I’m not normally one to boast but, as someone who likes to stage a melodramatic back to school, I think I have exceeded myself this time! This week, there was tension as we faced the resurgence of COVID, suspense as we waited for our PCR results, laughter and/ or tears once we got them, and finally, there was even a touch of romance as we woke up this morning to a snow-covered New York City. I’m expecting an Oscar nomination any day now!

Behind the scenes

And if it all seemed to go off without a hitch, it’s because there were a great number of people working so hard behind the scenes. Thanks go to Sirine, our office manager, who masterfully juggled replacements at all hours of the day, ensuring the kids were supervised at every moment. Her days start incredibly early and end phenomenally late (in the Vesseau-Spring household we haven’t been getting much sleep lately and we know we are awake exceptionally early when we haven’t received an email from Sirine yet!) Thanks also to Rachel, who coordinated testing with LabQ and gathered all of the information we needed during the winter break to ensure a return to class free from any major hiccups. Not forgetting Jan, our building maintenance specialist, who was here over the weekend monitoring the COVID testing. And of course, Ben, who organized everything in Maternelle, and Benoît, who scaled the stairs of the Elementary & Middle School Building hundreds of times a day to make sure everything was running smoothly.

The stars of the show

Finally, I would like to thank the stars of the show—the teachers and learning assistants who offered their time and energy to cover for absent colleagues: Someone can’t make it? No worries, another teacher offers to take their class. We’re missing someone to supervise break? A colleague is always willing to help. There’s been a last-minute change of plan? Everyone demonstrates impressive flexibility and adaptability. This has been an exceptional week for everyone at school; the entire team pulled together to make it as normal as possible for our families and as pleasant as possible for our students. Thanks to each and every member of The École staff for everything you did.

We should be congratulating ourselves on what we achieved, on the work we put in to make sure children could come to school as usual while their parents went to work as usual. We should be puffing out our chests, patting ourselves on back, high-fiving each other in the corridors. But that won’t happen at The École. Instead, we will knuckle down for a few weeks, lay low and let the storm pass. We’ll keep a low profile and hope the virus misses us. We’ll act as if we’re not even here.

But we will be here—open, onsite, in person, and (almost) altogether. Our thoughts go out to those of you who are sick and stuck at home isolating or quarantining—children, parents, and colleagues. I’m relieved to have been able to check in with all of you and to know that you are doing well and making the most of a frustrating situation.

To the entire community I send my very best wishes for a wonderful 2022, full of projects, dreams come true, and happiness.