Update from Superintendent Forson, July 1

To St. Johns County School District Parents and Guardians,

I want to share an update as we prepare for the upcoming school year.   I also want to be transparent about the challenges that remain and will likely be present on August 10.

We are working to research the present data and utilize the expertise of health care professionals to determine the most appropriate response to the spread of COVID-19.  As many of you are aware, this is a very fluid situation and will likely continue to change during the school year.   I believe it is important to recognize these changing conditions and prepare parents, students and staff for a school year that will have to be flexible and adaptable to the current circumstances.

While the focus and primary goal of the school district is to have all students return to school on August 10, we must keep the health and safety of all members of the school community as the top priority.   We are making purchases of protective materials that will assist in maintaining a safe environment at our schools and on buses.  There will likely be situations arise that will require short term closure of schools or at least individual classrooms.  One of the most challenging issues is the use of facial coverings.  We understand the benefit of facial masks, but also the challenge this poses to young children and the wearing of masks for extended periods of time.

Many of you have submitted emails to me that have explained your concerns and preferences for how schools should operate this year.   What is certain is that whatever strategies are implemented there will be some parents and staff that are highly satisfied, some that are very disappointed and many that are somewhere in between.  I have tried to reply to as many messages as I can but admit that the volume does take away from time on task to build the best system possible for the new school year.   I will continue to read all messages and forward them to our planning team when appropriate.  Admittedly, many of the questions being asked do not have a clear answer today.

I want to acknowledge the difficult decision your family must make if you are not comfortable with your child returning to the school setting.   You will be receiving communication tomorrow regarding the return to school and preferences for your child. I encourage you to review and respond with the most appropriate choice for your family, knowing that flexibility will be most important in this changing environment.  I appreciate your continued support and patience.

 

Sincerely,

Tim Forson
Superintendent
St. Johns County School District