Dear Staff and Families,
As we have repeatedly shared throughout the school year, while our goal is to keep students in classrooms where we know they learn best, our highest priority is and remains the safety and health of our staff and students. In the face of the current Omicron surge that is impacting our district, I wanted to share how we are planning and adjusting to the shifting health landscape.
Currently, our schools are open and we will strive to keep students in our classrooms. We are, however, experiencing a high number of staff and student absences due to illness and have had to pause several extra-curricular activities due to positive COVID-19 cases and exposures; this morning alone, nearly 10% of our staff and over 300 students have reported absences. This raises concerns about significant staffing shortages to maintain district operations. To keep our schools operating in-person, we have implemented several strategies, including the use of substitutes and repurposing of district staff. Thank you to the many teachers who have subbed during preparatory periods, substitutes and emergency substitutes, principals, counselors, and other staff members who have worked diligently to cover classrooms, work shifts, supervision, and our health center. We will continue to do our best to remain in-person and avoid a closure or move to short-term remote learning, but we want to make everyone aware we are close to a potential tipping point.
We are monitoring our staffing levels, case counts, and numbers of students and staff isolating and quarantining daily. If we exhaust our resources and do not have staff available to continue on-site instruction in a safe environment, we may need to invoke a brief emergency closure of schools in order to give staff time to get back to health or temporarily transition to short-term remote learning until the surge subsides. In that event, families would receive updates and communications from schools, teachers, and the district about distributing technology and other information. Meal service would continue and we would provide details regarding meal pick-ups.
We understand the significant impact that these decisions create for families and do not undertake them lightly. Please know the health and safety of our students and staff will be at the forefront of every choice we make and that we will continue to educate and protect the wellbeing of every CSD student.
Please help us to do all we can to keep students in school. Families and staff play an important role by staying home in case of illness and continuing to practice our layered mitigation strategies, including wearing masks, distancing, and practicing good respiratory and hand-washing etiquette. Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate these challenges together!
With kindest regards,