Dear Wildcat Families and Staff,
For the past 10 months, we have been living with the stress of a pandemic where most of our normal routines – family, social, educational, and work-related – have been disrupted by COVID-19. As we approach our 11th month of grappling with this environment, we are all feeling the weight of COVID fatigue – a fatigue that adds many stressors to our lives.
We know that our current educational environment is not ideal, and that many of you are concerned about your children’s academic performance and their social and emotional health. This is not an easy time and I know we are all doing the best we can.
Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to draw strength from each other. If your child is struggling academically, I encourage you to reach out to his or her teacher, a school counselor, or an administrator. If your child is struggling emotionally, our school counselors, social workers and psychologists are available to help. Our school nurses are great resources for medical questions, too. I also encourage you to explore the resources listed on the HCSD COVID-19 website links
. Let’s problem-solve together. We cannot change the overall situation, but perhaps we can provide some assistance to make this a little bit easier.
Our first priority is to ensure the best educational experiences for our students and their families, in accordance with guidance from our state and local departments of health. We all want our kids back in school full-time, but until that can happen, we are committed to keeping our children in school as long as they are safe.
We have been advised about the potential impact a long break during the holiday season can have on infection rates. Consequently, we will be closely monitoring and evaluating COVID positivity rates for our region over the holiday recess so we can make an informed decision regarding the status of in-person and hybrid instruction when we return to campus on Monday, January 4. No later than Sunday, January 3, I will communicate to all district stakeholders the instructional model HCSD will employ to safely reopen school on Monday, January 4.
Please remember that in the event of inclement weather, the district will call a snow day and all school buildings will be closed to students and 10-month staff members. I understand this may cause some inconvenience, but perhaps it would be good for our kids to have some time away from a computer screen to play in the snow and drink some hot cocoa.
Thank you for your kind attention to these matters. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Terrance P. Dougherty, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools