The Virtual Classroom: Orton Dorm

George School very quickly becomes home for both boarding and day students, and that is still true in this time of virtual classrooms and social distancing—and it is especially true for the thirty-some students who were unable to travel home due to travel restrictions. These students are still living in the dorms, under the care of the trusted adults who have been looking after them all year.

Orton, as an example, is committed to supporting its distinctive community while so many of its residents are off campus. “It feels incredibly important to preserve that sense of home by creating opportunities to see each other, connect with each other, laugh together, and just soak up the vibe,” said Dorm Head Tom Hoopes ’83.

Every Monday night, Orton residents connect via Zoom. These meetings are not only limited to those still living in the dorm, but also include those who have traveled back to stay with their families, with students joining from California, or as far away as China and Thailand. Future virtual gatherings will hopefully include residents from Germany and Ukraine, as well, though finding a time to conveniently meet across so many times zones has proved a bit of a challenge.

During the most recent meeting, each resident was asked to do a show-and-tell of something that was giving them comfort during the pandemic. Their responses displayed a range that corresponds to the variety of personalities that make up Orton: soccer cleats and a ball, a knitting project, a wrist strengthening exercise tool, a pet chinchilla, a cat, a puppy, and, last but not least, an 8-year-old brother.

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