In this regular Friday COVID-19 update, my intention was to announce a move to a modified Stage 3 Hybrid Learning in two weeks. That means on October 19, we would have begun phasing in some of the groups listed in Stage 3.
However, as we watch the changing numbers around our state along with positive test/exposures among our district staff, our best approach is to continue to review the fact pattern over the weekend and provide an update by Monday afternoon.
We all want nothing more than to see our students and staff safely back in the classrooms and buildings. To do that, we must act cautiously and strategically, and consider all of the information in front of us. On Wednesday, the state’s deputy health secretary, Lucy Fehrenbach stated that their data are “not hard measures.” She added, “We’re really counting on the community to look at their COVID data, the trends of their data as well as the other risks and benefits to having in-person learning for their students.” So, my commitment is that I will continue looking at the data and trends over the weekend and communicate something to all families and staff on Monday.
Also, I want to provide clarity around how we will move each group into hybrid and full in-person learning as we progress through the stages. Please be reminded that the unpredictability of COVID dictates that our progress will not look like a switch, but more like a dial. We will gradually bring back groups within each stage before moving to the next stage – all while keeping a close eye on many considerations, including state and county data, positive cases and exposures, and safe behaviors. I am also tracking the data from across the country as schools in other states have reopened in various ways.
Our goal is to progress forward on the dial and avoid the upheaval and anxiety of moving backward. To do that, we are counting on each and every one of you. I encourage you to stay safe, practice safety protocols, including but not limited to practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home if you have COVID-like symptoms. We can do this together!
Finally, as we have recently learned, our President and First Lady have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. I invite you to join me in keeping them, and everyone affected by this pandemic, in our thoughts and prayers.
Until Monday, I wish you all a safe, healthy, and joyful weekend.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.