Breaking: Potomac relaxes the Pledge as the school wraps up a very difficult year

As the finish line to the school year comes into sight, so does the end of this miserable pandemic. In an email sent to the Upper School community on May 8, Head of the Upper School Doug McLane announced a series of relaxations in the strict protocols we’ve been following. The decisions, made by the school’s most senior administrators, relaxed the strict protocols in the Potomac Pledge, as more students received the vaccine and as Covid cases declined in our region. Notably, vaccinated students no longer need to abide by the 14-day quarantine period or 5-day quarantine with a negative PCR test after traveling via mass transportation. 

In light of the Head’s Holiday on May 28th, the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, this change to the pledge will now allow students and their families to travel over the four-day weekend, without undergoing the extensive quarantine process. 

Mr. McLane also brought the welcome news that Upper School students will only be tested once every three weeks, except spring athletes who still have to be tested weekly. Many students have just one more test to take the close of the year. 

Long overdue was Mr. McLane’s thinly-veiled warning to students that if they take advantage of hybrid learning, they need to have a reason other than a preference to sleep in, minimize their commutes, or be closer to an appointment. Mr. Westermann described the toll this is taking on our faculty, saying that teachers “are more than happy to support virtual learners who remain at home due to health reasons.” However, he noted that hybrid learning has been difficult for teachers. Their sentiment was echoed by a junior who explained “when someone chooses to stay online, I get kind of annoyed because we still have to use all the cameras and the class runs less smoothly.” 

With these changes, students are finally exhaling: the new normal will soon be the old normal. Junior Hazel Klitenic, noted “I’m so excited to be able to visit my family in Atlanta for Memorial Day weekend and not have to quarantine.”