Good Friday Hilltoppers,
I hope your week has been productive and finds you ready to enjoy a warm weekend! The school district has taken some tough punches this week as we discovered a positive COVID-19 test resulting in most of our district leadership being cast into quarantine until July 30th. Nonetheless, our teachers and administrators continue to build systems and practices that will allow our schools to open September 8th in the least restrictive environment possible. We are very confident in our ability to create a safe and sound learning environment for our students, staff and community.
Prior to the unforeseen quarantine, the Building Leadership Teams developed a schedule that would allow for daily student attendance from 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM with afternoons being reserved for remote instruction, teacher planning and school sanitization. Below is our rationale for this schedule.
- Daily student attendance.
- Reduced time students and staff will need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
- The development of improved remote learning practices for students and staff.
- Structured time for teachers to meet with specific groups of students through remote learning.
- Omission of lunches eliminates time during the school day where students do not wear masks, reducing chances of exposure to COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens.
- Increased time for daily cleaning of facilities.
- Adequate time for teacher contact with remote learners.
- Adequate time for additional teacher planning required by remote teaching.
- Additional opportunities to offer specific instruction to struggling and special needs students.
Because everything will be new to students and staff, it is important to select a plan that the Board, administration and staff can successfully navigate and maintain while allowing students to maximize learning time and achievement. Any plan that is too complex has a greater chance of failure and the district wants to ensure student success, especially after the learning loss of last spring.
We recognize that no plan will fit the needs of all families and MPCUSD 23 is thoughtful of these circumstances, but our focus is on making student-centered decisions as our top priority. We will continue to inform our community of new developments to offer all stakeholders an opportunity to plan for the uncertainty of the upcoming school year.
As always, we are thankful for your support, understanding and flexibility in these uncertain times. Please know that all of our decisions are made with the well-being of our students, staff and community.
Fred Lamkey, Mount Pulaski Superintendent