Update from the Superintendent

August 07, 2020

Regarding Return-to-School

I thought it was important today that I give you some overarching updates as we get closer and closer to the opening days of the school year. As you are aware, the parent choice forms were due this past Tuesday, August 4. Hence, the administrative team met yesterday to go over that data and hone in on the finer details of both the Remote Learning plan and the In-Person plan. I'm not sure how this started but I guess there is a rumor out there that our district was going to make an announcement tomorrow that we were switching to a Remote for ALL plan only. That is not true.

There are a lot of school districts getting closer to us geographically that are switching gears and making the Remote for ALL the only option. Good sources tell me that the Governor will NOT be making the decision that all schools across the state must go to Remote only. So, that decision will be local control and ours to make or not. At this point in time, it seems that the consensus from all is to give our In-Person plan a shot. Around 75 to 80%, give or take the grade level, of our parents selected the In-Person option. We still have some hold outs not selecting wanting to wait closer to the start of school. Those parents seem to trend to the Remote option.

There are a variety of reasons why other school districts have taken their In-Person plan off the board. The theme of these reasons relate to the logistics and management of all the new procedures we must put in place to open safely. And, to the uncertainty of what happens when we have a positive case. People really want answers to that question. Unfortunately, the only answer we have is it will be handled on a case by case basis with our school district working with the Health Department on who was exposed when to determine if others need to be tested and/or go into quarantine. In other words, the individual circumstance of each case would determine if 10, 50, 100, a building, or the entire district would need to stop In-Person learning. I am attempting to give you a flavor of why other school districts are going to Remote only and I think they are using risk/reward analysis of a likely quarantine for many vs. just doing Remote Learning for All.

In terms of our timeframe, we are fortunate we moved the start of school back a week as that buys us valuable time. With this COVID thing, 7 days is like a lifetime. We are having another District Planning Team meeting next Tuesday, August 11th to further study our overall situation. For now, we have imposed a Friday, August 14th deadline if we were to change our plan to follow in step with some of the other school districts and only do Remote for ALL. So, if we get past next Friday with no change, then we will fully commit to the In-Person option and not look back unless directed to do so from Health Officials/Governor/New Data. Remember, any recommendation of a change to our plans needs School Board approval and they would need to discuss any change before either approving or not approving it. Also, keep in mind we are still working on a Memorandum of Understanding between the District and Association and that will also need to be approved by both parties.

In closing, you must keep in mind that new unanticipated information/data can quickly impact and alter any and all information in this email. I totally get it that the stress & anxiety for all increases with each passing day closer to our start so I hope you getting some of this big picture information helps with that just a little bit. This is all something else folks and I feel bad for all of us. Every morning when I wake up from what now is a regular restless night of sleep, I say to myself, "day by day, stay positive, do your best, stay flexible." I hope you can find what works for you to cope with this traumatic event we never thought we would have to deal with.

John


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