Headline: Seniors excited to experience Kairos despite COVID-19
Many events have been canceled this year due to COVID-19. This loss is especially poignant for seniors, as this is their last year to experience the traditions of St. John’s. Excluding the modified Senior Mass and Breakfast at the beginning of the school year, recognition for seniors has been quite low and class morale has dropped significantly. However, many seniors are looking forward to the prospect of still being able to attend the Kairos retreat in 2021.
There are three Kairos retreats currently scheduled for March-May. The third set of dates was added due to high levels of interest. Each retreat lasts a total of three days and students stay overnight at the Claggett Center in Adamstown, MD. Due to COVID-19 protocol, all attendees will have their own bedroom and bathroom. Strict social distancing and mask wearing will be enforced.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, there is a possibility that St. John’s could return to fully virtual learning. This leaves questions about the outcome of upcoming retreats. Ms. Emery of the Mission and Ministry Department said, “because of all the precautions being taken, we are confident we will be able to hold retreat even if we are in virtual learning. Of course, we will take into account circumstances immediately preceding the event, but I am hopeful.”
A negative COVID-19 test is a new requirement to return to school in 2021. Students who have opted to remain virtual are not required to get tested, however they can still sign up for a retreat. It has not been decided whether or not students would need to get a COVID-19 test before their Kairos retreat. Ms. Emery said, “We are still over a month away from the first Kairos, so we’ll see what they [the administration] decide. We are always trying to keep student and faculty safety in mind as we make plans.”
Students are looking forward to being able to participate in this classic and transformative senior tradition. Craig Robinson ‘21 said, “I am most looking forward to a sense of normalcy in my life. I have been isolated from my friends and even just a small chance to see them again makes me excited for it.”
Despite the pandemic, many students are gearing up to go on this overnight retreat. Senior Melanie Young said, “I’m grateful it’s not being taken away like everything else has.”
St. John’s Peer Ministers have been working tirelessly on making Kairos as enjoyable as possible even with COVID-19. Peer Minister Aronke Fashina ’21 said, “There will be the same concepts and things but only socially distanced. I’m excited and a little scared.”
Although Kairos may not be the same as it was in previous years, seniors are still looking forward to the exciting retreat. Reina Oliver, another Peer Minister, said, “I’m excited to experience Kairos even though it won’t be the same due to the pandemic. But I am very grateful the school is at least trying to make it happen for the seniors.”