The summer school program, led by Mrs. Carol Danstrom, responded to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic by modifying class schedules and formats. For incoming freshmen for whom the courses Literacy & Learning and/or Algebra 1 Essentials were required, the first three weeks of summer school were held virtually and the second three weeks were held in person. All other summer school courses were conducted in an e-learning format for all six weeks. Regrettably, enrichment courses for rising seventh and eighth grade students were cancelled.
Danstrom reports that despite the modifications, over 400 students were enrolled in for- credit classes at Loyola over the summer. Of those, 135 were incoming freshmen who were able to learn in person for the last three weeks of class.
“Having the students in the building went extremely well,” she says. “They were happy to get to know their teachers and other students in person. The atmosphere was positive and students quickly adjusted to wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart.”
Danstrom commends the cafeteria staff and the cleaning crew who, she says, worked tirelessly to keep the school clean and safe. In addition, she is grateful for the dedication and commitment of Loyola’s teachers, counselors and nursing staff. “We did not have a single case of covid for the three weeks we were in the building,” she proudly notes.
While incoming freshmen had the chance to return to campus, the following classes remained virtual: US History, World History, Geometry, Honors Geometry, Algebra 2, Honors Algebra 2, Intro to Algebra 1, Geometry Prep, English 1 Prep, Biology, Honors Biology, Chemistry and Honors Chemistry.
Director of Summer Sports Camps and Head Football Coach John Holecek reports that the Athletics Department hosted over 1,000 student-athletes from grades 9–12 on campus for summer sports camps. Participating teams included football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, lacrosse, volleyball, water polo, swimming, track, cross country, field hockey, cheer, and soccer.
Holecek was enthusiastic about the importance of the camps, citing students’ need for exercise and socialization. He also noted that no COVID-19 transmissions were recorded as a result of camp interactions.
“It was great for the student-athletes to return to their beloved sports,” Holecek said. There’s something to be said for the importance of being part of something bigger than yourself. That’s what a team is for so many of our student athletes.”
JT Thomas ’21, captain of the varsity football team, found that a return to camp helped his teammates build back chemistry and have fun together. “We were able to compete for the first time in awhile which was something we all missed over quarantine,” he said. “This time allowed us to prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead of us.”
For other athletes, returning to a familiar routine of practice and competition provided a welcome reprieve from the stress of the pandemic. Senior swimmer Maggie Heintz ’21 put it this way: “It gave us something to look forward to in a stressful, unusual and difficult summer. The summer program let us renew our relationships, improve our skills and technique, get back into shape, and bond as a group. We so appreciate the coaches and Loyola for their ingenuity and flexibility in creating a safe environment which allowed us to return to the sport and team that we love.”
The successful completion of select summer academic courses and athletic camps on campus set a positive tone for the beginning of the year, when Ramblers would return to school in August on a hybrid schedule—benefiting from a blend of in-person and e-learning. To learn about Loyola’s health and safety measures, click here.