Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,
Without a doubt, the highlight of my last couple of months was stepping into our school buildings this week and seeing our staff and students. It feels good to see activity returning to our hallways and classrooms!
I want to share a few pieces of positive information and some updates related to our path back to fully reopening schools. First, I am pleased to report that upon evaluation by the Oakland County Health Division, our district's mitigation plans and procedures were approved with a 99.8% rating out of the full 100%. (Read more.) Adherence to strict health and safety practices both in school and outside of school is so important to keeping schools open.
Next, I am cautiously optimistic about the latest numbers in Oakland County and closer to home.
- This week brought stable and improving trends in the Oakland County Schools Weekly COVID-19 Report; and,
- Decreased cases per 10,000 residents within CCS boundaries. As shown in the graph below, our numbers now are following a predictable downward trend.
Lastly, as local and federal agencies work to move the COVID vaccine effort forward as expeditiously as possible, we have also learned that President Biden has set a goal of "getting a majority of K-8 schools safely open" in the first 100 days of his administration. To that end, I hope to see new school guidance, increased funding for mitigation measures, and broader vaccine administration (Read: "Biden Launches New Strategy to Combat COVID-19, Reopen Schools").
I understand that the unknowns don't always sit well, especially when they feel so personal to us. This is the year of many unknowns. I have asked myself and others if what we are trying to accomplish - the great feat of reopening schools - can be done. I believe that it can be done in our community, I believe our plan is solid, our mitigation measures have been fully vetted and approved, and I believe we have a firm understanding of our pressure points and tolerances. We are not like many school districts that have blindly rushed in or have relegated to sit the rest of the pandemic out of school. We will continue to make thoughtful and informed decisions moving forward.
Next week, I will be watching all influencing factors closely and will keep you apprised of our ability to begin bringing back all students together five full days a week as hoped on Monday, February 1. I am asking for your continued support in this transition despite the unknowns because sometimes the only way of knowing is to open the door with an informed plan, and try.
Dr. Shawn Ryan
Superintendent of Schools
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.
Read more Clarkston Community Schools News at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/news.
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