August 30, 2021
Dear GCS Community,
As we approach the exciting opening days of school, I want to share a change to our plans with respect to COVID-19 protocols. Due to the rise of the Delta variant, the demonstrated ability of vaccinated people to contract the virus, and the movement of Howard County’s transmission rate to the “Substantial” level, we will begin the school year by requiring all students, faculty, and staff to mask indoors irrespective of vaccination status. We have determined that, for now, this is the best way to protect the health of the GCS Community and to minimize potential disruption to our school year.
You may recall that an earlier iteration of our plans allowed vaccinated students and adults to go without a mask upon demonstrating proof of vaccination. Nuanced policies such as this are often much harder to implement than blanket, “across the board” approaches, and I very much appreciate my colleagues’ hard work in developing it and in thinking through its implementation.
We will, of course, remain alert and responsive to changing circumstances and will refine our approaches accordingly. In the hope that we may, at some point, be able to revert to allowing vaccinated individuals to go unmasked, we will be in touch regarding our procedures for collecting information about our students’ vaccination status so that we could pivot quickly to that approach if circumstances allow. Our comprehensive COVID-19 policy document (which is subject to revision throughout the year) is being updated to reflect this recent change and will soon be available in the myGCS portal and on the website.
I know that I speak for my colleagues (who are back today for activities, meetings, and professional development experiences) in saying how excited we all are to return to school and to have our students back with us in the “Country.” See you soon.
Head of School
COVID-19 is extremely contagious and is believed to spread by person-to-person contact. The School has implemented reasonable preventative protocols, policies, and procedures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the School’s campus, and these will be updated in response to new information. Despite the protocols, policies, and procedures in place to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 on campus, there are inherent risks associated with being on campus. Those who come onto campus for any reason acknowledge and voluntarily assume these risks.