Wednesday, 3/31/2021 - SAU29 COVID-19 Update

March 31, 2021

To: All Staff and Families

From: Superintendent of Schools

Subject: Planning for Onsite Learning in All Schools

The purpose of this update is to assure all of our school communities that we continue to look at how we can increase onsite teaching and learning for our students.  I have asked our building leaders to work with their staff to analyze what that could look like for their school with the available resources we have, and to identify and address obstacles along the way.  And while I do not have a concrete date on when we will be able to achieve this in all of our buildings for all of our grade levels, it is my belief that we can get closer to our “normal” with 4 or 5 days a week of onsite teaching and learning before the school year concludes.

It has long been a desire for many of us to get back to what we refer to as “normal” since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.  As has been the case for a number of people throughout that period, a great deal of uncertainty has existed making the overall management of life in a pandemic much more difficult.  This has proven true not only in the design and delivery of teaching and learning, but quite honestly, in everything in life as well.  And, while we still do not know with final certainty when the pandemic will be behind us, we unquestionably know much more now than we did a year, 6 months and even just a month ago.

Another reality that has been consistent throughout the pandemic is the wide range of personal perceptions that run from “there is absolutely nothing to worry about, it’s just a flu” to the “I’ll see you when it is all over”.  We have been navigating that drastic difference in perception since the onset to deliver the best education possible for all of our students that fall somewhere within that range.  No easy task, and I truly must sing the praise of our staff that have been making it happen day after day!  We should all feel extremely proud of both the individual and the collective efforts that have been made by every person working within our school communities, I know that I am.

That said, in our Comprehensive Plan since day 1 last August, we publicly announced and listed our Core Beliefs (p. 6) as educators.  While some may disagree, I honestly believe that all of our staff have stayed true to these beliefs to the very best of our abilities.  I wouldn’t say that it has always been flawless, but I will definitely stand by my previous statement.  As guidance has shifted throughout the pandemic, so have we.  We have done so in a calculated manner that meets the current guidance and aligns with our core beliefs.  

While there has been some indication that the Governor may release a statement expecting all schools to move in this direction, it is important that we all are aware our personnel have and will continue to be ahead of that on behalf of our students.  Throughout this school year, our staff have continually worked on ways to establish onsite opportunities for our students while maintaining the overall health and well-being of students and staff.  They are both core beliefs.  We will never stop working to improve on what we are doing -  pandemic or not.  In many of our buildings we have shifted from one model to another (p. 9-10 in Comprehensive Plan) to increase those opportunities, but we have not been able to do so in all of our schools and all of our grade levels...yet.