Last Updated: 05-29-20
Maret's Risk Management Team continues to monitor the evolving situation concerning coronavirus (COVID-19), and we update this website regularly to share information about the School’s preparations and responses. We are also following the CDC and DC Department of Health guidelines on responding to the virus. Should you have any questions or concerns after reading this information, please email RiskManagement@maret.org.
Continuity of Learning Plan (COL)
An Overview from Head of School Marjo Talbott
The overarching goal of COL is to maintain strong relationships and high expectations among our students, our faculty, and our community.
Maret’s COL program will take place through a blended model of synchronous and asynchronous engagements designed to foster student learning, safety and belonging, and well-being.
- Community connection of learners.
- Strong home-school partnership.
- Integrity of our excellent academic program.
- Ability to meet the needs of, and support, individual students.
PARTICIPATION IN COL—Student responsibilities and guidelines for COL are no different than our accepted and understood campus teaching and learning expectations outlined in Maret’s Responsible Use Policies, Student and Faculty Handbooks, and Code of Conduct. These expectations are summarized below:
- Be courteous to other participants.
- Be punctual.
- Speak clearly and at a regular volume.
- Avoid eating during the sessions.
- Keep body movements and distractions, including other noise, to a minimum.
- Follow your teachers’ directions about muting mics and asking questions.
- “Be Present”—avoid interrupting others, having side conversations and text chats.
- Be mindful of your distance from the camera and how you are seen on screen.
- Be sure that shades/blinds/curtains behind you are closed to reduce glare.
- Be prepared by sitting at a suitable space prepared to work and avoid lounging on couches or beds.
- Avoid sitting outside to keep background noise to a minimum.
- The school dress code is in effect during all sessions.
USE OF COL PLATFORMS—Maret uses SeeSaw, PowerSchool, Zoom, Google Meet, and other online platforms/tools deemed appropriate by the School to conduct meaningful teaching and learning. COL platforms used by Maret are understood to be for school and educational use only. The use of these platforms for any other purpose without written consent by Maret School is prohibited. Failure to comply with this directive may result in disciplinary action.
COL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES—The Maret community understands and acknowledges that COL is a continuation of daily teaching and learning, not only for our faculty and students, but also for their parents and guardians. In addition to the expectations outlined above, it is critical to understand and abide by the following:
- Participants in a video conference (or any other aspect of COL) are expected to comport themselves as they would on campus. Only faculty are to initiate, record, post, and share class videos. Students should not mute and/or disconnect any participant during a session.
- As is provided during our on-campus program, advisors, teachers, learning specialists, and administrators often conduct one-to-one meetings with students when appropriate. These meetings usually entail academic and/or social-emotional support. Virtually, Maret faculty members may meet with students to discuss a range of educational, personal, and/or social development issues. Toward that end, participation in COL and its virtual one-on-one meetings constitutes acceptance of this approach and agreement to release and indemnify Maret and its faculty from any claim whatsoever in the implementation of services, including counseling and related emotional support sessions.
- Participants’ images, likenesses, or voices may be recorded while using Zoom, Google Meet, or other platforms. In some cases, such as recording of synchronous teacher-led lessons, these recordings will be made available for student review.
- Without express and written permission from a Division Director or Head of School, users (including students) may not record, screenshot, share, re-post, or otherwise capture or disseminate digital content created through these or any other platforms. Only representatives of the School may capture or post such content. Failure to comply with this directive may result in disciplinary action.
- Each platform that Maret employs for teaching and learning has specific user agreements. Please review these agreements.
While minimal, there may be risks related to the use of online platforms. As participants in COL, parents and guardians recognize and accept those risks. A student’s participation in school activities via COL serves as a student’s and parent’s/guardian’s acknowledgment and acceptance of Maret’s COL program and adherence to all of the COL Expectations, including this addendum.
- K-4 homeroom teachers will post lessons and activities by 8:00pm the evening before the assignments are to be completed. This will allow parents to preview the next day's work. There will be specific assignments each day for reading, writing, and math.
- Homeroom teachers will interact with their students through a daily synchronous lesson as a whole class or in small groups.
- Students will have one resource class per day (Art, Music, Science, Spanish, or Wellness) and a daily PE activity. Two of the PE activities will be synchronous.
- Students are expected to read independently for 20-30 minutes a day depending on their grade-level.
Given the ongoing issues with PowerSchool, your child's teacher will post assignments on a google doc that will be sent to families the night before the first day of the week. Each day, a new table of assignments will be added.
- Meetings once a week in Synchronous classes (live, online classes). These are reflected in the schedule attached. These include a weekly Advising time.
- Art, Music, and Wellness classes have been added into the schedule. (Design Thinking is added into the 7th grade only). These classes will offer weekly assignments via PowerSchool or email.
- PE classes will be running synchronous classes twice a week for 5th and 6th grade. PE classes will be once a week for 7th and 8th grade classes. These are synchronous times when students can follow a series of activities led by our Athletics department.
- Teachers will be available synchronously or via email once a week for students.
- Each US class period has 90 minutes total a day--inclusive of “class,” learning activities and homework.
- Advising meets once a week for 25-30 minutes.
- By 9:00am teachers post assignments for the day, unless that class meets synchronously on that day. Synchronous classes (S) meet between 30-45 minutes.
- In addition to the short-term plan, Performing and Visual Arts classes will be included.
- Faculty will post their office hours, which will be offered once a week for 30-45 minutes.
Director of Institutional Research Eric Heilman has developed short anonymous surveys for parents, faculty, and students in grades 6-12, in order to gather and analyze feedback about COL. The Parent Survey, which is posted on our COL division pages, remains open indefinitely and can be accessed through the Parent Portal. We hope to hear from every family about their COL experiences on a regular basis as we move forward. We will be monitoring this feedback continuously.
Upholding Our Core Values
Sadly, fear and anxiety can lead to increased discrimination, bigotry, and racism. Unfortunately, as reported recently in the national news, there has been a concerning uptick in anti-Chinese and anti-Asian rhetoric, escalating to, at times, physical attacks.
We need to be mindful that our children are aware of these news headlines and are trying to make sense of what is happening in the world around them. We need to engage in age-appropriate conversations about the importance of combatting bigotry, racism, and hatred toward our fellow human beings.
We find strength by embracing diversity of perspectives, identities, circumstances, and talents. Together and connected, we will continue to uphold our Core Value of Respect for each and every one of us.
As we move forward in our work to navigate these uncertain waters, we know that we all will take good care of one another.
How to Be Anti-Racist by Dr. Ibram Kendi
Whistling Vivaldi by Dr. Claude Steele
Our dedicated maintenance staff and cleaning crews are at work on a thorough deep cleaning of Maret’s facilities. Accordingly, and effective immediately, access to the campus is limited to authorized personnel and visitors only. Should you need to come to campus, you must contact Head of School Marjo Talbott first for permission at email@example.com or 202-939-8819.
If any member of your family is aware, or has been advised by authorities, of possible exposure to the coronavirus, please notify both our School nurses at firstname.lastname@example.org and the appropriate Division Director immediately. Of course, it is essential that any self-isolation measures required by public health authorities or the School be strictly observed for the safety of the entire community.
Resources for our Community
- Help Horizons Prepare for Summer
- Fun Activities for Families
- Ways to Support Our Greater Community
- Playing It Safe While Getting Cooped-Up Kids Outside
- Virtual Volunteering
- Common Sense Media
- Wide Open School
- Online Learning Leaders
- Tips in the Age of COVID-19 and Social Distancing
- Suggestions from Our Upper School Student Council & Clubs
- Keep Kids Entertained, Learning at Home, and Calm
- Social Distancing
- Self-Care Tips
- CDC and Other Help Centers
- Suggestions for Talking to Children About Difficult Topics
- Additional Resources
- Maret's Risk Management Team
Horizons is recruiting volunteers to help deliver school supplies to its students, who will be participating in the program from home this summer. If you are interested in lending a hand, please contact Maret Site Director Aaron Cahn at email@example.com.
Here are some great suggestions from Maret's Middle School:
- Practice typing (www.nitrotype.com or www.
- Read a book from spring reading list (or participate in the new challenge that will be introduced soon).
- Do some Creative writing
- Spring Cleaning
- Baking and Cooking (Easy recipes for the whole family to do together)
- Good Housekeeping has 50 craft ideas to do with your kids if you are up for that kind of “fun.”
