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  • Writer's pictureMr. Broberg


Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Teacher Ruth Maitlen watches Catherine test whether upside down cup is watertight.

Friday was the coolest day of the school year – not because of the chilly weather but because of the smiling faces we hadn’t seen in person for weeks if not months.

After spending all fall in distance learning mode, Seabury fourth- and fifth-graders were invited to spend half-a-day in their classrooms with their teachers and – most importantly – with each other.

We divided each class into two groups of five or less students. One group came in the morning and one came in the afternoon. When it was time to go home, they didn’t really want to leave.

“Seeing my friends was really awesome,” said Mirabel, a fourth-grader. “I really want to do it again.”

Our preschoolers started the year on campus and our K-3 students joined them three weeks later. However, as part of our phased response to COVID, we decided hold off on welcoming back other grades.

With transmission rates rising, we can’t be certain what the coming weeks hold, but we do know the value of enabling kids to safely interact in person – even on a very limited basis.

“We want to help kids make connections with each other and their teachers so they will be more comfortable and successful interacting online,” said Tiffany Price, assistant head of school. “We may schedule more days like Friday if some or all of our students are still in distance learning going forward.”

Our new fourth-grade teacher, Debra Owsley, got to work with her students in person for the first time Friday. Their activities included building a model of a lever used by ancient Egyptians to lift water from the Nile River.

“It was really fun,” Debra said. “They’re great, great kids. Their personalities are the same as online. I feel like I knew all about them when they walked in the door, but it was nice to see them without the challenges of technology.”

Students in Ruth Maitlen’s fifth-grade class experimented with plunging an upside down cup into a tank of water to see if it would remain dry inside. Later they retired to the parking lot for snack time – with each student sitting on a stadium cushion in separate parking spaces in front of their classroom.

“This is magical,” Catherine said as she leaned back on the L-shaped cushion

Yes it was.

“I thought virtual school was perfectly fine,” said Varun. “Then I came here and it’s like, oh, we’re missing all this.”

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