This week I had an opportunity to visit with our kindergarten and first grade teachers and the staff supporting our kindergartners and first graders. We discussed many topics related to thoughtfully planning for a safe return to schools. We also are sending an initial survey to our kindergarten and first grade families this week to gauge interest in returning to school knowing that there are yet many scheduling details to be worked through in the coming weeks. We are currently vetting the survey with several parents and staff and plan to release it to the broader K-1 parent group in the next several days.
We likely will have a follow-up to the survey (and maybe several) as we require more fine-tuning of details in our efforts to support all of our students and as we get closer to setting a reopening date for students in this grade range. Uppermost in our planning will be a continuity of educational services and the classroom relationships already established as much as possible though we know there are no guarantees.
With regard to the athletics and conditioning topics that have been widely discussed in recent weeks, I want to reiterate our support for the planning that the KingCo League is doing in conjunction with our district athletic directors. Further, within our district, our athletic directors and coaches are also planning small group outdoor conditioning programs with more detailed communications coming directly from them in the very near future.
In a recently printed European press article scientists chronicle new research that continues to raise questions about the role and impact of the pandemic on children. As we contemplate our safe return to school buildings, we continue to be thoughtful about all that is going on around us and how it informs those practices we implement to safely reopen and sustain the reopening. While we monitor practices in Europe, we also are noticing an alarming trend here in the United States showing more teachers testing positive for COVID and want to make sure that we support best practices for a safe return to the classroom and recognize that vaccinations are a key tenet of a safe return, in addition to effective and available PPE, and a robust testing and tracing protocol. It continues to be important to follow the research as we plan forward.
I continue to appreciate your patience as we work through constantly changing variables during this pandemic; together all things are possible.
Wishing you a joyful winter weekend,
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.