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Good Afternoon Hilltoppers,

It has been a busy week as we begin to close out our semester and prepare for the holidays.  The month of December has increased our pandemic concerns as positive cases increase not just locally, but nationally.  The seriousness of our circumstances led us to cancel extracurricular events, but more importantly, place our junior high on adaptive pause.

I received several communications this week inquiring “why only the junior went to adaptive pause?” or “why are we still playing sports?”  These are very good questions and I can easily see why they would be asked.  My assurance to our stakeholders is that I promise that our student and staff safety is my most important job.  I take this role very seriously and consider many variables in formulating conclusions.

Just after Thanksgiving, we saw an increase in quarantine and positive testing individuals at the high school, but we did not see a big drop in attendance.  Because quarantines and positive cases could be categorized into specific groups, we were able to remain with in-person instruction while we put sports on adaptive pause while we got healthy.  This week, the high school is much improved, with no new positive cases among our students and only four quarantines, which has allowed us to restart normal activities.

This past Monday, the concern came to the grade school as our school nurse informed our administrative team of a high number of positive testing students in the grade school.  We were able to immediately see these students were primarily from the junior high, which led our team to move to an adaptive pause for all junior high attendance and activities.  Throughout the week, we have monitored student attendance, quarantines and positive cases in the lower elementary as well as the high school to make sure the spread did not continue through these populations.  Fortunately, our numbers in those areas remained very steady this week and we were able to have lower elementary and high school students remain in-person.  We hope to start the New Year healthy and active in junior high!

Our goal is to keep students in school, but not at the risk of their health.  We are very diligent to monitor our status so that we are prepared to make decisions like the junior high adaptive pause.  These practices will continue as we move forward.

I hope this gives you insight into our decisions and some confidence that we are very aware of the surroundings of our schools and community.  On behalf of the Board and administration, I thank you for your continued support and patience!

Frederick A Lamkey, Mt. Pulaski Superintendent