- Board games/ cards
- Online pictionary game (https://skribbl.io/)
- Blind Taste Tests
- Chopped Family Challenge
- Earth Day activities over the weekend- garden, bring a trash bag on a walk
- Write a letter to a friend and mail it with an actual stamp
- Start a puzzle
- Do a Just Dance Danceoff (there are many more than just this one)
- Set up a Nature Scavenger Hunt for your family
- Record yourself reading a book for Horizons students
- Visit Virtual Zoos and Museums
- National Geographic -Kids Activities
- Online Sports (from CNN)
- Sew/Make face masks for the family or local organizations
- Chalk your sidewalk with positive messages
- Maret Website has a lot of great resources and links
- Common Sense Media has great suggestions for meditation apps for kids
We know that many people are looking for ways to support the wider community at this time, and so we wanted to share some opportunities that are available and also send a shout out to our Maret families who are leading some of these initiatives. Please remember, anyone who is volunteering should make sure to wash and sanitize their hands, phones, and any other surfaces that might get touched regularly during pickups or deliveries, as well as on-site work. They should make sure to wear gloves and masks, avoid contact when delivering, and should call to cancel their volunteer shifts if they are experiencing any symptoms.
Community Groups and Requests:
- #GetMePPE DC area donor form
- Muslim Mask Project interest form
- 3D Print Medical Equipment registration form
- Three Little Birds Sewing Co (Hyattsville, MD) supplies and drop-off information
- Sign up here to join a city-wide network of volunteers to run errands for our elderly or immunocompromised neighbors
- DC Public Schools - In need of volunteers to help keep running their many meal sites for kids in DC during school closures! Please fill out the linked survey.
- Capital Area Food Bank - In critical need of volunteers to help sort and pack food in their warehouse and assist at their offsite food distributions.
- Families 4 Families DMV- Volunteers donate or assemble a week of groceries for families in need.
- Food and Friends DC- In urgent need of extra volunteers throughout the coming weeks. There are two volunteer opportunities: food preparation and packaging OR meal and grocery delivery.
- Food Rescue US- Volunteers with vehicles needed to pick up and deliver food from businesses to DC residents in need.
- Grace’s Table- Looking for volunteers to help feed the homeless each Saturday.
- Martha’s Table - Volunteers needed to help prepare and bag food for their emergency food sites across the city.
- We Are Family- Volunteer to deliver groceries to seniors.
- Food for All DC- Volunteer to drive groceries to seniors, immunocompromised, and other DC neighbors who are homebound. Volunteer here.
- Working with Seniors: If older students are interested in doing virtual volunteer work with the residents of a senior facility by leading games or other activities, being a virtual pen pal, and forging connections with residents who are under strict changes in the visitor policy, contact Krystle Merchant, Maret’s Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Children's Hospital Bloodmobile - There is a huge need for blood right now. Volunteers can donate blood in a safe, socially distant environment. Only a limited number of appointments are allowed at one time so as to adhere to social distancing standards. Please visit the Children's National Medical Center website to learn more about blood donation, to schedule an appointment, and get information on when it might be visiting your neighborhood.
Maret Family Initiatives:
- From the Footers (Sofie-1st, Lexi-3rd, Chloe-5th):
The Footer family has joined forces to help provide food and support to Martha’s Table. Their house is a drop off location (5030 Linnean Ave, NW) on Wednesdays and Saturdays anytime before 1:00pm, and there are a few boxes/bags on the porch to drop off food. People can also use the Martha’s Table drop off at the Maycraft at 1474 Columbia Road, NW 20009. 3 turkey slices and 2 pieces of cheese are the perfect amount for each sandwich. Martha’s Table is really in need of meat and cheese sandwiches if possible, but of course, any food donation, based on the guidelines, is much appreciated.
- From the Marshalls (Brooks-3rd, John-5th, Mac-7th, James-8th):
Families4Families (F4F) is an initiative to provide groceries to families that are facing a critical food emergency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. F4F delivers a week’s worth of groceries to families in need through partnerships with vetted nonprofit organizations. To date, F4F has provided 5,280 meals to families in need in the local area and has replicated its model in six other cities across the country. To learn more, please visit families4families.org or @families4familiesdmv. A recent Washingtonian article featured F4F’s efforts.
- As you may have read in the recent Maret Magazine, Horizons Greater Washington is celebrating 20 years! This important partnership between Maret and Horizons provides academic support, enrichment, and inspiration for K-8 students from low income families in our community. This video was to be shared at the annual Spring Splash event that was scheduled for May 1. Please consider making a gift of any size to Horizons Greater Washington to support the nearly 400 students in the program.
Maret's Upper School Social Action Club offers these suggestions for volunteering virtually. None of these free opportunities require further encumbering the already overburdened postal system.
“You can help proofreading new eBooks by joining the Distributed Proofreaders team. You will proofread one page at a time, as many as you like, as often as you like. Use the DP forums to communicate with your fellow proofreaders.”
Smithsonian Institution: Transcription Services
The Smithsonian is looking for volunteers to transcribe primary source materials and to participate in their wikipedia project. You can do this from home.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
“Your sightings contribute to hundreds of conservation decisions and peer-reviewed papers, thousands of student projects, and help inform bird research worldwide.” The opportunity gets you outside and can be done with your smartphone as you take your daily walk to get some fresh air.
Translators Without Borders
“You can volunteer with TWB if you are fluent in at least one language other than your native language. Whether you are interested in translating medical texts or translating for crisis response, there are engaging projects available to suit all preferences.”
United National Virtual Volunteer
The United Nations virtual volunteer database has listings for virtual volunteers worldwide. They have opportunities for translation, editing and writing, art and design, research, outreach and advocacy- and much more.
Zooniverse People-Powered Research
“The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications.
Globe at Night
"The Globe at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations from a computer or smartphone."
Common Sense Media provides an "innovative, award-winning Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares students with lifelong habits and skills, supports teachers with training and recognition, and engages families and communities with helpful tips and tools."
Maret's Online Learning Leaders are available to support our families and faculty with all aspects of our COL program. Feel free to reach out to them at email@example.com with your questions and concerns.
You are likely in the same position as many families across the country - facing canceled travel plans with cabin fever beginning to set in. In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to practice self-care and healthy habits. It is natural for children and adolescents to feel nervous about the unknown; they are looking to the adults in their lives to provide reassurance and stability. The best thing we can do for them is to give them a space to talk through their feelings and thoughts, while also providing direction for the journey ahead.
- Children thrive on routine and predictability and need this to feel safe, especially in challenging times. One of the most important things you can do is to create order, with some flexibility, in your days. You can start by setting up a schedule that includes regular wake-up, eating, learning, exercise and sleep times. It can be daunting to know where to start but there are a plethora of online resources and sample schedules geared towards making the most out of school closures while maintaining a sense of normalcy at home.
- It can be very difficult to exude a sense of calm to your child when you are struggling to cope with your own anxiety. One of the most important things you can do is to learn and utilize stress management techniques that can help you manage your feelings. Research has shown that people experience an increase in cortisol levels, which is directly related to stress, even when seeing a stranger express stress virtually - a phenomenon called ‘empathetic stress.’ This effect increases significantly if the person shown is an image of a loved one. Remember that as you learn to manage your own stress, you will be teaching your child how to cope with uncertainty and difficult situations as they face them in their own lives and in the future.
- One of the most challenging things for those who aren’t experiencing any sickness symptoms is to practice social distancing. In order to "flatten the curve" and slow the spread of COVID-19, it is essential that we minimize our contact with others outside of our home environments until this crisis passes. This is a time to teach children about altruism and how by acting collectively, we can decrease the number of people who become sick. Our mindset for how we approach this time matters. If we (and by default, our children), view this as a punishment, it will feel like one. However, if we shift our view that this time is a gift to slow down and do things that normally get postponed due to busy schedules, we can find that this is an opportunity to:
- Learn new skills, play games, read, write and create.
- Reconnect with family and friends via phone calls, snail mail, and video chats.
- Tackle projects, get organized and clean.
- Virtually visit museums from around the world and other kid-friendly field trips.
- Get outside, explore nature and exercise as a family.
Remember that this too shall pass and someday life will return to normal. In the meantime, I hope that these suggestions are helpful as you prepare for a staycation this spring break. Our community is strong and we will get through this together.
– Dr. LaNaadrian Easterling, Director of Counseling
If you are able, please consider donating even a small amount to the following organizations:
For Students No Longer Receiving Meals at School
DC Central Kitchen
Meals for the Homeless
So Others Might Eat
Domestic Abuse Response for Confined Victims
Donate Gift Cards from Local Businesses or to a Worker Relief Fund
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington's Coronavirus Worker Relief Fund
Donate at a National Level
"How You Can Help Victims of the Coronavirus Pandemic," New York Times
Just a few of the recommendations from upper school students to help everyone get through this challenging time:
Stories To Lift Your Spirits –StoryCorps
Monty Python's Flying Circus
That 70s Show
On My Block
Weathering with You
The Game Plan
Good Will Hunting
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Born a Crime
On the Come Up
The Lovely Bones
WAYS TO KEEP BUSY
Learn an Instrument
Tik Tok Dances
Try keeping to a routine
Use Face Masks
Find Time To Unplug
Get Some Sun
Resources to Deal with School Closures
Common Sense Media, 03-18-20
– Jim Steyer, Founder & Chief Executive OfficeAs we all scrambled last week to comprehend the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, we quickly compiled and shared a list of resources that families and educators could rely on. With the help of a few extra days, our team of editors packaged the most relevant tips, tools, articles, and more for both families and educators.
