Town Hall Questions and Answers

Thank you for joining our Head of School for the Virtual Town Hall! Time allowed for many of the parent-submitted questions to be answered by Dr. McLeod, but she could not field all of them. We separated the questions into two sections, ones answered during the Town Hall, and those she couldn't cover during the event, noted as Additional Town Hall Questions.

Directly below are the questions to which Dr. McLeod was able to respond during the Town Hall:


Why Schedule the Town Hall Now?
“This seems like a long time to wait to have a COVID town hall. Why not hold it next week or the week after Thanksgiving?”

  • We have been using “Our Future is Strong” for our main communication for back-to-campus and COVID-related information since April. Since we returned to campus, we have reduced the regularity of this communication to about once a month. I know the OFIS emails are sometimes long, and they might be hard to try to read on your phones. So, we decided to try this Town Hall format, as it allows for you to hear directly from me. I want to continue to be open and transparent, particularly now, as we are heading into winter and cold and flu season.  

What Keeps You Up at Night? 
“Of all the things you have to worry about (COVID slide, safety protocols, teacher burnout, etc.), what keeps you up at night?” 

  • There’s a lot to be worried about this year, and it is a stressful and trying time for everyone. What keeps me up most at night are the fractures in the community caused by the pandemic. We have always worked intentionally on pulling our community together, through the GSPO, the grade-level events, classroom events, and our Tuition Guarantee Program. All of these things are about honoring and strengthening our community. Some of the submitted questions refer to some of the pandemic issues causing people to pull farther apart from each other, and that concerns me. I’m hopeful, as we emerge from the pandemic, we are stronger for what we have been through together.  

Concern for Children
“How are our children doing? Are the COVID precautions, or just the new environment, causing more stress on our kids....or are they really rolling with the punches?”  

  • This is such a wonderful question! We see the children are doing beautifully, but of course, we will continue to watch closely. Would they like to return to the way school was prior to the pandemic? I’m sure the answer would be an emphatic, yes! I also know the vast majority would rather be on campus than learning from home, even if they have to abide by the COVID protocols in order to be here. 
  • They are engaging in high-quality learning experiences, they are participating in COE and middle school retreats, and they are enjoying being together. By this time of the school year, we usually see instances of students who are struggling to learn how to get along with each other and to be kind to each other. We have had significantly fewer instances of that this year. Teachers are reporting their students in their cohorts have grown extremely close to each other. 

Support for Faculty/Staff
“What is being done to support teachers during this particularly challenging school year? They are taking on so much -- teaching virtually and in-person at the same time, dealing with technology challenges, trying to connect with students learning virtually, being responsible for enforcing COVID protocols with their students, dealing with concern about their own health on a daily basis. It must be overwhelming at times, and could lead to burnout. I was happy to see they were given the Friday before Thanksgiving off, and I wonder what else the administration is doing, and planning to do, to make sure that our teachers feel valued and cared for. And also, do you have any suggestions for what we can do, as parents, to help support our teachers?”

  • Another beautiful question and sentiment! Thank you so much for noticing all the work our faculty and staff are doing, the stressors they are facing, and the potential impact to their own well being! It is this type of care and concern for others that makes Good Shepherd so special! There are two parts to the question - what is the school doing? And what can parents do?
  • From the school’s perspective, we have been intentional in our planning since this all began last March. Of course, the summer afforded us the opportunity to really make some strong plans, and we began this school year with several things in place:
    • Biggest thing - implementation of protective protocols for everyone on campus. Many were very nervous to return, with some having underlying conditions, returning at a risk to their own health. They return because they are committed to the learning and growth of their students.
    • Reduced class sizes - (for social distancing, but that is also a positive impact on our faculty)
    • Additional Associate Teachers - hired in all divisions to provide support for classroom teachers
    • Change to our dress code - allowing jeans and Good Shepherd attire daily
    • Scheduled 5 half-days of planning for faculty - teaching in this environment is much more labor intensive and takes significantly more time outside of  regular student interactions
    • Additional School Aides - hired to provide much-needed breaks for faculty during non-instructional time
  • For the parents, the fact you notice and acknowledge the additional complexity and stress of the roles of our teachers is huge! If you feel called to reach out to our faculty and staff on campus to let them know you see all they are doing and appreciate them, would truly mean the world! Also, your continued support of an additional day of vacation if needed, like  we did at Thanksgiving break, would be wonderful. Hopefully, we won’t need to do that often, but it truly made a dramatic difference for our faculty and staff, and we thank you so much for your enthusiastic support! 

