Dear CCSD Family,
One year ago, we celebrated the start of the holiday break with all the trimmings: children marching donations down halls to pile under Giving Trees for classmates in need, darkened gyms filled with littles in pajamas watching “The Polar Express,” students streaming into Spirit of the Season assemblies to celebrate successful charitable toy drives. And then we spent the next two weeks with our families: sharing meals, trading presents, ringing in the new year.
What a difference a year makes.
Today, in our schools, many traditions continued, but with changes to make the season safer. Assemblies turned virtual and streamed onto classrooms screens; schoolwide celebrations scaled back to classroom treats.
But the most important tradition stayed strong: giving to those in need. The wish lists for students and their families to fulfill moved online, gifts were dropped off at the front office instead of at an assembly, and families in need received these blessings by drive-through. Our students and their families, our teachers and staff, our volunteers and community partners all worked together to carry out this valuable lesson in the real spirit of the season.
What a gift for all of us.
We made changes to our traditions, and my hope is that over the next two weeks you will do the same. I believe our actions over the holiday break will affect the health of our community as a whole and our ability to reopen for in-person learning on Wednesday, Jan. 6, as planned.
We have not issued a mask mandate. We expect everyone in our schools to wear masks when they cannot social distance. When we return to school in person in January, which could be impacted by our community’s actions as a whole, I expect students to wear masks. As there is no mandate, whether your child should wear a mask is ultimately still your decision … but our schools will continue to give two reusable masks to students who request them, make announcements and display posters that recommend mask usage, and encourage students to help us in this campaign – and that is still my decision and expectation.
Please social distance. Please wear a mask. Please stay home if you are sick. Please get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Please choose kindness. Please think of how your actions – and your words – affect others. Please talk to others on social media with the same courtesy you would use in person.
COVID-19 has taken so much from us – please don’t let it steal our civility.
I look forward to welcoming our children and teachers and staff back to our schools in the new year, a year that I hope will be one of greater health, peace and joy for all of us.
Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools
REMINDER: Tuesday, Jan. 5, will be a Digital Learning Day for all students; teachers will share assignments through Canvas. Wednesday, Jan. 6, will be the first day back to school for in-person students.
UPDATE: CCSD COVID-19 case reports will not be posted on our website during the break; these reports will resume Jan. 4. Parents who have a child with a positive test result during the break should still report it to the school principal via email; employees should still report a positive test to their supervisor. If contact tracing is necessary for any cases, notification phone calls still will be made. Schools will not send class/schoolwide notification letters during the break; those letters will resume Jan. 4.