All summer long, Marist School was busy preparing to welcome students back to school. While things look a little different on campus—temperature checks and wellness screenings, mask-wearing, socially distanced desks, one-way hallways and stairwells, and lunch outside in the Arcade, among other safety measures—Marist is committed to delivering on our educational mission to form the whole person in the image of Christ.
Marist School’s top priorities are always the health and well-being of students, faculty, and staff, and that is at the forefront of all we do.
Marist’s mission is best fulfilled when we are together, in person, which requires our school community to stand together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Given the concerning trends of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marist has planned for multiple learning environments and to implement distancing and enhance sanitizing protocols, particularly until a vaccine or effective treatment is available. We have built a multi-layered, comprehensive approach that includes enhanced cleanliness guidelines, encouragement of behaviors that reduce spread, and three different learning options—full on-campus, hybrid, and virtual learning. Marist is starting the school year in the hybrid learning approach in order to de-densify campus and allow for physical distancing between students and faculty. The student body is split into Group A and Group B, with all family members assigned to the same group. When one group is on campus, the other is learning remotely.
Families also had the option to begin the school year with virtual learning. By opting into virtual learning, they have committed to at least two weeks of learning from home for their child. During each two-week period, families can update their preference to return to campus and participate in hybrid learning at the start of the next two-week cycle. This approach allows Marist to responsibly continue serving our families in the safest, most engaging way possible. Our work is ongoing just as the situation with the pandemic is ever-changing.
In determining our reopening plans, Marist is following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The work of our Return to Campus Task Force guided our decision-making process. They have consulted with current guidelines from CDC and DPH as well as with public health medical professionals from within our alumni and parent community. Additionally, they have researched and gathered information from independent school experts to help determine the best way forward to meet the unique needs of Marist School and minimize the risk for our school community.
In preparation for the fall term, Marist’s Technology Department upgraded our infrastructure and cybersecurity and offered extensive training for faculty, staff, and new students on remote learning tools and new software. These technology enhancements allow students who are learning virtually to participate in classes synchronously.
Despite the adjustments, Marist’s traditions continue. As in the past, seniors met prior to Schola Brevis
for Senior Sunrise. While rainy weather forced the gathering inside and the seniors remained six feet apart, the Class of 2021 greeted each other and the school year in style, wearing feather boas and tiaras and sharing enthusiasm for the year ahead.
At the first-ever virtual Schola Brevis
assemblies, Marist School Principal Mr. Kevin Mullally and Marist School President Father Bill Rowland, S.M. welcomed new and returning students, faculty, and staff to campus. Fr. Rowland discussed the ways in which the Marist School community is called to follow the Marist Way theme of the academic year, "Ardent Love of Neighbor."
In his remarks, Mr. Mullally acknowledged that while some things are different, much remains the same. He told students, “You will still receive an excellent education from a committed group of educators who look forward very much to getting to know you. You will still grow in your faith through prayer, retreats, and service. You will still enjoy your favorite activities, although possibly in a different manner than ever before…”
Referencing the Marist theme of the year, Mr. Mullally talked about what intentional, ardent love looks like at Marist and how we can love our neighbor by following the rules and precautions established to keep the Marist School community healthy and safe in light of COVID-19.
Marist School Chaplain Father David Musso, S.M. also set the tone for the academic year in the prayer he offered. Fr. Musso prayed, “…Fill us with passion for justice, and safeguard us against illness and discord. And above all, Lord, grant us a year that brings us through to a safe and just future, where, in following the path of Christ, and in the Spirit of Mary; we will be your heart, and inspiration for others, for the greater good of the world, and your witnesses of peace among all people.”
Read Fr. Rowland's full remarks from the Schola Brevis assembly here