Parent Feedback Mechanism
“Has the school given any thought to sending parents a feedback survey? Back in the spring, there were multiple feedback surveys sent to gauge how distance learning was working, how parents were feeling, etc.”

  • We certainly surveyed more than we usually do last spring! One of the difficulties last spring was we did not have access to the usual organic feedback from students we typically get in the classroom. There is so much an experienced teacher can see, feel, and understand about what is going on with children, their learning, and their development when we are in person. Because we were only seeing students online, and only a few hours a day, we decided to be very intentional about asking a lot of questions so we could have a window into what was going on at home.
  • This year, we have been able to return to having students in the classroom or on Zoom all day. This has helped dramatically with our educators’ ability to “read” what is going on with their students. 
  • Some parents asked specifically about surveying for our COVID protocols, but we thought this Virtual Town Hall format would allow for me to go more in depth with questions and concerns.

Protocol Committee
“Who were the experts and committees that drafted the COVID protocols? Names are not needed, but in general, what types of people/experts helped create the document this summer?”

  • We have sought advice from a variety of sources. There are several organizations that probably pop into mind, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Texas Education Agency, and the Dallas County Health Department. We are also in regular communication with our peer ISAS schools in Dallas. Further, we’ve had private consultation with an infectious disease expert who was on the front lines with COVID-19 (and Ebola before that), and the federal government sent him to some of the cruise ships in the early days of the pandemic to study the virus. Another professional was a physician from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who is the Director of PolicyLab and Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and another physician who is the President of the UNT Health Science Center.
  • Unfortunately, with all these experts, there’s bound to be some conflicting information. For example, the WHO defines social distancing with 1 meter (3 feet), and the CDC defines social distancing with 6 feet. We have had to sort through all of those conflicts, along with input from our community, to put our plan together. Other schools opted for a hybrid approach where only half of the students are on campus at any time, particularly in middle school or upper school. We heard you and understood you would like your children to be on campus daily. So, we made a lot of changes to classrooms and hired additional teachers to make that happen. 

“We have been very impressed and happy with the current procedures implemented in this extremely difficult environment. We want to confirm that GSES will keep adhering to the CDC policies and not succumbing to pressure to lighten restrictions?”

And, another parent asked, “Can you advise the status on providing a plan to parents on loosening some of the existing protocols?” 

  • We have created a Protocol Review Team who meets weekly. This team reviews information from a variety of sources, including parents, teachers, any struggles we see from students, as well as updated guidance from CDC, Dallas County, and more. There is a real balance within protocols, as you can see from the two questions above which are quite different. Ultimately, we still have our two goals from the beginning of the school year: 1) be able to offer an on-campus option for any family who wishes their children to be on campus; and 2) provide protection for the faculty, staff, and students who are on campus each day.
  • To offer the on-campus option, there are certain protocols that greatly benefit us when we have a positive case. Some schools have had to quarantine entire grade levels or buildings. With our protocols, the county is comfortable with us taking a hard look at very specific interactions. This results in a much more narrow impact of any positive case on campus. In other words, we can generally keep many more students on campus because we can clearly trace potential close contacts and have confidence that others were not in close contact. Keep in mind, while the county cannot defensively or preventably close down our campus, they can do so in response to an outbreak or public health issue.
  • For the protection of all who are on campus, you’ve probably heard of the swiss cheese model. Each protocol offers some protection, but none of them are 100% effective alone. They all have holes in them like a slice of swiss cheese. The idea with the swiss cheese model is to layer enough of the imperfect protocols to cover many of the holes to provide enough protection so the virus isn’t transmitted.
  • With both of those goals in mind, we evaluate different protocols at different times. Each protocol we use takes energy and effort from everyone on campus to implement with fidelity. We want to use our energy wisely, so if a protocol is not providing for one of our goals, we want to assess it and potentially make changes. Below are just a few changes we have already made this school year: 
    1. Implemented a formal mask-break policy (started the year with masks all the time for everyone on campus);
    2. Evaluated food service - allowed for outside food to be brought to campus, even if it was homemade, as long as there was individual packaging like ziploc bags, and we added a hot lunch service;
    3. Modified PE - found ways for cohorts to play games against each other during PE to provide additional social interactions while still remaining protective.
  • One of our next pieces will be to evaluate the CDC’s change in exposure quarantine times. The county was evaluating that change last Friday and is also expected to weigh in soon. 

