Thirteen months ago, the World Health Organization discovered a new coronavirus strain in Wuhan, China. 11 months ago, the Belmont Hill Class of 2020 unknowingly set foot on campus for their last time. Since then, 25 million Americans have been infected with the virus, and more than four hundred thousand have died. Internationally, 100 million people have been infected, and over two million have died. While the pandemic has been devastating, at Belmont Hill, we have done a terrific job of containing the virus. Through various programs such as pool testing, safety apps, and mandated masks outside of lunchtime, not a single person has caught COVID-19 on the Belmont Hill campus.
From a Panel article published just around a year ago, Mrs. David’s advice seems prophetic as to the school’s ability to keep students safe: “Despite the hysteria, Mrs. David, our school’s nurse, says that the spread of the disease can be stopped with some standard sanitary practices: washing your hands after going to the bathroom and before lunch, coughing into your elbow instead of your hands, and not coming to school if you’re sick.” While the pandemic and its impacts nationally and internationally have been far greater than many expected, it is good to see that Belmont Hill students have been able to escape mostly unscathed, and even cobble together the best school year of any school, certainly in Massachusetts, but perhaps even nationally. The Panel extends its thanks to the board, our teachers, and especially Mr. Schnieder for their hard work to keep us open and to operate as close to normal as possible.