Our Future Is Strong, Campus Re-Entry & Value of Education (Edition #11)

Dear Good Shepherd Families,

Our Future Is Strong is a series of brief, informative emails/posts which began April 30, 2020 to keep the community informed about our preparations for our return to campus.

In this eleventh edition, we will review our campus re-entry time frame and talk about the value of education, including how our personal decisions can impact our collective community in profound ways, especially this school year.

Campus Re-entry Time Frame

This week, our Executive Committee and Board of Trustees met to confirm the campus re-entry time frame. We have made the decision to stay with our time frame as follows:

August 26th - First day of school; essential worker children and faculty/staff children are on campus; all other students are distance learning.

September 8th - All students who opted into the on-campus experience return to campus; those who opted into distance learning continue learning from home.

We remain committed to returning our students to campus and we continue to be diligent about monitoring the virus transmission in the area, which might necessitate adjustments to this plan.

Value of Education/Collective Community

“Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.” -Fredrick Douglas

Each and every Good Shepherd family places a high value on education. We all love the educational experience and we missed being together on campus last spring. Eighty-seven percent of our students have opted to return to campus, and our teachers have been hard at work preparing for a monumental school year, demonstrating how much each of us wants to provide a high value educational experience for our students. We are all very excited to welcome your children back on campus to try to bring some amount of normalcy back to our world!

As you know, we continue to study many other schools who have opened during the pandemic. One truth across all the schools is in order to continue with on-campus learning, we - as a community - must do everything we can to protect our campus from COVID-19. We’ve all seen news reports of schools and colleges opening, only to shift to distance learning, because some made decisions putting others at the school at risk. This year, to a stronger degree 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. Community is one of Good Shepherd’s strongest gifts. We care for each other in ways most schools can only dream about. Likely, you regularly think about the ways your decisions can and do affect our community and our ability to offer on-campus experiences. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to the importance of containing COVID-19 as we begin this school year.

Our goal is to begin the school year in a protective environment, having strong protocols in place and to do everything in our power to be able to continue our on-campus learning throughout the school year. We will continually reassess our protocols, monitoring the virus transmission rate and our ability to contain COVID-19.

Our theme this year is Journey, inspired by Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Our individual journeys through this pandemic and our collective journey to stay healthy as a community attending school together highlights our interdependence to each other and our prayer for God’s guidance. Students thrive when there is a strong partnership between home and school. Our partnership this year is even more important! We are here to support you and your children on your individual journey and we appreciate all of your support on the school’s community journey, too! Together, we can create a thriving on-campus experience as well as a robust distance learning experience to serve all of our students. We will emerge a stronger community and school because of our journey together.

As noted above, we are still working toward our full re-entry to campus on September 8th and will continue to update you with Our Future Is Strong on an as-needed basis. We have also posted this series on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage for your reference.

Together we are #gsesStrong,

Julie McLeod, Ph.D.
Head of School