by Superintendent Mitch Wainwright
Hopefully, in the very near future, we can all look back and say we made it through the Coronavirus. I would like to say the level of disruption to every person’s life is unimaginable. Unfortunately, we do not have to imagine; we have been living it. What appears to be our worst nightmare, something we would all laugh about had it been the story line of a movie, is what we are faced with day in and day out.
You cannot turn on the television, read a newspaper, or search the internet without finding conflicting reports about the virus. Information and guidance is changing so rapidly that it is extremely hard to stay current. When I hear advice at 8:00 am, it changes by Noon on the same day. There are many other times it changes again before I leave work at the end of the day.
One item that has remained constant during this time is that no one wanted anything like this to ever happen. Another thing that is as constant as time is that staff at school want nothing but the best for students. In the spring, as the school was required to shift to an alternative learning format, I asked that we do our best to maintain the connection between home and school. We did not know how many people would be out of work, or how easy it would be to shift learning to untested communication networks. We know students depend on the relationships they develop with teachers and staff members, and it was important to try and keep that connection. The virus made that extremely difficult.
I think I can comfortably say that every person that works for the district wants everything to go back to normal. We all want to see our students back in the buildings because we all know that the best education takes place inside the school buildings. Staff can easily adjust when learning struggles happen when they are face to face with students. However, the virus makes this a very difficult decision for us to make. The safety and well being of every student and staff member needs to be taken into consideration.
This is not an easy time for anyone. Teachers and support staff are working hard to prepare for whatever education looks like — in three weeks! We continue to monitor statistics from the Iowa County Health Department, and follow updates from local medical experts. The school board is committed to meeting regularly to review the most recent information available and adjust student attendance according to the most recent data.
Please understand that the health and well being of everyone in school, children and adults, is important. Teaching in a virtual, or hybrid model, is difficult at best. The amount of work that goes into preparing, delivering, modifying, and accommodating learning styles and internet connections creates an increased level of anxiety and frustration, not only for parents, but staff as well. It is understandable to be frustrated with the entire situation. Remember, no one wanted this to happen. School safety is an important issue and the virus has added another layer to the complexity of keeping everyone safe. I want the same thing that my staff wants, and the same thing the parents want — students back in our classrooms with nothing to worry about except the “big game,” passing a driver’s test, remembering to bring their homework with them. Hopefully, there will be a time in the very near future when we can all look back and say, we made it. As Pointers, we will all make it together.