Red Raider Community:
Yesterday, I communicated a difficult decision in order to continue to provide the best possible education for our students. Ultimately, our sole responsibility is to educate the children of our community.
I’m writing today to provide the rationale that went into my decision. I need to balance the needs of our children, their families, and supporting the faculty and staff to deliver on our mission.
I value the health and safety of each and every school community member equally. What has had to take priority is the task in which each provides in order for us to best accomplish our mission.
Coming out of Thanksgiving, we had so many teaching faculty unable to come to work either due to testing positive or being mandatory quarantined, we were unable to provide an in person instruction option at the Jr/Sr HS. In order to best ensure our teaching faculty could instruct, either from the school building or as a healthy quarantine from home we made the decision for our 7-12 students to learn virtually. This was an incredibly hard decision, because we prioritized maximizing in person instruction. We did so mainly due to the social and emotional impact on our students.
Now, we are faced with the same circumstances at our elementary school. If school were in session this week, we would have to be fully virtual as there would not be an in person option because we do not have enough staff to cover all of the classrooms.
The decision to go virtual at the elementary level is even more challenging than the older children for a few reasons.
- We have been informed that our 500 chrome books will arrive in mid-January
- Even if we had all of the chrome books, our youngest learners require a different level of support navigating in a virtual environment
- Elementary age children require a different level of supervision than secondary age children
- Parents need to go to work, we understand that we are not day care but we are providing a service during the day that enables parents not to worry about getting other supervision
These factors led me to only one option to meet the multiple demands in providing a safe learning environment, that will mitigate the community spread and allow the teaching faculty to continue to teach.
We can not provide a quality education to our children by only having a virtual option. The building is safe, we are not a source of spread. Our protocols are strong. I would never put a staff member or child in harm’s way. The sole reason for some adults being in the classroom and others not, is because those staff not in the room are the only people certified to teach.
My best to you and your family for a happy and healthy 2021.