Hello Topper Community,
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season despite the restrictions of the pandemic. We were able to open up our schools for the New Year on Tuesday, January 5th with very few obstacles. We continue to have students or staff occasionally test positive for COVID-19, but to date, none of these positive tests are a result of interactions at school. Quarantines continue to occur in both buildings, but we have developed systems that allow for responsive contact tracing that have greatly reduced risk.
Through the first half of the year our staff has developed systems that not only keep students safe, but also provide instructional resources for them when they are quarantined. All of these efforts have allowed Mt. Pulaski CUSD 23 to be one of the few districts in the state to have an uninterrupted year to this point in time. We are continuing to strive to be reflective in our practices and provide the best education for our students.
The district administration now feels it is time to move forward with our instruction as we announce we will extend our instructional day to 2:00 PM starting Tuesday, January 26th. We have chosen this date because it marks the beginning of the second semester and it allows families and teachers two weeks to prepare for this change.
Schools across the state, country and world have proven throughout the pandemic to be among the safest places to be due to appropriate mitigation efforts. It is in that light that we are confident we can move to an extended day (2:00 PM) without reverting back to 11:30 AM dismissals. As always, we will appropriately react to local metrics in an effort to keep students, staff and community safe, but it is our intent to maintain the dismissal time of 2:00 PM until conditions once again allows us to have students attending for a full school day.
A key component to our success has been the support of our parents and community. We realize that many great hardships have been bestowed upon all stakeholders and we greatly appreciate the efforts contributed by students, parents, staff and community. We are excited to extend our school day so that students may be allowed improved opportunities to learn and develop in a manner we are more accustomed to. Please forward questions on this transition to building administrators and the district office. We will release more detailed plans on the extended day in the weeks to come.
Fred Lamkey, Mount Pulaski Superintendent