Following University lead, administration cancels dozens of events


Amanda Cassel, Managing Editor

The University of Chicago’s suspension of all activities and of gatherings or events of more than 100 people until April 15 will extend to Lab, according to an email to Lab Families by Director of Schools Charlie Abelmann sent after school March 10.

Canceled events include competitions for debate, robotics, science teams, and indoor track and field.

“Many debaters had an unexpected, early end to their season — there still is one more tournament — Catholic Forensic League Nationals — early May, in Chicago. We don’t know how many teams we’ll get — it will probably be one, in which case we’d try to get our seniors one last tourney,” debate coach Sonny Patel said on the cancelations of debate tournaments.

The junior retreat for the Class of 2021 that was to be April 1-3 has also been canceled.

“Obviously, safety comes first and we have to make sure our community stays safe,” junior class president Omar Siddiqui said. “That being said, we are all kind of bummed because we were looking forward to retreat and bonding with each other.”

All nonessential domestic and international travel has also been canceled.

The full email from Dr. Abelmann is below.

Dear Lab Families,

This morning UChicago Provost Ka Yee C. Lee sent this email to members of the University community. Because Lab is part of the University of Chicago, all of these decisions apply to our school community and we write with specific events and activities that Lab has decided to cancel, in accordance with University guidance and for the safety of our community and visitors.

Although the local COVID-19 problem in Illinois is still limited, public health officials have said that continuing growth of cases is likely and large events can pose an added risk. As a result, on March 10 the University suspended most University-sponsored events and gatherings of more than 100 people, effective through April 15, in addition to suspending nonessential international and domestic University travel.

This is disappointing as we cherish the activities that bring our community together and that help our students connect to the larger world. Where possible, we will work to reschedule activities but we know that will not be possible in all cases. We thank you for your understanding and partnership, as always.



Charles H. Abelmann

In-school activities that will NOT be affected
Your students will continue to have lunch in the cafeteria and attend grade-wide assemblies.
Athletic competitions held at Lab will go forward but spectators will be discouraged/limited.
Lab will participate in away games and competitions if the host school is limiting spectator attendance.
There will be no changes to drop-off and pick-up.

Activities that are officially cancelled and/or will be rescheduled
Class potlucks through April 15
Field trips and excursions (including MS group service learning trips)
Most multi-school athletics competitions and tournaments
Junior Retreat will not take place April 1–3 but Lab will work to reschedule if possible

Additional events that are cancelled and/or will be rescheduled after April 15

To the best of our ability, we have worked to make this list comprehensive. Please regularly return to the online calendar for the latest information and please feel free to contact the school if the calendar is unclear or does not include an activity or event. Contact your child’s teacher for class-level information.

March 10
Shani Crowe Artist Talk, Parks Hall

March 11
Fifth Grade Science Conference
Fourth Grade Music Exploration

March 12
Chris Freeman Celebration of Life Memorial
PA DEI Committee N3-5 family conversations

March 13
Debate Tournament, Skokie, IL
HS Midway Races #3, Henry Crown Fieldhouse

March 14
MS Science Olympiad
HS Science Olympiad Tournament
HS Mock Trial State Competition

March 17
Fifth Grade Bake Sale

March 18
U-High Robotics Tournament
Fifth Grade Bake Sale

March 19
HS Debate Tournament

March 27
HS Track & Field Regionals
HS Debate Tournament, Cedar Rapids, IA

March 28
Illinois Prep Top Times, Illinois Wesleyan University

April 1–3
Junior Retreat, Camp Lake, WI

April 3
Giant Gym Night
Grade 6 to 7 Transition Night

April 4
Debate Tournament, Bloomington, IL
Outdoor Track Meet – TBD

April 6
PA DEI Committee MS/HS Family Conversations

April 11
HS Outdoor Track Meets – TBD

April 15
PA Speaker Series-Lisa Damour
Grades 7–12 Band Concert