The Hutchison Hives


Mary Riddle

These JK students have dance class in a spacious yurt.

In response to COVID, Hutchison set up yurts that offer an outside classroom while on campus. The Hutchison yurts are a safe option that combines getting outdoors and learning. The yurts are the tent-like structures that are open on the inside. Many students have already made use of the yurts, but they are primarily used by lower and middle school. There are currently four yurts on campus, which are set up for each division to have their own. They are waterproof and can hold an entire class spaced six feet apart.

“The yurts are just a tool in our toolbox,” said Mary Riddle, Hutchison’s Director of Environmental Education & Sustainability, “and getting students outside more during the school day is beneficial to mind, body, and spirit”. The yurts along with masks, sanitizer, and desks six feet apart have been part of the process to get students back in school. The yurts provide a designated outdoor classroom. “The UV rays and air circulation help minimize the spread of covid,” said Riddle. Hutchison was inspired to find a creative way to reduce students’ exposure to COVID. 

The yurts are mostly used by the Early Childhood and Lower schoolers. JK even had dance class in a yurt. There is shade and ample space for students to move around in. They are a great place to have lunch, class, or socialize with friends. The upper schoolers have not yet ventured out to see the yurts. “I haven’t really been in the yurts because I like to work at a desk and don’t want to sit in the grass,” said Junior Acelynn Humphries. The yurts also pose the issue of not being able to charge a computer. Even though the yurts are not frequented by upper schoolers, they have been beneficial in reducing exposure for the entire school. Hutchison has ordered more yurts to put around campus for this year.

These new additions to Hutchison’s campus are an interesting product of the changes that COVID has caused. The yurts are a special part of the campus and outdoor learning this school year. They are eye catching and a great talking point for students at Hutchison. “They are like igloos made for the summer,” said Acelynn Humphries.