Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart’s decision to suspend all school-sponsored March public gatherings as a coronavirus precaution included the school dance that had been scheduled for March 13. Students, faculty and staff quickly came up with a fun Plan-B as a way of dealing with that disappointment while also providing a brief diversion from the barrage of news about the pandemic.
Students greeted faculty, staff and fellow students with Hawaiian leis upon arrival to campus. In addition to tropical themed music played during breaks between classes, a tropical/beach-themed “Mini-Woodlands Academy Dance” was held during lunch hour on the day the traditional dance would have been held. Preparations began the previous day when students decorated portions of the building to reflect the theme of the alternate dance activity. All members of the Woodlands Academy community were encouraged to wear tropical-themed attire to school on March 13.
The “mini-dance” event included recorded music and activities such as a beanbag toss in the school’s dining room. In addition, small groups of students demonstrated various dance moves to the applause of their classmates.
While this event was taking place, Woodlands Academy officials notified parents, faculty and staff that this would be the last day of on-campus classroom activities for a while. The school will move to remote learning starting Monday, March 16. Woodlands’ boarding school will remain open for international students until Friday, March 20, when it will then close for the regularly scheduled spring break that begins the following week. As of now, Woodlands Academy expects to resume normal classroom activity on April 6, following spring break.
The independent Catholic school’s action was based, in part, on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s decision to close all diocesan schools in Lake and Cook counties beginning March 16 as well as the many independent schools that have opted to close their facilities.