Upper and Lower School Directors Laura Hotchkiss and Sean Fitts announced that Marlborough’s uniform policy will be relaxed when students eventually return to campus in an email sent out to students and parents on Aug. 21.
“With the pandemic and virtual learning, we are going to suspend wearing uniforms for the 2020-2021 school year. When we return to campus, students should come in “comfortable” clothing that they can wear for their activities (e.g. yoga, dance, theater, athletics, etc.). Of course, students will need to wear a mask on campus.” Hotchkiss and Fitts wrote.
Following COVID-19 guidelines, Marlborough has made the bathrooms on campus single use only to avoid having students gather in one area, which has decreased available space for students to change. The change in uniform policy allows students to come in attire that fits their schedule, therefore reducing the number of students using the restrooms to change.
“It definitely makes sense coming from a safety standpoint because I know a lot of Marlborough’s classes require students to change in locker rooms and use changing spaces that now would be a safety hazard,” Eva ’21 said.
COVID-19 specific research indicates how important it is to wear clean clothes when you go outside and mingle with other people. Hotchkiss and Fitts were conscious of this when making the decision to alter the uniform policy for when students return to campus.
“Some people might have several sets of uniforms or easy access to laundry, and for other people that might be just one more headache and one more thing they have to think about each night,” Hotchkiss said.
According to Hotchkiss, students still have a choice, they can come in their uniform if they do not have a class they need to change for, or they can wear clothes they deem comfortable.
“I think it’s nice that we are given the option to dress comfortably or wear our uniform,” Eva said. “I definitely will take advantage of this opportunity since my experience with virtual learning has caused me to get in a certain routine which involves comfortable clothes.”
Eighth grader Avery has a differing opinion regarding the new policy.
“I don’t like the new uniform policy because I feel that it makes getting ready for school in the morning more difficult,” Avery ’24 said. “Uniforms are an easy way to get ready for school without the worry about what your outfit looks like, or if it is out of uniform because everyone is wearing the same thing.”
Additionally, the new uniform policy has removed color regulations. Once students are back on campus, Hotchkiss expects to review the dress code and make alterations as the administration deems fit.
“Comfortable can mean lots of different things to lots of different people so we may have to think of giving that a little more structure going forward and as we get closer to being in person,” Hotchkiss said.