Notification Protocols
“Could there be any more transparency when it comes to the positive cases on campus? Such as listing the grades associated with the cases, opposed to just listing them under Lower & Middle school? It would help to know where the cases are most prevalent when determining if your child should be DL or on-campus.” 

  • Overall, we are working to provide as much information as possible to the people who might be closest to any positive case, while adhering to privacy laws. Please remember, we send out multiple communications for each positive case. One is to the whole school community. We’ve also begun including a table of active cases by division so you can get a snapshot. This information has now moved to our online, live COVID-19 dashboard. If your child is in a cohort with a positive case, you receive an additional email. Further, if your child is considered a close contact, you will receive a phone call from the clinic. So, if you just receive the community email, you know the positive case was not in your child’s cohort. If you receive the community email and the cohort email, you know the positive case was in your child’s cohort, but your child was not considered a close contact. The CDC defines close contact as closer than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes. If your child was not a close contact, the CDC sees little risk to him or her. 

Quarantine Protocols
“Why is the quarantine protocol different in one grade level from the rest of the school?” And, from another parent, “Why were there children quarantining in my child’s class, and I didn’t know about the positive case?” 

  • Every situation is unique, and we must evaluate each as it stands. Many of us spend hours within each situation to complete contact tracing and determine if there are close contacts from school. Sometimes the answer is yes, in which case, we notify the parents of the need to quarantine. It is truly a case-by-case basis. What happens in one situation in a cohort might be different the next time there’s a positive case within that same cohort. Also, about a month ago, the CDC changed its definition of close contact. It went from being closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes at one time to being closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes, cumulatively throughout the day. This new definition has the potential to identify more people as close contacts than the previous definition. So, in general, you might see more quarantines now than you did earlier in the school year. 
  • The vast majority of our quarantines come from outside-of-school exposure. You might hear of a positive case in the community via an email, but it's not in your child’s cohort, and it could still mean that students in your child’s cohort are quarantining. The CDC does not recommend quarantining beyond the close contacts to a positive case. Even though the CDC and county do not see any additional risk with your child being at school, at any time, if you are uncomfortable, you can select a 14-day quarantine for your child. Just reach out to your division head to coordinate. 

“Please explain why the school claims to not be managing outside-school exposure or contact tracing; however, the school is unilaterally quarantining sports teams without any sort of information gathering or consultation of the parents?”

  • We would very much like to do contact tracing for only in-school exposure. It is a huge undertaking by multiple people on campus just to do the in-school contact tracing with many hours spent for each positive case. We also understand the county is very understaffed with its contact tracers. We talked about one of our goals being the protection of our on-campus faculty, staff, and students. So, if we are notified of outside-of-school activities, and the county cannot get to them timely, sometimes we need to step in. I truly wish we didn’t have to do so, and for the protection of everyone on campus, I know we must sometimes facilitate identifying any close contacts who are Good Shepherd students.
  • I don’t recall the school unilaterally quarantining a sports team. I know the county has quarantined sports teams and then has notified us about it. Our other goal, besides providing protection for on-campus folks, is to be able to have students on campus if they want to be on campus. So, we want to quarantine close contacts, and we want to allow others who aren’t close contacts to be on campus safely. 

Mask Protocols
“When will kids get to stop wearing masks to school?” 

  • At this point, there is much unknown about the timing of vaccines and other treatments so I won’t be able to say for certain when we’ll be able to remove masks. For now, they are one of the main ways we can consistently keep our on-campus presence. As we look to the future, we will continue to refer to the medical community and public health professionals for guidance. 

“Are there any plans to have planned, purposeful mask breaks outside of just PE and recess?” And from another parent, “Why are masks required outside even when the kids are still required to stay 6 feet apart?”

  • I know for some parents, this is a very emotional topic. We have considered this during our Protocol Review Team meetings, and we will continue to evaluate it over the coming months. At this time, mask breaks will be outside. I’ve seen students who are learning outside in the courtyard. They spread out and are able to remove their masks if they want. Not all of them do so, but it is an option. For recess, one of the things we evaluated was the way in which the children are playing. They want to run around, and they want to play games together. We want this for them, too! During their running around and games, they might get closer than 6 feet for a few moments. We are able to do this because they are outside, and they remain masked. If they want to ensure they remain spread out, they can remove their masks for a mask break. We must ask them not to run around during that time to reduce the risk they will interact with another student at closer than 6 feet. PE time is a bit more structured so they have some ways to have a mask break during their exercise. For example, if students are running the track, they are allowed to bring their mask below their chins. If another student is running by another, he or she can just raise the mask for a second while the other student passes and then lower it again.
  • I do understand this is not a perfect answer for people who want less mask time for their children, and I’m very sorry. We will continue to evaluate this in our Protocol Review Team. With the winter weather and the surge in cases, I’m just not sure we’ll be able to adjust it in the near future. 

