Every morning since returning to campus in August, Father Ryan’s students, faculty, and staff have completed the health screening app to determine if they should come onto campus.
This morning in completing the screening, and since I had a new mild cough yesterday that I had attributed to seasonal congestion, I was unable to answer “NO” to all the questions on the Ascension Health app. Out of an abundance of caution, I remained at home, contacted my physician, and proceeded to get a COVID test. While we maintain the policy of not disclosing the names of members of our community who have tested positive, I made the decision to let all of you know that I received a positive test for COVID-19 this afternoon.
This test result does not have any impact on the daily operation of Father Ryan High School or on the students at the school. School will be open on Monday as usual, and we will continue to monitor the presence of COVID cases on the campus. I have reported the test result to the school leadership, all of my close contacts have been informed, and my family and I are quarantining at home, according to the protocols detailed in our plan.
My family agreed that our transparency might serve others. We hope this will remind everyone that contracting the virus is possible, even when you are hyper-vigilant. It confirms that completing the health screening app every morning is vital to protecting others.
This afternoon as I planned to inform our community, I did a Google search of “principal had tested positive for COVID.” I was really surprised at how many articles and news stories I found regarding school leaders who have contracted the virus. I was trying to see if any of my colleagues had found a way to communicate and reassure their community following their own results. What I found typically was just that, a report, usually followed by information that included that he/she was self-quarantining at home, close contacts had been made aware, reports had been made to the health department, and that all the protocols were being followed.
It was interesting to see that so many schools and leaders had chosen to communicate this information about their own positive test in an impersonal way. None of the articles sounded like me or reflected the deep love and care I have for our community and those in it.
I want everyone to know that I feel fine. The only symptoms I have are the cough and a headache. My senses of smell and taste remain. I am working from home and will continue to do so when possible throughout my quarantine. In addition, my family is following the protocols related to a positive case, as outlined in the Returning to Campus Safely Plan.
I have spoken with Superintendent Rebecca Hammel, Board of Trustees Chair Julie Norfleet, and Principal Paul Davis since learning the news. We are blessed with an outstanding leadership team focused on the safety and health of our faculty, students, and community. As parents, Amy and I continue to have confidence in our safety protocols, trust in our leadership team, and faith in each other to place our faculty’s and students’ health first.
I hope my personal experience and my willingness to share it with you serve as a reminder of how critical it is to follow the protocols. This will enhance the health and safety of everyone here.
You may wonder how I contracted the virus, and I can tell you confidently that I don’t know. I have been following the protocols that have guided us throughout this pandemic and informed our return to campus. I wear my mask, I wash my hands regularly, and I practice social distancing on and off the campus. However, we are all reading about the increase in cases in Davidson County, throughout this region, and throughout the nation.
I am asking, once again, that all of us double our efforts to combat the virus by following the protocols diligently, on and off campus. By doing so, we can continue to advance the mission of the school by keeping the campus open and enjoying the uniqueness of the Father Ryan community.
As always, we seek the intersession of our Blessed Mother, asking for God’s grace and protection over you, your family, and our community.