Learning Plans between Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks

November 24, 2020

As you are likely aware, the School Board voted 5-2 last evening to continue to offer our In Person Learning option after the Thanksgiving holiday. While we have had some interruptions to our In Person program at the Middle School and High School over the last 13 weeks, overall our execution here at the school district with adhering to the COVID safety precautions has been very successful. Most of our positive and close contact cases have originated outside the school environment. It is to that point that I plead with you once again to raise your and your families COVID safety expectations and double down on following The FIVE: 1. Wear Masks 2. Social Distance (Avoid Gatherings, Stay in Family Bubble), 3. Wash Hands, 4. Disinfect Surfaces, 5. Isolate When Sick/Having Symptoms.

Like we have done the past few months, moving forward we will continue to monitor our positive and close contact cases daily. That data is critical in determining if we can sustain our In Person Learning option through winter break. If positive cases start occurring leading to close contact numbers increasing we may have to discontinue the In Person plan at a moment's notice so again I remind everyone to have back-up plans ready. During the next 5 days, it is critical for you to report any positive cases or cases being identified as a close contact to your child's school. Further, as has been the case all along, if you selected the In Person option for 1st semester, you can switch to Remote at any time. That change would be in place until Friday, January 22, 2021. If you are wanting to make this change please contact your building principal as soon as possible.

The School Board did not make any decisions about the post winter break learning plan options in January. That topic will be discussed and decided upon at the December 14th School Board meeting. Unrelated to these decisions about the weeks surrounding the holidays, please be on the lookout for another survey on Wednesday, December 2nd. We need to start our planning for the 2nd semester which starts on Monday, January 25, 2021. The survey will ask you again what option you will want for your child related to In Person or Remote for 2nd semester. We will also be asking you about your transportation needs. It is critical we get that data back from you by Wednesday, December 9th. Different from 1st semester you will only be committed to your choice until Friday, March 26, 2021.

Gratitude & Thanks

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday break, it has always been the tradition of this holiday to focus on expressing thanks and gratitude. We all need to put this front and center more than ever! In normal years, I get to visit classrooms and see dynamic learning taking place across our district daily. However, COVID-19 has shaken everyone's world and the positives that are occurring in our district can easily be overshadowed by the unprecedented challenges we face.

With that in mind, I thought deeper about what I am thankful for this school year. What I realized is I have even more gratitude for our teachers/aides and office staffs, who have adapted to incredibly difficult circumstances, our parents who altered their work schedules, our custodial staff for keeping buildings clean and sanitized, our cafeteria workers for preparing creative meals, our bus drivers who get our kids to and from safely, and our administrative team/staff for their courageous leadership and work ethic. Mostly, I have gratitude for our students who have demonstrated tremendous patience, flexibility, and understanding as they navigate new learning models through this pandemic. While it has been hard on our students and they have lost many experiences, I believe they have sharpened their skill set in new areas that will serve them well the rest of their lives.

At the end of the day, each of us are trying to do the best we can under incredibly difficult circumstances. It hasn't always gone smoothly, but I believe we have learned a lot since the first day of school that will make us more prepared and stronger for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year and beyond. Please be extra safe the next 5 days. While this school year has not been what anyone would wish for, I hope each of you can still find gratitude and something you are thankful for this holiday season. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

With Maroa-Forsyth Trojan Pride,

John


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