For 15 years parents and educators have turned to Common Sense to get media and tech recommendations for kids. Although we'd never anticipated a time like this, we're committed to providing you the best ratings, reviews, and advice so you can keep your kids safely entertained and learning at home.
If you're a parent or caregiver, visit our new Resources for Families During the Coronavirus Pandemic hub. You'll find articles, lists, and more on:
- Learning at home and homework help
- Helping kids understand COVID-19 news coverage
- What to watch, read, and play
- How to stay calm for you and your kids
- Spanish language resources for Latinx families
If you're an educator, check out our new Resources for Educators During the Coronavirus Pandemic hub to help you deal with everything from a virtual classroom to student anxiety. You'll find:
- Tools and advice for virtual learning
- Resources for digital citizenship and well-being
- Parent support for learning at home
Our editors will be updating these hubs regularly to give you the most timely advice. And, since we know that not all students have access to tech at home, our advocacy team is working with policymakers and industry leaders to connect all students, wherever they're learning. Stay tuned for more on that.
If you are feeling anxious, taking a break or scaling back from the news cycle. Trust that your school and your parents/guardians will share important information. Try finding a non-digital distraction like reading, spending time with family/friends, or another creative activity.
MEDITATE: Having a regular meditation practice, for 10 minutes per day, can be life-changing. Research shows that meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, and makes you more mindful and self-aware. Even a few deep breaths in the middle of the day can help you to regain focus and relieve stress. A short, daily practice can be more effective than long sessions, so if you’re new to meditation, try starting with a mindfulness app like Headspace or Calm.
CREATE: Creative expression has multiple benefits for emotional health. It gives people a way to release complicated emotions through music, journaling, visual arts, or hobbies. Extracurricular activities that invoke a sense of peace and calm can be very effective for reducing stress. Try spending 15-30 minutes writing, drawing, dancing, or making music.
- Ask clarifying questions to get a better understanding of what your child is asking.
- Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly, but do not give more information than is age-appropriate and/or necessary. Instead of tackling a conversation or a question in one conversation, you can always circle back if needed.
- Invite your child to ask questions. It is okay if you cannot answer everything; being available for your child is what matters.
- Don’t let your own anxiety take over. Parents can get worried about explaining everything rather than just answering the specific question that was posed.
- Avoid overly focusing on the subject. Gauge how much you talk about the topic depending on the age of the child. Young children may not need to know much.
- Share what you are doing to stay safe. An important way to reassure children is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking.
- Empower children and help them feel in control. Help them figure out what they can do to manage their emotions or change a situation.
- Avoid excessive blaming. When tensions run high, sometimes we try to blame someone or something. It is important to avoid stereotyping or negative comments about a specific group of people.
- Monitor television viewing and social media. Try to avoid watching or listening to information that may be upsetting when children are present.
- Stick to routine. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping children happy and healthy.
- Reassure children they are loved, safe, and protected by you and others.
TALKING TO CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
National Association of School Psychologists
TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS
Kids worry more when they're kept in the dark
Child Mind Institute (4-Minute Video)
HOW TO TALK TO CHILDREN ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS
Harvard Medical School
TALKING TO TEENS AND TWEENS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS
New York Times
For questions and concerns about Maret's response to COVID-19, contact the School's Risk Management Team at RiskManagement@maret.org
RISK MANAGEMENT TEAM MEMBERS
|Marjo Talbott||Head of Schoolfirstname.lastname@example.org
|Jon Young||Dir. Bldgs & Groundsemail@example.com
|Susan Epps||Asst. Head of Schoolfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Maria Lopez||Asst. Head: Curriculum Developmentemail@example.com|
|Lynn Levinson||Asst. Head: Student Lifefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Darwin Walker||Asst. Head: Finance and Operationsemail@example.com|
|Jean-Philippe Fontaine||Dir. of Technology & Information Servicesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sally Dunkelberger||Dir. of Developmentemail@example.com|
|Annie Farquhar||Dir. of Admissionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Linda Johnson||Dir. of Communicationsemail@example.com|
|Sheila Davidson||Asst. to the Head of Schoolfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Messages to the Community
I will be hosting my final weekly conversation on TUESDAY, JUNE 2. I hope you will join me virtually at 5:30 p.m. Director of Institutional Research Eric Heilman will be joining us to discuss the COL data and findings that have helped us develop our program this spring. Later next week, you will receive a new survey, which will begin to take the pulse of how families are thinking about various scenarios in the fall. While Tuesday will be the last of my weekly conversations, I will host regular Zoom meetings to keep you abreast of our plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
COL has meant so many shifts for our community, and one of these involves the ritual end-of-year return and retrieval of items for students, whether this is a uniform or library book that Maret needs back, or an art project or lacrosse stick that a student wants at home for the summer. Please read carefully our instructions for this year outlined below.
For students returning to Maret next year, we are going to wait to do returns and retrievals of all belongings until school reopens. If your child has anything they need more immediately, you should contact the appropriate Division Director, and they can arrange for a pick-up. Non-senior students who are leaving Maret should follow this same protocol unless your family is departing the area, and then we can make a different arrangement. For seniors, we will be sharing instructions with you in a separate communication.
For those Middle and Upper School students who would like to donate their textbooks to Maret for other students to reuse, please note that we will be communicating more about this process later in the summer. Students will be receiving notices from the Librarians about books they have checked out, but these are not due until we return to school. Lost and found items will also be kept at school until we return.
In terms of our incredible publications that we distribute at year’s end—the Woodley Oaks Yearbook and Literary and Visual Arts Magazine—there will be two separate protocols. If you have ordered a yearbook, look for an email coming soon asking if you would like to have it mailed to your home; otherwise, your child will be able to pick it up when school reopens. You will also have the option to purchase a yearbook at that time. In terms of the Literary and Visual Arts Magazine, there will be copies at Maret to pick up when school reopens. Both of these publications will be sent home to our seniors.
Another tradition coming up next Thursday, June 4 at 11am is our last all-school event—Closing Ceremony! We look forward to “seeing” all of our students and faculty K-12 at this exciting virtual celebration. As always, this will be a special time to say farewell to our faculty leaving Maret after this school year. We will also be conferring our student and faculty awards, so please have your children dress up in case they are spotlighted! They may also be seen during the final celebratory applause. You will be receiving your Closing Ceremony invitation with a link closer to the event.
I continue to so appreciate all of you for your patience and flexibility.
Once again, over the past several days, we have seen devastating news reports about horrific, racist attacks against African Americans. We know that for every action reported in the news, countless other incidents of racism occur daily.
In the midst of a pandemic that has had a disproportionately damaging impact on communities of color, our collective heart breaks for the lives lost and for the widespread compounding trauma felt by so many. It is, therefore, more important than ever that we continue to combat bigotry, racism, and hatred toward our fellow human beings.
The strength of Maret lies in our commitment to building a community that is equitable and inclusive. Together and connected, we will uphold our Core Value of Respect for each and every one of us.
Let’s all take good care of one another by honoring each other’s humanity, in word and in deed.
- May 22, 2020
- May 17, 2020
- May 10, 2020
- May 3, 2020
- April 27. 2020
- April 20, 2020
- April 9, 2020
- April 3, 2020
- March 30, 2020
- March 17, 2020
- March 25, 2020
- March 19, 2020
- March 16, 2020
- March 13, 2020
- March 12, 2020
- March 11, 2020
- March 9, 2020
- March 9, 2020
- March 8, 2020
- March 6, 2020
- March 6, 2020
- March 2, 2020
I hope you can find time to relax and unplug this weekend – that is my plan! Given that Monday is Memorial Day, I will host my weekly conversation on TUESDAY, May 26. I hope you will join me virtually at 5:30 p.m. The following week, this conversation will again be on Tuesday (June 2) due to the Board’s Annual Meeting, which is the previous day. During the summer, I will also be holding meetings for families periodically to keep you abreast of our plans for the fall.
Today is Frog Friday! Please take a moment to enjoy our Friday Frog’s highlights of the fabulous artwork created by our students K-12. I also invite you to view the full-length version of this year’s All-School Art Show, entitled Illumination.
I am truly amazed by the phenomenal resilience of our community that has generated so many meaningful ways for us to stay connected and whole.
