Good Day, Hilltoppers!
Just over a week has passed since the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health released the guidance document to reopen schools. District administration has been working through the 63 page document to identify and prioritize necessary tasks to successfully and safely reopen our district late this summer.
Mt. Pulaski Schools have a different timeline than most districts as our start of school is delayed until after Labor Day due to high school construction. This gives us an advantage in planning because we have three weeks longer than most districts to prepare. As I am sure you have noticed throughout the pandemic, restrictions, guidelines and directed practices have continually changed and will continue to change. The Mt. Pulaski School Board and district staff are systematically planning for all foreseeable obstacles that could plague us starting school.
Currently we have plans to start the school year with students in attendance with some variances. We also have backup plans to also support remote learning or a combination of remote learning with student attendance. How we start the school year hinges on whether our region remains in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. Our job as educators between now and the start of school is to work with stakeholders to develop systems to limit distractions and inconveniences that could be caused by variances, while still meeting state guidelines.
Our district is calling a meeting of a Transition Planning Team, suggested by ISBE and IDPH, which is made up of district administrators, school staff, board members, parents and students. This team will review plans and make suggestions to reopen the school on September 8th. Input from the Transition Planning Team will help school leadership devise a plan that will be approved by the Board of Education in August.
We will continue to provide weekly updates of our work to keep the community informed of progress and changing guidance from the state. We want all stakeholders to be confident that Mt. Pulaski Schools will design safe and effective plans to welcome back our students in the best manner possible. Thank you and Happy Fourth of July!
Fred Lamkey, Mt. Pulaski Superintendent of Schools