Moving Forward Together in the 2020-21 School Year

 

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        EDUCATION MATTERS  

      October 2020

 

September 21st was a very special day for our school system with some of our students returning back to school for in-person learning for 2020-2021 school year. However, we will not be satisfied until all of our precious children are able to come back and fill up our classrooms once again. 

 This is new territory for all of us and we appreciate all of our parents and community members for their patience and understanding during this ever-changing situation of COVID-19.  During this unique time we all have a joint role as we tackle the challenges and celebrate the successes ahead. No one has a single role from now on. Our students are depending on us and we must come together in a unified approach in order to move successfully through COVID-19 and beyond.  

Even though teaching and learning has taken on a new look in some ways, we are so thankful for the tireless work of our administrators, teachers and support staff across the district. I want to thank our teachers for not letting COVID-19 stand in the way of their calling. The challenges they face with trying to effectively balance remote learning with face to face learning is huge. But our teachers have proven their commitment and dedication to student success time and time again, and I am confident they will conquer this new challenge too. High quality instruction in all learning environments continues to be the expectation.  The learning management systems in place will house the instructional content for our students and parents to access whether in a remote or face to face setting. Even though instructional standards will be taught in both formats, students participating in face to face learning will receive a distinct approach as they will have the benefit of face to face lesson delivery from their teachers along with one-on-one and small group support.  We are embarking on a new way of teaching and learning and there is no doubt that whether your child is in remote or in-person learning they are receiving the high quality and engaging STEAMA-driven instruction that they deserve. 

I want to thank our counselors, nurses and social workers, who continue to put the needs of all students first. Their drive to ensure that our students are healthy and have what they need socially and emotionally will truly determine the success of our students. We commend our amazing transportation department who works so hard behind the scenes to make sure that our school buses are operational and safe and routes are thoroughly planned. I want to thank our bus drivers who also continue to step up to make sure buses are cleaned and disinfected while continuing to conduct daily screenings of our students and transport them safely to school and back home everyday.  We are so thankful to our wonderful custodians across the district who continue to work tirelessly to make sure that all areas of our schools and departments continue to be cleaned and sanitized to ensure we have clean, safe buildings to come to everyday.  Since the beginning of COVID-19 the Child Nutrition department staff has been ready to do whatever it takes to make sure meals are safely distributed at our schools and throughout the entire community so our children can have the nutrition they deserve . Everyone continues to step up in countless ways to make sure our students are taken care of academically, socially and emotionally and we can’t thank you enough. 

Recently Governor Cooper announced the option for school districts to transition to Plan A for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. Even though Duplin County Schools will continue to stay the course and remain in Plan B, our Board will continue to monitor the reopening options ahead and will assess where we may need to go in the future. We can’t thank our board members enough for their dedication to these challenging times to make sure that the health and safety of our students and staff remains the highest priority.

The collaborative partnership with the  Duplin County Health Department continues to be invaluable as we work through the ever-changing challenges of COVID-19. Their staff is always ready to answer the call to assist in every way to ensure that we work together to meet the needs of all students. We are so thankful for their leadership and dedication to Duplin County Schools. However, we must also do our part because that will truly determine how we successfully move forward through the days and weeks ahead. Please continue to follow the recommended guidelines and conduct daily health screenings. Be mindful to wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing. We must trust this guidance and know that our combined efforts will slow and eventually stop the transmission of COVID-19, which is the ultimate goal. Our diligence in these efforts today protects our students and staff tomorrow. 

This transition to Plan B has not been easy and everyone has worked so hard to get us to where we are right now. There is no doubt that the amazing work witnessed from our Duplin Schools family up to this point, will continue.  Together, we will continue to stay the course and in the end we will come out of this stronger than we’ve ever been.

 

Your humble servant,

 Austin Obasohan