For example, a few months ago, when we began reworking our plans for Senior Projects, we hoped to be able to offer our soon-to-be graduates something of substance in place of the traditional two-week, on-site experiences that had been canceled across DC. The clarion call we sent to our parents and alumni asking for ideas, recommendation, and opportunities was answered spectacularly! Now our seniors are wholly engaged in all kinds of seminars and workshops from The World of Architecture to Being a Talent Agent, from Development of Environmental Policy to Exploration of Advanced Baseball Metrics & Management.
We sent a similar request to our community to help us gather an extensive list of summer opportunities for our students in the absence of the usual on-site camps and programs. Again, the response was abundant. I am pleased to offer you this compilation of summer options both locally and across the country to help your children enjoy and engage this summer. We will continue to update this list, so be sure to revisit this page often.
Included in this list—because of our involvement with MSON (Malone Schools Online Network), which Maret helped to create—are a few Malone schools that are offering our community some great summer options. I encourage you to take advantage of these excellent programs, particularly at Waynflete in Maine and St. Andrew's in Mississippi. Details about these offerings are also listed on our Virtual Summer Programs page.
I remind you, too, of the considerable resources available on the Coronavirus Updates and COL sections of our website. You will find good ideas about how to take care of yourself and your family during these unusual times. Also listed are many ways in which you can serve our greater community. One recent option involves recruiting volunteers to help deliver school supplies to our Horizons students, who will be participating in the program from home this summer. If you are interested in lending a hand, please contact Maret Site Director Aaron Cahn at email@example.com.
Another way to stay connected is by showing your school spirit. Because many of you have asked to be able to purchase spirit wear online, we have launched a Maret online store especially for our new and current families and our faculty. Go Frogs!
While nothing can replace in-person, face-to-face interaction, I am so proud of Maret and the way all of you have stepped up to this bewildering challenge by keeping us all connected with your generosity, warmth, empathy, and joy.
May is always a bittersweet time at a school. Even as we celebrate the year’s many highlights and accomplishments, we begin saying goodbye to those who are leaving. Since Spring Break, I have had more than 50 “exit interviews” with graduating seniors—an amazing, resilient, and gifted group of individuals. They have given me a lot of valuable advice about ways in which we can continue to improve the Maret experience; and they paid tribute to the incredibly dedicated teachers who have supported them in so many ways. During Closing Ceremony (11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 4), we will say farewell to faculty members leaving Maret at the end of this academic year.
I greatly appreciate your partnership and good will as we cope with these unprecedented times. My Monday Conversations with many of you have offered food for thought. Last week, for example, several parents asked for suggestions about summer opportunities for students; after all, many camps and internships have been canceled given the current state of affairs. In response, I asked Assistant Head Susan Epps to compile a list of resources. We could use your help: If you have ideas about camps, programs, internships, service opportunities, or other positive ways for students to spend time this summer, please submit them here. In addition, some of our teachers are considering virtual options for both enrichment and academic-based K-12 programming. THIS WILL NOT BE SUMMER SCHOOL but instead would consist of optional week-long sessions; pricing for Maret families would be reasonable – enough to compensate the teachers involved. We will send out a curated synthesis of these options in the next 10 days. AISGW (our local Association) is also working with us and other member schools on summer resources for our families.
Dealing with this pandemic has required all of us to accept an unpredictable future, something that can carry with it frustration and even anxiety. Planning for the 2020-2021 school year is equally challenging. In my message to you a few weeks ago, I mentioned that President of the Board Ian Cameron and I have organized four Working Groups. Addressing pressing issues, these school leaders and trustees will bring forward proactive and innovative recommendations. Please look out for more details as planning for the coming year evolves. Fortunately, we are also able to work closely with AISGW locally, the Malone Schools nationally, and other colleagues both nationwide and worldwide, to learn from them how they are managing the pandemic’s impact on independent schools. There are no clear models yet, but we are confident that we will be able to keep our Community whole and deliver on Maret’s Mission as we move forward.
In setting up the Working Groups, we drew on Maret’s Mission and Strategic Directions. Although written in 2017, they certainly capture the moment we face today:
The educational landscape is evolving rapidly and Maret finds itself at a critical juncture. Fundamental questions about the nature of classrooms and the curriculum, the impact of technology, equity and inclusion, and financial sustainability need to be addressed. These require us to recognize—and then balance—a series of dynamic, interconnected forces. While we cannot predict with certainty how the world will change, we know that change is inevitable and fast-paced. How can Maret not merely respond to all these forces, but also innovate—to prepare for uncertainty?
We will continue to stay nimble, sustainable, and relevant as we tackle the new reality.
If you have not yet had the chance to watch this week’s Frog Friday video, I encourage you to do so. It so perfectly captures both the hope and the loss we all feel as we navigate the rough waters of social distancing.
I truly look forward to the day we can be together again in person. For now, I hope that you will join me virtually during our Monday Conversations—the next one is tomorrow (Monday, May 18) at 5:30 p.m. I have asked Director of Counseling LaNaadrian Easterling and School Nurse Alison Goradia to join our discussion.
With four weeks remaining in the academic year, we look forward to important end-of-year events and traditions that will help keep us connected – the challenges of social distancing notwithstanding.
This week, on Wednesday, May 13, we will celebrate fifteen seniors who have earned the honor of election to the national Cum Laude Society. The following evening (Thursday, May 14), we will host a virtual Alumni Town Hall to connect and support fellow Frogs around the country and update them about school life during these challenging times. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with one another online.
I hope you will join other parents and our alumni for the annual Visual Arts at Maret & MPA Appreciation Night on Wednesday, May 20. We have a special treat in store that applauds our students’ masterpieces. We will also recognize the long, distinguished tenures of Marilyn Potts, Director of Constituent Relations; and Deirdre Saunder, master teacher of Art in the Upper School. And, we will acknowledge the many contributions of our outstanding family volunteers. Please look for your invitation to this virtual event to arrive soon.
June is just around the corner with its own full slate of celebrations, including Middle School Moving Up Ceremony; Lower School Assembly; Senior Night; and Closing Ceremony – which will include all students in every grade K-12. We are still weighing various options on how best to celebrate our Seniors, including doing something meaningful on Monday, June 8 as originally scheduled and also considering other future dates if need be for a more complete and traditional ceremony. Again, please keep an eye out for messages from me or your Division Directors with more details about these events.
Just as these wonderful milestones bring the Maret family together in many meaningful ways, so do our collective efforts to support the greater community. Over the past few weeks, many of you have suggested ways in which we can all lend a helping hand, from donating to food banks to running errands for the elderly. Visit our Coronavirus Updates page for a full list of opportunities.
Please also consider ways to support Horizons Greater Washington, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. Learn more about Horizons' beginnings on Maret's campus two decades ago.
Finally, a reminder that tomorrow (Monday, May 11), at 5:30 p.m., we will convene once again for my Monday conversation with parents. Joining our discussion will be Maria Lopez, Assistant Head for Curriculum Development and Lynn Levinson, Assistant Head for Student Life. I hope to see you there.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday – and I wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the moms among us.
I hope that you enjoyed the Head’s Holiday weekend. Taking the opportunity to step away from my computer, I played Monopoly, read, and tried out some new recipes. I also participated in the Fun Run along with many other Maret families.
Now in our eighth week of social distancing, our School continues to adjust to the new realities. We greatly appreciate all the feedback delivered through surveys from parents and guardians, students, and faculty. Next week will see some more adjustments, including additional synchronous classes along with more activities in the Middle and Upper Schools. Chris Appleby and the Lower School teachers made similar adjustments two weeks ago. The Division Directors will send out more details soon.
Our team is working hard to reimagine Maret’s traditional end-of-the-year events. Believe me, if modifications to the stay-at-home orders permit, we will be prepared and nimble enough to conduct some of these events on campus. For now, though, we are planning the Moving Up and Closing Ceremonies as virtual celebrations. We are taking the pulse of Seniors and their families about their wishes for Graduation. Again, being on-campus as scheduled is our first choice; if that isn’t possible, we will develop fallback plans for an on-campus Graduation to take place sometime this summer, or even later if need be.
We are ready and excited to roll out the new schedule for 6th through 12th grades, beginning in September. Below is a video that explains the major changes, which were inspired by our Strategic Directions process in 2017. Since that time, our faculty has examined cutting-edge research and best practices for excellence in teaching. The new schedule carves out time for weekly wellness classes, club meetings and office hours, and establishes longer blocks for each discipline, producing fewer, disruptive transitions and more time for hands-on projects. It is also well-adapted for life with COL should the fall semester find us having to move back and forth between schooling on campus and at home.
Like many other institutions across the country, our Board and School leadership carefully examined the federally funded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The CARES Act authorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make PPP loans on very favorable terms – to allow small businesses and non-profits to remain open and keep employees on the payroll. Maret is keenly aware that financial markets are volatile, and our country is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis. Nonetheless, we concluded it was not appropriate to apply for PPP funding. As an independent school, we were concerned that little is known about the potential for federal regulations being imposed on grant recipients – including audits and even penalties. Further, with the funding pool limited and in high demand, we believed that smaller and more vulnerable non-profits such as Horizons Greater Washington should have priority access to these funds.
