November is off to a tumultuous start on many levels. We can be grateful in any case for some lovely weather that feels more like spring than winter—at least for a few days.
The COL-Hybrid plan is up and running for the Middle School, and we are pleased with how well it is working so far.
Also, today, as well as tomorrow, FiveMedicine is conducting another round of COVID testing on campus. This will be for those Upper School students and faculty who plan to return to 3000 Cathedral Avenue next week. Assuming that the number of positive results from this round of testing is low, we will proceed with the Upper School COL-Hybrid program as planned. Check your inbox on Sunday for a message from me summarizing the results.
As you know, Maret has established a COVID-19 Steering Committee that includes Trustees, school leaders, and a medical expert. It meets weekly to review COVID-19 trends in this area, and recommend ways to deliver our educational program while protecting the safety and health of our community.
The metrics related to community spread in our region remain in a reasonable zone; nonetheless, we continue to track them carefully. DC Health has released its bi-weekly list of “high-risk states” (now numbering 42) that require 14 days of self-quarantine. There is real concern that over Thanksgiving, a great many people will either travel to these areas to be with loved ones or host family members who are coming from these areas. We certainly understand the deep desire for such reunions; at the same time, we cannot help being concerned about the increased risk of exposure resulting from holiday gatherings. Therefore, the Steering Committee has decided to return to our COL-at-Home program for the week immediately following Thanksgiving, that is, Monday, November 30 through Friday, December 4.
During that week, students in all Divisions will learn virtually. Athletics will also be on pause; however, we hope to be able to provide daycare to families with students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 who need this option. At the end of that week, we will conduct another round of testing, with the goal of returning to COL-Hybrid instruction starting Monday, December 7. Anyone who has traveled to a high-risk state will still need to quarantine for the required 14 days. Resumption of on-campus learning depends, of course, on metrics continuing to suggest that it is safe to do so.
As we all know, the pandemic has shown us that we must be flexible because plans may need to change at any moment. I truly appreciate your patience as we navigate through all the twists and turns.