The question that is being asked with much anticipation of the answer “What will school at Blue Hill Community Schools look like in the Fall?” We are working to make the best of a difficult situation but we strongly want to resume classes this fall just as we have been accustomed to starting a new school year. The strategy that we will create will aim to address student and staff health needs, bolster academic instruction, and give attention to students’ social and emotional health.
It is important for students and their teachers to be back in school. Nothing is more effective in education than to have highly qualified teachers working with students on a daily basis. In-class instruction is the most effective educational approach. We have missed this. We finished the last semester of the 2019-20 school year with instruction taking place by eLearning, it worked but it was not the best situation.
I believe it is the desire of most if not all students to return to school in the Fall. Students want to be back with friends, teachers and staff in the school setting they are familiar with, learning, pursuing sports, activities, clubs, and other school routines.
The summer is near to its halfway point and we are starting to plan for Fall but still not understanding the extent of the virus and how it may affect classroom instruction in the Fall. It is difficult to plan for something still weeks away as we do know yet what Directive Health Measures we will have in place at the start of school.
One big question that is being asked at this time is “Will students and staff be required to wear masks when school resumes?” We do not know the answer to this question yet but we do know that the South Heartland Health District is at this time strongly recommending masks for school.
Health protection is crucial, of course. We do have on hand masks for students and staff, and we are working on school routines that will be adjusted to minimize health concerns. In anticipation, as parents, you may want to start working with your student on wearing a mask, possibly getting a mask that you know fits your child, and maybe getting a mask that your child will be motivated to wear.
When returning to school we will closely monitor health conditions both in classrooms and throughout the district. We will have in place soap, hand sanitizer and cleaners to clean and disinfect surfaces and we will follow recommended cleaning protocols. Students and staff whose health circumstances require special attention will be able to study or work from home if parents chose.
Soon we will be sending out an email to parents and staff with a survey to gain information about ideas and concerns for our planning. We hope to announce our district strategy, as close to the start of August as possible. It seems things do change almost daily so if we wait to release our plan we hope to have the best strategy possible. When it comes to formulating a plan we would rather be late and right than early and wrong. Thank you for your patience.
The coronavirus has created big complications for school planning but please be assured we’re working to do what is best for everyone! We miss your kids and want things back to normal but we must be patient and be understanding and work under the guidelines we have been given.
Watch for the survey and please fill out and return.