As I visit schools throughout the district I enjoy the very natural buzz of laughter, squeals, conversation, and joking around among students. On a sun-filled day I can watch athletic teams practicing or preparing for games. It’s quite gratifying to see and hear such broad normalcy. Yet, we know the school year is anything but typical.
We’ve had to respond to positive cases of the virus, and as a result have had to ask students to quarantine. Families have been understanding, but had to endure the inconvenience nonetheless. Symptomatic students have been sent home until they feel better, and dozens of parents have brought their children to be tested for the virus. Our nurses confront daily circumstances that would not warrant a second look in a normal year. This year, however, they need to be overly vigilant and cautious for everyone’s safety. I appreciate your understanding. Our opportunity to stay the course is a credit to the entire community as we move forward.
We stay in close contact with state and local health officials and respond to their recommendations and guidance. Unquestionably, our circumstance will remain unstable until this pandemic is more controlled. Our communities, and our schools, have responded rationally and with caution. We will succeed if we remain measured and careful. When we forget the virus is with us, we lose our advantage.
In an effort to keep everyone aware of our circumstance and necessary precautions, the school district is committed to transparent reporting of health and safety information related to the ongoing pandemic and its impact within SAU 41 schools. We will communicate events and actions that directly impact schools, students, or staff members.
We will do so in a manner that protects the privacy of the individuals involved yet provides the community with information that accurately represents the situation within the SAU 41 schools.
We will continue to provide general district-wide notifications when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 that results in potential exposure within the schools or school-related activities. Additional communications will be sent to staff and parents of students directly affected by exposure events with more specific, detailed quarantine or isolation requirements. Such steps are important to maintain your confidence, yet we understand the hardships such responses bring to those affected.
We are aware of state dashboards and reporting systems, and while these can be helpful in monitoring trends or assessing community spread, they can often provide confusing data specific to schools due to reporting delays or errors.
We continue to rely on data sources from the Harvard Global Health Institute and the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. We also consider positive cases within our community and speak routinely with local officials. Staffing remains one of our key concerns to maintain face to face learning. If you are able or know of someone willing to substitute we would greatly appreciate you contacting Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org. One day a week, a day a month whatever you can offer will allow us to continue in person learning. Do you have a college student who will be home for semester break? Please consider encouraging them to apply to be a substitute.
Our teachers and support staff, as well as school administrators, are making incredible efforts in most challenging circumstances. We’re also very much aware that most of you confront your own daily challenges.
Together, we can accept personal responsibility to remain alert, vigilant and aware of opportunities to advance our efforts. Please wear masks, wash your hands, cover coughs, avoid large gatherings, and remain physically distanced at all times. We want to keep our efforts going and ask for your understanding and continued support.
Andy Corey, Superintendent