Opting into Distance Learning
“Why can’t children who are staying home sick with possible COVID symptoms (fever or runny nose, etc) do distance learning for the day? In a typical year, our child would probably attend school with a slight runny nose or cough, but this year for the protection of others, we keep them home. Our child should be able to still do learning that day (if they are well enough to do it) if we make the responsible decision to protect others.”

  • Thank you for taking extra precautions this school year. It does make a difference! We have discussed distance learning, and the possibilities of students moving in and out of it more fluidly, at great length. We know this is an option parents would like for their family. It probably looks like it is really easy for a student to just pop onto the Zoom link and participate. I’m so glad our teachers make it look that easy! It is a hallmark of an expert to make the difficult seem easy. There is a tremendous amount of work in the background to make the Zoom experience a positive one for students. When students are flowing in and out of distance learning for a day or two, here and there, it adds to the usual amount of time our teachers spend planning, organizing, prepping materials, posting and/or making lessons available by other means, as well as heightens stress levels.
  • We are still working on a balance to allow students to accomplish their work and not fall behind, but also not add additional stressors to our faculty members. We know we haven’t found the perfect solution yet. We’ve met multiple times about it, and I think we are close to identifying a workable option, creating something in between fluidly jumping on Zoom anytime, and only using the 14-day quarantine. Please look for some communication in January, and thank you for your patience as we work through this. 

Entire School in Distance Learning
“What is the infection rate or other criteria at which GSES will switch the entire school to all distance learning?”

  • As part of our Protocol Review Team, we established criteria for moving to distance learning, identifying three key situations: 
    • First, we might have a situation where the state or the county makes the decision to transition to distance learning for us, and that is obviously what happened last spring. I think it is less likely this year, but certainly not outside the realm of possibility. 
    • Remember, one of our goals is to have students on campus if it is a family’s wish. We also believe we have enough experience with mitigating the spread of the virus so we wouldn’t use the blunt instrument of a whole-school distance learning situation, unless it was a last resort. Before that happens, we hope you would see one cohort, one grade level, or maybe even one division move to distance learning. If the decision is left up to the school, we are looking at two criteria:
    1. Do we see evidence of spread at school? We know identifying evidence of spread is like looking at an iceberg. There’s some evidence you can see and some you can’t see. For the part we see, we use our contact tracing. We keep detailed records of close contacts, and whether they were close contacts from school or outside of school activities. We then follow those close contacts to see if any of them become ill or test positive. For the part of the iceberg we can’t see, we are using something the county shared with us. We look at how many people in a cohort have tested positive within a 14-day window. For some schools, the county has a threshold of 2 people in a cohort before they seriously evaluate moving that cohort to distance learning. For Good Shepherd, because of our protocols, the county’s threshold is 3 people per cohort in a 14-day window, although it might not be a hard and fast rule. For example, maybe we can identify exactly where all three were exposed, and it was outside of school, but it gives us an indication we need to look harder for virus transmission that might be under the surface. 
    2. Can we staff the classrooms? Sometimes our students quarantine or become ill, and sometimes it is our faculty and staff who quarantine or become ill. If they are feeling well enough, they teach via Zoom, but we must still have an adult presence in the classroom. In our conversations with other schools, most are finding it very difficult to find substitutes, and we are experiencing the same thing. We are doing everything possible to keep the on-campus presence as an option, but we must be able to provide adequate supervision and top-notch instruction. 
    • Again, if we meet either of these criteria, we hope you will see one cohort or one grade level moving to distance learning before you see the whole school doing so. 

Future Plans - Spring and Fall 2021
“Please share insight into what GSES envisions for Spring and Fall 2021 given our current news of cases rising? Specifically, the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.” And another parent asked, “It appears the COVID-19 vaccine is right around the corner. Once the vaccine is available, when will you return things to normal? No masks, lunch in the cafeteria, moving to different classes, etc?” 

