by Dr. Penny Boileau
Our spring and summer months have been very eventful and we have learned so much about dealing effectively with this pandemic. In the future, we will all easily recall the year 2020, and share stories with children and grandchildren for years to come.
We will remember checking daily for the rate of infection in our county, all the news devoted to the virus, the numerous changes that took place in such a short time and all the planning to stay responsive in a responsible manner to demands placed on us to keep health and safety in focus.
The names of national, state, and local health officials and governmental leaders will stay fresh in our memories for years to come as we have had to work so closely with them.
We are excited that school will be starting on Sept. 1, although our excitement is tempered with caution. We are concerned for the health and well-being of our students, staff, and everyone connected with our school district. The Board of Education approved a reopening plan, provided to Almond Bancroft families that includes three scenarios: 1) In-Person plan with all students attending five days per week (4K students attending four days per week), 2) Blended Plan with students attending both in-school and at-home learning environments, and 3) Virtual Plan with all students participating in online/learning packet instruction at home. These three plans need to remain fluid as we will be required to be responsive to any official health department changes in policies or procedures, or evolving circumstances regarding COVID in our area. We will also need to adhere to any mandates directed from the federal government, state government, and/or county government.
In response to feedback from families and staff members, with approximately 85% in favor of having students back in the building full time, our plan is to start the school year with the In-Person Plan. Although there is always a level of risk in school, we will put protocols and procedures in place to ensure safety and minimize risk as much as possible. This means our school day will look a bit different, but students will have the opportunity to be back in school and back in more of a typical routine.
We understand each household is different, and to that end we are offering families the option of keeping their children home for distance learning. Virtual and/or instructional learning packets will be provided by our teachers to any family making this choice. These educational opportunities will be aligned with instruction taking place in school so children may come back and join the in-person model at any time. We want this school year to meet all of our families’ needs and respect that each family has to make a decision based on individual circumstances.
Information surrounding the pandemic is constantly changing. We know that we will need to stay flexible and adapt as circumstances change. This means we may find ourselves moving into any of the three scenarios at any given time with little notice. Families will be encouraged to prepare to move into different scenarios as we go through the school year.
We will hope for the best, but prepare for difficult changes. We are a school district community of strong, resilient individuals who will go forward to do what is best for our precious children. It will take all of us working together to make this school year a success and to uphold necessary health guidelines in our school. Thank you for joining in this effort. We value your partnership and look forward to a great school year.