Summer Letter 2021

Dear Families,
I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. For the last twenty years, I have sent a “Summer Letter” in August to inform families of the school’s new organization and, foremost, to wish everyone a wonderful school year.
Last spring, many of us got vaccinated, thinking the pandemic was fading away and that our life without masks and social distancing would resume shortly. So it was a deception for me to realize in July that vaccinated adults and children will still have to wear masks! It is, however, the right thing to do, based on scientific data.
I spent part of this summer in St Petersburg, Florida, where I volunteered most evenings for the on St Pete Beach. Too many beachgoers leave large holes in the sand, unaware of the danger they represent for sea turtles’ hatchlings. Every evening there are new holes to fill for the rare volunteers fulfilling this absurd task, one that could compare to French philosopher Albert Camus’ myth of Sisyphus, a poor soul condemned to push a boulder up a mountain for eternity, only to see it roll down again. On July 6, Hurricane Elsa, the first storm in 200 years to hit Tampa Bay in July, destroyed all sea turtle nests we had protected since May 1st. How do you move forward after such a deception? How terrible is it to see your hard work vanished in a senseless act? On the evening of July 8th, I was back on the beach, and the courage I found was certainly inspired by the resilience of our students, families, and staff who attended school last year, each day fearless, prepared, and determined. The pandemic has caused the death of 7 million; however, it has prepared our students not to give up. Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century,has suggested that resilience might be the most important skill our children will need … in 20 years as young adults. This horrible pandemic may have provided some lessons in resilience. As of August 6th, 40 new nests have been secured on St Pete Beach and should yield hundreds of baby sea turtles in September to swim toward the Gulf of Mexico.
Covid experts have predicted that children aged 3 to 12 could get the vaccine this fall; until then, vaccinated adults and caretakers and masks are the only protection our children have. So please get the vaccine and the recommended boosters, and hopefully, as children gradually get the vaccine, the pandemic should start to recede significantly after Thanksgiving. Of course, we cannot predict the future, but there is hope.
Congratulations to School Director Emily Smith and our fabulous team of Summer Camp counselors for providing such a fun and enriching experience! The camp was a huge success!
In closing, I want to say how happy I am to see so many families coming back to school. Your trust in us at this difficult time is not something that I take for granted. I’d also like to offer a warm welcome to the many new families who have joined our school community this year.
Bienvenue à L’Ecole Française du Maine!
Je souhaite à toute la communauté de l’école une très bonne rentrée 2021 et soyez assurés de notre determination avec l’équipe enseignante pour que cette année scolaire soit réussie malgré la crise sanitaire.
Bien cordialement,
Willy LeBihan
Founder and Head of School