A generous Maret family recently donated seed money to create a COVID-19 Relief Fund that can support faculty members experiencing financial need. In a similar vein, we are also working to find money to support new requests from families for financial aid. Director of Financial Aid Bobby Holt is available to work with families facing new challenges in this regard.
We remain ever hopeful that this pandemic will start to recede, allowing us to take steps toward reopening our campus. Because we are also realistic, planning efforts continue in anticipation of an extended period of social distancing and further economic disruption. Ian Cameron, President of Maret’s Board, has created four Working Groups of both faculty and trustees: 1) Financial Implications and Scenarios; 2) Health and Safety Options for Re-Opening, 3) Human Resources Repercussions, and 4) COL Extensions into the Fall. All of these groups will grapple with these challenging issues and bring forward proactive recommendations.
Finally, please keep your eyes open for information coming your way soon from our MPA leadership, about ways in which we can all support the Greater Washington community during this crisis. Take time, also, to visit School Happenings for the most recent news posted on our social media channels.
I continue to be in awe of our Maret community’s resilience and fortitude. Teachers are working extraordinarily hard to provide the lessons that students need in order to advance academically. They are also ever-mindful of the social and emotional toll the new stay-at-home reality takes on everyone – but particularly our children. Please remember to visit Maret’s Coronavirus Updates page for the latest list of resources.
Ian and I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow night (Monday, May 4 at 5:30 p.m.) to answer your questions about this information or any other topics.
I hope you are enjoying the four-day weekend and taking advantage of some time off-line as our wonderful Friday Frog suggests.
Below are a few reminders along with some new information I think you will find helpful:
- COL Parent Survey
Please remember to continually give us your feedback about you and your students’ experiences with COL by completing the Parent Survey. In addition to the best practices we are gathering from national organizations, your responses are so important in helping us shape the way we deliver our program now and in the future.
- COL Research and Results
Director of Institutional Research Eric Heilman and his team have compiled preliminary findings gleaned from the first three weeks of survey results from students in Grades 7-12, parents and guardians, and faculty. You will find a summary of those results on the Institutional Research page as well as on our COL page.
- Next Conversation with Marjo—May 4
As a reminder, because today is a Head’s Holiday, I will not be holding our usual 5:30pm parent conversation. However, I do look forward to seeing you all at next Monday’s conversation on Monday, May 4, 5:30pm.
- Organizing School Emails
One impact of COL and social distancing in general is an inbox flooded with emails. Here is a short demo created by Associate Director of Communications Zaw Lyn that may help you better organize and search the messages you are receiving from the School.
- Upper School Choral Performance
Last but never least, I am continually amazed at the resilience of our students and their teachers. Take a moment to listen to this truly outstanding choral performance by our Upper Schoolers.
First, a reminder that tonight at 5:30pm I will be hosting my conversation with parents. I hope you can join me.
Because this Friday and next Monday are Head’s Holidays, we will not be holding a conversation on April 27.
Today we are kicking off Environmental Spirit Week, and each Division has exciting activities planned for our students. Don't forget to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day happening on Wednesday, April 22!
A special thanks to our Students for Environmental Action, who have created a friendly and fun competition for their Upper School classmates and teachers. Here are a few of their suggestions that we can all engage in from home:
- Clean up a park/sidewalks or areas around your home, but make sure to keep your distance!
- Plant something —try and use plants/seeds you already have instead of going out to buy them.
- Eat a vegetarian meal
- Explore a park or open green space
- Participate in the Virtual Fun Run on Saturday, April 25.
- Upcycle an object or materials.
- Find ways to reuse items.
- Wear a green shirt on Wednesday, April 22 for Earth Day!
- Write to your local public officials urging observance of good environmental practices.
Let’s all participate in the fun!
As we wrap up another week of Continuity of Learning (COL), it has been tremendously helpful to engage with you through online parent conversations and our Parent Survey. By continuing to participate in both venues, you help us make COL the best program it can be. As a reminder to all of us: We are not striving to be perfect but rather embrace a growth mindset as we continue to embark on this new experiment of delivering critical skills and content. You can join the “Conversations with Marjo” on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. The Parent Survey is also available on the COL webpages accessed through the Parent Portal.
We have already implemented some of your suggestions, while others – such as providing more consistency in the online platforms our teachers use to deliver lessons – remain a work in progress. We are pleased that PowerSchool seems more stable and reliable. In response to the survey, we also plan to offer additional points of real-time contact to further strengthen connectedness and to better keep our community whole. Thank you for your patience and support!
In these uncertain times, it is important to strike a balance between announcing decisions early enough for people to plan accordingly, versus not getting too far ahead of ourselves so that we can remain reasonably flexible. In that vein, yesterday I asked the faculty to be prepared to continue COL through the month of May. Nevertheless, we do not want to rule out a return to campus next month should changing conditions allow us to do so. Of course, we would like nothing more than to be together at 3000 Cathedral Avenue. But for now, we must prepare for an extended COL plan.
No decisions have been made about June activities. We still hope that our final weeks can be conducted on campus, allowing us to celebrate together and bring closure to the school year. That decision, however, is a bit further down the road. To prepare for the eventuality that we cannot return to campus in June, we are exploring ways in which to virtually conduct Maret’s much-loved traditions and closing events. One of my most cherished traditions is conducting interviews with Seniors at this time of year; I have already begun to do so – and although seeing seniors on my screen is not as satisfying as in person, I am loving the conversations, hearing how they have navigated through Maret, and what they would suggest as improvements. I learn a great deal.
Teaching and learning online offer some unique challenges that we’ve addressed through an Addendum to COL Expectations. This policy more fully articulates the School’s expectations for students, faculty, and parents/guardians as we all participate in COL. Please be sure to read it thoroughly; we are all expected to understand and abide by these important guidelines.
Finally, I want to acknowledge again the strain that all of us have experienced these past several weeks. It has been exhausting to get up to speed on COL; on top of that, we have the anxiety created by disquieting uncertainty about what the coming months hold. To help lighten that weight, I have decided that Friday, April 24 and Monday, April 27 will be Head’s Holidays, when no homework or other school obligations will be assigned. I hope that this will at least give all of us a bit of time to catch our breath, enjoy the beauty of spring, and rejuvenate before we begin again navigating the final five weeks of school.
I am so proud of our resilient and creative community of learners! Even though we have been challenged by the hurdles our COL program presents, we still have been able to experience many wonderful touchpoints that have kept us all connected.
Please take a moment to lighten your hearts with the week in review video below. This is the first installment of our "Frog Fridays" series that we hope to send to you every Friday.
Enjoy and Take Care,
Dear Maret Families,
I hope that you were able to relax and recharge (at least a little) during the atypical “Spring Break” that just ended. I know that everyone is working hard to adapt to the new reality of social distancing and mostly keeping to our homes. At Maret, we still have not heard of any confirmed case of Covid-19 within our immediate student/parent/teacher community; nonetheless, a number of families have loved ones and friends who are struggling with the disease. Please feel free to contact our nurses (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need any support.
Maret’s faculty has been hard at work preparing new ways to deliver the curriculum to your children. You’ve received letters from the Division Directors and we update our Continuity of Learning (COL) webpages as needed. Please proactively visit the Parent/Guardian portal on Maret’s website to ensure that you can readily find the important information there – and please check back regularly. The COL pages are full of helpful information about coursework; they also link to outside resources that can help you adapt to distance learning and cope with the impact of the novel coronavirus.
I decided to produce this video in which I provide you with an overview of COL through a PowerPoint presentation. It also covers the important guiding principles that are embedded in this plan for teaching Maret students while away from campus. I actually found it fun to learn how to create videos and master (well, sort of) new techniques – although at times it was frustrating and awkward. I keep reminding myself of the fundamentals of “growth mindset:” failure is permissible and perfection is not the goal.
Please note that I am offering three online group sessions for parents this week. Each session will last for about 30 minutes. This will be a learning experience for all of us, and I will appreciate your patience and forbearance as we all learn to use this technology.
I will deeply miss being on campus over the coming weeks. My great hope is that we can gather together again in May – but, of course, we will just have to see how it goes.
We are all in this together, and I feel so fortunate to be part of such an incredible and dynamic community. As noted in Maret’s Strategic Directions, we have always strived to ensure that our program is nimble, relevant, and sustainable.
As you are well aware, we are launching our Continuity of Learning Plan tomorrow K through 12. Our teachers have been preparing for this moment, and we are excited to begin. Maria Lopez, our Assistant Head for Curriculum Development, has been the point person on this very important initiative and asked me to send you the following message:
As you can imagine, there are many online services being bombarded with drastically increased demand for their services from consumers and businesses alike. This increased user volume and internet traffic can cause temporary degradation of services. Smaller providers, like PowerSchool, have experienced some slow down today.
