St. Andrew’s is back in session for the 2021-22 school year! We welcomed 86 new students and 230 returning students—for a total student body of 316 students—to campus over the course of six separate move-in days. All students were on campus by the afternoon of Sunday, September 5, and that evening the entire school community congregated in Engelhard Hall for the first time since our last pre-pandemic School Meeting on Thursday, February 20, 2020—568 days ago!
This year’s cohort of new students was admitted through an extraordinary admissions season earlier this year. St. Andrew’s received a record 751 applications for admission in the spring of 2021, which represents a 17% increase from the previous record. The school accepted 136 students for admission (an 18% acceptance rate) and 86 of those students ultimately chose to enroll (a 63% yield rate).
In June, St. Andrew’s mandated COVID-19 vaccines for all students and employees. (The Health Center also organized multiple voluntary on-campus vaccine clinics for students last spring.) With the vast majority of the community now vaccinated, the school has been able to return close to “normal” in its first week of operation, despite the continuing challenges of the pandemic. Students and faculty have returned to teaching and learning in classrooms, rather than in classroom tents, and we are following the standard academic schedule, rather than one with abbreviated class periods and a longer lunch to make time and space for cleaning surfaces and spaced dining. Meals are back in the Dining Hall, and we will resume family-style meals next week, following the conclusion of arrival COVID-19 testing. Dorms are back to full capacity; in the previous school year, additional student rooms had been created in common rooms and even one faculty house. All students, faculty, and staff continue to wear masks when indoors, per Delaware regulations—but, as Head of School Joy McGrath noted in a letter to parents on September 10, these protocols “feel like minor tweaks compared to the disruptions and adjustments we all have experienced in the past year and a half.”
Saints football preseason players were the first students to arrive on campus, with their heat-acclimation camp beginning on Friday, August 27. The Class of 2022 arrived on Sunday, August 29, and spent the week participating in senior leadership orientation and setting up their dorms. Fall preseason athletes arrived on Wednesday, September 1 and international students arrived on Friday, September 3 (with many arriving earlier and quarantining in faculty homes to adhere to CDC guidelines for international travel). The school organized a one-day welcome program and orientation for new students of color on Saturday, September 4, and we welcomed all remaining new and returning students on Sunday, September 5.
That evening, students enjoyed the annual Square Dance for the first time since the fall of 2019. Inclement weather required students to dance in the Field House in sneakers, rather than on the Front Lawn in cowboy boots, but that did not at all diminish their excitement and enjoyment of this school tradition.
After a day of Form orientations, classes began on Tuesday, September 7. Fall teams had their first interscholastic competitions on Thursday and Friday, with boys soccer defeating Tatnall 5-0, field hockey falling to Tatnall 0-4, and volleyball falling to Tatnall 1-3. Saints football competes tonight at Severn School in Maryland; the game begins at 4:30 p.m. ET and a livestream is available here. Go Saints!