Returning to school during COVID


Student leaders welcome new falcons to the nest during the first Peddie On Campus Orientation (POCO) in two years.

Claire Chen '25, Staff Writer

After nearly two years of online school, Peddie has returned to a fully on-campus education for the 2021-2022 school year. Simultaneously prioritizing a sense of community and safety, some of Peddie’s original COVID policies have been lifted in light of the vaccine, while others remain necessary. All students, faculty, and employees abide by Governor Murphy’s mask mandate of wearing masks indoors. Whereas last year, Peddie followed the six-foot social distancing rule, students are now free to gather in semi-close proximity, provided that they wear masks. Over the summer, the Peddie COVID Planning staff meticulously planned each policy and organized each step of reopening to facilitate the process for students. To minimize the effect of the virus, Peddie also mandated COVID vaccinations prior to arriving on campus. An international student, Ryan Rong ’24, said he “appreciate[s] the school’s efforts to help the international students, who did not have access to the vaccine, to get vaccinated.” With every detail concerning the pandemic already taken care of by the staff and faculty, Peddie students are free to focus on experiencing high school.

To preserve the traditional high school experience, group activities such as orchestra, chorus, and sports have continued at Peddie in spite of the pandemic. With the necessary safety precautions, last year’s chorus and orchestra rehearsed throughout the year and successfully organized a concert near the end of the spring term. A sophomore flute player, Dalina Cao ’24, explained that “as an orchestra student, we have bell covers for our instruments, and we always wear masks when playing.” Peddie’s athletic teams have also settled into a semi-normal routine, with each sport hosting inter-school games to foster healthy competition. 

The heart of Peddie’s community lies in the connections between students, faculty, and parents, which temporarily faltered last year due to the online nature of most gatherings. To strengthen the school’s sense of community, Peddie has hosted numerous social events in person this year, such as Convocation, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, and homecoming dance. Typically held inside the Ayer Memorial Chapel, this year’s Convocation took place on the lawn outside the Chapel to safely accommodate the entire school. The Mid-Autumn Festival and the Homecoming dance served as long-awaited celebrations of the Peddie community, commemorating the resilience of the Peddie spirit. 

Throughout the pandemic, Peddie has prioritized maintaining an authentic high school experience for all students. Lakhi Raju ’24 said, “Peddie is not only doing a great job with taking safety precautions but is also allowing us to have the true high school experience Peddie has to offer. Peddie follows all of the mask mandate rules and constantly looks out for the health staff, faculty and students!” Students view the COVID restrictions positively, understanding that these policies are necessary to ensure the health of all those on campus. Despite the limitations set by the pandemic, Peddie’s community remains strong.