We continue to closely monitor all guidance from public health officials regarding our return to school for the 2020-2021 school year. In reviewing this information, and in alignment with the recent announcement from both the Governor and the Commissioner of Education to return to in-person learning, we have the resolve to welcome nearly 100% of students to school for in-classroom instruction on our originally scheduled date of Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Notably, construction at both Elkhorn North High School and Woodbrook Elementary continues to progress as expected, and both schools will be prepared for in-classroom learning on August 18.
Everyone acknowledges that a full return to in-classroom learning is a best-case scenario for our students’ educational advancement. Additionally, the social-emotional well-being of our students is in play as most want and need to be back in school. However, we understand that some students and/or families may have health concerns that will prohibit their students from returning to in-classroom instruction at this time. Accommodations can be made to assist with these circumstances by contacting Executive Director of Student Services Anne Doerr at email@example.com.
The safety of all is the sole motivation for our return to school protocols because we cannot ignore that the threat of this virus remains, and we must take all prudent steps to keep our schools from becoming the uninterrupted source by which it spreads in our community. Local health experts inform that the layering of safety protocols such as frequent surface cleaning, symptom checks, hand washing, social distancing, and masks are our best defense against the spread thus allowing us to stay in school. To this end, we expect that mask-wearing will be an important measure to be utilized to further protect the health of our students and staff while in school. Students and staff will be expected to wear masks as much as reasonable and appropriate. Principals and teachers will work with students and families on what is reasonable and appropriate for each individual student. Your help is essential in creating as safe of an environment as possible, navigating public-health imperatives, and helping us stay in session, which is the best option for most students. Detailed safety protocols for this upcoming school year can be found here.
We must also anticipate that there will be outbreaks, creating cycles through which we move from in-person to remote learning. Furthermore, updated health directives and requirements from state or local officials may be issued which could require a change in the amount of in-person learning allowed. With this in mind, we have created several backup plans that may need to be implemented at any time throughout the school year to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and community. You can view information about EPS Contingency plans here.
We will continue to refine our plans, but we wanted to provide this update in full transparency of our best intentions for students and staff in August. Follow-up communication will also be sent by building principals in early August with additional information and detailed plans for building-specific procedures and activities. We also understand that extracurricular and co-curricular activities are an important part of the school experience, and we remain hopeful that these can be offered safely for our students.
We appreciate your patience and support as we navigate the challenges that are sure to come. Our continued community partnership is essential as we take this step towards normalcy and unify our resolve to return to school with the necessary safety measures for our students and staff.
Bary Habrock, Superintendent