As we conclude our first semester in Englewood Schools and move into winter break, we continue to work with our local health department officials to understand the current impacts of COVID-19 in the community and the potential effects on in-person learning. Our Return Planning Committee continues to work on plans for a safe return in January along with refined metrics that will help us track how COVID cases are affecting individual schools as well as our community as a whole.
With that said, we have a tentative plan to bring ALL students who have chosen in-person learning back to school for in-person instruction beginning on Monday, January 11. This return date is subject to change based on COVID transmission in the community, but it is the goal we are working toward going into winter break, and it is our sincere hope that we can get students back on this date. The current plan is that Wednesday, January 6, which would have been the first day back for students, will be a learning transition day for teachers, with no student contact on that day. This will allow for a bit of additional time for teachers and school staff to ensure that classrooms, buildings and operational procedures are in place ready to welcome students back to buildings on January 11. January 7 and 8 will be remote learning days and all students will be expected to attend school virtually these two days. In addition to instruction, important updates as well as school and classroom expectations will be covered these days with the goal of making return to in-person as smooth as possible.
While it is our greatest hope we can welcome our in-person learners back to classrooms across the district on Monday, January 11, it is not a certainty as we must continue to see numbers with regard to COVID cases improve. The community can help us achieve our return goal by continuing to wear masks, washing hands and keeping distance from others not in the same household. We have seen the data improve over the past week or two, even after Thanksgiving, and we are hopeful that these trends mean that we can open our schools safely to in-person learning in January.
In exploring new metrics to use for our specific schools, the Return Planning Committee has considered that data from our first semester show schools are relatively safe places for students and teachers, and that our safety protocols work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We understand that in-person learning is important to our students and teachers and it is our goal to offer as much in-person learning as is possible during the next semester of school. Greater community spread increases the likelihood of someone bringing COVID into our schools, which causes learning disruptions as classes need to quarantine and transition to rolling remote learning. Please make sure that you are not sending your child to school if they aren’t feeling well or if anyone in your household or close contacts is not feeling well.
Please continue to monitor your child’s health during winter break and report any symptoms, positive tests or exposures of COVID-19 to your school’s health assistant. This will help us with a successful re-opening. We will continue to communicate any updates on our reopening plans as they become available.
In the meantime, we hope that everyone has a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!