May 20, 2021
Midd-West School District Parents and Families:
This letter serves to show the Midd-West School District’s appreciation for a great 2020-21 school year despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our families’ understanding and positive attitudes allowed us to be successful through a variety of circumstances including remote learning, quarantining, and changing regulations throughout the year.
As a district, we managed to maintain in-person learning opportunities for all children for 90% of the planned instructional days during the school year. Many of our buildings were well in excess of that figure. Additionally, we found ways to hold extra-curricular activities that allowed our students to share their talents while keeping students, staff, and families safe. As a result of our community’s effort, documented transmission of COVID-19 during school related activities were extremely rare. Additionally, we were able to provide alternative ways for students and families with concerns to receive an education through our virtual and cyber programs.
Because of our approach, we have significant data to illustrate what programs were effective and how we can improve them for next year. In planning for 2021-22, the Midd-West School District will continue to follow all mandates from the state and local government for the reopening of schools. As the state lifts regulations, the school district will revise their practices to reflect those changes. This would apply to mask mandates as well. Although, it is our hope that these will be lifted, we cannot guarantee that at this time. As an entity that exists on local and state tax dollars, we must abide by and balance between state guidelines and local community wishes. This will remain a challenge. At the moment, we anticipate the following changes for the 2021-22 school year:
1. Virtual Programs, where students participate as a part of a livestreamed classroom, will not be offered as a choice. It will be reserved only for students that are required to quarantine for a positive COVID-19 test result or a close contact. Students who participated in Virtual Programs will need to return to the regular classroom or choose to participate in our Midd-West Cyber Academy. Please make your wishes known to your child’s principal as soon as possible.
2. Policies for attendance, work completion, and academic achievement will be strictly enforced in MWCA. One of our greatest failures during the pandemic was the number of students who did not keep pace with their coursework in cyber or virtual settings. In past years, we required students who fell behind to report to the building to do their cyber work. If the problem persisted, we then required them to return to classes within the building. These practices will be reinstituted in the 2021-22 school year, which means that MWCA participation is a privilege that must be earned and maintained.
3. There will be no parent surveys to complete prior to sending students to school in the morning. We do appreciate all the parents who took the time to screen their children and complete the survey during the 2020-21 school year. We would appreciate if parents still had conversation with their children about symptoms prior to sending them on the bus each morning.
4. All school buildings will resume normal dismissal times and routines for the 2021-22 school year. Because of the pandemic and the number of parents that were transporting their children to school, changes were made in departure times for various groups that altered the instructional hours our students received. Plan accordingly for this return to normal and stay tuned for specific information on your child’s dismissal procedures.
5. To the maximum extent possible, lunches will be served in cafeterias with appropriate precautions in place. Students need the social interaction that such settings provide. Barriers that obstruct student’s view of one another will also be removed. Conversely, we will attempt to maintain seating charts for contact tracing purposes and social distancing to the best of our ability.
At this point, there will be many strategies that the district will maintain to start the school year in an attempt to keep students and staff safe. The list includes, but is not limited to the following concepts:
- Elementary students will continue to receive temperature screenings as a part of the homeroom routine. Students with a fever will be sent to the nurse for further observation. High School and Middle School students will no longer be given temperature screenings, but will complete the self-health screening currently employed at those levels.
- Sanitation stations will be maintained in classrooms where students will have access to hand sanitizer and wipes should they choose to clean their instructional area.
- Custodians will maintain their treatment cycles in large group areas such as cafeterias, auditoriums, and restrooms.
- Contact tracing procedures will continue and parents will receive communication when their child has been exposed or identified as a close contact. Quarantine may still be imposed when a student is identified as a close contact to a positive case.
In closing, in order for the Midd-West School District to continue to beat the pandemic and provide quality instruction for all students, we must rely on the help of our parents and community. The key component in this is communication. The more we can communicate our needs and the specific circumstances we face, the better we will be able to meet those needs and the challenges that arise in the next year. Please reach out to your building principal to communicate your desire for an instructional program or to address any questions you may have. It is our great pleasure to serve all our students and families in this community. Together, we will be even better in 2021-22.
If you have questions pertinent to our district operational plans, please feel free to contact me at (570) 837-0046 (ext. 1201) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Stroup, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Midd-West School District