Our Future Is Strong, COVID Protocols (Edition #17)

August 13, 2021

Dear Good Shepherd Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! Our annual, summer communications from the division heads and me will be coming next week and will include our usual welcome-back information. We look forward to sharing with you all the excitement of a new school year! 

I know many of you have been very curious about the COVID protocols we will use at school this year. In this edition of “Our Future Is Strong,” we will discuss the COVID protocols in place at this time as we begin the 2021-2022 school year. We are keeping last year’s priorities to have all students on campus each school day in order to provide our high quality, mission-aligned experience and to maintain the health of our community. We are also working towards restoring the wonderful Good Shepherd experience you know and love in as many ways as possible. All protocol information will be kept easily available on our COVID-19 webpage, and our Dashboard will be kept updated in real-time.

We will follow COVID protocols as we strive to keep our community healthy:

  • Outdoor learning will continue to be encouraged.

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available at every entrance and in hallways.

  • Social distancing (3 feet, when possible) for students, faculty, and staff will be promoted.

  • Teachers will provide frequent reminders that hand washing and social distancing are important prevention strategies.

  • Families, students, and staff should self-check for symptoms and temperatures each day before coming to campus. The Ascend questionnaire will not be utilized, and no on-site temperature checks will be performed.

  • Those eligible are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Enhanced disinfection measures will continue, including a nightly deep clean of the facilities.

  • Upgrades to the ventilation systems were completed in accordance with ASHRAE 62.1.

  • Plexiglass dividers will continue to be utilized in classrooms, particularly during small group work.

  • Contact tracing and communication to relevant parties will continue in the event of a positive case on campus. The online Dashboard will continue to be updated in real-time. 

We are also moving forward with the Good Shepherd experience you know and love:

  • Welcoming our parents back on campus - our community will feel complete again! 

    • On the first day of school, please feel free to walk your child inside to the classroom door or drop off through carpool. 

    • Meet the Teacher and Mini-School Nights will be in-person, on-campus events.

    • Wonderful GSPO events return this fall, including the Back-to-School Fiesta and Carnival.

  • We will return to our sacred spaces for services in the chapel and church.

  • No cohorts this year, so: 

    • Students will eat lunch in the cafeteria.

    • Recess will return by grade level again.

    • Movement increases as early childhood and lower school students change to music, art, and Spanish classrooms, and middle school students change classes.

  • In-person music, theater sharings, and other special gatherings will be scheduled.

  • Athletics on campus, both indoors and outdoors, will return. Middle school students will dress out for PE.

  • COE experiences will continue, including new destinations.

  • Exposure quarantines are reduced to 7 days, while COVID-positive quarantines remain at 10 days.

  • We will keep one COVID-19 Protocols webpage updated with the most current protocols at all times. 


As you know, masking policies have been in the news lately around Dallas. At this time, Good Shepherd has made the decision to require masks indoors for all students, faculty, staff, and parents who are visiting the campus. One factor in our decision was the surge in hospitalizations, including children’s hospitals, which are over 97% capacity in North Texas. This is a significant shift from earlier in the pandemic when children were largely spared from more serious viral symptoms. While we know some of you will be disappointed with this news, we know from our experience last year that masks are a very effective way to maintain our priority to keep our students on campus each day and deliver on our mission! 

Importantly, there are a couple of key differences in this year’s mask policy from last year’s policy: 

  • Outdoors, masks will remain optional for everyone at all times.

  • Indoors, mask breaks will be available for all students when they are seated and at least 3 feet away from other students.

Finally, this mask policy will be continually reviewed. We continue to be in close contact with other independent schools in the Dallas area, as well as consulting with Dallas County Health and Human Services Department, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Our summer camps were able to be mask optional in July, even inside, because of the low community spread. We are hopeful the recent spread and pediatric hospitalizations decrease very soon.  

We look forward to seeing you all in person and on campus for “Meet the Teacher” very soon! We loved having your children with us on campus last year, and now we are excited to enjoy the fullness of our community’s love together again! 

“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 and the ways we will live together as a community during the pandemic. “Our Future Is Strong” will continue periodically 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