Superintendent Update 9/8/2020
From my observations and discussions with students and staff, we have had a great first week. I think everyone was happy to be back in school. Although we will continue to make adjustments where needed, most of the planning we did covered many of the then known contingencies.
A couple of things did come the first week. We knew that masks were going to be an issue for some students and we did our best to communicate out the expectations under the state mandate and district policy. The latest information we have been given is on the effectiveness of shields. Below is a message from the CDC:
This excerpt from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on face shields highlights some of the public health data behind face shields:
“A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.”
The second issue that came up the first week was the wearing of shirts, masks or other clothing items that promote a political candidate or cause. As a former social studies teacher I very much respect the right of both students and staff to be able to express their political opinions. The issue with this is that schools like workplaces for the most part are captive audiences. This means that if you're offended by a political message, you just can’t walk away or out of the building. This is why many workplaces ban this type of attire and so do we. I believe we all know this will be a very interesting election year and we invite any discussions by students should the opportunity arise in a structured classroom situation. We just don’t want the political environment to become an issue with the climate of our school.
The latest numbers that came up last Thursday did show a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases both in Stearns County and our school district. As stated last week, we hope the numbers will begin to level off in the next couple of weeks. Please continue to make good decisions for you and your family to keep them safe during this time and enable the school(s) to stay in session.
Finally for this week, please continue to monitor your child(ren)’s health before you send them off to school. Also, make sure to wash their masks on a weekly basis to keep them clean.
If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact me or any of the building principals.
Greg Winter, Superintendent: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chad Doetkott, High School Principal email@example.com
Robert Anderson, Middle School Principal firstname.lastname@example.org
Terryl Pearson, Elementary School Principal email@example.com