In an effort to curtail any flow of information to students, we have asked faculty to email their assignments, in addition to posting on PowerSchool, this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Lower School assignments will be emailed to Lower School parents, and Middle and Upper School assignments will be emailed to Middle and Upper School students, respectively.
Note that while our goal is to have the PowerSchool postings up early tomorrow, it may take teachers until 10:00am to have both PowerSchool postings and emails sent. (Lower School will send emails at 10:00am.)
We thank you for your continued flexibility and patience as we embark on our online Continuity of Learning Plan. We are aware there will be glitches, and we will work swiftly to address them.
Please also know that, as always, we are here to support you and your children. Do not hesitate to reach out to:
- email@example.com for instructional/academic technology support
- firstname.lastname@example.org for support for nuts and bolts technology
- email@example.com for help with Veracross
Thank you again for your support, patience, and good will.
I hope that you are finding time this week to be on somewhat of a “spring break. I know that many of us are disappointed that our original plans for this week were abruptly suspended.
All of us are working hard to absorb the daily barrage of news and adopt new lifestyles that will slow the spread of coronavirus. Taking much needed walks through my neighborhood, I am struck by the beauty of early spring – and the quiet produced by everyone “staying at home.” Handling all the new demands is challenging, especially for those of you with young children. One way to ease that burden is by finding some special times and new ways to connect with the important people in our lives.
I am extraordinarily grateful to our teachers who initiated implementation of the Continuity of Learning plan (COL) last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We learned a number of things and are making adjustments as we prepare for the resumption of classes next Tuesday (March 31). The PowerSchool online platform did struggle last week due to heightened demand; we are evaluating other platforms for next week and will update you on any changes.
Maret’s long-term COL plan will include a number of synchronous classes and other “face-to-face” check-ins. Eric Heilman, our Director of Institutional Research, is developing various survey tools to get daily feedback from our Upper School students as well as regular feedback from parents. The Student Council is also trying to figure out ways to support all of our students, who may begin to feel increasingly isolated. I encourage you to continue checking the Faculty/Parent & Guardian portals for helpful resources.
In line with the Mayor’s decision that all D.C. Public Schools will remain closed until April 27, Maret has also decided not to resume classes until at least that date. We do not want to project further at this point because there is new information all the time, and public health experts and government officials have not yet reached a consensus on the best course of action.
I will be in touch again before next Tuesday – as will the Division Directors – in order to give you as much information as possible about the weeks ahead.
Dear Maret Alumni,
This is an immensely challenging time at Maret, as it is for the nation and around the globe. It is my deepest hope that you and your family are well – and keep safe. Even as the School does its part to curb the spread of COVID-19 by suspending on-campus learning, promoting social distancing, and implementing other preventive measures, it remains important that we stay connected with one another.
In that spirit, I would like to share a few updates.
Friday was the last day of regular classes on Maret’s campus. Consistent with the decision to move to distance learning, we also canceled planned events and activities, including spring trips for our sports teams. We began preparations for distance learning in February; this week, students and faculty are taking that program for a “test-drive” ahead of full implementation upon return from Spring Break on March 31. (We do not expect to return to campus until at least the middle of April.) I continue to be deeply impressed by our teachers and academic leaders, who have jumped in wholeheartedly to implement Maret’s plan for continuity of learning.
This week, we used the power of the Internet to stage a robust virtual meeting of the Alumni Council, with 18 participants. We also turned a planned event for California alumni into a virtual gathering. Our graduates now in college are also making the adjustment to distance learning – certainly a big change and a disruption to the fuller experience of education in a college community. Still, it is always heartening “to visit” with alumni across the country – keeping them abreast of happenings at Maret and getting their input as our school navigates through new territory.
This week, we decided to postpone until fall the traditional spring Reunion Weekend and Alumni Panels, given the current uncertainty. We will miss these important gatherings and ask that you please stay tuned for news about rescheduling them as events further unfold.
The past few weeks have taught us to stay informed and use sound judgment to filter good information from bad. As I advised our families, we should all look to guidance issued by trusted experts and public health authorities, such as the CDC. Maret keeps its community informed by frequently updating the Coronavirus Updates page on its website; please check it out for some helpful tips and resources.
We had a full February at Maret with many traditional highlights – our Upper School musical (the beautiful Once on This Island); the ever-popular ISW week; successful basketball seasons for both teams; our 43rd annual Middle School Science Fair; and national student recognition from both Harvard’s Model Congress and the Scholastic Arts Awards. Maret’s annual Scholarship Auction – whose theme was “The Roaring Twenties” – netted a record-breaking amount. The Auction provides more than 20% of a financial aid budget that supports 25% of all students. Such success is more important than ever, as we are sure to see a rise in financial aid need for next year.
As we all persevere through this trying and challenging spring, I hope you will join me in being grateful to belong to such a strong and supportive community. Please stay connected with one another by visiting Maret’s website and participating in social media. I also encourage you to feel free to reach out to me or others here at Maret anytime. We will continue to stay in touch with you and keep you all in our thoughts.
We miss not having you on campus as the process of self-distancing begins – our small but essential contribution to the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19. This certainly is a time that will test us all. I continue to be deeply impressed by our teachers and academic leaders, who have jumped in wholeheartedly to ensure that students continue to learn. To lighten all of our hearts, here is a link to the hatch cam that Lower School science teacher Geetha Ingram set up in her home – the chicks are starting to hatch! We can find some joy in knowing that spring is almost here.
I am writing today to inform you that Maret does not expect to resume learning at our 3000 Cathedral Avenue campus until at least the middle of April. Of course, the past few weeks have taught us to watch the news, use our mental filters to find good advice, and monitor guidance and directives coming from public health officials and the government. While things may change, for now I ask everyone to be prepared to operate under our Continuity of Learning Plan (CLP), which you can access through the Parents Portal. We are using this week to allow teachers and students to test-drive the CLP’s online and virtual systems; doing so will help us to refine operations over Spring Break for a smooth resumption of distance learning on Tuesday, March 31.
Several parents have asked me for guidance on how to effectively implement social distancing. I appreciate both the genuine concern behind these questions and the implication that I have the expertise to provide an answer. Unfortunately, we are in unexplored territory here. Even experts disagree about what activities and interactions are appropriate – and the answers can change from day to day. Here is the best wisdom that I can offer. First, remember that social distancing has two key goals: protecting your own family’s health, and protecting others who are vulnerable by not making contact with them. Second, spending time outside when possible is important but it is best to avoid playgrounds – and remember to maintain the recommended minimum six-foot separation (which can translate into “watch over children closely if they are sharing an outdoor space”). Finally, look to trusted experts, such as the CDC, for guidance. I do note that some medical experts are calling for even stricter social distancing measures. This is one of those times when adults have to hold the line with their children, even when the children complain that “everyone else is doing…”
To date, there continue to be no reports of COVID-19 in the Maret community. However, as stated on the Maret website’s Coronavirus Updates page, please notify our nurses at firstname.lastname@example.org if any member of your family is aware, or has been advised by authorities, of possible exposure to the coronavirus.
I know that this is a surreal experience for all of us. I hope at least that you join me in being grateful to belong to such a caring community. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime.
Today was a full and productive time at Maret. Students embraced the preparation necessary to implement the Continuity of Learning Plan next week. I had the opportunity to speak with teachers and students in each Division. Our faculty are doing a fantastic job as we fulfill our commitment to carry on as a community of learners.
To recap: Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, are faculty planning days, with no assignments for students. On Wednesday, March 18, we will proceed with the Continuity of Learning Plan – making use of the time leading up to Spring Break to ensure that our students have everything they need to fully participate from home. Parents and guardians, we appreciate your support in making sure that our students get the most out of these virtual lessons.
We take seriously all recommendations and protocols for social distancing. Here are links (provided by NAIS) to two very informative articles that you may find helpful:
- What is Social Distancing—and How is it Different Than Self-Quarantine and Self-Isolation? Health.com
- Why Everything Is Closing for Coronavirus: It’s Called "Flattening The Curve" Forbes
To date, there continue to be no reports of COVID-19 in the Maret community. Our decision to move to distance learning is informed by a desire to stem the tide of community spread and do our share to help “flatten the curve.” Our dedicated maintenance staff and cleaning crews are at work on a thorough deep cleaning of Maret’s facilities. Accordingly, and effective immediately, access to the campus is limited to authorized personnel and visitors only. Should you need to come to campus, you should contact me first for permission at email@example.com or 202-939-8819.
Please remember to visit Maret’s Coronavirus Updates page for the latest information. For example, the Continuity of Learning Plan has been updated today and is available now for your review.
