Thank you for being patient as we determined our reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Based on data from the Department of Community Health (DPH) and parent responses on our survey, we will reopen school on August 10 with two options: traditional in-person instruction (5 days a week) and online/digital instruction for parents who prefer to keep their child at home.

I believe it is important for our children to be in school. The #OPENSCHOOL task force has developed very comprehensive guidelines to reopen our schools safely.

I’d like to highlight a few key points:

♦ We are hiring a Cleaning Technician for each school. This employee will be dedicated to sanitizing touch points, restrooms, and stocking classrooms with cleaning supplies throughout the day;

♦ Masks are strongly recommended, and in areas where social distancing cannot be accomplished, masks may be required (i.e. buses, entrances, class transitions, and some classrooms with large class sizes);

♦ Visitors will be STRICTLY limited, and they will be required to wear masks;

♦ Upward spout water fountains will be closed and replaced with water bottle/cup filling stations, so students need to bring a water bottle/cup from home;

♦ Hand sanitizer will be available, but students are also encouraged to have a personal supply;

♦ DPH data will be monitored, and if there is a significant increase in “community spread” or positive cases in a school, plans may be modified during the year.

I believe we can reopen school safely for our students and employees with the guidelines we have in place, but I am going to need your help! I know masks are a big controversy, but to keep our employees healthy, I’m asking you to encourage your child to wear a mask in situations where social distancing cannot be accomplished.

I’m also asking you to limit visits to the school. We love having parents and volunteers in our schools, but we know adults spread COVID-19 more than children. We want to protect our employees’ health by limiting the number of adults they come in contact with each day, especially in the first few months of reopening.

I understand some parents may not be comfortable with their child returning to school, so we have enhanced our digital learning platform to offer this option. The last two pages of the guidelines provide information about digital learning, and a link to enroll in this option. To participate in digital learning, students must be enrolled by July 22.

My goal is to keep our schools open all year! Our students need to be in school to learn and to experience social interactions with their friends. I want to make the return to school, “as normal as possible,” for our students; however, we must follow some guidelines to keep our teachers, employees, and students healthy. Working together, I know we can #KEEPCATOOSASCHOOLSOPEN.

Recommended for you