The Catalyst Volume 8, Issue 3 - Page 5

quickly got to work -- building five mobile outdoor whiteboards, cutting classroom seating stumps, hoisting shade tarp structures and crafting lap desks so that students could effectively learn in these new spaces. In June, with just under two months to go until Opening Day, Alzar School began construction on a new and ninth yurt, the Selway River Yurt. This most recent addition, along with the Salmon River Yurt and two smaller infirmaries, serve as isolation spaces for any ill students. Within regular living yurts, we added floor length curtains around bunks to help curb the spread of airborne pathogens. Showers were added to the yurts to minimize traffic and cross-yurt contamination in the bathhouse. Furthermore, CEA (Community and Experiential Advisor) yurts gained full bathroom additions to again minimize exposure between “households” or yurt pods. Although Alzar School is a small community, we’ve taken extra precautions to segment students and staff with additional infrastructure.

Coordinating thirty-plus students’ academic requirements, residential needs, and wishes is a daunting task no matter the semester. However, with new outdoor spaces, split meal times, and altered community chores, scheduling is even more complex. Director of Studies, Laura Bechdel, and Dean of Students, Michael Ervin, and others have worked particularly hard to arrange student and staff schedules in order to reduce the number of people and time spent in any particular space and accommodate extra precautions all without, to the best of our ability, diminishing the power of social and mentor relationships at Alzar School. For example, this semester the transition time between classes has been lengthened to allow for teachers to sanitize classroom surfaces and tools before the next class period. Furthermore, administrators and staff have all jumped in to cover dish duty to limit the time students spend indoors and in close proximity to each other. These scheduling changes have been an adjustment, but will ultimately help keep our community healthy.

Alzar School is poised and determined to emerge from the current challenge stronger and better than ever.