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Superintendent Update for 04/30/2021


Friday, April 30, 2021

Good afternoon Panther families:

Welcome to the end of April…with students still in school! 

In any other school year, the above statement would probably not resonate much to most of us, as we would not really think of it as anything but “normal”. However, this year with the multitude of COVID-19 challenges lurking around every corner, this statement is significant and one that brings about a great deal of pride for many of us. 

Back in August, having students “in school” (even until Labor Day) may have seemed like an impossible task; but with the patience, courage, flexibility, collaboration, and absolute resolve of our staff, students and the community, we have almost completed an entire school year of “in-person” learning for all grades! That is an outstanding achievement and something to celebrate! 

As our seniors finish their last day today (and when they walk across the graduation stage next week) they have experienced something that many other students in different areas of the country haven’t had a chance to do this year...experience a senior year...at school!  

Although there were certainly many challenges this year, our students and staff stayed the course and finished! What an accomplishment!  I am so proud of our district and community for doing something that many thought was not possible back in August. Thank you again for your support in helping us have a great school year!

Because this will be the last community update before we officially end the school year on Friday, May 21st, I would also like to share, in addition to the latest COVID-19 update, some things about the end of the school year, this summer, and the start of school in the fall.

COVID Update: As of 4/30/2021

  • Including our new cases, here are the updated numbers for our district as of 4.30.2021.

    • 30 positive staff cases (12 HS/ 18 Elementary) since the beginning of school in August.

    • 45 positive student cases (23 HS / 22 Elementary) since the beginning of school in August.

      • Please note: We have only had one additional student case in the past several weeks. 

      • Total positive COVID cases for the district since the beginning of school in August is now at 75.

  • Additionally, we were able to hold our second  “on-site” vaccine clinic for our district staff on Wednesday, April 14th.  Because of this clinic, we were able to vaccinate all of our district staff that wanted the second shot of the Moderna vaccine (we had our first shot on Wednesday, March 17th). This means that for the vast majority of our district staff, they have now been fully immunized. This is great progress for our district! 

  • Although the positive cases in our district have been dramatically reduced and the vast majority of our staff have been fully vaccinated, we will continue to wear masks and practice social distancing whenever possible until the end of this school year and through summer enrichment.

  • Our goal is to finish this school year in a safe manner and hopefully work toward starting the next school year in a more “normal” fashion. At this point, we are planning to start school in the fall without masks (if we are able to do so in accordance with local health department protocols). 

Directed Health Measures: 

High School Graduation:

  • Congratulations to our seniors! This outstanding group of young women and men have had an inordinate amount of “pandemic-related” disruptions to their school careers over the past 15 months. Despite those disruptions, this amazing group of young adults have succeeded and have had an excellent year!  We are so happy for them and wish them all the best as they pursue their hopes and dreams post high school!

“End of the School” Year Items:

  • As we finish up the school year, here are a few things to consider as we head into the final days for students.

    • Lost and Found: Please have your child check each building’s “lost and found” center to see if any item they may have “misplaced” during the year could have ended up there. 

    • School Announcements: Please continue to read the high school and elementary announcements each week to stay updated on upcoming school events and activities.  

    • Lockers/School Items: At the high school, please remind students to clean out lockers and take home items they may have created or left in the various classrooms. 

    • Report Cards: This year, all student report cards will be mailed home to families during the last week of May (the week after school gets out). 

    • School Activity Physicals: Student activity physicals completed after May 1st will be good for school activities for the 2021-2022 school year.  Just a reminder that students entering kindergarten and seventh grade will also need proof of updated immunizations.  The form for activity physicals is on our school website. Search the site for “physical forms” or click the following link: https://www.districtor1.org/vnews/display.v/ART/51e82b33499a5?in_archive=1  

Summer Items: 

  •  Please note: There will not be a May or July printed newsletter this year (information will still be posted electronically to our website throughout the summer). However, we will be sending out a printed district newsletter in the middle of June. The June newsletter will contain information regarding such things as the following: Elementary Open House, after-school rec registration, school supply lists, summer activity camps and clinics, and bus transportation information for the fall. 

  • Bennet Elementary School is again offering summer enrichment for students. These classes will start Monday, June 7th at Bennet Elementary at 9:00 a.m. and run until noon each day Monday through Thursday. The last day for summer enrichment will be Thursday, June 24th. 

  • If you are registered for summer enrichment, a letter will be sent home with your child in the last week of school.  

“Beginning of the School Year” Planning: 

  • Bennet Elementary School Open House will be held on Monday, August 9th from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. 

  • The 2021-2022 school year starts for students on Wednesday, August 11th. 

  • The first day of preschool is Monday, August 16th.

  • We are planning to start school “in-person” and as normal as we can. This means that, hopefully, we will not have to wear masks when we begin school in the fall. If something changes, we will let parents know as soon as possible. 

Upcoming Dates to Remember:

  • Wednesday, May 5th: Senior practice for graduation in the main gym at 8:15 a.m. 

  • Saturday, May 8th: High School Graduation in the main gym at 2:00 p.m. 

  • Tuesday, May 18th: 6th Grade Graduation at Bennet Elementary at 2:30 p.m. 

  • Wednesday, May 19th: Last day of school for elementary students (K-6)

  • Thursday, May 20th: 1:30 p.m. dismissal. Last day of school for grades 7-12 students 

Have a great rest of your Friday and a safe weekend.