Hopes crushed as Webb opts for stability

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Sharon Xu (‘22)

Sharon Xu (‘22) takes class in her empty Jameson dorm room two days a week after Webb decided not to resume on-campus boarding next quarter.

A full year and two days after student left Webb’s campus on the March 13th, 2020, Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale sent a letter to the community announcing that Webb’s boarding program would not be resuming for the rest of the school year.  

Since that Thursday in March last year, Webb has kept our hopes up. For example, a letter from the Head of Schools in March 2021 read Based on current spread, the communications of state and local public health agencies, and our own Medical Advisory Board’s analysis of the coming months, we have decided … continue our academic program online until we are able to open our boarding facilities. … Our hope is to reopen residential facilities and resume in-person instruction after spring break.Student and families have been in a state of constant anticipation, just waiting to pack up and head back to Webb, and the tension has been very tiring.  

“It seems like every month I get my hopes up, only for them to be crushed again,” Emily Black (‘24) said. 

So, though sad, this final blow has come as somewhat of a relief; students now have the stability of knowing that we will be at home for at least the next five months.  

However, Webbies’ disappointment persists, as they share their frustration about this predicament.  

I was really hoping that we could go back to boarding after spring break,” Sharon Xu (‘22) said. I’m supposed to be a dorm prefect and we don’t have dorms, thus didn’t really get to do much this year. I just miss my friends a lot and miss being with everyone in general. I also preferred our longer inperson classes. 

I, personally, was devastated by the announcement about not having full on-campus classes,” Emily said. Communicating with others is so difficult online, and connections with other people become unstable. 

“It’s pretty annoying [that we’re not going back],” Jonathan Zhang (‘21) said. “Especially because it is my senior year and a lot of schools around us have already opened. I’m not even asking for a boarding experience, which I realize is too much, but I think opening classes like other schools should be acceptable.” 

These students have also not been having the best of times with the online schooling either.  

“I don’t mind homeschooling but school in person is a lot better,” Jonathan said. “I am definitely sick of it [and] often, I find myself losing the willpower to focus on lecture-oriented classes like Advanced Placement Calculus. 

“I don’t hate homeschooling,” Sharon said. “I’ve liked being home with my family and bonding with my family a lot. But it’s definitely harder to learn and focus online and the days becomes really monotonous.” 

Luckily there are some good things about staying at home, and even some people who are happy about Webb’s decision.  

“I’m not too thrilled about online because I often have internet issues and I spend an insane amount of time on my computer screen,” Hunter Lange (‘22) said. “It feels relieving to have a break in the middle of the week which I can use to get work done and focus on myself. For me, I feel extremely relaxed going to the beach and so it feels amazing to go more often. I feel more drawn to online school at the moment, even though I’m using a lot of screen time, because it’s allowed me to create a schedule where I can put more focus on my mental health.” 

Other students felt unsure about going back out of concern for the virus.  

“I’m kind of glad, not gonna lie, because it still seems risky to have everyone go back and stay in dorms and classrooms and such,” Briteny Lu (‘23) said.  

Moreover, by going back to campus for quarter four, we would be doing essentially the same thing as last March – uprooting out lives and abandoning established routines right during one of the busiest times of a Webb school year.  

I am kind of glad we are not going back to Webb yet because I have established a schedule for myself at home where I feel comfortable and less stressed,” Hunter said. Going back to Webb with only a few months of the school year would make the transition extremely difficult and stress-provoking. 

But still, after leading us on all year, not going back to campus is disappointing and not all students are happy about it. Nevertheless, at least Webb has left us with some stability for the next five months.