To: Students, Parents, Staff, School – Community Members Fr: Kevin Smith, Superintendent Su: 2021 Fall Return to Education
With the release of the fall school guidance by the Indiana Department of Health, earlier this week, a great deal of speculation and conjecture has taken place across our school – community. In many instances, at least with what has been brought to my desk, this has brought a great deal of unnecessary fear, as well as inaccurate detail.
The school board, myself, and the building administrators are focused on providing a return to education in the fall that provides what we had come to appreciate as a normal learning environment. In fact, let me further state, that this has been the focus since late winter and early spring.
Additional guidance from the Indiana Department of Health, dated June 8, 2021, states that “After July 1, 2021 local school boards will be responsible for implementing whatever measures and restrictions deemed necessary and prudent to address the impact and spread of COVID-19 for their buildings, facilities, and grounds, including transportation.” This is an important guidance, which in my view aligns to the desire for our return mentioned above.
Let me build upon this just a bit, the school corporation has no intention of separating students based on whether or not they have been vaccinated. This has never been discussed, nor considered, and quite frankly, from my point of view, would be a major distraction and hinderance to our ability to educate the children.
Now, with the above taken into account, it is important that everyone consider the fact that there are individuals in our school – community who view the situation vastly different from one another. We must respect the right of the individual to hold their view as they deem appropriate, without disparaging them. We are all in this together, with the same “End–In–Mind” of caring for our children, while ensuring they receive a “Best of the Best” educational experience.
With the above stated, it is our intent to share the recommendations being provided from the Indiana Department of Health and CDC in order to allow the individual family to have the necessary information while they make their decisions. In conjunction, individuals and families, who wish to wear a mask while on a campus, or in one of our facilities, have every right to choose this option. The school corporation will respect and honor this individual right.
Finally, while no formal discussion is planned, by the board, until sometime in July, each individual has indicated to me their support of the information contained in this document. Further, as we have done since the pandemic began, we are monitoring the information provided and will continue to ensure our school – community has access to it.