When we first felt the impact of COVID-19 in the spring and fall of 2020, few of us had experienced the virus. But with the surge of cases through the fall and winter, most have intimate knowledge of the virus personally, with a family member, or with a close friend.
With the arrival of spring, we can thank the Lord that the number of cases is decreasing significantly. The level of incidence in most South Carolina counties has downgraded to moderate. Greenville County numbers are decreasing but are still at the high incidence level. At BJA we have witnessed an overall decline in cases since the Christmas break.
A COVID-19 Campus Operations Task Force meets weekly to report the current numbers of those who have tested positive or are quarantining and to discuss protocol and events. Because of the decline of cases in recent months as well as access to the vaccine, the University and Academy administrations have been deliberately and carefully easing protocol restrictions. After a protocol adjustment is made, we watch to see if there is a corresponding increase in cases. Up to this point, the Academy has remained quite consistent with low numbers. We are currently watching for any increase following spring break.
Here is an example of a recent adjustment. Due to physical distancing recommendations decreasing slightly, we’ve been able to adjust some meeting locations. The University has invited the high school to return to FMA for chapel, which we have normally participated in once a week.
Simultaneously we are moving the handbells out of the band room back into the handbell room and the band out of the Academy Auditorium back into the band room. In both cases, we will continue to provide distancing for students although to a lesser degree than what there was before. We will observe the impact of these changes over the upcoming days.
With the move of band out of the Academy Auditorium we are also able to move the rest of the high school chapels out of the gymnasium and back into the Academy Auditorium. There we will continue to maximize the space to achieve a fair amount of physical distancing. In the absence of related effects, we will consider other areas which may be relaxed.
We are making plans for the fall enrollment with the perspective of a “return to normal.” Already, we are experiencing an exceptionally high number of student applications for the fall, and I’ll plan to share additional details in an upcoming article.