I hope this cold Friday finds everyone well and anticipating a restful weekend. On behalf of the district, I wanted to take this opportunity to offer some clarity and communication on a subject that has been both misunderstood and divisive in our community.
To say the least, the past few weeks have been confusing and emotional for some in our community and in our schools. This confusion and emotional outpouring has led to numerous communications between members of the community, the Board of Education, administration, students, families and the media. The Board of Education and district administration acknowledge that communication in the matters of the mask mandate should have been better. In the last several years, we have taken pride in our transparency with the community and staff and we recognize that we could have served our stakeholders in a much better manner in recent weeks. The Board and administration is committed to doing a better job.
The district will continue to mandate masks in our buildings through signage, announcements and offering masks, including N-95’s, to all students, staff and guests. The district is also committed to keeping all students at school in a safe environment and in in-person instruction. It is these expectations that have led the district to seek alternative approaches in our mask mandate efforts. School districts are left to their own accord in devising plans of mitigation. Our Board is seeking ways to better serve our students and instructional staff by providing an optimum environment that provides safety and structure to meet our student’s needs.
Throughout the pandemic, our communities have been divided on what approaches are appropriate to protect our families, friends and neighbors. These differences of opinions have led to passionate debates based on personal experiences and situations that have faced our families and loved ones. It is impossible to separate our emotions from this difficult topic. The school district does not discount these opinions and is working very hard to find what best serves our students and community.
The Board of Education and administration is committed to being more thoughtful and engaging in our processes and communication with stakeholders. The Board recognizes that they are solely responsible for many decisions, but it remains important to reflect on the perspectives of all stakeholders in the decision making process. We will continue to improve our work in this area, as well.
In closing, please know that the Board of Education and school administration welcome your feedback and encourage you to continue having a voice in matters of the district. The district, in return, will continue to be reflective in practice and thoughtful in making decisions that best serve our students. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Fred Lamkey, Mt. Pulaski Superintendent