  • I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m very hopeful multiple vaccines are approved and rolled out quickly. There is information regularly about new treatments or new screening tools which are in different stages of testing. We are not there yet, though. So, let’s tackle our future plans in two chunks - one is our current period for this winter, and the other is when we get to a time when enough people are vaccinated or we have effective treatment. 
  • For this winter, we are being told, as I’m sure you have seen on the news, cases will be rising, and it will be a very trying time. We will continue with our protocols and our Protocol Review Team to evolve as we are able and with updated guidance. 
  • I’m very hopeful teachers will be able to be included in the early, prioritized rounds of vaccine distribution as non-medical, frontline workers. In our regular Zoom call with the county health department and school leaders, they said their estimate, at this point in time, is for non-medical frontline workers to be vaccinated by Spring Break. By that time, we might also have additional treatments and other tools to use to make it possible to ease our protocols. We just don’t know quite yet what it will look like, and we are watching closely for medical and public health guidance. 
  • For next fall, I’m even more hopeful there will be many factors working in our favor, including many who are vaccinated, the potential for herd immunity, more treatments, or effective screening, at the least. I can’t guarantee anything, but I’m very hopeful that next year will look like a much more typical school year for our students, our faculty, and our staff. 

“What is the most frustrating comment that makes you feel the most misunderstood?” 

  • I guess I would just hope everyone understands our intentions and priorities. There is nothing more important than the education of your children - except for keeping the students, faculty, and staff safe and healthy! The stakes are very high. We aren’t perfect, and we never will be perfect. We want to earn the benefit of the doubt with you, and re-earn the benefit of the doubt with you over and over again. That is why we did this Town Hall. 

Support for School
“Our family is so thankful for GSES and the incredible effort they have made to keep our kids in school this year. As medical professionals, we know that this has been very difficult and the guidelines are ever changing, but GSES has always made our kids their #1 priority. We strongly feel that the option of being able to physically attend school not only allows our children to continue their educational growth but also their spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth. Again, we are so thankful.”

  • What a beautiful way to end the Town Hall! We are so thankful for our community! 



additional questions:

Directly below are the questions and answers which Dr. McLeod could not cover during the Town Hall:

Outside-of-School Activities
“It appears that the unmasked extra curricular sporting events are causing unneeded risk of exposure, transmission, and avoidable quarantining for the GSES staff, students, and student families. Would the school consider urging families to cease participation in sports during this COVID surge?” 

  • In the eleventh edition of “Our Future Is Strong,” I shared this year, to a stronger degree more than any other, the choices you and your family make could affect others and impact the school's ability to continue offering on-campus experiences for your children. This statement, from August 27th, is still true today. There are many things I can do at school to implement protections, but I really can’t dictate what happens outside of school for anyone. Each family must make their own decisions based on what is best for them outside of school. I continue to encourage you to consider the broader community as you make those decisions for your family. We are all in this together! 

“Could families be provided with easier access to the school's Re-Entry Protocols & Guidelines?” 

  • Thank you for this question. In addition to the community page, we have added the Re-Entry Protocols & Guidelines as a link on the COVID-19 webpage. 

School Finances
“How has the pandemic affected GSES's finances?”

  • The school and our Board of Trustees, along with the board’s Finance Committee, have been very attentive to the school’s finances and have taken their fiduciary responsibilities very seriously. Opening school this year has been quite expensive in order to implement the protective protocols necessary during the pandemic. And, as I discussed in the Town Hall, the health and safety of all the people who come to campus every day is crucial. We usually create a budget that keeps our spending within the limits of the tuition collected plus our endowment draw. This year, as you know, we also included our Annual Campaign fundraising to help with tuition assistance for those families who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. We are also pulling from cash reserves this year for some of our pandemic-related expenses. The school remains fiscally responsible and healthy. 

Distance Learning
“If the student body is required to transition to distance learning due to COVID, will children of truly essential workers again be allowed on campus to continue in-person learning?” And from another parent, “If you have to close the school at some point and move to an all-virtual platform, would you consider letting Early Childhood continue in person, on campus?” 

  • As noted in the Town Hall, our goal is to have all students on campus who want that experience. Our hope is you might see smaller moves to distance learning in response to any possible spread or inability to staff a classroom. For example, you might see one cohort move to distance learning or one grade level make the shift for 14 days. We hope we are able to manage in this way so we can continue to offer the on-campus experience to as many students as possible!  

“Will the vaccine be required for next year?” 

