Back to School Update- July 16, 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Students at Beatrice Public Schools:
Welcome Back to School, we are planning to open on August 12th with students in buildings, regular daily attendance will be required whether we are in school or remote learning during the 2020-21 school year.
I’d like to personally thank you for taking the time to complete and return the District’s ‘Reopening of Schools’ surveys, attending our parent informational meeting, and/or communicating via email with us. More than 786 parents and guardians and nearly 350 employees responded to their corresponding questionnaires.
A district Covid 19 Task Force Team analyzed those results. As that task force team reaches its final meeting time and preparations and the process reaches its final stages, we are narrowing down viable reopening options and plans, by eliminating plans or suggestions that are just not feasible.
Throughout the school closure in the spring, planning over the summer, and in regards to the upcoming school year, we have worked on making decisions in a two-week window for planning purposes. We have found that planning for longer range scenarios than this has been difficult with the ever-changing landscape during the pandemic and thus leads to confusion when trying to determine what restrictions, guidelines, or recommendations will guide schools re-opening. Things are still changing on a quick timeline.
In the coming weeks as we receive more guidance from the Nebraska Department of Education, we will be releasing our plan with a much clearer picture of what ‘Back to School’ will look like. This information will help parents and staff better prepare and focus their efforts accordingly.
Sharing a quick preliminary overview, I can tell you that, generally speaking, parents and guardians were fairly evenly split in their back to school preferences when asked about returning to school with requiring students to wear masks or not, and whether or not to have ½ day sessions vs. M/TH and T/F sessions. However, parents were mostly interested in opening school on time and full time, or a model in which both options would be used.
While survey responses hold a lot of weight in the decision making process, it’s important to remember that final decisions that the District will make will be based on a variety of factors including health, financial, legal, and other requirements that we must meet in the best interests of our students, staff, and community.
The July 28 virtual meeting will provide even more clarity into the District’s reopening plans. This is when proposed final options will be presented to the School Board.
Parents, Guardians, and Staff let me be clear; the District will do everything possible to safeguard the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff while continuing to engage all of our children in high-quality instruction.
Ensuring these priorities amid a changing landscape means that we must build flexibility into our plans so we are prepared to adjust, based on changing circumstances and evolving needs.
In reliving the old school days, this is going to be what I refer to as a Red Rover Year, or “red light, green light year.” What I mean by this is that we are going to break through and we must be prepared to quickly change course when doing so is in the best interest of our students, staff and community.
We WILL be prepared to accomplish exactly that.
Thank you for your unwavering support of the Beatrice Public School District. We look forward to welcoming our students and our outstanding educators and support staff back for the 2020-21 school year.
Please contact the district directly if you have any questions or concerns, 402-223-1500.
Jason Alexander, Ed.S.
Superintendent of Schools