Before we enjoy another long three-day weekend, I wanted to acknowledge what we have all accomplished since students returned to school on September 1st. As it happens, for the last few days, I have been receiving numerous compliments at drop-off in the morning and at the end of the day. It’s a little bit like people placed bets a few weeks ago—how long will we hold out?—each one hoping, of course, to hold out as long as possible, not always believing we could do it. I am obviously very flattered by these compliments. Although I know very well that they aren’t necessarily addressed to me personally. Instead, these compliments are for the team as a whole, and even beyond that, for our whole community.

I used the term bet, but it isn’t the most appropriate word here as it has never been a question of gambling with the health of our students or staff. The Back Onsite Committee worked, and continues to work, very hard, making sure that the protocols are regularly reviewed so that they line up as much as possible with the requirements that we must adhere to—requirements that at the same time allow the school to operate in the best conditions possible. We refer to this plan multiple times a day every day.

Thank you to our SLAs

Some of us are perhaps called upon on a daily basis more than others and in particular those who are on the front lines, such as our SLAs. They take the temperature of each child (and of parents at 206), and they make sure that everyone has filled out the blasted health screening. It’s not always easy to insist that a dad or a mom who might have their hands full with a stroller, a child, a stuffed animal and a tote bag show us the magic password on their phone in order to enter. But we have to do it. Marie, Lucile, Emma, Fawzia, Ciaran, Danielle, thank you for your vigilance and your kindness.

Thank you to Rachel, our School Life Director

I would also like to personally thank Rachel Loble, who, since the beginning of the year, has had the thankless task of asking you to present a clean bill of health, as it were, in order to come back to school. I know that some, both parents and teachers alike, have occasionally felt a bit let down, even frustrated, by such a strict and demanding—but very important—policy. Rachel is here to make sure we follow that policy, and in this sense, she plays a vital role in protecting us (sometimes from ourselves and our own fickleness).

Thank you to our entire community

It is thanks to all of these people, to their efforts and also to everyone for being careful in their life outside of school that The École is able to be open five days a week. But we mustn’t forget that it is also thanks to the flexibility and the amazing adaptability of our teachers and of those who worked all summer to get ready for the rentrée. The situation of public schools in NYC, as well as many private schools, shows that this certainly should not be taken for granted.

So it is very natural for us to congratulate ourselves on our success, to enjoy it and to take a moment to see how special it is. It wasn’t actually a bet; it was a challenge, one that we are facing right now in the bravest way. A huge bravo to everyone!