Holderness School Case Study


The Holderness School is a private, coeducational collegepreparatory school in Holderness, near Plymouth, New Hampshire in the United States. The student body of 280 is drawn from 22 U.S. states and 14 foreign countries. While Holderness operates primarily as a boarding school, it also enrolls 35 day students.

The Challenge

As opposed to many educational institutions conducting remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Holderness elected to continue with their in-person classes.

However, there was no playbook for safely continuing classes
during a pandemic. There were many questions and few answers:

  • How do we perform daily student symptom checks efficiently,
    safely, and with limited staff involvement?
  • What information should we be collecting?
  • How do we document all the information collected?
  • Do you use a self-reporting model?
  • What do we do with contact tracing information?
  • How do we understand if a student is symptomatic with an
    elevated temperature, and then, how do we look at these
    temperatures consistently across the campus?

After speaking with medical professionals including psychologists and psychiatrists, the consensus was that bringing students together in a school environment during the pandemic was important for their mental health.

“Going to school at home with Zoom meetings, away from peers, is difficult in many ways. We set out to create as much of a normal school year as possible for these kids, but our goal was to do it safely which included screening, masks, enhanced classroom ventilation, constant cleaning protocols, and keeping students separated at a safe distance.” – Tobi Pfenninger – Associate Head of School, Holderness