It was very hard for me to say goodbye to our students as they left campus this afternoon, and I know you share my profound desire to see them return to 3000 Cathedral Avenue soon! Meanwhile, I hope all of you have a wonderful Spring Break – and that the silver lining for social distancing will turn out to be a bit more time enjoyed at home with family.
It is with great regret that I write to inform you that Maret has made the very difficult decision to suspend on-campus activities and implement our Continuity of Learning Plan effective Monday, March 16.
Certainly, when I wrote to you just yesterday to relate our sense that “closing school is not the best option,” I did not expect to be sending you this message today. However, as I noted in Wednesday’s message, the spread of the coronavirus is an “ever-evolving situation” and events have continued to move rapidly.
It is important to note that, as of this writing, we have had no reports of anyone in our community as being identified as having COVID-19.
Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated that the practice of social distancing is crucial to containing and mitigating the novel coronavirus – slowing down the spread of COVID-19 so that medical resources are not overwhelmed. After Maret’s Board of Trustees convened for a phone conference this morning, we decided that the equation has shifted and the need for social distancing right now outweighs the serious burdens sure to result from disrupting our usual educational practices.
Therefore, we have made the decision to discontinue on-campus educational activities, starting after the conclusion of the academic day tomorrow (March 13) and continuing at least through the end of Spring Break. In the upcoming weeks, we will reevaluate when it is appropriate to reopen based on the most current developments and medical guidance; and of course, we will keep you informed of how teaching and learning will proceed from there.
In making this decision to proactively transition from on-campus learning to distance learning, we are taking tomorrow to prepare students; students will be able to gather their learning materials and devices; and all of us will have the opportunity to better organize ourselves in a careful, voluntary, and deliberate manner for any longer-term absence from campus that might extend beyond Spring Break.
Please take careful note of the following:
- Maret’s campus will be closed to students after tomorrow. Therefore, every student should bring home all schoolwork, devices, and possessions when leaving school tomorrow. Teachers will work with students throughout the day to determine what they might need and help them understand this decision.
- Next week – as long as we do not have any known cases of COVID-19 - our administrative offices – for example, Business and Maintenance - will have some modest coverage. Our academic offices – such as College Counseling – will not be “physically” open but our team will remain available through email and other virtual means.
- The exams originally scheduled in the Middle and Upper Schools are canceled. However, we will implement our Continuity of Learning Plan, which will be updated regularly. Monday and Tuesday will be preparation days for the faculty. On Wednesday through Friday (the three days before our official spring break), students will begin to receive asynchronous (short-term) lesson plans and homework assignments. Tomorrow, the Division Directors will be explaining our plans and expectations to students and will follow-up with our parents/guardians.
- Athletic practices and games and other extracurricular events will be held today but then are suspended until we return to school with a normal schedule.
- We will hold After School for those families who need it today and tomorrow.
I want to acknowledge the stress that this decision will place on our families, particularly those with younger children. We are deeply sorry for this – please know that we are here to work with you and offer whatever support we can. I also want to say that I am truly grateful to our faculty for their incredible flexibility and willingness to always do what is best for the School and its students. Teachers have made outstanding efforts to develop a sensible Continuity of Learning Plan in the midst of a situation that changes daily.
Even though, as of the end of tomorrow, students will not be on campus, please remember that if any member of your family is aware, or has been advised by authorities, of possible exposure to the coronavirus, you should immediately notify our School nurses at firstname.lastname@example.org and the appropriate Division Director. Also, strictly observing any self-isolation measures required by public health authorities or the School is vitally important to the safety of the entire community.
While we are implementing social distancing by closing the school, it is imperative for all of us to practice the recommendations offered by CDC.
And remember to stay informed through our Coronavirus Updates page, where we will continue to post all Messages to our families; outline the latest details of Maret’s Continuity of Learning Plan; travel recommendations, and link to any new information from the CDC, the District of Columbia Department of Health, and other relevant sources. We will add good sources or recommendations for social distancing practices for different age groups. At the minimum, public health experts recommend avoiding large and dense public gatherings, whether they be religious, social, or special events.
I again encourage everyone to avoid rumors, social media posts, and other sources of misinformation – in favor of trusted and reliable news sources and public health authorities such as the CDC.
Thank you for your understanding of this challenging but necessary decision. It is my sincere hope that you and your family remain healthy. If all goes as planned, we look forward to reconnecting on campus when school resumes after Spring Break on Tuesday, March 31. If that is not possible, however, we are committed to ensuring the delivery of the class content and critical skills needed for our students to progress in their studies.
We will be learning how to BE PRESENT in a whole new context. And please do reach out to me if there is anything that we can do to further support your family.
We continue to actively monitor the ever-evolving situation surrounding the spread of coronavirus, including staying in touch with a number of vaccine and infectious disease experts and other health professionals. While there are many competing and contradictory approaches to school closings, we believe at this moment that – in the absence of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our Maret community – closing school is not the best option.
Of course, there are many uncertainties as we navigate our way forward. Our best course at this time includes the following:
- Our Risk Management Team meets at least daily. I communicate frequently with our regional and national associations, neighboring schools, and leading health experts.
- As of now, we are hoping to keep school open, being mindful that circumstances are fluid and evolving. We understand the hardship that a decision to close school would present to many of our families. We will continue to keep you informed of our plans so that you have as much time as possible to prepare if and when decisions change.
- We are again devoting today’s full-faculty meetings to preparation for a school closing, so that we can promptly implement Maret’s Continuity of Learning Plan if necessary.
- A recent generous donation has allowed us to purchase all the laptops, technology, and equipment necessary to ensure that every Maret student is prepared to participate in the Continuity of Learning Plan.
- As I have stated in past messages, we have canceled several events and activities, including those that involve group travel away from school. Cancelations so far include all overnight student trips through mid-April; Spring Break trips; the Middle and Upper School Admission reception scheduled for tomorrow evening, March 12 (we will host a virtual event instead); Grandparents & Special Friends Day; Horizons Build-a-Book; and Leonard King’s evening film class.
- As of now, our Admission visits scheduled during the day tomorrow will take place as planned.
- As of today, local field trips will continue as scheduled, provided they do not involve interaction with large crowds.
Again, please pay close attention to the following important reminders:
- If any member of your family is aware, or has been advised by authorities, of possible exposure to the coronavirus, please immediately notify our School nurses at email@example.com as well as the appropriate Division Director.
- It is essential that any self-isolation measures required by public health authorities or the School be strictly observed for the safety of the entire community.
- If any member of your family has a compromised immune system, you should contact our Maret nurses at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please know that we will keep this information confidential.
- And we, of course, know that this is an extremely stressful time for all of us – from our youngest children to the older members in our family. Our faculty has been awesome in staying calm and positive. But they, too, are struggling with the barrage of news. Let’s remember to take care of each other. We have added some useful tips to our website about how to manage during such a crisis.
We do encourage you to frequently check our Coronavirus Updates page for Maret’s most up-to-date information.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns. I will continue to share information with you as the situation unfolds.
Earlier today, the DC Department of Health issued this Statement Regarding Christ Church in Georgetown, which recommends that anyone who visited Christ Church on February 24, and between February 28 and March 3 isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church. Isolating at home includes not going to work or school, and not attending any large or public gatherings, or using public transportation or ride-sharing.
If this circumstance applies to you or anyone in your family, you should immediately:
- Call DC Health if they develop symptoms, or if they have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days since they visited the church at (202) 576-1117 or call their healthcare providers.
- Contact the school nurses at email@example.com.
As a reminder, if you are worried about being exposed or if any member of your family has a compromised immune system, you should contact our Maret nurses at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, we have decided to cancel the Horizons Build-a-Book event on Saturday, March 14. We look forward to finding other opportunities to celebrate together soon.
Again, I truly appreciate everyone’s patience and attention to these important matters.
Dear Maret Community,
Our Risk Management Team continues to monitor the evolving situation concerning the coronavirus outbreak. Yesterday, the District of Columbia Department of Health issued precautionary measures to the community of Christ Church in Georgetown, where a member has contracted the virus. In addition, Maryland and Virginia have also identified a number of cases over the past few days.
Therefore we ask all of you to please pay attention to these important reminders:
- If any member of your family is aware, or has been advised by authorities, of possible exposure to the coronavirus, please notify both our School nurses at email@example.com and the appropriate Division Director immediately. Of course, it is essential that any self-isolation measures required by public health authorities or the School be strictly observed for the safety of the entire community.
- If any member of your family has a compromised immune system, you should contact our Maret nurses at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will enable them to provide support to those who need it. Please know that we will keep this information confidential.
Should self-isolation be required, we will work with you and your child to implement our plan for distance learning.
We have also made the following decisions about upcoming events:
- Lower School Grandparents & Special Friends Day, originally scheduled for Friday, March 13, has been canceled. You can read the letter that we sent home to Lower School families in the Messages to the Community section of the Coronavirus Updates page on our website.
