GCDS Cancels Intersession Due to COVID-19


picture from intersession last year: Exploring culture in different NYC neighborhoods.

Carolina Deus, Staff Writer

A huge decision has been made this school year: the decision to remove intersession. Intersession was the highlight of the year for some students, so why would GCDS take it away? The administration says it’s necessary this year, due to COVID, but students see things differently. 


Intersession is a three week period in which students don’t attend their traditional classes. They instead choose an area of interest and look deeper into that area of interest. Intersession included trips outside of school, hands-on activities, and served as a great opportunity for a student to find out what they want to do in the future. This three-week intersession was also a chance for juniors and seniors to take part in an internship wherever they wanted, which helped to create meaningful connections and opportunities for them in regards to going off to college. 


Due to COVID, many traditional events at GCDS have been canceled, intersession included. In order for intersession to be as successful as it was last year, group trips would have to take place, which is not something the school is able to do this year due to the pandemic. The administration also believes that since there are some students that are fully remote and the schedules change around quite often, teachers may need those extra three weeks for teaching.


Most consider intersession an important piece to the GCDS Upper School life, and its removal this year is disappointing. In an email interview, Dr. Winters said, “we love Intersession and consider it to be a key part of our program design. This year, unfortunately, we needed to cancel because of COVID.” Since intersession provided so many opportunities for students, some people wonder if removing it is beneficial for the school and student life. When asked about this, Dr. Winters told us that he does not think the removal of intersession is beneficial, but that it is indeed necessary for safety purposes. However, Dr. Winters shared with us that some of the faculty members have been coming up with creative ways to use the time we had for intersession to “further both curricular needs and our program design.”


As expected, many students are disappointed that intersession has been canceled this year, but most understand the reasoning behind this decision and why it had to be made. Carmie Zuniga, sophomore, says, “I really enjoyed intersession last year, and I’m sad to hear that it was canceled, but I do understand the school’s reasoning behind not keeping it this year.” Carmie took part in the Broadway Musical intersession and said it was a lot of fun. Wylie Dell’Olio, another sophomore at GCDS said “I feel the cancellation of intersession is definitely not the most ideal thing because it was a really good and fun experience last year and I wish the new freshman would be able to experience it this year.” Wylie took part in an intercession where she observed different cultures in different areas of New York City. Although the Upper School community can agree that the situation is not ideal, the administration has been open as to why this was necessary. 


A few examples of the many intersession choices presented last year were EMT training, film making, learning about Broadway shows (musical theatre), and looking at culture in different NYC neighborhoods. Through the title of the choices alone, it’s clear that these trips and activities take a portion of the school’s budget. The money from that part of the budget has been going to many different things needed at school, such as COVID regulations. With COVID present, many normal expenses cost a lot more as we have to follow state guidelines with safety. Although students won’t be able to take part in intersession this year, everyone is hopeful that next year intersession will run normally, assuming the school does not have to worry about COVID.