When setting safety protocols, school leaders evaluate the following:
- Recommendations by local, regional, state, and federal health officials
- Guidance from a task force of medical professionals associated with our school
- The number of COVID-19 cases in the primary zip codes that feed our school
- The percentage of COVID-19 cases in our area affecting children ages 0-17
- The best available scientific evidence regarding the transmission and virulency COVID and its most prevalent strains
- The best available scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of COVID prevention measures and their associated costs and risks
- Our capacity to identify COVID cases in our school community and follow contact tracing and quarantine protocols to contain viral transmission
- Transparency and cooperation from teachers, parents, and students sufficient to operate safely
First, we attend carefully to health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the Mecklenburg County Health Department (MCHD). Additionally, the Governor of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Non-public Instruction issue guidance, recommendations, and/or mandates to which we must attend. All of these agencies update their guidance regularly, but sometimes in ways that conflict with other agencies.
Second, we try whenever possible to make decisions based on conditions in the primary zip codes that feed our school. Conditions in Mecklenburg County or NC as a whole can, at any given moment, be significantly better or worse than conditions in our primary zip codes.
Third, to help us review this ever-changing volume of data and make the best decisions for SouthLake, a team of medical professionals associated with our school review all proposed COVID protocols. In the end, our Executive Administrative Team makes final decisions, seeking to balance the medically ideal with the educationally feasible. We will continually assess current conditions adjust our safety protocols as needed.
We always aim to find a path between the extremes of panic and denial. We will assess risks in a reasonable way without being paralyzed by fear or pretending the pandemic is over. We will adopt the safety measures necessary to keep our students learning in person, on our campus, as safely as possible. We know not everyone will agree with every decision we make. We appreciate the cooperation of all our families nonetheless, and we recognize that as a part of a diverse community, we must operate with mutual trust and transparency to be successful. Our children deserve nothing less.