2021-2022 Covid Updates from our Head of School
The mission and vision of Veritas Academy has remained unchanged since the founding of the school and is rooted in partnership. As we navigated the 2020-2021 school year together, our primary objective was to maximize in-person, on-campus instruction for our students, conducted in a manner that was as safe as reasonably and practically possible for both our kids and their teachers. Striking that balance was not the easiest thing we attempted, and yet we saw it was possible as we remained committed to supporting the safety of our community and upholding the mission and values of Veritas Academy that brought us together.
Our mission and commitment continue to anchor us as we now launch into the 2021-2022 school year. In what may still be a unique year, please continue to read our weekly Covid updates and join us in praying for each other and our school community, that we would be gracious and full of care and consideration for one another, that the Lord’s hand would cover and protect our children and families, and that we would individually and collectively be wise in our decisions as we fully rely on Him.
Since last Friday, two positive Covid tests have been reported among Veritas students and faculty/staff, both from exposures outside of Veritas. One is an SL/R teacher, and the other is a GS student who tested positive following a sibling’s recent infection. (That sibling attends a different school.) They have all been quarantining this week.
On Tuesday, Austin Public Health officially reduced the alert status for our area from Stage 4 to Stage 3. We’ve now been in the Stage 3 zone for about two full weeks and are approaching Stage 2 status (when the 7-day moving average of new hospitalizations from Covid drops below 15/day).
No new Covid cases at Veritas for the second straight week, and only one in the past four weeks; so it looks like we’re about to end the school year on a great streak. Similarly encouraging news in the broader Austin area as the 7-day moving averages for both daily new cases and daily new hospitalizations continue their recent plunge from 67 to 42 and 17 to 13, respectively, returning Austin to Stage 2. (See charts below.) And for the first time in a year, the entire state of Texas went an entire day without a lost life from this virus. Praise God!
On the heels of last week’s relaxation by the CDC of its guidance on mask-wearing, this week Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order forbidding government entities or officials from mandating masks (with certain exceptions), though public schools may continue their mask mandates until June 4. The Governor’s order does not apply to private institutions, except to be relieved of mandates imposed upon them by government entities and officials.
With only 1.5 more school days for the SL and just 2.5 days of final examinations for the SR, I’m going to keep in place our plan to continue masking while moving about indoors until 11am next Wednesday, at which time Veritas will become completely mask-optional. This continuation of current policy will prevent our upper school teachers from having to suddenly provide new Distance Learning accommodations for students in these last few days of school. While seated in class or in the cafe─or while doing anything outside─students are not required to mask up.
Absent some dramatic resurgence of viral infections over the summer, we will return to our standard operating procedures at Veritas this fall. And those procedures will not include a requirement for COVID-19 vaccination for any member of the Veritas community.