HUDSON — Western Reserve Academy’s Head of School Suzanne Walker Buck announced earlier today that students will not return to campus for in-person classes for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Instead, WRA students will be finishing out the school year fully engaged in distance learning, which will begin March 31, as planned.

"It is with some sadness, but strong conviction, that I make this announcement," said Buck,. "There are many important factors driving this decision."

The CDC and Ohio Department of Health caution that COVID-19 will peak in approximately 45 days. Buck said, "This 45-day projection is when the peak of COVID-19 is expected, not the end of it. In short, we will be facing this crisis into the summer of 2020."

WRA’s decision is consistent with those made across the country at colleges and universities, most of whom have switched to distance learning for the year. Buck noted, "Health and safety are paramount, and in places where community is integral to operation, we quite simply are safer with separation."

"Finally, we are deeply committed to our distance learning protocol," she emphasized. "Online learning was never a band-aid for us. It is a promise to deliver innovative, educational excellence. Taking heed of the health and safety guidelines offered at the highest level of government, and because pioneering is in our DNA, we are excited to go ‘all in’ on online learning. Our faculty cares deeply for our students, and they are working with the same passion they bring to the regular classroom to deliver a distance learning experience that is best in class."

Buck also announced that WRA Commencement will take place on campus on Aug. 8, along with other celebrations of the Class of 2020.

"I know this crisis is touching all of us in many ways," she shared. "I came into my first year at WRA thrilled for the beginning of it, but frankly even more excited for the ending: for the pride that comes from seeing you grow, evolve, succeed, fail, find joy, learn and live together, and form a community. Though we may be closing a chapter that was familiar, I feel more optimistic than ever that we will accomplish all we set out to at the beginning of the year… in new and unifying ways."