Open letter from school superintendent on reopening

Letter

~ The following letter was sent to PVN by Page County Public Schools

A message from the Superintendent [of Page County Public Schools]:

March 2020 roared in like a lion with a pandemic that we have never experienced before in our lifetime. It has impacted the way we live our lives, conduct business, and how we operate a school system. Even then there was still hope that circumstances would become more stable and predictable to allow school systems to return to some since of “normalcy”. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. There has been and will continue to be an abundance of changes. Opportunities and experiences were lost last year and many will not come back this school year. School will be different.

And though these situations and challenges are not ideal, our staff have rallied around them to think outside the box in order to seize and create other opportunities and experiences to serve our students as we move forward in establishing our “new normal”. We have parameters under which we have to operate safely. And with those new parameters, we have to plan, implement and assess our educational services in new ways; ways that are not going to be easy, comfortable, or even embraced by everyone. For as a school division, the safety and welfare of our students and our staff is paramount.

This week at our school board meeting (on Thursday, July 16th), the draft proposal of our plans for reopening schools will be presented that we believe identifies a path forward that is also aligned with the guidance of local, state, and national health organizations that meet the conditions of Phase III of the Governor’s plan. The plans reflect many hours, days, and weeks of planning among our two major task forces and their subtask forces that involved intensive deliberations. Our goal has been to provide viable and engaging learning opportunities with some in-person learning and distance learning (remote learning) coupled with the necessary safety protocols and conditions in place.

After the presentation to the school board for their consideration, the plans will be posted on the website for review pending approval from the board. We recognize that our planning continues to occur in a fluid environment in which we must remain responsive for as the parameters change so too will our plans. Thank you in advance for working with us in providing needed information in order to prepare for all the logistical considerations; another survey will be sent out requesting more information after the plans are released for you to indicate your intent.

Indeed, we have difficult challenges ahead of us that will involve change. And with those changes we have two choices. We can either dwell in the frustration of “what was” or we can seize the opportunity to discover new possibilities. As for Page County Public Schools, regardless of our circumstances as to what a “new normal” school year looks like, we choose to seize the new opportunities and not dwell in the frustrations as we press forward committed to the vision and mission of PCPS. For we will continue to engage, encourage, and empower the next generation of learners, thinkers, and leaders we remain dedicated to providing an engaging, encouraging, and empowering learning environment that promotes student success.

Sincerely,

Wendy González, Ed.D. Superintendent

•••

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