Dear Priory Families,
I hope the first few days of vacation have been restful and restorative. A change of pace is essential and much needed after our first semester. While Priory has been fortunate to remain healthy this semester, our country is experiencing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. Several universities and secondary schools saw surges on their campuses this month, and even with the signs that this variant may lead to milder cases of COVID-19, its transmissibility remains a concern.
In starting the second semester, we want to minimize disruptions to our students' learning and provide as much predictability as possible for our students, faculty, and families. The current reality of Omicron poses several logistical challenges for the start of in-person classes, as it is not possible to test our entire community and receive results before our start on Monday, January 3.
To support academic continuity, to provide as much consistency as possible, and based on what we have seen the past week, this is our plan for the week of January 3:
Classes will be canceled on Monday, January 3. All students and faculty will test on campus, through Basis, on that day. Kate Johansen will communicate the details of testing but it will be scheduled between 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM.
Classes will be online for the rest of the week, Tuesday, January 4 – Friday, January 7; we will follow a "C week" schedule.
Students are strongly encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine booster, if eligible, as soon as possible.
We anticipate this period of online instruction will allow students and faculty to be safe and healthy, minimize unnecessary exposure to this highly contagious variant, and avoid worry and apprehension as we come back together on January 10.
In planning for these adjustments, please keep in mind:
If you are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and get tested.
For students participating in sports, our coaches or Mark Stogner, our Athletic Director, will communicate details about practices or games.
Kelly O'Neil, our Retreat Director, will be in touch about the retreat on January 6 for the Class of 2025. Our current plan is for the retreat to proceed as scheduled.
Middle school athletics will begin on January 10 as previously scheduled.
I am grateful to our faculty for their flexibility in making this adjustment. Our teachers have become well acquainted with online instruction throughout the pandemic, and we hope this short period will make our entire community safe. Still, this will be an adjustment, and I appreciate your generosity and support during this time.
We will continue to monitor the course of the pandemic and the guidance provided by public health authorities. I hope you have an enjoyable break, with the assurance that we will return in the second semester in a way that supports our students and our wider community.
Always we begin again,