Dear Hickman County Schools Community,
Since we dismissed in March and concluded the 2019-2020 school year in May, we have been constantly flooded with ever-changing information about Covid19. As the summer break gets to its half way point, most of us have begun to think about what the new school year will look like when we return in August. My goal with this letter is to clarify what we know now since state guidance has come out and to also say that the guidance continues to change on a daily basis. That being said, I hope to shed some light on what our school year should look like in 2020-2021.
First and foremost, we know that the best place for our children to learn is in an “in person” classroom with a highly qualified teacher. It is also easy to see from the responses we received so far in our parent survey that you share that same belief. We miss your children and look forward to having them back with us as soon as possible. At this point, our intension is to start school on August 12th with the normal calendar of breaks as initially voted on by the board of education this last spring. As new related developments around Covid19 emerge, this start date may very well change. We will update you promptly if it is necessary to adjust the school calendar. To do this, the Governor and the State Department for Public Health have placed mandatory safety expectations on us (and every other school) in order to return.
Those expectations are as follows:
• Cloth Face Coverings and Social Distancing: According to the guidance, face coverings will be required for all students in first grade and above when social distancing is not possible unless medically waivered. All staff will be required to wear a face covering as well under the same stipulations. We will be making every effort to provide the proper social distancing in classrooms, in the cafeteria, and any other area for students to avoid wearing them as often as we can. Nevertheless, they will be expected to wear them on the bus and in passing throughout the day where the required six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Again, we will be working diligently to make the requirement as minimal as possible. Schedules may need to be altered and student movement will be limited to accomplish this. We are supplying every student with one face covering by the first day of school, but you may want to purchase additional ones that are tailored to your child’s individual need.
• Screening: Temperature checks must also be performed each morning when staff and students enter the building. It is very important to make sure you check your child’s temperature before coming to school especially if they are going to ride the bus. If your child has a temperature of 100.4, please do not send them to school or place them on the bus. When temperatures are taken at school, if your child has a temperature of 100.4 or greater they must be sent home. Access to school will be limited and visitors will also have to be screened.
• Sanitation: School sanitation as well as good hygiene is important every school year for the safety and well-being of our students and staff. In this year, it is especially important. Proper hand washing and the use of sanitizer will be an emphasis throughout each and every school day. Staff will also be working morning and night to extensively clean all areas of the school especially high traffic areas from classrooms to buses. We will be doing our best to follow all sanitation guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education and the Department of Public Health. Our hope is that there is no significant increase in cases of Covid19 within our school or community after we begin in August and that we can get back to some form of normalcy sooner rather than later. However, if the need arises for some periods of NTI, we ask that you continue to work with us to get the most out of it. We have learned a lot from it this past year and have been working to develop a uniform plan for implementation that will be more beneficial to our students and our parents.
Lastly, there is no doubt in my mind that the best place to receive an education is on campus from one of our teachers and the social benefits that comes with it are essential to the development of our children. We believe that our school provides a great educational experience for our families, but also know that during this unprecedented year other forms of education may be necessary to educate your child. Knowing this, if you have medical concerns or other issues about starting with us this next school year, I would urge you to reach out to myself or Mr. Collins in the board office about your possible alternative plans for the new school year. Like all schools, we have been working to develop NTI based programs to help assist to meet your specific needs. If an alternate plan is needed, please contact us by phone (270-653-2341) at your earliest convenience to see how we can help. This school year will be like no other that we have ever seen before. Over the next few weeks, more information will be shared with you about upcoming school events and the latest guidance issued down from our state departments. With your help and understanding, we can make this the best school year possible for our community.
Superintendent Hickman County Schools