- Until further notice, all school-sponsored overnight trips have been canceled including: lacrosse and baseball trips during Spring Break; upcoming Middle School trips to Williamsburg, Virginia, and New York City; and the Upper School engineering trip to Ohio. We will be in contact with the families of students whose athletic trips were canceled to discuss possible practices locally during the week of Spring Break.
I understand and appreciate the anxiety associated with this dynamic situation, which is why it is important that we all act in a calm yet responsible manner, taking care to follow all protocols and preventive measures completely. And we must continue to support each other.
We will keep you informed as developments unfold, and I encourage you to keep checking back at our Coronavirus Updates page where you will find our most recent communications and other helpful resources.
Thanks to everyone for being great partners as we combat this virus together.
Dear Lower School Families,
It is with reluctance that we have decided to cancel Grandparents & Special Friends Day, which had been scheduled for this coming Friday, March 13.
Over the weekend, the CDC issued a recommendation that adults over 60, and people with certain underlying medical conditions, should consider avoiding travel and crowds:
Already, I am hearing from a significant number of parents that the beloved family member or friend invited by their child has concerns about traveling to or attending this event – or already has made the decision to stay home instead. This would lead to a disappointing morning at school for some of our youngest students, heightened by watching many of their peers enjoying the presence of invitees who did manage to attend.
Grandparents & Special Friends Day is always a highlight for our children and their guests. At this point, however, we have concluded that the most prudent course is to cancel this year’s event. Teachers will work with Lower School students on projects that, we hope, will be shared with their grandparents and special friends.
Thank you for your understanding,
As Marjo mentioned in her message this morning, we are quickly readying our Continuity of Learning Plan (distance learning) for implementation in the event that we would need to close school for an extended period.
All students are expected to participate in the Continuity of Learning Plan should a school closure become necessary. To do so, students will need:
- a reliable laptop computer (with charging cable), a desktop computer, or a tablet computer (preferably with keyboard). Multi-student households may need access to more than one device.
- a strong and reliable Internet connection.
(A printer may be helpful but is not required as teachers will operate with a paperless classroom).
If your family needs support with obtaining a device or Internet access, please complete the form below as soon as possible. We will then reach out to you directly to discuss the details.
Director of Technology and Information Services
Dear Maret Community,
Many of us are closely following the developments surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. There are mounting questions about how this situation will affect our families and the education of our students. Because it is important for us to communicate with you clearly and regularly, we have created a webpage for Coronavirus Updates to provide you with the most up-to-date information about our procedures and policies. There you will find information about our Continuity of Learning Plan, which we would activate if we need to close school for an extended period of time.
Also included at the website:
- Coronavirus, What is it?” – resources for different age groups.
- “How Maret is Dealing with Coronavirus,” which explains Maret’s current evaluation of the Risk Level and how it makes that evaluation.
- “Prevention Measures” such as hygiene, staying home if sick, facility cleaning, supporting those with compromised immune systems, and monitoring gatherings.
- “Distance Learning” and Maret’s plan for Continuity of Learning in response to elevated Risk Levels.
- “Other Considerations” such as recommendations and restrictions relating to family travel; and Maret’s current position on school trips and other school-sponsored travel.
- “Upholding our School’s Core Values.” Remember, “Stigma has no role in public health.”
I urge you to visit our Coronavirus Updates page right now to review the very important information there. For example:
- The CDC cautions anyone entering the United States from a country under a Level 3 Travel Health Notice to stay home for 14 days. As of this writing, Level 3 notices apply to China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. Anyone coming from a country under a Level 2 Travel Health Notice (currently, Japan) should monitor their health and limit interactions with others. We expect every member of our community to follow CDC guidelines and also notify the School of such travel.
- Any student, parent, guardian, or faculty member whose immune system is compromised should contact our Maret nurses at email@example.com. This will enable the nurses to support those who need it. Please know that we will keep this information confidential.
- If Maret does need to implement its Continuity of Learning Plan, all students should be prepared to participate effectively. To do so, students will need: 1) a reliable laptop computer (with charging cable), a desktop computer, or a tablet computer (preferably with keyboard). Multi-student households may need access to more than one device; and 2) a strong and reliable Internet connection. (A printer may be helpful but is not required as teachers will operate with a paperless classroom).
If your family needs support with obtaining a device or Internet access, please complete this form. We will reach out to you directly to discuss.
Thank you as always for your partnership. If you have any immediate concerns, feel free to contact me or send email to RiskManagement@maret.org – someone will reply within 24 hours.
I am writing about the subject on everyone’s mind—the novel coronavirus 2019, also known as COVID-19, that is dominating the headlines.
Because this is a rapidly changing situation – meaning, anything I write here could soon become outdated – I encourage you to closely monitor information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on its website and also to follow news reports from reputable media sources, avoiding unsubstantiated claims on social media. This is not a time for fear or overreaction. Rather, it is a time for individuals and institutions to calmly prepare for the likelihood that the virus continues to spread.
We give the health and safety of your children our highest priority. To that end, all of us should follow standard recommendations aimed at limiting the spread of influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses:
- Wash hands, with soap and water, frequently and for a duration of at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer gel when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects you frequently touch (e.g. cell phones, laptops, keyboards, ear buds, etc.).
- Avoid close contact with people exhibiting symptoms (fever, cough, etc.).
- Stay home if you exhibit symptoms.
- If you have a fever greater than 100.3 degrees, remain at home until fever-free (without medication) for 24 hours.
- Cough and/or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and dispose of tissues in trash receptacles. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
We make hand sanitizer available all around Maret’s campus; we have also reviewed disinfecting protocols with our cleaning service. Realistically speaking, it is not possible to disinfect every surface all day long, which is why it is so important for individuals to exercise good hygiene and for parents to keep children home when they have a fever.
COVID-19 aside, we are still in the regular cold-and-flu season, and it will be challenging to distinguish a coronavirus case from something more familiar. Please be on the lookout for symptoms such as fever, frequent coughing, body aches, and difficulty breathing. Such symptoms, if observed at home, justify a call to your doctor; if observed at school, our nurse will contact you to take your child home—which is of course consistent with longstanding school policy.
Spring Break is just three weeks away, and some families have made travel plans that may be disrupted. For those of you who do plan to travel, please closely monitor CDC advisories for your destination (including layovers). As I write this, coronavirus-related Level 3 (“Avoid Nonessential Travel”) warnings are posted by CDC for South Korea, Italy, China, and Iran; and a coronavirus-related Level 2 (“Practice Enhanced Precautions”) warning is posted by CDC for Japan. Travelers to these countries likely face the prospect of isolating measures upon returning to the United States. Situations both domestically and abroad will certainly continue to change rapidly in March, and things may shift even while you are away—which emphasizes the importance of being prepared and staying well-informed.
At Maret, we are following this situation closely. I and the rest of our Administrative Team monitor steps being taken by other schools; carefully process information provided to member schools by organizations such as the National Association of Independent Schools; and work closely with our Board of Trustees to review plans and protocols.
Some areas hit hard by COVID-19 have resorted to strong measures, including school closures. For now, I want to emphasize that Maret does have “distance learning” plans in place, and we are actively reviewing those plans to make sure they remain vigorous and up to date.
On a related note, some families have enrolled their students in Maret-sponsored summer trips to Spain and Puerto Rico. We have already contacted those families to alert them to the possible impact of COVID-19 on those plans. Once again, it is too early to make decisions now about activities scheduled for June and July; but we will monitor events and health advisories, working closely with families as developments warrant.
Finally, I would like to quote from a letter sent by a colleague to parents at his school: “I urge us all to remember that viruses know no national borders nor racial/ethnic segmentations, and the emergence of Novel Coronavirus should not be a source of division anywhere.” As the Director of CDC said in a recent appearance before Congress, “Stigma has no role in public health”—and it certainly has no role at Maret.
If you would like to discuss this further or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will continue to share information with you as appropriate.
Frog Friday Videos
Maret's Frog Friday video series highlights the week in review and celebrates our resilient community. Check out other Frog Friday videos!
- Access to Campus Is Limited to Authorized Personnel
- Practice Social Distancing and Other Healthy Measures
Our dedicated maintenance staff and cleaning crews are at work on a thorough deep cleaning of Maret’s facilities. Accordingly, and effective immediately, access to the campus is limited to authorized personnel and visitors only. Should you need to come to campus, you must contact Head of School Marjo Talbott first for permission at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-939-8819.
Prevention remains the number one strategy for keeping our community healthy. Practicing social distancing—in addition to frequent hand-washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and wiping down frequently used surfaces—is crucial to "flatten the curve" of community spread.
What is social distancing and how can it slow the spread of COVID-19? – Johns Hopkins University
Coronavirus, What is it?
"What You Need To Know About Coronavirus" from the CDC