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Messages from Marjo

head of school marjo talbott

Staying connected: Messages from Marjo keep all of our upper school students, faculty, parents, and alumni connected and informed about the latest happenings and trends on campus. 


Updates Including Recent Testing

Dear Families,

It is truly wonderful to be on campus with our full complement of students and faculty. I have also loved seeing many of you at various class socials, new Parent/Guardian receptions, and athletic matches. It is hard to believe we have been back at school for just two weeks.

I want to acknowledge that the opening of school has not been as smooth as we would like, particularly in terms of internet connectivity and lunch service in the cafeteria. Please keep reading for more information on these issues, as well as an update on how we are managing the uncertainty of COVID and launching our new website.

Internet and WiFi
Over the summer, we upgraded our network to provide faster Internet connections over WiFi. However, teachers and students have frequently found their connections being dropped. The Technology Department has been working with outside experts to diagnose and troubleshoot the network; this is a complex process that involves isolating and testing the specific issues they come across until the root cause is discovered. Some serious bugs in the system have already been identified and resolved. Faculty and students have been incredibly patient and supportive throughout. The Technology Department updates us daily, and we anticipate steady improvement over the next few days.

Cafeteria
The renovated Cafeteria passed its final health inspection at the end of last week, allowing us to open the space. The students seem to love the “new look.” FLIK has done a superb job under tough conditions to deliver healthy meal options.

Due to the Delta variant, students eat mainly outside—requiring every item to be wrapped and packaged, which is a huge demand on people power. We are evaluating alternatives that will allow us to both expand options and ensure that those options are available throughout lunch period. On a personal note, I eat in the cafeteria every day and appreciate the hot food options, along with pasta and soup, sandwiches, fresh salads, and fruit. Older students may now use the healthy-choice vending and Gatorade/Juice machines. And, bagels are now available in the cafeteria every morning from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

COVID Update
As I noted in my letter last week, PMC Diagnostics is Maret’s new partner for COVID PCR testing. On Monday, we tested the entire community; I am pleased to report that there were no positive tests. Although it is great that no virus has been detected in our school community at this time, the pandemic continues and community transmission in the DMV is very high. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to test everyone weekly and will regularly update our dashboard (which you also can access through the Parent Portal) so you can check the situation whenever you want.

Given our baseline test results, and consistent with guidance from the DC Department of Health, we have decided to modify our mask policy as follows:

  • Grades K-6: masks continue to be required on campus, both indoors and outdoors, except when eating. Teachers will also wear masks when they are with these students.
  • Grades 7 and 8: masks continue to be required on campus, both indoors and outside, except during outdoor PE classes (when masks are optional) and when eating.
  • Grades 9-12: masks continue to be required on campus while indoors; masks are optional for vaccinated students in these grades when outdoors.
  • Faculty have the option of not wearing masks outside when they are not with students in Grades K-6.
  • Parents/Guardians and other adult guests: masks continue to be required on campus indoors; those who are vaccinated may choose to not wear masks outdoors, while those who are not vaccinated must wear masks.

Our New Website
If you visit Maret’s website tomorrow, it will look different. Our Communications Department, led by Carolyn Law and Zaw Lyn, has updated the look, improved navigation and accessibility, and highlighted the vitality of our community.

When you go to the website, look in the upper right corner of the Homepage for the Login button, and note the advanced Search feature (it is right next to the Megamenu) to help you find what you need. When you login to the portal, everything will look the same—making it easy to locate the things you rely on every day, such as the Directory, Calendar, forms, and handbooks.

With any website overhaul, there is bound to be a period of adjustment. If you encounter any problems with the new site, please lend a hand by sending an email about it to communications@maret.org.

In Conclusion
I look forward to welcoming you to the upcoming Back-to-School Nights. I know you will be as impressed with our faculty as I am.

Sincerely,

Marjo