The following message was shared with our families on Friday, May 22, 2020:
As we begin summer break, our administrative team is turning our attention to what school may look like in August. We’ll be sharing new information with you every Friday on our plans and any new guidance released about how schools should safely reopen.
We expect Governor Holcomb to make an announcement about the 2020-21 school year sometime around the start of July. We will know more about how our school year will take shape after his plans are announced. In the meantime, our team is creating plans for a variety of potential situations.
To help make the most appropriate decisions for all stakeholders, we have created a task force to facilitate the reopening of our schools. The task force is composed of teachers, staff members, administrators, parents, and community members. Our task force is working with current guidance and Indiana’s Back on Track plan to best determine how school will begin in 2020-21.
We realize some families may be hesitant to send their children back to school due to health concerns. We are in the initial stages of launching a full-time online curriculum (virtual school) for families who wish to keep their students home to mitigate the risk for their child or family. We believe it is critical to offer a variety of educational opportunities for families based on the health of their students and other family members. We will share additional information about this program and its structure soon. We ask for your help in completing this feedback survey about how E-Learning went for your family over the past two months. This will help in the creation of a quality online curriculum.
Our goal is to welcome students back to school on August 3 while being as safe as possible. We realize that guidelines or restrictions put in place by Governor Holcomb may force school to take a few different forms. For those families who wish to return to school, we are creating plans for a variety of situations for August 3 and beyond:
- School begins in-person with no restrictions. While this may be unlikely, we still must plan for this should the governor choose to let school go on as scheduled if Indiana reaches Stage 5 of the Back on Track plan.
- School begins in-person with some restrictions on gathering sizes and/or social distancing. This may include an element where E-Learning continues for some at risk students and/or staff. Other students may attend school part-time and complete E-Learning part-time. A portion of our student body may still complete a normal school day in our buildings.
- Governor Holcomb does not permit schools to open and all students continue with E-Learning full-time to begin the school year.
New This Week:
The CDC released initial guidance on how schools should reopen based on conditions in their respective areas. (The link should automatically take you to page 45 of the document. The entire document covers a multitude of organizations.) Beginning with Step 2 of the document, where schools are permitted to re-open with enhanced distancing measures, here are a few key challenges from these guidelines currently being evaluated by our task force:
- Enhanced cleaning procedures to ensure all surfaces are disinfected regularly. Frequently-used materials and surfaces should be disinfected after each use.
- All staff and students should be checked daily for symptoms and temperature
- Establish protocols for what happens in a building if a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed in a student, staff member, or family member of a student or staff member.
As I’m sure you are aware, guidance, protocols, and best practices change almost daily. We will continue to adjust our plans based on those changes. While August 3 is a long way off and many things will change between now and then, our task force will continue to form plans based on the best information we have at the time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this together.
-Dr. Lisa Lantrip