  • At this point, we are thinking that if the state requires the vaccine, the school will require the vaccine. At this time, I have not seen any indication the state will require it for students. Of course, that might change in the future. 

Non-COVID-Specific Questions/Concerns

School pictures
“Will there be school pictures this year?”

  • Yes! We will have school pictures on January 11 and 12, and those dates are on our school calendar! 

“Morning carpool - I have not once had any issue, but afternoon carpool is a nightmare more often than not.”

  • I’m sorry you are experiencing frustrations with afternoon carpool. We have worked hard to streamline the process while maintaining our protocols. We have been able to complete the lower school and early childhood afternoon carpool process at approximately the same time we would during a non-pandemic school year. We will continue to monitor the process and make adjustments as necessary. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. 

Making Up Days
“Have there been considerations of extending the school year due to all the missed days (or potential missed days)? What about starting next year early?” 

  • We work closely with other Dallas independent schools to create our calendars. Our independent school community shares many families between schools. We also review the number of academic days each school year. The school is very aligned with independent schools in the area with our holidays and the number of school days. During many school years, we have some events that occur to adjust those school days. For example, we might have snow days or, a few years ago, we had flu days, and we do not extend the school year for those changes.
  • Further, the way we have structured our protocols where our students remain in their classrooms and teachers move to them, we have eliminated the transition time students used to spend moving around the campus. That has actually added instructional minutes to each school day! At this time, our plan is to end the school year on May 28th as planned. If this changes, we will notify you as soon as possible.   

“Having not taken ERBs last spring, will students be taking them this year? I think even with the craziness of what is going on it is important to just see where we are at this time.”

  • Yes, the plan is for students to take ERB tests this school year. Watch for communication from your teachers and division heads regarding the dates for the tests. 

Temperature Checks
“How was the decision made to discontinue temperature checks, and what were the reasons for resuming them?”

  • In our Protocol Review Team, we discussed the need for temperature checks. We came to the decision to discontinue temperature checks after many conversations and considerations, including the inaccuracy of the thermometers in cold weather, the changing guidance from the CDC, TEA, and the county, and the excellent work of our community to keep students home when they exhibit any symptoms, among other reasons. Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Dallas County and at the school, we decided to reinstate temperature checks during morning carpool. In order to get an accurate temperature reading, we now take your child’s temperature when he or she has entered one of the buildings. 

Outdoor Learning
“In initial emails prior to the start of school, we were told the students would be learning outdoors as often as possible. I understand the technology difficulty of that with distance learners, but I know other schools have managed to do it, and do so daily.  My children have never had class outdoors this semester. Why is that?”

  • Because our cohorts have recess separately, and PE also extensively utilizes the outdoors, our outdoor spaces are being used more this year than we have ever seen in years past! My new office has a view of the courtyard, and there are children outside playing and learning all day, every day (weather permitting)! Sometimes, it is more challenging to move the class outside depending on the learning activities. We will continue to work with grade levels to be able to offer outdoor learning opportunities for students across the school. 

“When will the school start treating our kids like people instead of human vectors for disease? They don't need to worry about getting tested non-stop especially when the test and testing protocols are proven to be a pure sham. If a kid feels sick, they should stay home; plain and simple.” 

  • I’m sorry you feel the school is seeing children for anything other than amazing human beings! That is never our intention. 
  • There are a few times when testing might be recommended or necessary:
    • Illness - Our protocols state students who have been ill with COVID symptoms need a doctor’s note to confirm the illness was not COVID prior to returning to school. Some families will decide it is easier to get a COVID test to ensure their child’s illness is not COVID related rather than go to the pediatrician. That option is fine. Families can also opt for a 14-day quarantine rather than go to the pediatrician or get COVID testing. 
    • Exposure - When students are exposed or potentially exposed to COVID, many are nervous and want to get testing. It is not required, and at this point, it does not reduce their quarantine, but some find it to be comforting to know their child has tested negative. Our clinic staff recommend if a parent is going to get a child tested, they wait a few days after their potential exposure so any potential viral load has increased enough to be detected by the tests. Again, this is not required, but it is guidance for those who seek testing. 
    • COE - When we have overnight COE trips, testing is a good way to know whether anyone on the trip is contagious prior to leaving. Many of the places our students visit are remote, and it is difficult to get students out of the wilderness if they become ill. Further, with many asymptomatic cases and the students’ proximity to each other during travel and in a tent, it has been helpful to get some indication that everyone is COVID-free prior to leaving on the trip.