The start of the 2021–2022 school year brought the entire Rambler community back to campus for the first time since the global pandemic forced a closure of schools in March 2020. Last year, Loyola Academy enacted a successful hybrid learning model that blended in-person with remote learning for the entirety of 2020–2021. Fast forward one year and the usual excitement of the back to school season has been amplified by the joy of Ramblers reconnecting with friends and classmates together as a whole.
Freshman Orientation—August 12–13
Loyola welcomed incoming freshmen with orientation programming on Thursday, August 12, and Friday, August 13. Freshmen had the opportunity to get to know the school and their classmates while learning about Loyola’s mission, the life and legacy of St. Ignatius, and what it means to be a part of the Rambler tradition.
On Thursday, freshmen took their ID photos, found their lockers, and enjoyed ice breaker activities in classrooms. They learned about the meaning and significance of the Ignatian Jubilee Year and interviewed their classmates to get to know one another. Tours of the building were followed by lunch in the cafeteria and a welcome assembly in the East Gym where members of the Principal’s Office and Dean’s Office discussed Loyola’s mission and Jesuit identity, COVID-19 protocols, dress code, and safety drill procedures. The afternoon concluded with iPad training and an invitation to get involved at Loyola before praying the Daily Examen as a class for the first time.
On Friday, Loyola’s newest Ramblers walked through an abbreviated class schedule, met their teachers, and mastered the layout of the building. They contributed to a community-wide, collaborative art project which was begun by the sophomore, junior, and senior classes in the spring. Faculty and staff members from departments across the school led presentations on being part of an inclusive community under the theme: Building a More Inclusive Community: You Belong Here, We Belong to Each Other. Ramblers and their adult leaders discussed within a faith context what it means to be a part of a Jesuit, Catholic community and the expectation this brings for all community members.
After lunch in the cafeteria, the afternoon’s house games brought a friendly dose of competition and built camaraderie as freshmen competed in the House Games. Brebeuf House came in third place with 124 points; Ricci House came in second place with 139 points; and Xavier House is currently in the lead with 140 points. The houses will continue to compete all year before a house champion is named. A final Q&A session with student leaders wrapped up a wonderful freshman orientation experience.
Watch a recap video, which highlights all the fun of Loyola's Freshman Orientation, here
Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Orientations—August 16, 17, 18
Continuing a tradition that began in 2020, upperclassmen returned for three class-specific orientation days the week of August 16. The unexpected circumstances of the last year necessitated time and space for returning students to reconnect with one another before beginning the school year. In addition to walking through an abbreviated class schedule, sophomores, juniors, and seniors attended three sessions throughout their designated orientation day:
A welcome assembly in the East Gym with school leaders sharing important reminders and updates for the year ahead
An inclusive community session which focused on what it means to be part of a Jesuit, Catholic community and the expectations this brings for all community members
A session focused on academic support and success which introduced new student resources, discussed success and what success looks like, and encouraged self-advocacy, time management, and more
Health and Safety Measures
In accordance with Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order requiring masks for preschool through high school students at both public and private schools, Loyola Academy reinstated its masking requirement in August. Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals must now wear a mask while inside on campus. This applies to students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Masks must already be in place when entering the building.
While temperature screenings and symptom checks are no longer conducted, social distancing, increased signage and reminders around campus, and utilization of outdoor space remains in effect. A plan is being developed to conduct regular testing of any unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff members.
School began on Thursday, August 19, and, for the first time since 2019, the entire student body started the new school year together on campus. View a photo gallery here