Upper school prepares for distribution day and upcoming school year

June 2, 2021

After Santa Clara County entered the yellow tier on May 18, the upper school also moved forward with loosening campus protocols during the last few weeks of the spring semester and outlined plans for the upcoming school year. 

“As we think about a year that will hopefully look very different than the one in our rearview mirror, I am excited for new student leaders to emerge and over 200 smiling faces full of anticipation arriving on campus as the Class of 2025 joins the upper school,” Head of Upper School Butch Keller said in an email sent out to parents and students yesterday. 

Keller announced the change in Distribution Day to tomorrow, June 3, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the front loading zone. Students who have yet to pick up their yearbooks may do so then.

Students can also drop off any MBS books for sale or contact Matt Oritz. Second semester report cards and unofficial transcripts will be released on Monday, June 7, at 5 p.m., and students will no longer have access to report cards, gradebooks or unofficial transcripts starting Thursday, June 10. 

For the fall semester, sophomore and junior class trips will occur on Thursday, Aug. 19, and the upper school matriculation will occur on Friday, August 20 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

“We’re pretty sure we’re going to be mostly back to normal and we’ll definitely be in person,” said upper school nurse Jennifer Olson, who has been organizing COVID-19 testing for faculty and athletes. “Vaccination rates are high and COVID cases are very low, [so] I think we’re just waiting for a little bit more guidance.”

Many teachers have returned on campus to teach either in a hybrid format or for in-person days. Upper school chemistry teacher Mala Raghavan, who conducted four in-person labs on campus in the last month, noted a considerable difference in teaching in person versus on Zoom.   

“You cannot even compare the experience of doing online labs to in-person labs,” Raghavan. “For me, as a teacher, I really look forward to the interaction [with students]. I make connections in the classrooms, and labs are a huge part of it. It does not even compare closely to doing something online, so it was really fun to be able to do things in the lab and watch the kids interact and work.”

The library also opened restricted seating on May 20. Individual students may only sit in the study area for 80 minutes at a time, long enough for one Zoom class. The tables in the main studying area allow for two students per table, with the available spaces at either end of the table denoted by pink tape. The rest of the study areas in the library—the library classroom, the sofas and the window seats—are not open.

Although the library has now opened up, other reading alternatives have continued to be offered during the pandemic. The library has hosted curbside library services throughout the year in which students could request books from the library via an online form and pick up or drop off books for return during distribution days. 

All physical books except for textbooks were allowed to be checked out in this manner. A book return box was also placed in front of the libraries of all campuses for a contactless return. Students are also encouraged to check out digital material from Sora, an e-book and audiobook platform. 

Upper school athletic director Dan Molin also announced the commencement of upper school athletics for summer workouts and fall athletic dates, summer and fall coach information and how students can attain required P.E. credits. According to an email Molin sent out to the upper school, more details regarding fall athletics will be supplied over the summer. 

“The slow transition [to in-person school] that’s coming from the end of this year to the start of next year really helps,” Anja Ree (9) said. “I feel like if we spent an entire summer at home and then suddenly just came back in full force next year, that’d be kind of hard, so easing into it was really nice.”

Additional reporting by Arely Sun, Sabrina Zhu and Sally Zhu.

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