AE/MS Wrapped Up an Extraordinary Year in Style

COVID-19 presented many challenges

By Dennis Dobe

After a school year unlike any other, AE/MS was able to close out the year in typical style.

Throughout the past year, school staff, families, and students collaborated to make the most of learning opportunities under conditions that proved to be extremely challenging.  The positive attitude and commitment of the members of our school community allowed us to make the most of a difficult situation. 

The pandemic already feels like so long ago (though, in reality, we understand that it is not over). As the past school year unfolded, we learned how to keep one another safe, offered various supports in and out of school, solved many logistical problems related to safety protocols and guidelines, and found ways to maximize learning so that our students could stay on pace academically. 

With improving conditions, we were able to continually loosen restrictions at AE/MS, so that we could achieve greater and greater “normalcy” as the school year progressed.  By late winter we had almost all of our students back on campus four days a week, and by mid-spring all students were back to five days of in-person learning at AE/MS. 

Although we still wore masks and kept our distance indoors, while participating in activities outdoors students only needed to wear masks if they could not maintain three to six feet of physical distance.  By late spring, students did not need to wear masks outdoors under any circumstances (though we did encourage them to avoid close contact for extended periods of time outdoors).

As the end of the school year approached and it became clear that our approaches to managing the pandemic at AE/MS had been effective, and as transmission rates around us plummeted, it became clear that we could plan for and enjoy a fairly normal end of the school year.  This meant that our elementary classes went on cherished annual field trips.  

It also meant that our eighth graders got to finish their time at AE/MS engaging in traditional activities to include a spectacular class trip, a move-up day at MVHS, and a large graduation ceremony and celebration.  We also got to enjoy a movie theater experience on campus, a field day, and a cookout luncheon. Thank you, Andover PTO!

Thankfully, over time we tend to forget the bad and remember the good.  For all that we went through together over the past year, the AE/MS community remains strong, resilient, and poised to make another big step forward this coming school year.  

We have done our best to put pandemic unpleasantries behind us and focus on all that will be wonderful for our school and its students in the coming year.  We are positive, optimistic, and eager for a new beginning at AE/MS.  

We look forward to working within and outside of our school community to make the coming school year truly extraordinary – in a much more positive, productive, and enjoyable way!