- Zach Hayden
Long Distance Learning
Updated: Jun 26, 2021
After lunch on March 12th of 2020, all faculty and staff were called to a meeting in Oxford's Brainerd Room. As everyone gathered, we shared the letter going out to families that announced the closing of the campus and the switch to online teaching. Despite the fact that this option had been under consideration, it was a potentially overwhelming moment. As teachers, staff, and community members we all had a tremendous amount to think about in terms of the safety of our Oxford family and our own families. The community response confirmed why Oxford is such a special place. I have never been prouder to be a part of Oxford Academy. Responsibilities were divided, and teams met and coordinated all hours of the day to make sure our students understood the plans to get home safely, previewed and discussed how online learning would work, and felt supported through all steps of this transition. Between Friday March 13th, and Monday March 16th, we had Oxford ready to go online. The collaboration, selflessness, creativity, and innovation of our faculty and staff made this happen. We created protocols for our student's online experiences, shared them with families, and continued our advisory structure to help maintain the social and academic momentum of the year.
Oxford was fortunate. In addition to having an amazing team to make this transition possible, we have a method of teaching that is largely rooted in dialogue. We were able to effectively replicate this approach online. As we engaged in months of online school there were inevitably things that teachers and students missed, and our many offerings of online clubs, virtual study halls, digital advisory, shared Google Meet meals, never went all the way to replacing the sense of community that comes from all living and working at 1393 Boston Post Road.
Having a virtual graduation for the Class of 2020 was a demonstration of the perseverance of those young men, but also a moment that we hoped signaled the slow and careful return to in-person learning. As September of 2020 approached and Oxford's Reopening Campus Plan was put into practice, the lessons from our previous terms of online classes became an important building block for this current year. We have been able to maximize our campus health and our educational output by using online learning as needed to transition back from breaks, treat individual health concerns, and generally maintain our community through what could have been a very tumultuous 2020-2021 school year. When we are all called together on the morning of June 5th for an on-campus graduation to celebrate Oxford's Class of 2021, we can be thankful for what we have learned and how it positioned us to be together sharing one of our most important moments as a community.