Good Friday Hilltoppers,
We have had a very productive week as construction and renovations have taken a leap forward and our affected staff is on the downhill slide from quarantine status. I am happy to report that no further positive cases have been tallied and those who did test positive are in good health and preparing to return to daily activities. Starting Monday, August 3rd we hope to be back to full strength across the school district.
During the quarantine, our Building Leadership Teams continued to work individually on tasks and collaboratively through digital means to continue amassing information for our Hilltop Return to School Plan. In person meetings have been planned for next week, which will include masks worn by all attendees, social distancing and plenty of hand washing!
While we continue to work on these plans, items of discussion include self-certification, morning arrival, lunches, dismissal, remote instruction, hallway passing and beginning of the year alternatives to our traditional open houses. We will continue to build systems that plan for our students and staff who are more susceptible to illness, identify new practices and plans for our special needs students and provide for the overall safety of students, staff and our community.
While most of the planning items are familiar, one that may be unfamiliar is self-certification. One of our largest and most important tasks will be to ensure that staff and students entering the building are healthy and ready to take on the challenges of the school day. Self-certification would be a process where families will take daily temperature checks of their students and screen them for symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. It will be very helpful in starting each day if as many families as possible self-certify. We are working on a convenient and fail-safe practice that will work for our families to identify potentially ill students. Because we realize that not all families can perform this task, we will also have systems in place to conduct temperature checks and symptom screenings as students arrive at school.
This is just one of many examples of the adjustments teachers, administrators and staff are making to their daily routine in addition to the normal tasks of a school day. The planning and preparation for the start of school is an incredible undertaking, but our teachers and administrators recognize that the best place for learning is in their classroom. They are relentlessly attacking the challenges of reopening and are confident in their ability to bring our students back to school in a safe environment! Enjoy your week and feel free to contact the district office with questions.
Fred Lamkey, Mount Pulaski Superintendent