I've received a couple of calls from parents on a couple of issues and wanted to take some time to address them.
I really appreciate the calls from parents with questions the last couple of weeks. If you ever have a question, please call me at (308) 745-0120. If I am in a meeting or working with faculty or kids I will return your call as soon as possible. Many times, if things seem too awful to believe or too good to be true, that is generally the case. There is a rationale for everything we do and I don't mind talking through things with parents, patrons or students. It is essential that you communicate with the school if you have a question or comment.
I was also asked if I could use the "all-call" phone system to help communicate. I absolutely can do that and will do so in the future, as well as sending emails to all parents and sending text messages. If you haven't updated your contact information with the school, please take the time to do that. I appreciate the suggestion to use the calling system.
We are in contact with the Loup Basin Regional Health people and they are working with a number of people in our community who are struggling with Covid-19 symptoms. They are extremely nervous right now because they have no place to transfer Covid-19 patients as beds across the state are full. Our decision to wear masks and isolate some students at the 7-12 grade levels was based on the high concentration of positive cases in a group. That group makes up about 20% of our 9-12 student body. As of this afternoon, our positive cases continue to increase. We are trying to head this outbreak off so that we can resume learning activities for every student and not lose opportunities for kids to participate in activities. This disruption has created chaos, and kids don't thrive in chaos.
We ask parents to please monitor your kids for symptoms and keep them home if they are not feeling well. Some kids bounce back relatively fast while those with underlying health issues such as asthma or allergies really struggle.
After September 3, parents will be notified if their child has been in close proximity to someone with Covid-19 and a recommendation to mask may be made, but it will be at the parent's discretion rather to mask at school or not.
I have been asked a couple of times about why the ban on hoodies in the classroom? The simple answer is: to eliminate classroom distractions caused by objects such as cell phones and vaping devices, as well as hoods pulled up over students' heads. I certainly realize some students will find other ways to conceal undesired objects. Our goal is to have a conversation with the Student Council when they are elected this week about the problems, collaboratively solve this issue and then talk about the future of hoodies. I want students to be a part of this conversation and they have shown a willingness to start the discussion.
This really is an excellent opportunity for students to work through a structured process to try and solve a problem and advocate for something they want. I'm anxious to see what develops.
Thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to contact me directly.