As we edge closer to our re-opening of school on August 31, I wanted to take a moment to give all of you a sense of the variables we are attempting to juggle as an administrative team.
School districts are complex, dynamic organizations even under the most benign conditions; but, of course, there’s nothing benign about our present circumstances.
Our focus throughout the summer has been on our goal of in-person instruction in a safe and healthy environment this fall. We have the Roadmap from the Governor’s office, local and federal guidance for returning to the classroom and your feedback to light the way.
To make our comeback a reality requires not only adherence to a strict set of health and safety guidelines, but also logistical considerations that spring up from the implementation of the guidelines.
Opening our doors on the first day of school is challenging enough, but the preparation doesn’t end there. We have to plan for a multitude of potential outcomes instructionally; we have to plan for potential disruptions in service; we have to track down scarce supplies; we have to prepare our staff to deliver on our promises as an organization in an unfamiliar environment; we have to make certain that students, parents, and staff members, are supported. All this, of course, is happening in addition to the typical hustle and bustle of summer personnel planning for the upcoming school year.
We know, as of this moment, there will be a significant number of students who will choose to be 100 percent virtual this school year. This fact alone makes our scheduling and staffing tasks, which can be challenging under the best of circumstances, even more difficult. We have retirements, resignations, re-assignments, leaves of absence and a number of other variables to contend with as well.
These are just some of the pitfalls we face as we look forward to August 31. Times are tough, but we desire to have our students back in school, and we will do everything in our ability to make that happen.
Here’s the simple truth of the matter: Returning all students back to where we left off in the spring with virtual learning would be the simplest solution. It was not then and it is not now what we believe is best for the vast majority of students.
Simply put, we believe in-person instruction is best for kids socially, emotionally and academically.
Based on our survey results, I know most of you support us in this endeavor, and we appreciate your willingness to share your feedback with us.
I’ve been asked by many parents and staff members about the possibility of returning to full-time virtual after we start the school year with in-person instruction. This is one of the many scenarios that we have had to plan for, and it obviously could happen. If our region regresses to Phase 3 after the start of the school year, our efforts would not have been vain. Our re-start would offer our staff and students the opportunity to establish routines, cultivate relationships and set up expectations that would be vital to impact positive outcomes in the virtual learning environment.
Moving forward, we ask that you have patience with us as we try to do what we believe is right. We will try to make this experience as comfortable as we can for you and your students, but we will make mistakes along the way.
Please rest assured that if we cannot bring students back into a safe and healthy environment, we will not.
All the best,
Matt Wandrie – LCS Superintendent