Strict Health Protocols Allow Webb to Host On-campus Study Cohorts

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Credit: Scott Nichols/The Webb Schools

Mr. Kevin Quick mingles with the freshmen class eating lunch on Alamo lawn .

With only a few months left in the 2020-2021 school year, the need for an on-campus school environment has become increasingly important to the students. Webb is slowly moving in the right direction. After the success with the on-campus sports program, the school announced last month that they will allow local students back on campus to participate in their online classes from dorm rooms within designated study cohorts. Fortunately, COVID-19 rates in California have dropped in recent weeks, making Webb one step closer to finally being able to open the school entirely.  

This oncampus program has been weeks in the making and is a collaborative effort by multiple facets of the Webb community, including teachers, administration and the Medical Advisory Board. 

“The idea is to get out of your house, have a chance to come to Webb, see some folks you know, and have a place to do your classes, as well as a common area where you can spend some time with people in that group, said Dr. Theresa Smith, Associate Head of School and member of the Medical Advisory Board. 

Like the sports program, students who began the on-campus study program have had to go through protocols to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Even though daily cases in L.A. county are down, it is still important that we make sure to keep infection rates low. 

“A lot of the protocols that we’re using for athletics would be pretty similar,” Dr. Smith said.Our arrival process, using our passport app, our screening testing with the BinaxNOW antigen test, masking and physical distancing [are the same for sports and study groups].” 

The school learned a lot from the success of the limited sports conditioning program that was launched at the end of 2020. They’ve been creating the cohort program around the same ideas. 

 [The on-campus athletics program] has been very good to have a very small group of kids back just to sort of get our sea legs a little bit and cross check all of our processes, and that’s been super helpful,” said Head of School Taylor Stockdale. 

Webb has added COVID-19 testing into the mix in recent weeks, and hopes that this will help prevent the virus from spreading across the Webb community. 

“Studies show that if you do that one to two times a week you can really reduce the amount of infection,” Dr. Smith said. “For example, students who come just Monday and Tuesday for study groups will probably be tested one time. If they were also here Thursday and Friday for athletics, they would probably be tested two times.” 

Having students back on campus during the day has brought a buzz of excitement that has not been felt at Webb in nearly a year. People are more hopeful than ever that Webb could host classes inperson and that we can finally get back to a relatively normal state. 

Jimmie McCloud (‘22) is hoping that Webb will move in the boarding students soon now that campus is open for local students. Jimmie joined the cohort program after travelling to Claremont from his home in Santiago, Chile. 

I made my decision to attend study groups because I am going to be able to be with my friends and do some group work in person,” Jimmie said. 

With the success that we have seen so far with the oncampus programs, Webb students cannot help but wonder: when we will all finally be able to go back on campus for classes?