January Update

Dear Families,

I hope that you had some time to rest and recharge your batteries over Break. I tried to take my own advice to practice self-care: unplug, get sleep, enjoy long walks. It was wonderful to welcome our students back on Tuesday with the resumption of COL at Home.

We ushered in the New Year buoyed with the prospect of vaccinations getting closer every day. That feeling of optimism was eroded as we watched the violent storming of the Capitol and the chaos that ensued on Wednesday afternoon. Many of us stayed up late to witness Congress’s return, which restored a semblance of order. Still, the assault on our democratic institutions will—and should—stay with us going forward.

Even as they coped yesterday with their own emotions and stress, Maret’s teachers once again worked tirelessly in support of students—meeting them where they are, offering spaces to process cruel realities, and providing a sense of stability. Our students processed as needed and shared insights and even wisdom as they confronted the unrest around them. We reminded ourselves that our School embraces a set of core values that accept diverse perspectives and acknowledge everyone’s right to voice differing opinions. At the same time, we all must condemn the kind of dangerous and false rhetoric that too often fuels violence. Against the backdrop of this difficult moment in our lives and in the history of our country, we continue to nurture a sense of community, foster learning, and live our school values.

As we know, the future holds many unknowns. The health and well-being of our students, families, and faculty remain paramount in our daily actions and decision-making, as well as in our planning for the weeks and months ahead. We continue to closely monitor developments both locally and nationally; follow guidance from government and health officials; and exercise creativity, flexibility, and empathy as we move forward into the rest of the school year.

COL Hybrid Schedules
We still intend to return to COL Hybrid on Thursday, January 21—the first weekday following the Inauguration. Over the past month, Assistant Head for Curriculum Development Maria Lopez and a team of faculty members have worked hard to improve our COL Hybrid schedule for Grades 6 through 12. Next Monday, January 11, Steven Tejada and Dominic Redd will host consecutive meetings at which they will present that revised schedule:

Upper School Meeting—4:30 PM

Grades 6–8 Meeting—5:30 PM

When we move back into COL Hybrid, Grades Kindergarten through 5 will continue using the same hybrid schedule that has been in place since before Winter Break. Meanwhile, the Lower School team is exploring the possibility of extending time on campus for students in Grades K-4; our hope is to be able to implement that as soon as February 8.

To help us prepare for the return to COL Hybrid, we need to know which students plan to return to campus—and which students plan to continue learning virtually from home. Accordingly, please fill out the short registration form no later than Wednesday, January 13, to let us know your family’s preference. This is imperative for our planning.

FiveMedicine will conduct COVID-19 testing for all faculty and students (K-12) who will be coming onto our campus after Inauguration Day. Testing will take place next Friday afternoon (January 15) and throughout the day Saturday (January 16). I want to emphasize that testing is mandatory for any students or faculty (as well as assistant teachers and contracted workers) who plan to come to campus for any purpose, whether it be COL Hybrid, athletics, or social events. We will send you additional information about testing times and registration on Monday.

Health and Safety
As students and teachers return to campus, it remains critically important for everyone in the Maret community to abide by our Return-to-Campus Pledge and the protocols outlined in the Return-to-School Guide. In particular, I ask you to remember that individuals who travel to high-risk states must quarantine for ten (10) days before coming to campus. The spread of COVID-19 in our region continues, making it is as important as ever that we follow these guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of everyone in our community.

Thank you for your partnership as we continue to Stand Together.