As COVID-19 continues to spread nationwide, it has had a significant negative impact on many organizations and institutions. Chase Collegiate School, a pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school located in Waterbury, sent an email to its community saying that it was closing for the year; this email came only twelve days before the school year began. Although this has brought so many emotions to many staff and students, KO was lucky to have three new students and one faculty member join our community.
When students and staff all heard the news about the closing of their school so suddenly, it resulted in grief, sadness and confusion. Spanish teacher Kathleen McLean, who joined us from Chase Collegiate, said she was really grateful when she received a call from KO. “KO has also been a dream job for me because it is a community I love and has many of the same values that Chase does,” Ms. McLean said. Those values include close relationships between faculty and students as well as high standards for teaching and learning.
“In contrast to Chase, KO is a very stable school with a healthy endowment and a very healthy infrastructure,” Ms. McLean said. Although everyone loved the Chase community, the school struggled financially, and Ms. McLean said she thinks KO is a much more stable community overall; even though she has not been here for long, she is really enjoying KO.
The email sent to Chase Collegiate staff and students letting them know that the school was closing said as follows:
“Due to the global and local economic impact related to the current COVID-19 pandemic, together with other conditions that are not conducive to operating Chase Collegiate School in a financially sustainable manner, there will be no classroom or online education provided for the 2020-2021 school year.”
Having this information sent in an email made it so much harder for students and faculty to process what was happening and their emotions.
In mid-August, Associate Director of Admissions Michelle Kollen heard from one of her colleagues that Chase was closing, and immediately she felt terrible for these students. She decided to reach out to the school and try to help some of their international students as one of Mrs. Kollen’s roles in admissions is as the international admissions coordinator. “We collabed with the school and some of the agencies to try to find what students would be best fit for KO,” Mrs. Kollen said. It was narrowed down to fewer students, and three of those students ended up accepting KO’s offer to enroll.
Ms. McLean said that it has been a very quick transition, although she feels that she has adjusted quite well to her new environment. One of the differences between KO and Chase that Ms. McLean notes is that Chase was much smaller and she was therefore able to name everyone on campus, and now Ms. McLean is feeling as though there are so many people she does not know.
KO truly is lucky to have gained so many amazing people to join our community and although it is so sad to hear about the sudden closing of the Chase Collegiate School, the KO community is so excited to welcome our new members.