School Reopening Update Letter

School Reopening Update Letter
Posted on 04/02/2021
Better together

REOPENING OF SCHOOLS UPDATE
FROM SUPERINTENDENT HANKINS

April 2, 2021

Dear parents, students, and the entire LKSD learning community,

 Our teachers and staff are so excited to see our students again in person! I am happy to report that 22 out of 29 of our schools are now open for in-person learning. Seven communities remain closed to in-person learning due to active COVID-19 cases and the wishes of the community. I have visited many Bethel schools to see safety measures in place for students returning to schools and checked in with teachers and staff as well. I plan to visit Napakiak and Napaskiak schools next week, along with  other schools in the District as village travel mandates allow in the coming weeks. Whether your family will be returning to school or continuing with remote learning, the start of hybrid instruction will be a transition for everyone in our school communities and we want to ensure that it is as safe and seamless as possible.

 It’s wonderful to see students back in classrooms – their smiling faces, magical interactions and the excitement of teachers welcoming them back. It’s also reassuring to see our mitigation strategies in action. I’d like to express my gratitude to all LKSD staff for their efforts in preparing to welcome students back to in-person instruction, as well as for their ongoing efforts to implement and follow required mitigation strategies. Our adherence to these strategies is what will enable the District to keep schools open and remain connected with students who choose to remain in remote learning. 

 We want all students back in classrooms as soon and as safely as possible. In order to keep our students in school and allow for welcoming more students, we must continue to work together to keep our region’s COVID-19 numbers down. All of our schools will continue to follow strict protocols and mitigation strategies to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently released additional guidelines to reflect the latest science and research, including reducing recommendations of physical distancing in classrooms from 6 feet to at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where proper mask use is universal — regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high. LKSD plans to diligently adhere to current mitigation strategies of 6 feet of social distancing, proper masking with at least three layers of protection, screening / surveillance testing, intensified cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and other mitigation strategies to keep everyone and our schools safe. 

 In addition to taking the everyday preventative measures listed above, it is also important for families to continue monitoring their own health for any symptoms. Parents are the first line of defense for helping to monitor students daily for COVID-19 related symptoms. Students and staff who are sick or feeling sick should not attend school in-person.

 Our community collaboration will be critical as our schools continue to reopen and stay open. Please continue to follow public health guidance to protect yourself and others, including wearing a mask in public settings, regularly washing your hands with soap, keeping social distance, limiting your interactions with people outside your immediate household, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and monitoring yourself and your family daily for potential symptoms. 

 As we have adapted in the face of new challenges throughout the past year, we will continue to learn and overcome any obstacles that might emerge and will continue to evolve our strategies. 

 Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Hankins
Superintendent 

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