Dear CCSD Families,
When we welcomed our students back for in-person learning on Wednesday to fulfill our commitment of providing the best education possible to our students, we did so with the knowledge of the state of public health in our community.
Cases are higher in our community, our state and our nation than ever before. Health experts are voicing concerns that a new COVID-19 strain now circulating in our nation will spread faster among everyone, including school-age children. Our hospitals are full.
Our dedicated workforce of teachers, staff and substitutes have been affected by the community spread like all of their neighbors. This afternoon, we now have more than 400 of our full-time staff absent due to COVID-19 positive cases and precautionary quarantines, with more test results pending; and our substitute availability is similarly weakened.
We cannot continue to operate in-person school safely with this level of staff absences.
As a result, I am temporarily closing in-person learning at all CCSD schools beginning Monday, Jan. 11, with a tentative reopening date of Tuesday, Jan. 19, following the observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, Jan. 18), which is a holiday for students and staff. We understand this closing creates hardships, but it is a necessary measure which gives our students, families and employees the next 10 calendar days to get healthier.
Students will be expected to log on to the Canvas platform for daily instruction. Teachers and staff will report to campus and will be teaching online throughout the day and be available to answer emails during regular school hours. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s classroom teacher. Specific extra-curricular activities will be permitted to continue after school with additional safety measures in place, but continuation will be closely monitored for possible cancellation; no community use of CCSD facilities will be permitted.
Parents whose children do not have access to a laptop computer or internet access need to contact the school front office as soon as possible. Students who need to pick up medication or other items that they must have during this closure should call the school’s front office to make an appointment.
School Nutrition will have to-go meals for the week prepared for pick-up in the bus lanes of schools from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, Jan. 11. Students do not have to be with parents who pick up these meals.
Please continue to report your child’s positive test to their school during this closure; stay home when you’re sick (use this checklist: https://bit.ly/CDCchecks); get tested if you’re symptomatic or if you have had a close contact with someone who is positive; and if you are directed to quarantine, please follow the instructions and limit interaction with non-family members.
We are committed to providing the best education possible for all students, which we believe happens in person under the guidance of our outstanding teachers and the support of our staff, but the current staffing situation makes my decision today necessary.
Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools