With COVID-19 cases rising across the U.S. and in Oklahoma, we now, more than ever, want to do our part to return to campus in the fall and be as safe as reasonably possible. Our new normal will most likely involve flattening and spiking periods in our school community and our local, state, and national communities.
Undeterred, our team continues to work hard to provide a safe, exceptional education people have come to expect over the last 70+ years. For some of you, our plans will feel more conservative than you would like; for others, too aggressive. We understand that and invite you to partner with us for the benefit of our students.
We anticipate rolling out our reopen plans the week of July 13. We will still have work to do; however, we want you to have a chance to see our plans for Continuous Learning this next year. Additionally, we are planning virtual Town Hall webinars for each division later in July. We invite everyone to participate live. If you find you can’t attend live for some reason, we will be recording each session, and you may view it later.
We have consulted with health experts from all over the country as well as locally, and one thing is clear, there are as many answers as there are people from which we seek counsel. As such, we will continue to follow the CDC and local health authorities as much as possible. If we deviate from their recommendations, we will always allow you to do what you believe is best for your child in any particular situation. We are in this together.
One of our drivers to doing school in person is that we believe in the relationships between teacher and student. Not only for quality academics but also because we believe that this “high touch” environment leads to “low stress”. When we are unable to be together, the flip happens, and we pivot to a more “low touch” and “higher stress” environment. Regardless, we stand ready to support your children’s social-emotional needs. Our Psychologist and Counselor have been planning for ways to create touch points with your children, whether in person or not, and our two Vicars serve as excellent resources.
Finally, we would ask that you begin to look for face coverings for your children. We anticipate that we will begin the year with all children exiting the car with their face covering on until they are temperature checked in the building. Additionally, we will combine face covering with social distancing, and cohorting. We have also looked at locations on campus where we can de-densify our population.
Do you ever wake up and wonder why you dreamed what you did? I sure do, and one of those dreams lately revolves around our trusting each other, giving grace to each other, and not assuming the worst of each other. We will have COVID-19 cases. We have consulted with health experts to establish protocols for immediately addressing cases and the notifications that need to be made, and we will notify those families who, in our contact tracing, need to be informed. This means that undoubtedly someone will hear about a situation from a source other than the School. When this happens, let’s not get sucked into pointing fingers and looking for blame. This will only make an already unique school year difficult because it can begin to erode our sense of community. We are in this together, and it will take ALL of us together, to gain the upper hand in this fight against COVID-19. From letting us know if you or your children have been exposed, to keeping your child home when they are not feeling well so you can rule out COVID-19, to refraining from traveling to high-risk countries, and to doing your best when your children are not under our care to act with similar care. Casady School is only in loco parentis for a few hours a day, and we trust and rely on you to continue the safety mantra when your children are under your care.
Simon Sinek says, “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or inspire it.” For us all, I hope that we will be inspired to be a community that cares first about each other before turning the attention on ourselves. This promises to be a unique year. We will look back and be proud of how we inspired each other to be our best during these uncertain times!
We are in this together, and together, we are Cyclone Strong!
Nathan L. Sheldon
Head of School