Holding his squash racquet high above his head amidst a sea of cheering students in Paresky Commons on Thursday night, Head of School John Palfrey declared the cancellation of all classes and extracurriculars for students and faculty.
Head of School Day, an annual event during winter term, is intended to give students a break in the middle of a hectic term and to allow them to catch up on rest and work.
This year’s Head of School Day is unique in that it grants students a four-day weekend.
Timing for the day is purposefully ambiguous and is at the discretion of the Head of School. This week, speculation and anticipation of the day grew into a social media frenzy, mostly on Twitter, in which Palfrey himself joined.
Donald McNemar, former PA Headmaster from 1981 to 1994, first canceled classes on February 2, 1991 after an overflow of students in Isham Health Center so students could have a health and recovery day, according to a previous article in The Phillipian.
This year’s Head of School Day could not have come at a better time, as many faculty members and students have fallen ill over the past few weeks.
“We have had a lot of viral illnesses recently, and it is not unusual to see this larger influx of illnesses at this time of year… In the last couple of weeks, we have seen more of this, but I don’t think this is particularly different from past winters,” said Amy Patel, Director of Isham Health Center.