We are happy to once again have students and staff learning and engaging through in-person learning in each of our schools. We can’t thank our parents, staff and students enough for their grace and understanding as we developed and implemented our instructional plans in the midst of a once in a generation, global pandemic.
Our guiding principle has been the safety of students, staff and families at every step of our Return to Learn journey. We continue to move forward with that as our North Star by consulting the data and monitoring health trends throughout the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
The data does in fact support the notion that schools are not where virus transmission takes place. This wonderful news for all of us. It means our in school mitigation practices and instructional models are working. However it needs to be made clear that the decisions we (community members) make outside of the classroom or school when it comes to COVID-19, directly impact the sustainability of our in-person hybrid learning model. Each of us needs to continue to do everything we can to mitigate our health risks by masking up, keeping physical distance, practicing proper hygiene, keeping small social bubbles, and monitoring ourselves and loved ones for COVID-19 symptoms.
Now is not the time to make emotional, reactionary decisions with the realization that schools are not centers of virus spread. We must continue to make science-driven decisions when refining our instructional models to determine if any improvements can be made or if any changes need to take place.
While we’d love nothing more than to see full classrooms of smiling, non-masked faces and get back to some pre-COVID-19 normalcy, we will continue to take a measured and data-driven approach when deciding our best steps forward.
It may be tempting to compare the decisions of other districts but each school district in the State of Michigan is empowered to make the best possible choices for their particular communities at the local level. What works for some schools may not work for others and we will continue to do what we feel is in the best interest of the students, staff and families of the West Bloomfield School District. We are in contact with our colleagues in neighboring districts and across the state to learn from each other and collaborate whenever possible. These partnerships are critical when uncovering new approaches and developing new best practices with the health and safety of all who learn, work and play in our school buildings at the forefront.
We sincerely appreciate the feedback we have received and continue to receive from our families. Truly, there is no one scenario that will make all parties happy when determining our plans moving forward. We continue to partner with our stakeholders to seek input on what our next steps might look like in the weeks ahead.
We recognize these past 11 months have been anything but ideal but there is light at the end of this tunnel. That being said, we cannot allow that desire to be done with COVID-19 lead us to complacency in fighting this virus.
We will continue to communicate with our staff, parents/families and students as we monitor, adapt and change how we educate and care for each of our students.