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Community Update 11/24/2020
Greetings,  It is hard to believe that the holiday season is quickly approaching.   Tucked in between Halloween, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa is a uniquely American holiday that is celebrated every year on the last Thursday in November.
 

I remember, as a child, hearing the story about the first Thanksgiving.  It was in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts where the Pilgrims and the Native Americans shared a bountiful feast taking time to reflect and give thanks for the many blessings they had received.  Almost 400 years later we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving spending time with family and friends. 

We celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, but shouldn’t we celebrate the ‘ideals’ of Thanksgiving all year long, counting our blessings and sharing our gratitude with others?  There may be no better time than during this pandemic to take stock in the many things we can be thankful for and take the time to share our gratitude with others.

As we reflect on the many things for which we are thankful, I want to take this opportunity to share a few of them with you:  

  • We are  thankful for our students who come to school every day ready to learn – they give us all a daily reminder of what is important and why we are here.  They are a blessing and our future!

  • We are thankful for the support of parents and guardians.  They continue to share their most valuable possession with us and advocate to be a partner in their children’s education, safety, and well-being. For this, we are ever so thankful.

  • We are thankful for the teachers, bus drivers, secretaries, cooks, custodians, clinic staff, support staff, administrators, and board members who are dedicated and committed to providing  an education exemplified by excellence.  

  • We are thankful to a community who supports us in so many ways.

  • We are thankful that we live in a country where we can celebrate our freedoms, respect our differences, honor the past, and look to the future with hope.  

We each express gratitude toward others in different ways; a simple note, a handshake, a pat on the back, a phone call, a smile, and small acts of kindness to name a few.  An attitude of gratitude, that when shared, has the ability to change the world.  During moments of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, a grateful perspective is critical to sustain our positive attitude—to energize, to heal, and to bring hope. 

 “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.  Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.  Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”  Henri Frederic Amiel
 

I would like to wish all of you and your families a happy, healthy and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.

COVID Update -

We need your Help!   With the holidays approaching, we need to keep our guards up and remain steadfast in our efforts to combat the rising COVID positive cases in our community.  We desperately want to keep our schools open and need the support of our community to follow the same basic safety guidelines that our students and staff practice daily.


  • Conduct daily health screening checks of yourself and family members.  If you're sick please stay home.

  • Please... wear a mask while out in public.  Wearing a mask will protect you and others around you.

  • Maintain social distancing of 6’ where feasible.

  • Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizers frequently. 

While our goal is to remain in school under the Traditional (Green) learning model, there are a variety of conditions that could warrant a change which include: 


  • Knox County Alert levels

  • Student absences due to COVID positive student cases and/or Quarantine of 20%

  • Staff absences due to COVID positive cases and/or Quarantine of 20%

  • State Mandate by Governor or Ohio Department of Health

Of the aforementioned conditions, our ability to maintain the staffing necessary to keep buildings and classrooms operating is of great concern.  With staff positive cases and quarantine rising, we are finding it challenging to safely keep schools open.  


We will be carefully evaluating the COVID spread locally and its impact in the school community in the coming weeks following thanksgiving.  If we find COVID positive numbers rising to levels indicated above we may find it necessary to be proactive prior to the winter break by transitioning to a Remote (Red) learning model.  


We all have a stake in controlling the spread of the virus by the way we interact with others in the weeks to come.  Help us keep our schools open!


COVID Dashboard -
 
We would encourage you to take a look at the district's‘ COVID Dashboard’ located on the district website.   Covid Dashboard ButtonWe continue to update the site with additional information and notifications. 

We are now sending email letters to all parents/guardians of buildings where a student or staff member has tested positive. Due to HIPAA regulations, we have provided the details of active student and staff member data on the district dashboard by building only. We have also added a cumulative graph that depicts positive cases since the beginning. 

It is important to note that while case positive numbers are rising across the state and even locally the impact on schools is thankfully quite low.  There continues to be positive evidence that the K-12 student population is less likely to contract the virus, spread the virus, and if positive students recover much quicker with fewer complications.   


Our Covid dashboard and that of surrounding districts continue to remain low with a student positivity rate .21% - less than 1/4 of 1% for which we are grateful.  We try our best to find out where the positive student/staff contacts seem to originate and invariably it is outside of the school setting.  The students and staff have done a tremendous job in following the safety guidelines, especially as it relates to wearing masks. 


Free Breakfast & Lunch - 
We have received some GOOD NEWS relative to food service. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending flexibilities to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. We encourage all parents/students to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity which will support our food service program and save families money.
 

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving and Go Jackets!