As you can probably imagine, there has been quite a continued conversation regarding our announcement of a COVID-19 testing regimen at North Cross for the upcoming year. There have been many good questions, some operational, others more scientific. It is important to remember that this is not something that has been done before and thus there are numerous decisions that remain to be finalized. We continue to build our contacts in the medical community so that we are not only able to obtain the best testing data, but also use it in the most effective manner. Our goal is not only to open school on time, but also to have school operate as normally as possible, and to the extent we are able, eliminate the possibility of distance learning.
We’ve found a company who will make things more efficient, more convenient, and more integrated than our current approach. Beginning this July, rather than deal with three different entities, we will partner with FACTS Management Company. FACTS will replace onCampus (managing admission, parent resources and student records such as homework and grades), Smart Tuition (student billing and account management), and School and Student Services (financial aid and Tailored Tuition).
It is my hope that as the summer has progressed, you are aware that our response to the COVID-19 virus has become increasingly centered on the idea of opening on time and on campus. In addition, we are doing everything possible to prevent a return to distance learning in the event of a regional outbreak of the virus.
On May 25th, George Floyd was killed by members of the Minneapolis Police Department, setting off what have been two weeks of peaceful protests and violent rioting. And through it all, I have not reached out to the North Cross community, nor have I reached out to our African American Affinity Group. For this, I am sorry.
The issue of race in America is 400 years old and has witnessed periods of great progress and periods of great retrenchment. Regardless, the issue of race in its many variations, often brings with it a vehemence and a vitriol that makes it the most difficult of discussions and difficult discussions are easy to avoid.
But difficulty of discussion is only one of myriad reasons why I have been unusually silent on this matter, the most prominent reason being that in my pastoral role, I cannot find the words to comfort or calm. You know me well enough over the years that right or wrong, I am rarely at a loss for words. But this one has me paralyzed.
It has been three weeks since I last updated the community and, during that time, we have continued to monitor the spread of the coronavirus and the corresponding reactions of our state and local governments. We have also continued our conversations with other independent schools and school associations to determine best practices. As such, I feel confident stating North Cross School will open its campus to students on September 8th, unless barred by the state government. We plan to do this with a disciplined and accurate COVID-19 diagnostic testing regimen in place that will allow us to reopen as safely and as normally as possible.
Christian J. Proctor, PhD
Dr. Proctor is the ninth Head of School at North Cross and has served as such since 2011. He has more than 30 years of experience in education. He has served as headmaster at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina, St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, Grace Episcopal School in Monroe, Louisiana, and as Interim Headmaster at Wesley Academy in Houston, Texas. In each location, Dr. Proctor’s tenure was marked by creativity, innovation, and school growth.