Founders League schools go online

Features

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Kingswood Oxford made the choice to remain online for the remainder of the semester. KO students have all become accustomed to the new way of life with online school, but what about students at other Founders League institutions? Hotchkiss, Miss Porter’s School, Avon Old Farms, Choate Rosemary Hall, and Loomis Chaffee have also made the decision to finish out the school year on an online platform. Here’s how it has been going for some of these students.

At Hotchkiss, junior Meghana Annamaneni feels as if there has been a smooth transition to online school. As a boarding student, it has definitely been different learning at home. Hotchkiss students have classes from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in an attempt to accommodate international students living around the world in different time zones.

“I think Hotchkiss has shown that it can remain unified even in times of uncertainty,” Meghana said. “Through all-school meetings, advisory sessions, and virtual club meetings, community members are remaining engaged and productive.”

The grading system at Hotchkiss allows students to use their third-quarter average as their entire second semester grade if their fourth quarter grade doesn’t improve. 

At Miss Porter’s School, junior Ava Shwartz has seen both positives and negatives to the online learning situation. Each class meets virtually through Zoom for 90 minutes a week, as opposed to around four hours a week during on campus learning. 

“My teachers have adjusted by using a lot of online teaching tools, more discussions and flip-classroom sessions, learning for homework, and discussing in class,” Ava said. 

While Ava is sad to miss all of the fun traditions Porter’s students look forward to in the spring, she finds that overall, Porters has made every effort to make online learning the best possible. “I’d much rather be on campus with my friends, but I don’t feel completely away from the Porters community in this situation,” Ava said.

According to junior Tyler Gordon, Avon Old Farms has done well with switching to an online platform. As a boarding student, Tyler definitely notices a change in his daily routine but feels his classes have remained very similar to what they were like on campus. 

“We have four classes that meet every day for 50 minutes with a 10-minute break in between,” Tyler said. “There is also a chance to meet with our advisor or club every day at lunch.” Overall, he said that the workload has remained consistent with the beginning of the year.

At Choate Rosemary Hall, junior Emily Goodwin has found the online schedule to be similar to their regular schedule. Choate holds 50-minute classes with 10-minute breaks from 10 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. Due to their large international student population, all classes are recorded so students living in different time zones can still access them. Additionally, Choate has opted to go pass/fail for the remainder of the semester. 

“Overall, the system is pretty good and teachers are understanding of the difficulties online learning presents,” Emily said, “especially being at a boarding school with kids from across the world.” One of her favorite aspects of online learning has been the extracurriculars, such as art and fitness classes. 

According to junior Declan Coyle at Loomis Chaffee, online classes have gone well considering the circumstances. “We have been able to keep the same schedule only with shortened classes and teachers are always available for extra help,” Declan said. 

Loomis has regular meetings as individual grades in an attempt to help classmates stay in touch and communicate updates to the online learning schedule. “At first there were many complaints about the workload,” Declan said, “but the school recently sent out a survey and are working to make changes.” Overall, he feels as though Loomis has done a good job accommodating its students.

Across the board, Founders League Schools have certainly made every effort to make online learning as normal as possible.