The Governor’s School of North Carolina was founded in 1963 and remains the nation’s longest existing residential summer program for high school-aged students. The program is designed to foster academic excellence and “integrat[es] academic disciplines, the arts and unique courses on each of two campuses.” At these campuses, students can specialize in disciplines that range from the visual and performing arts to languages and other academic areas. Governor’s School East’s (GSE) campus is located at Meredith College, while the West campus is located at High Point University.
The Herald spoke to Maggie Zeillmann, office assistant for GSE, about how Governor’s School had to adapt for the 2021 session and how they are maintaining appropriate safety measures for students, faculty and staff. Governor’s School was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and when asked about how this impacted the 2021 session, Zeillmann stated that “students admitted for 2020 who were accepted as rising juniors were invited again this year as rising seniors without having to reapply.” Due to the readmission of last year’s cohort, the number of students on campus is “slightly larger...than usual.” However, even though the number of students on Meredith’s campus is larger than in other years, Governor’s School is being careful to take precautions against COVID-19. Zeillmann said that Governor’s School has required students to disclose their vaccination status and is requiring unvaccinated students to be tested for COVID-19 every three to four days. The students are also required to wear masks indoors and socially distance on campus.
The students at Governor’s School are also functioning within a bubble; this means that GSE is “prohibiting visitors to campus except for medical concerns” and are attempting to keep Governor’s School students’ contact with Meredith students as low as possible. The students are also not allowed to leave campus this year, which inhibits the spread of COVID-19 from local businesses such as those in the Royal. Because the students are isolated, guests are not allowed at the different showcases, such as concerts and art showings, which are a large part of the Governor’s School experience. Zeillmann stated that the “cornerstone events at the end of the summer…will be recorded or broadcast via Zoom so families can watch remotely.”
By Elinor Shelp-Peck and Olivia Slack, Co-Editors in Chief