I hope you are enjoying the long, warmer days of summer. While campus has been quieter the last couple of weeks, there is still much going on. The renovation of the cafeteria is progressing smoothly, sports camps are in full swing, and Horizons students started their enrichment program last week. Today, we are pleased to welcome many of our new ninth graders to DEEP for the next two weeks to further introduce them to our Upper School and Maret.
While the new school year is still some weeks away, I want to review with you the following important information about Maret’s COVID-19 vaccination protocols that will apply to all students when we return to campus in the fall.
- All faculty and all students ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated before the school year begins. This is particularly important given the new strains that have erupted over the past few months. It has been heartening to learn that the vaccines are protecting us from these potent variants.
- Student-athletes reporting for preseason activities must be fully vaccinated before returning for play. An individual is fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the full dose of the vaccine. The most commonly-given vaccines in the U.S are manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna and require two doses administered 3-4 weeks apart; therefore, “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after receiving the second dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.
- The School may, in its discretion, grant an exemption for medical reasons to the mandatory vaccination policy. Any parent requesting such an exemption should contact the School Nurses as soon as possible and obtain a dated letter with a physician’s signature setting forth the medical justification. This letter must be uploaded to Magnus Health not later than July 31 and will be good for one year. Please note that enhanced health and safety protocols will apply to those in our Maret community who are not fully vaccinated. We will determine exactly what these protocols are in August. If you have any further questions after talking with the nurses, please reach out directly to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Families must upload proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, along with all other required health information and forms, to Magnus Health not later than July 31, 2021. Please refer to the June 8 letter from our Nurses. We realize that some students, because of the date of their twelfth birthday, may not become eligible for their second vaccine dose by July 31. In that case, families should upload proof (for example, an image of the vaccination record documenting administration of the first dose) that the process is underway.
- Students who turn 12 years of age during the school year will need to be fully vaccinated within three months of their twelfth birthday and present the Nurses with proof of vaccination.
- Trials of vaccines in children younger than 12 continue, and we hope that authorization of vaccines for our youngest students, ages five and up, will be given soon. If and when that happens, we will determine how long before we require that these students also be fully vaccinated.
The FDA has exhaustively reviewed the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines being used today in this country. CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both encourage people to be vaccinated so that our country, and communities like Maret, can become safer and return to a more normal existence. We feel strongly that a vaccinated campus will be a safer and better campus for our community. Here are some resources if you would like to do further reading:
- The Science Behind COVID-19 Vaccines: Parent FAQs (AAP)
- AAP, CDC recommend COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 and older (AAP)
- Key Things to Know about COVID-19 (CDC)
- When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated (CDC)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization Fact Sheets for Recipients and Caregivers (CDC)
We are truly excited about starting our new academic year on campus and in person. One of the hallmarks of a Maret education is the wonderfully supportive relationships between and among students and faculty. This year’s theme is “Telling Our Stories,” which will allow us to share our personal narratives and history. We also look forward to recounting Maret’s own story that began 110 years ago with three incredibly forward-thinking and risk-taking sisters. I look forward to learning more from each of you as we embark on this next chapter.