The widespread transmission of COVID-19 within our community has raised the Community Risk Alert this morning to Moderately High, or Orange.
Per our Roadmap to Reopening Plan, this means that our district schools will transition to 100% online learning to support local efforts to protect public health.
Let me be clear - the Health Department did not issue an order to close schools. This is the plan we as a district adopted in August. We use the Health Department’s meter as our source for local COVID-19 tracking information. By doing so, we have created a plan that gives our parents, staff and students clear expectations of the mitigating procedures at every level of community risk.
Our plan considers the best course of action for the continued health and safety of both the children in our care and the adults who are caring for them.
We know that any closure can present challenges to parents, especially in arranging for childcare, so we have created a “step down” process for closing. This will give parents the option of keeping their children in school until Friday. Those parents who are not comfortable with sending their children into the community or to school during this heightened alert level can choose to keep their children home during this time, with no negative impact to their attendance.
If you wish to pick your child up now, please call ahead to their school office. If you are choosing not to send them the rest of the week, call school today so their Chromebook can be sent home (for primary and elementary students).
Our campus will then close to students at 3 pm Friday, Sept. 4. We will continue to closely monitor the conditions in our community via the health department’s alert level along with the ability to staff our schools at the next risk level. We will provide weekly updates beginning Thursday evening, Sept. 10 concerning plans for the following week.
Parents and students will receive additional information about schedules and expectations for at-home learning from teachers this week.
All athletics may proceed through Monday, Sept. 7 under current ticketing guidelines.
Since this recent spike in COVID-19 cases started, I have been asked why District schools will close at heightened alert levels if we believe our campus is safe. We also know that COVID-19 does not seem to affect children as seriously as adults. So why close?
The short answer is that students do not attend school in a bubble. Our staff has also been impacted by the virus and, in some areas, we’re already experiencing significant staff shortages. We can’t have school if we don’t have teachers and substitutes, drivers and cooks. By closing during periods of community transmission, our staff will work in isolated conditions to lessen the likelihood of having to quarantine or isolate away from work.
This is a public health issue affecting us all. We are now at a level of community transmission that requires us to limit our contact with others to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are asked to reconsider activities that pose a higher risk of contracting the virus. With nearly 2,400 students and 350 staff members, our entire campus becomes a higher risk at the Orange level.
Now we’re asking every member of our District family to help us flatten this curve so we can get back to the yellow level and get back to school. However, that can only happen if we all work together to wear our masks, physically distance appropriately by not spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of those outside our own households, wash our hands, stay home if we’re not feeling well and, now, to avoid gatherings and activities that put us at increased risk.
Finally, I ask you for patience and grace for my staff as they navigate this “step down” to closure. They are learning this news at the same time you are. They’ve been thrilled to be back at school with our students, and I know they are committed to creating the very best opportunities for every child while they’re learning from home.
Please watch our website at www.pcsd32.com, where we will post additional information as it becomes available.
It’s my sincere hope and prayer that your family stays safe and well so that we may all return to on-campus learning sooner rather than later.
Community Risk Alert upgraded to Orange;
District to transition to 100% online instruction
On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Perry County Health Department moved the Community Risk Alert Level from Yellow, or moderate, to Orange, or moderately high. This change is due in large part to the increase in community transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
To protect public health, every member of our community is asked to continue to physically distance appropriately by not spending 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of those outside our own households, wear our masks, practice good hand hygiene, and now, to avoid gatherings and activities that increase our risk of exposure to the virus.
Our District 32 Roadmap To Reopening Plan contains an educational and facilities plan for each level of Community Risk Alert. At Orange, the district is closed to students for at least two weeks, with a reevaluation of the Community Risk Alert and an update provided to parents on Day 12.
We realize that any closure creates challenges for our parents, so we’re taking the next three days to transition from on-campus to at-home learning. Schools close to students at 3 pm on Friday, Sept. 4.
We will provide weekly updates beginning Thursday evening, Sept. 10 concerning plans for the following week.
Instruction will continue for all students, with most students transitioning to 100% online learning for two weeks. Some students will also receive take-home work and assignments to complete offline. You will receive further information from your building principal and teachers over the next three days.
Parents who choose to keep their students home this week (Sept. 1-4) may need to make arrangements to pick up assignments next week. Your child’s teacher will have details later this week.
All athletics may proceed through Monday, Sept. 7 with no spectators except parents in attendance. Athletic competitions during the closure will be canceled or rescheduled. You can find this information at https://www.perryville.k12.mo.us/o/phs/athletics.
All students still have access to school counselors, school-based therapists and other referral services to support their emotional and mental well-being. If your child is struggling, please reach out to your school counselor. You can find a list of counselors and their contact information at https://5il.co/kh4s.
Students who receive special services will still have access to many services. Please contact your child’s case manager with questions.
Wifi hotspots will be again located throughout the community on our school buses. A list of those locations will be posted Thursday, Sept. 3. The district’s Student Wifi may be accessed from the main parking lot for each building. The password is studentwifi.
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, we will offer daily breakfast and lunch drive-thru pick-up at our PHS Cafeteria. The menu and instructions for ordering meals will be posted on the District website at www.pcsd32.com on Thursday, Sept. 3.
Adventure Club and Little Pirates may continue at this time with currently-enrolled students, under current guidelines.
Staff will report to work as usual. All staff must complete a daily health assessment and temperature check, and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
We will reevaluate the Community Risk Alert level and issue an update on Sept. 17.