SCCPSS announces plans to move forward

Superintendent discusses challenges, post-pandemic hopes

What have we learned in a year? We have learned how much we need each other. We have learned the true value of technology and how, with all its benefits, there are still many barriers to overcome.

We have gained a greater appreciation for patience and compassion. We have seen so many gain a greater understanding of what educators already know – quality learning is about relationships and there is no substitute for the connection between a teacher and their students.

Now, as we look toward the fourth quarter of this school year, we have learned how to adapt to this new way of learning that has, in so many ways, challenged our ability to grow meaningful relationships. We are moving forward with the work of preparing for the 2021-2022 school year while also having our feet planted in the day-to-day, month-to-month activities of 2020-2021.

"We believe the processes we have provide a safe educational environment for staff and students, and we believe the absolute best place for our students is in our buildings, interacting with our amazing teachers and staff, building strong relationships every day." — Dr. Ann Levett, SCCPS superintendent

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We remain fully committed to the academic progress, social-emotional well-being, health, and safety of our students and staff. We recognize that being in a distance learning or hybrid model has been a challenge for many. A growing percentage have adapted well to virtual learning and prefer it to all other models. While the hybrid model for our students has been delivered with skill and dedication, our desire has always been to get our students back in classrooms safely with their classmates. We are grateful for our community’s resilience and support of our students, staff, and families under these challenging and unpredictable circumstances.

Right now, the major question posed is, “What are your plans for the fall?” While the public health conditions continue to change and public health guidance continues to evolve, I believe we have a better sense of what the future may bring compared to where we were just one year ago.

Given current CDC guidance, the recent reduction of COVID positivity rates in our area, staff access to vaccinations, and the clinical trials now underway for vaccines for teens and younger children we see the promise of fewer restrictions on the horizon. These developments have offered rays of hope for a return, at some level, to pre-COVID conditions on several fronts.

We are just shy of 140 calendar days from the 2021-2022 school year. We will close out this school year with modified versions of school closing activities, including in-person graduation ceremonies — something that was not logistically practical last spring. A combination of summer learning offerings will include traditional summer programs that focus on reading skills, language acquisition, and credit recovery as well as options for acceleration of skills and experiences. We will round out summer offerings with recreational and relational opportunities.

With cautious optimism, our goal is to have all students in class five-days a week in 2021-2022 - we are planning feverishly for that. Of course, our eLearning Academy remains available for families who need or desire a virtual option. We have appropriate safety measures in place and a highly functional COVID-19 response plan. We believe the processes we have provide a safe educational environment for staff and students, and we believe the absolute best place for our students is in our buildings, interacting with our amazing teachers and staff, building strong relationships every day. To help us reach this goal, we implore each person in our community to act in a responsible manner that places safety first. As always, we will have several back-up plans if public health conditions warrant so.

We have made it to this point based on the strength of our SCCPSS community, including the dedication and support of many families and staff who stayed the course through the toughest times we have seen, yet. This unshakeable teamwork helped each of us grow stronger and prepared us for whatever lies ahead. We look forward to seeing all students this fall and ask each community member to help us meet that goal.

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