Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021
On Friday, September 10, 2021, the Perry County School District 32 Board of Education voted to follow the newest recommendations for schools by the Perry County Health Department, which can be found by clicking this link: https://5il.co/ysm5.
What does this look like at D32? Obviously, given the timing of this new guidance and the timing in which the Board of Education voted to take action, our staff must have time to work through these new measures. I ask that you be patient this week as we work to implement the new procedures in an orderly manner that does not further disrupt classroom instruction.
Here’s what we know right now:
Tomorrow, Monday, Sept. 13, all students (vaccinated or unvaccinated) who are currently quarantined as close contacts may return to in-person learning but they must wear a mask at all times at school and at school activities until further notice. We must have time to identify which students are vaccinated and which students are not vaccinated. Parents/guardians have the choice to keep their quarantined child(ren) home if they do not want them to wear a mask. Failure to comply with these rules will remove this option and the child will be sent home for the remainder of their quarantine period.
Every other student may attend school with or without a mask, according to their personal choice.
As soon as possible, vaccinated students will no longer be required to wear a mask at any time at school (but may choose to do so). Due to the new Health Department guidance, the District will now require proof of completed COVID-19 vaccination for students who wish to avoid wearing a mask in the future. If your child/ren is/are vaccinated, and if you have not already done so, please bring verification to the appropriate school nurse. We will make a copy of the students’ vaccination status, verify it with the health department, and begin tracking this through our school information system.
Under the new guidance, unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts to a positive individual can “quarantine at school” but must still wear a mask when they can’t social distance more than three feet. During the school day, when we identify opportunities for these students to remove the masks, the building administration will let the student and the appropriate staff know. Again, parents/guardians have the choice to keep their quarantined child(ren) home if they do not want them to wear a mask.
Per new guidance, students that have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days will be able to follow the same protocols as outlined above for vaccinated students. We are asking that you provide to the school nurse verification that your child(ren) have recovered from COVID-19. This may be in the form of a letter from their physician or from the health department.
Finally, all students and staff who are sick should stay home.
Clearly there are many more questions than answers to this entire process. We will continue to work through them and develop better processes and protocols as we know more. It is vitally important that we have the cooperation of everyone to make this transition as smooth as possible, which is why we are asking you to speak to your child(ren) about this.
It will be rough for the next few days, folks. Everyone is overwhelmed by all of this, and we are trying to do our best to get and keep all students in class, while also keeping them safe. I am confident that we can do that, but it will take a tremendous amount of cooperation and understanding by all of those involved.
As I’ve said numerous times throughout this pandemic, we’re all humans and we’ll make mistakes. There will be confusion this week about who should be masked, and when and where they should be masked. We’ll figure it out, but we’ll need your patience and understanding until we get there.
Finally, I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to my staff and our students. This has been an awful start to the school year as we were quickly overwhelmed with more than 100 positive cases of COVID. Yet in every building our students and staff have rejoiced at being together again and gotten down to the business of teaching and learning.
May we all learn from their example of grit and grace.