First, we want to make clear that we support all efforts to keep our communities safe and we respect the weight of the decisions entrusted with the Governor. However, we believe that we can support these efforts AND safely return our children to school. We are monitoring the behaviors of our own students and families, and we believe this is our safest option right now for our faculty, staff, parents and students. We are taking this one step at a time and will make any changes we need to along the way. Keep in mind, this situation is still very fluid!
So, OCS has elected to return to in person instruction on Monday, November 30 for all students in grades K-6. Students in grades 7-12 will continue with virtual learning for one more week, and it is our intention and hope that students in grades 7-12 will return to in person instruction on Monday, December 7. K-6 families not comfortable with sending their child the week of November 30 will continue virtual learning for the week.
This decision makes more sense for our system because our experience and our data support going back to school, especially at the elementary level. Nearly all the challenges we have faced in our system were with the older students, because they have more of a social life over the weekends and on holidays. We think that trying to find childcare for elementary aged students could do more to increase transmissions. Not only is it hard to find, but we don’t want parents using vulnerable relatives or older students outside the household to babysit.
Safety for staff and students remains paramount, so we are going to assess the situation Wednesday or Thursday to see if we think we can safely bring them back to school the following week. But that will depend on the number of positive test cases and quarantines. We want to make sure that we bring students back into the safest possible educational environment. In the meantime, we are very pleased with the way our distance learning is performing with middle school and high school students.
We also remind you that we can only do so much within the confines of a school day. As parents, we ask you to continue to do everything you can to mitigate the spread of the virus and help keep our children and schools safe.
Thanks – Keith, CAO
Owensboro Catholic Schools