Amazingly, only 13.5 days of school remain before summer break. I’m not typically one to count down the days, but this year is an exception. Each day in person this year has felt like a gift, and every week a victory. I will save my congratulations for the official end of the school year, but for now, I cannot thank our teachers enough for their herculean efforts to make this year possible. Did you know that the average tenure of our faculty is greater than 10 years? We have never needed their experience and expertise more than this year. I encourage you to drop your teacher(s) a note of appreciation next week. You have no idea how far those notes go toward sustaining endurance and boosting morale.
I have a few general updates on how we plan to approach the 2021-2022 school year in terms of COVID safety.
- We will continue our Online Academy for students who need it for health reasons.
- We plan to keep classroom capacities where they are now. Although the CDC has said three feet of spacing is adequate, we value small classes and hope greater spacing will allow us to relax other safety measures sooner.
- We would all like to move away from masks as soon as we can do so safely. This will depend on vaccine acceptance by our students, families, and teachers, along with metadata showing vaccinated people are unlikely to contract or spread the virus. Although we do not plan to require the vaccine at this time, it’s likely our fastest way to eliminate masks.
- We plan to return to as many in-person gatherings as possible, including weekly chapel services, although meeting sizes will depend on area conditions and health agency recommendations.
- We will soon discontinue temperature checks as the NC Department of Health now considers them optional.
- We plan to play football this fall. We have a full slate of games already scheduled, and I look forward to Friday nights under the lights once again.
- We will keep you posted as we are able to make additional changes toward normal operations.
This past week I had the opportunity to spend three days at a Christian school a few hours away, serving on a site visit committee with ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International), one of our accrediting bodies. As a relatively new head of school, I found the experience incredibly educational as we prepare for our accreditation site visit next year. I came away from the experience with a head full of ideas, but mostly with gratitude for SouthLake and all that we’ve successfully navigated during our three years together.
Finally, we have a busy summer ahead as we offer a full range of enrichment camps on campus and several high school classes through our Online Academy. You have probably been bombarded with information on these topics, but if you need a refresher, let me know. We will also make campus improvements, prepare our classrooms for the fall, and finish academic scheduling to get you that information around July 1. And sometime in July, we’d like to take a few days to rest before we start it all again this fall. Until then, I encourage you to finish well, say thanks to your teachers, and say a prayer of gratitude to God for his blessings during a most unusual but successful academic year.
Matthew S. Kerlin, Ph.D.
Head of School
SouthLake Christian Academy