Our Future Is Strong, Anniversary Message (Edition #15)

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 and the ways we will live together as a community during the pandemic. 

In this edition, we acknowledge and honor the one-year anniversary when COVID-19 began having a direct impact on our school life. 

On March 11, 2020 at 9:59 p.m., I sent an email to our community informing you of a possible exposure to COVID-19 by a family member of one of our faculty. Based on the little we knew at the time of this virus, we decided to suspend school for the remainder of the week leading up to Spring Break. Little did we know we would not be able to return to our campus life for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Today marks one year of significant COVID-19 impact to our school community. 

Over the past year, we have mourned, worried, and cried more times than we would like to remember. We have also grown, learned, adapted, pivoted, and even laughed. It has, indeed, been a year like no other. In many ways, we’ve had to re-learn what it means to be the Good Shepherd community during a pandemic. And, in many ways, we’ve been so fortunate to have such a strong foundation as a group of people who support and care deeply for one another. 

Today, our students, faculty, and staff will see white, blue, and red balloons around the campus, each with a special meaning. The white balloons represent all those whom we’ve lost, family gatherings we've had to forego, and the way of life we've left behind. The blue balloons represent our medical community, first responders, essential workers, and scientists who helped us all navigate this past year and find a light at the end of the tunnel. The red balloons represent the beautiful way our Good Shepherd community has come together during this pandemic. For each group within our Good Shepherd community, I have a special message:

  • For our students: Your adaptability and resilience shine! Your joy for learning and being together in community inspire us all. 
  • For our families: Your flexibility and grace allowed us all to find a path when none was evident. Your love for Good Shepherd and faith in our community to nurture and develop your children honor our work. A special shout-out to our newest families who joined us this year before you had the opportunity to fall in love with our community. Thank you all for your trust!   
  • For our faculty and staff: The way you have continued our students’ learning and maintained a strong classroom community, no matter where students have been physically located, is exceptional. Education is hard work in a good year. Thank you for giving every ounce of your being to your students and the school.  

As we continue to look towards the future, we are seeing the light shine even brighter. We have been able to re-open the library, bring back athletics for our 7th and 8th graders, resume hot lunches, introduce class-to-class movement for our eighth grade students, and more! With the news last week that teachers, and all those who work at schools, are now prioritized for vaccines, many of us are doing our part to get to herd immunity. We continue to see good signs our 2021-2022 school year will look much more like the Good Shepherd we have come to know and love. 

As we mark this one-year anniversary of the significant impact of COVID-19 on our school community, I leave you with a question I posed to our faculty and staff. We’ve all heard and/or said many times we would like to get back to normal. Of course, there are many beloved activities we would like to do again that we miss greatly, but life wasn’t perfect prior to the pandemic either. Instead of thinking about going back to normal, let’s consider moving forward into a new normal. What would you like to see as part of our new normal that was not part of our old normal? How might we make that happen together? 

“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