Dr. Gulley's Review of the First Week of School

Dr. Gulley's Review of the First Week of School

Dear Woodward Community:

I am so proud of this community! In our new COVID world, we are literally planning and living one day and one week at a time. Thanks to thorough preparation and thoughtful execution we can declare our first week of opening a success. I am grateful for the cooperation of everyone which has made our opening so smooth. Students have followed the rules of washing hands, wearing masks, and watching distance; IT experts, facilities and dining staff, and bus drivers have fulfilled their duties earnestly and thoughtfully. And our teachers are our greatest heroes. Despite considerable anxiety for a number of them, they are all working harder than ever, managing in-person teaching while balancing the needs of our remote learners. I am deeply grateful to our faculty for their dedication to our students which is making our opening possible. As an example, Madeline Flournoy, a Primary School teacher, had to be quarantined for a possible COVID exposure, so she was forced to teach remotely for the start of school. One evening last week, a major thunderstorm knocked out her internet. The next day, rather than call in to say she could not teach, she drove to the Primary School parking lot, where she could access our WiFi, and taught her class from her car. True dedication.

With all our success, it is not lost on me that the COVID-19 virus is still in control. We take our cues from it, and at no point may we let down our guard. Adherence to CDC guidelines for mitigation will continue to rule our operation as we attempt to keep the virus at bay.  

Since the official opening of school, I am pleased to report that we have had only two  suspected cases of the virus on campus, and one laboratory confirmed case that was swiftly identified, with a handful of people requiring quarantine. Daily, we update the number of positive COVID cases, or suspected cases, by school in the Parent Portal. As a reminder, all of us—including parents—have a role in ensuring that our behavior does not lead us to possible exposure to the virus which may result in passing the virus along to others. Thank you for committing to monitor your activities away from school so that we may keep our community as safe as possible during this time.

In addition to adjusting to our new normal on campus, we also directly addressed the presence of racism on campus. Earlier this week, I delivered remarks to students in grades 6 and above, acknowledging the racial unrest from the summer and its impact on Woodward. You have previously been invited to a webinar on Wednesday, August 26, at 4 p.m. to learn more about the work of the Anti-Racism Task Force of the Governing Board, when we will share our renewed commitment to creating an environment where true respect for difference exists by facing racism head-on.

I am very grateful to be part of this community which supports one another. Teamwork and commitment to community make us Atlanta at its very best and motivate me each day.

Let's hope week two goes as smoothly as week one!

Thank you.

Stuart

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