Covid Update – 8.27.21

Dear Academy Family,

Your prayers. It is with gratitude and joy we have welcomed students to campus, thrilled to see their smiling faces as they fill the halls. We welcome this new year with eager anticipation for all it promises to hold—and we see glimmers of this promise at every turn. Teachers greeting their students each morning, matins, and evensong, the first SWR lesson, the south campus ribbon cutting (3 new classrooms!), the north campus gravel construction drive (1400 truckloads of dirt!)—all of these and more reveal the fingerprints of love that bond this community together. 

We also know that steering a ship of 800+ students require clear-eyed vigilance to avoid shoals and troubled waters. The importance of navigating well has never been more obvious than these past 18 months. And now we find ourselves during yet another Covid surge, with cases outnumbered only, it seems, by opinions on what schools—including our own—should do about it. 

As we previously shared, we have reconstituted the Academy Physicians Advisory Group, and earlier this week the Board of Governors met to review their recommendations. With an eye to still-growing Covid cases in our state and community, including the rising number of pediatric cases, the Board has changed the district color code from green to yellow. With this change in status, The Academy is taking specific actions to empower parents in navigating the elevated risk of Covid spread, particularly the parents of children not yet eligible for Covid vaccination:

First, we will begin publishing weekly Covid stats (click here) We hope this information proves to be of value to your family. 

Second, the Board endorses the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Covid precautions and recommendations, including that schools start with the goal of ‘keeping students safe and physically present in school.” We hold this endorsement in tension with the love that necessitates freedom of conscience, and so this endorsement does not compel any single response, even as we urge caution in face of elevated risk.

Third, to reduce opportunities for “mass exposure” to Covid, North and South campuses will continue to hold Matins and Lunch outside (weather and heat permitting) through October 1st. Evensong will remain inside. However, if you would like your child to participate in a smaller Evensong with face masks required, please notify Ms. Berryhill or Mr. Bickell to make arrangements. 

Finally, with the shift to yellow, we are reinstituting an option for PK – 5th grade students to enroll in a home-based education option, similar to last year’s “The Academy Online”. With a year of experience under our belts, we have re-imagined this program as one of home day education coupled with biweekly Zoom tutoring sessions. We believe this will provide a more tailored experience for families desiring to participate in The Academy’s education from home. If you would like to learn more about this program, including the anticipated launch date, please contact Amy Allen.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

With Love and Care,

Stephen Taylor

Assistant Headmaster