PITTSFIELD — The need for social distancing hasn't stopped communities from uniting in an effort to stop the coronavirus — especially at Miss Hall's School.
The private, all-girls school on Holmes Road received a box of medical supplies last week from a student's family in China to donate to Berkshire Medical Center.
"Although we are a sea apart, we are all under the same moon," read a note that arrived with the supplies.
"I just started tearing up with gratitude," Head of School Julia Heaton said of reading the message. "I am so grateful for our community and how we take care of each other. It is very moving to see it extend all across our community and the world."
With roughly 220 students from across the globe, Miss Hall's has held extensive conversations and been tracking COVID-19 for some time. Not only have those conversations included dangers, but also what the school, and its community, can do in order to bring the virus to a halt.
"I am proud of our global community that doesn't just speak our mission, but lives it every day," Heaton said. "We inspire students to give back, and that also goes for our faculty, staff and alumnae."
Family members and others involved with the school's community have reached out in search of ways to help.
Four shipments of supplies, which include gloves, masks, gowns and scrubs, have arrived from families thus far and are coming in waves.
"I am incredibly grateful to the families who organized this effort," said Alison Basdekis, Miss Hall's main point of contact with BMCs, in an email. "[I am] proud that the Miss Hall's School family community is aligned with the ethos of the Miss Hall's School commitment to the common good."
So far the school has delivered 325 N95 respirator masks; 170 sets of surgical gowns and scrubs; 800 medical face masks and 300 pairs of medical examination gloves.
"BMC was so incredibly grateful," Basdekis said. "When dropping off the supplies, there was limited contact given safety measures in place.
"The homemade signs at the entrance and on the lawn out front [of BMC] included heartfelt words and images of gratitude from the wider community, which certainly signifies that we live in a deeply compassionate community."
Basdekis is also the director of Horizons, the school's signature learning and experimental program.
The Horizon program offers students various on and off-campus internships, along with volunteer opportunities with roughly 75 organizations throughout the county, including BMC and several other health organizations.
Basdekis, and the Horizons program, took the lead in coordinating the donations, but hasn't worked alone. Robert Aldrich, director of campus services, along with Janet Boyer, executive assistant to the head of school, helped coordinate the deliveries to campus.
It didn't take long for current students to join the broader community in search of ways to help fight COVID-19.
Sophomores Cailyn Tetteh and Truc Hoang proposed a "Community Action Fund," which supports the 21 students remaining on campus, or in homestay situations, along with assistance for students needing to get home. As of Wednesday, the fund had raised $35,885. The students who run "Girls Right The World," a global literary magazine, refused to put the program on pause in order to provide inspiration and good news.
"They want to keep working on their projects," Heaton said. "Our community is always supportive, but in times like these, it means so much that we see so much of it."
Jake Mendel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.