August 27, 2021
I hope you all have taken time for relaxation with family and friends. Leisure time is well-deserved — and much needed — for all of us to arrive in Simsbury recharged and ready to take on the upcoming school year. Everyone here has been busy especially during the last few weeks, like the bees in our apiary, getting ready for your arrival. Our work is guided by our school’s mission, that is, to be a joyful, aspirational community where all members strive to achieve their best, even while we, as a school, work assiduously to mitigate our community members’ exposure to variants of the novel coronavirus (COVID).
Despite this latest round of challenges, we find ourselves at a much different place than last year. As of this writing, all of our faculty and staff are fully vaccinated or in the process of being fully vaccinated unless they have received a religious or medical exemption approved by the School. Our vaccination mandate for all students 12 years and older adds another layer of protection in decreasing the spread of the virus with the allowance of school-approved religious or medical exemptions. Please note that each of you who has applied for an exemption will receive a formal notification in the next few days about whether it has been approved or not.
We maintain our commitment to the latest governmental mandates, including a mask requirement for all members of our campus regardless of vaccination status as directed by Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont until at least September 30. Despite these remaining restrictions, I’m fully confident that this year will bring us closer to the ways that are familiar to us — classes in person in Beaver Brook and the Middle School, gatherings, sharing meals, traditions and rituals, and ceremonies. Our commitment to the health and well-being of our community continues and it stretches from Simsbury across the globe. As members of the Walker’s community, we all agree to uphold the obligation to embrace fully all who are here and to ensure that we treat each other with the highest levels of respect and dignity.
Dr. Meera Viswanathan
Head of School
The excitement of Opening Days is upon us with our first group of students arriving on campus on Thursday, September 2. Please visit our back-to-school website for a complete list of dates and checklists including summer reading, boarding student packing lists and so much more.
Dining will occur in Abra’s, the Common Room and the Living Room with plexiglass dividers; students can also choose to dine outdoors in a new outdoor eating area under a tent where plexiglass is not required.
The learning environment at Walker’s will continue to be an energized experience for all students both in our traditional classrooms and in the outdoor classrooms on campus. For indoor classrooms, student desks will be spaced three feet apart per CDC guidelines with students and instructors required to wear masks. Outdoor classrooms will also have desks spaced three feet apart; students and instructors will not be required to wear masks in outdoor classrooms. One-way hallways will be eliminated and movement in spaces such as Diddle’s, our school store, the library and social spaces, will be less restrictive albeit with three feet of distancing where possible.
This year’s fall season will be an exciting one with a full slate of games, meets and shows for our athletic and riding teams. Walker’s participates in the Founders League; all schools in the league have committed to ensuring that their athletes are either fully vaccinated or have a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of play. Masks will be worn for indoor sports for both practices and games with no mask requirement for outdoor sports. Spectators are expected to be three feet apart while on the sidelines. Plans are underway for the protocols for indoor spectators and will be shared with families shortly.
Dr. Meera Viswanathan
Head of School
Elisa Del Valle
Assistant Head of School for Student Life/Director of Social Justice and Inclusion
Director of Health Services
Assistant Head of School and Dean of Academics
Dean of Faculty and Dean of Academic Technology and Innovation