Message from Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy / 11-28-2020
Staggered Scheduling Resumes November 30, 2020 Until January 19, 2021
Dear HCS Family,
I hope you and your family enjoyed Thanksgiving whether in-person or virtually. The absence of some of my family members and the necessity of distancing myself from others, without the usual hugs, presented a challenge but was tolerable given this pandemic.
As we all faced the unique challenges that COVID-19 presented during our Thanksgiving celebrations, likewise, our schools are facing these challenges every day. During the past two school weeks, we were not faring so well.
As you know on Friday, November 20, I announced we will resume a staggered schedule or, as some refer to it, a hybrid schedule. While my desire is to have all students, in-person, five days a week, our increasing COVID-19 related incidences and absences required, at least from my vantage point, that we go back to a level that will allow better social distancing. While I know many of you are frustrated and even angry by my decision, and while I regret the impact that the altered schedule may have on you, the decision was made to protect our students and school personnel.
When we resumed in-person instruction for five school days, we were concerned about the COVID-19 related impact. The reality of COVID-19 on our students and employees has been harsh including the passing of school employees with the disease.
Let me share a few additional data points with you:
- On Nov. 2, we had 215 students in COVID-related isolation or quarantine; by Nov. 20, Friday, the number was 1273 students...students out 10 days if COVID positive and 14 days if COVID close-contact. We have some students who have been sent home for the second time for another 14 days.
- On Nov. 2, we had 30 employees in COVID-related isolation or quarantine; by Nov. 20, the number was 101 employees.
- At one of our schools on Nov. 20, we could only fill 29% of the requests for substitute teachers to cover for teachers out COVID-related.
- On Nov. 2, COVID positive cases for students was 11; by Nov. 20, the number was 71 students.
- On Nov. 2, COVID positive cases for employees was 4; by Nov. 20, the number was 23 employees.
- We added an additional 169 students in close contact (quarantine) between Thursday, Nov. 19, and Friday, Nov. 20. Again, that resulted in 1273 students out on Friday, Nov. 20, COVID-related.
- We have had several school leaders COVID positive or COVID close contacts resulting in 70 plus days of absences among school leaders.
We are considering ways to increase our substitute teacher pool to include possibly rescinding a practice of limiting specific booster and HPTC leaders from substituting. If you are interested in substituting, please call the central office at 205-439-1000 and ask for the HR Department.
While we are all weary with COVID and its negative impact on our lives, I am pleading and encouraging you to remember that much of the impact of COVID in our schools is the result of community interactions and spread. We all want to be in school and the best way to do that is to be cautious about what we are doing when we are not at school.
Parents, please do not send your child to school if experiencing symptoms of illness; please check your child’s temperature daily before school and assess how your child is feeling, particularly asking if he or she has experienced a loss of taste or smell; please do not send your child to school if the child has been a close contact with someone who is COVID positive.
I realize all of us are beyond frustrated with any request for patience, but I once again ask you for just that...patience. We care about your child, your child’s health and your child’s education. We share that in common. Where we may differ is the plan for how we attempt to ensure the health of students and employees. While COVID gives us an ever-changing landscape, please know that the school district will be flexible and pivot as often as necessary to ensure safety; at the same time, we will remain focused on your child’s education.
With kind regards,
Dr. Kathy L. Murphy
About Hoover City Schools