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What’s Next? Ending One School Year, Starting Another

A Message from the Superintendent

boy in backpack holding surgical mask

Closing this unusual school year and planning for a new one have been daily topics of discussion for us. With the challenges and unknowns of the pandemic, questions abound. We are creating plans to prepare and respond to the needs of our community based on available information and guidelines from the County Public Health Department.

Ending the Year on a “Hi” Note

two youths waving to each otherStudents want to see their teachers and their friends, and our principals and staff are exploring ways to safely make that happen before the end of this school year.

We want students and staff to be able to say “so long” for the summer. We want to let students retrieve items they may have left at school and return library books and other instructional materials borrowed from the school. And we want to celebrate our students’ accomplishments, particularly our eighth-grade and fifth-grade students who will be transitioning into new schools.

Those ending-the-year activities will happen between June 4 and June 11. Each school is developing specific plans and will share details with families in the coming weeks.

Planning a New School Year

Our aim for the new school year is to bring back as many students and staff as we safely can.

Each week I meet with state and local leaders to identify needs, discuss options, and consider how our district can ensure that our students continue learning whether physically in a classroom or continuing distance learning. Our district’s leadership teams also meet several times each week to explore those same questions. Our top priorities remain: safety and learning.

The COVID-19 virus impact differs from county to county, which means some counties have different restrictions around sheltering in place. For that reason, some counties and school districts may reopen at different times and in different ways. For our district, we are planning for a couple of basic scenarios:

  • If schools must remain closed, we would continue distance learning for all students while seeking ways for students to develop positive relationships with new students in new grades.
  • If a modified reopening is allowed, we would offer a blend of distance learning and on-campus instruction that adheres to Public Health guidelines.

Obviously, there are many questions surrounding each of these options, and even the best plans may need to change as new details are known or restrictions are imposed. Our teams are devouring information from our international colleagues who have already opened their schools to learn from their experiences.

One thing is certain: the new school year will start in a new way.

Depending on social distancing restrictions, our usual back-to-school activities will look different. New student orientations, kindergarten “round up” meetings, and more will need to comply with Public Health guidelines. Please be assured that we are focused on making the experience as safe, smooth and as welcoming for students as possible.

As we have more information, we will share it with you through our usual channels: email, school and district news feeds, weekly e-newsletters, and our COVID-19 Resources web page.