May Update

Dear Families,

As has been true over the past 15 months, our responses to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve. At no other time in my tenure at Maret have I ever written so many letters striving to keep you fully informed about our thinking. Today, I am very pleased to report that almost all of our faculty are fully vaccinated; many of our Upper School students are also well on their way to that goal.

Last week, we wrote to Seniors outlining plans for graduation. If conditions—including weather and cicadas—permit, we will follow the traditional format on the front lawn of 3000 Cathedral Avenue. Graduation season for Seniors kicks off this afternoon on the back field with the shaving cream fight. What a gift it has been these past few weeks to see students embracing their return to campus.

Maret’s COVID-19 Task Force has been the bedrock underpinning our response to the pandemic. It continues to meet weekly to help shape the School’s response to the latest science, as well as mandates or suggestions from public officials. Effective today, all Upper School spring athletic teams can compete inside the District of Columbia—and fans may attend the games! What a wonderful way to end the season. Please note that the leagues in which we compete have determined that, whenever the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, varsity athletes on the field of play may forego the wearing of masks. Nonetheless, masks will remain required of everyone on the sidelines.

I want to state forcefully that this is not a time to let our guard down. True, the Mayor has relaxed some of the mask mandates for vaccinated individuals; however, mask-wearing is still required in schools; on public transportation, taxis, and ride-share vehicles; and in healthcare settings. In accordance with the Mayor’s Order of May 17, everyone on Maret’s campus—whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, whether indoors or outdoors (except playing varsity sports)—must continue to mask. Social distancing remains important in gatherings, and sound hand hygiene should still be exercised. We strongly encourage every person in our community who is eligible to get vaccinated.

While the Mayor’s Order no longer restricts travel directly, it directs travelers to follow the current guidance from DC Health. Presently, those policies require testing and quarantine for unvaccinated people who travel outside of the District, Maryland, and Virginia. We must ask that you follow these procedures. Officials are reviewing these guidelines on a daily basis, and we will let you know if there are any shifts.

With a major holiday weekend—one associated with travel—just ahead, I encourage you to remain humbly and profoundly respectful of the dangers still posed by this disease; and I ask you to use common sense and continue to follow the precautions that have helped us navigate through these dangerous waters. Until everyone becomes eligible to be vaccinated, including our youngest students, all of us must take the required steps to keep each other safe, whether we are at home (or returning home) or visiting friends and loved ones elsewhere.

Maret will continue pooled testing through June 4, with the following modified schedule for the week after Memorial Day:

  • Grades K–4 will take tests home Wednesday, June 2 and return them the following day.
  • Grades 5–11 will be tested during the school day on Thursday, June 3.
  • Seniors who have not yet been fully vaccinated (i.e., 14 days from administration of the second dose) should come to school for testing on Friday, June 4.

As we continue to welcome parents/guardians back to campus for some traditional end-of-year events, note that for events held outdoors it will not be necessary to complete the AUXS Health Screening App. There are still more celebrations ahead and we so look forward to enjoying them together with you—safely.

Thank you for your patience and partnership all year long, and as we move into the final—and I hope joyful—weeks of school.

Take care,

Marjo