were exhilarated that they could return to school, meet their friends, and learn in-person. 

Sophomore Sophia Chen said that learning on-site is “super exciting and reinvigorating” and allows her to see “the whole school in a different light.” 

In the spring of 2020, the school closed its doors to maintain the safety of its students and staff. Due to the omnipresent threat of the coronavirus pandemic, all education was shifted online, with teachers hustling to wrangle out the framework of classes and tweak any complications that arose. The summer of that year passed quickly, but COVID-19 was still a present concern and danger. Some students, worn out by the extensive quarantine, expressed their hopes of returning to the school campus. At the same time, others were still worried about the risks of contracting the virus. To fit the needs of everyone, the school established dual learning modalities — distance and in-person learning. 

Those who wanted to learn on campus would undergo regular testing to check for any symptoms of the coronavirus that could possibly endanger the Sage Hill community. Arrival times for the under and upperclassmen were established to control traffic and crowding, decreasing the likelihood of spreading COVID-19. At the same time, students and faculty who wished to stay home could learn and teach online, respectively, through Zoom. The 2020-2021 school year flew by, and many adjustments were made over the year as situations varied. 

Before many realized, though, it was already time for another beginning: this year.

With more than 80 percent of the student body and almost 100 percent of the Sage Hill staff vaccinated, the school felt ready to reopen. 

“I believe we are at our best as a school and a community when we are all together, learning and collaborating in person,” said Dean of School Life Dominic Campeau.

Since the pandemic was not completely over, with undulating cases and the discovery of a new variant, the decision and plan to open the school were discussed very thoroughly. 

“Of course, when making any decisions, Ms. Merz and the administrative team have the health and safety of our students and employees as a top priority at all times,” said Mr. Campeau. “But we believe that with our current policy of weekly surveillance testing for unvaccinated individuals, as well as mandatory face mask requirements indoors for everyone, we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of exposure on campus.”

Many students, as well as teachers and staff, look forward to the upcoming year. Several also agree that, despite the new safety requirements, they don’t sense much difference. 

“It was just strange,” said junior Catherine Lockie, a student who chose online learning last year. “Because it didn’t feel like any time had passed since when I left the Sage campus and when I returned.” 

Hopes are high, and Mr. Campeau said that he is “looking forward to celebrating and being together as a community for popular traditions like Homecoming, pep rallies, and grade level retreats. We all just need to continue doing our part to keep ourselves and one another safe, and we will have an incredible year ahead!”