Our Future Is Strong, On-Campus/Distance Learning & Essential Workers (Edition #9)

Dear Good Shepherd Families,

"Our Future Is Strong" is a series of brief, informative emails/posts which began on April 30, 2020 to keep the community informed about our preparations for our return to campus. In this ninth edition, we will share detailed protocols for the return to school and ask you to confirm whether your child(ren) will be on campus or distance learning. We also have additional information for our essential workers. 

You Choose - On Campus or Distance Learning

As we have discussed in previous “Our Future Is Strong” editions, school will resume for the 2020-2021 year with distance learning on August 26th, and on-campus learning will begin on September 8th. If you are a parent of a prekindergarten through first grade student, please expect some communication from your division heads about small groups of students coming to school during the week of August 31st. Our faculty will work with these small groups on our protocols and our classroom communities, as well as learning the school and the carpool processes, since these grades have our highest percentage of new families. We have created our Good Shepherd Campus Re-Entry Protocols and Guidelines 2020-2021 and are sharing this comprehensive document with you today. This is subject to change based on the ever-changing COVID-19 environment in which we find ourselves.

In order for the school to adequately prepare for our return, it is crucial that we understand whether your child(ren) will be on campus, as we are able, or distance learning for the trimester in order to complete our class lists. Please complete this brief survey by August 9th to indicate which learning environment, distance learning or on-campus learning, you would like to choose for your child(ren) for the first trimester. 

If you select distance learning, you will have the opportunity for re-entering on-campus learning at the beginning of each trimester. The election of distance learning must be for a full trimester, unless a student who has elected in-person learning has a confirmed diagnosis or close contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. You will also be able to opt-in to distance learning for a 14-day quarantine at any time.

As you make your decisions on the best learning option for your family, we ask you to be aware of the following:

On-Campus Learning: Students and faculty will attend class in-person five days a week, excluding school holidays, while following public health guidance and safety measures from state, federal, and local health guidelines and recommendations. 

Distance Learning: Students will participate from home in virtual learning consisting of both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (independent learning) curriculum. Daily student participation will be required, and structured schedules will be provided to students.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-changing, we will continue to maintain flexibility in our policies and procedures to follow local, Episcopal diocese, state, and federal guidelines. We understand there could be instances in which, due to potential exposure to COVID-19, the school could implement distance learning or a 14-day quarantine for a classroom, grade, division, or entire school. 

Essential Workers

First, thank you for everything you are doing for all of us! As we move toward the beginning of school on August 26th, we are working towards allowing a very small number of students on our campus while we engage in distance learning. We will give preference to our faculty children so they can teach your children! We would also like to evaluate whether some of our essential workers’ children might need additional educational support. There are three qualifications for you to be considered for this program: 1) You are classified as an essential worker by Dallas County orders, allowing you to continue working; 2) Neither you nor your spouse can  perform your job from home; and 3) You have no other options for your child(ren) as the school year begins.  These three criteria do not guarantee your child(ren) a space on campus. First, we will need to determine  the number of requests and if we can accommodate all of them. If you believe you qualify and are interested, please click here to let us know! 

Thank you for your prompt survey responses, and we look forward to the day when we can be together again!

Please expect the next edition in this series in two weeks, or sooner, if there is information to report. We have also posted the series on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage for your reference.  

Together, we are #GSESstrong,

Julie McLeod, Ph.D.
Head of School