By Gigi C. ’23
With the frost of autumn approaching and two layers becoming four in Winsor’s courtyard tent, it is clear that cold weather is imminent. Winsor’s faculty and staff have been working diligently to prepare for the upcoming long winter. This past week I had the opportunity to interview the head of operations, Ms. Geromini, to get a better understanding of how cold weather will affect Winsor’s setup on campus.
Current and Upcoming Forecast
Much of Winsor’s plans are based on daily weather versus seasonal weather. According to Ms. Geromini, the school will “watch the forecast every single day to be sure that we can function the way we are currently set up.” For instance, during the wind storm last week, the operations team took down the majority of the foldable tents and moved them inside and then put them out again this week.
As for the momentary plan to move indoors, staying outside until Thanksgiving break is a “good guideline for [them] to use” in terms of when the school will pack up and move inside. The operations team rents equipment on a month to month basis, giving its members a bit of flexibility with their decisions. If the weather gets too cold before Thanksgiving, activities currently held outdoors, including lunch and other programs, will move into the gym, dining hall, and other large spaces. As far as the cold temperatures, the plan is to stay outside as late as possible, until the temperature is not “comfortable.”
Relocation: Lunch and Tent
Unlike the unpredictable New England weather, the plan for lunch is already in place. Lunch for both Lower and Upper School will be split by classes: for Lower School, Class I will go to the Wildcat Room, Class II and IV will go to the dining hall, and Class III will go to the gym. Likewise for the Upper School, Class V and VII will be in the gym, and Class VI and Class VIII will be in the dining hall or the Multi-Purpose Room, depending on how Mrs. Markenson decides the classes will be split up. Anyone can have lunch in the dining hall, but it is currently where faculty and staff eat, with a setup similar to classrooms, with tables six feet apart. However, since we have been so fortunate with the weather, Ms. Geromini emphasizes that “we want to encourage as much outdoor activity and eating as possible.”
Similarly, if the setup for the tent changes, students will relocate to larger spaces like the gym or the dining hall, and will then be given specific assigned rooms and groups to go to. However due to the frigid weather inside the tent, Ms. Geromini highlights that “if there is anything that we set up that is a roadblock for learning, then the adults in the community need to know that, so we can look into it and make adjustments.” The operations team remains vigilant and continues to observe the latest CDC guidelines to determine whether the tent stays up or everything moves inside.
This fall the new hybrid program was introduced, and we are now able to see all our friends and classmates again in person, but COVID-19 and cold weather remain obstacles for 103 Pilgrim Rd. Although it is hard to be certain whether or not this hybrid schedule will continue, Ms. Geromini predicts that “when it becomes not safe for all of us to be on campus, then we will go fully online, and there are a lot of factors that play into that.”
The athletic practices at Winsor have drastically changed, with crew switching to sculling and field sports changing to masked, six feet apart practices. Pre-COVID, if there were bad weather conditions, teams would go inside to practice, but now practices will go online.
The Operations Team
At the end of our interview, Ms. Geromini reflected on how the operations team is adjusting so far: “It’s a great question. Everything that we have planned for outside has been planned for inside, and even though every day feels the same for you, for us it’s not.” For example, during the past week the lunch program changed so that students now have the option of picking their own lunches. “We had to figure out what the assembly line looked like and how long it took everybody, and we’re adding different options like we added salad last week… Everyday is a new learning day for the operations team.”
“One thing I can tell you is that we have a really great safe plan in place for the number of people on campus,” Ms. Geromini reflected; “I think we made some very wise decisions on how many people we have on campus at a time, and our facilities are strong and healthy because of the numbers we are taking every single day.”