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Tuesday Talk with Dr. Dain - Returning to Learning Selection Form

Good afternoon Pirate Family! 

I know the last 24 hours have been emotional and stressful for families as you awaited and finally received the Piper Returning to Learning Plan.  I know some of you are fairly relieved with the decision while some of you are concerned about our decisions.  Please let me first restate that this was a very difficult decision, but one that we approached as a community, allowing the guidance of health professionals and COVID-19 community data to drive the decision-making. 

We must remember that we are in a global pandemic and no one has all the answers.  Our team is striving to maximize learning opportunities while mitigating health risks to students and staff. Our number one concern is keeping students and staff safe while doing everything earthly possible to ensure that rigorous and relevant learning continues for our students.  From the bottom of our hearts, we miss our kids and can’t wait to see them in September.

We currently have a team monitoring community feedback.  We know that one of the most frequent questions is around masks.  We are currently under the Governor’s Executive Order 59 that indicates masks are required for all students ages 3 and up unless they meet specified exemptions.  Those exemptions include:

  1. Eating;
  2. Activities that cannot be safely conducted with a mask or other face covering;
  3. Children who are not students and are 5 years of age or under;
  4. Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering (Doctor’s note will be required);
  5. Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  6. Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work.

I would encourage you to take a bit of time and read through the Piper Returning to Learning Document that we have included here. That document can be found by clicking here.  Although it is long, we believe we have provided the most current health guidelines and procedures to answer “operational” questions.  In addition, the document gives examples of what both the Hybrid 50% Model and Remote Model will entail. 

Like parents making difficult decisions, we have also tried to create a plan to find the intersection of logistical parameters, optimal learning, and safety for students and staff.  We believe that returning to school in the middle of a pandemic should be a very personal choice for families.  Should you have questions regarding the district plan, please feel free to contact me.  If you have plans regarding specific building plans, please reach out to your build administrator.

Below you will find the to sign up for your student’s preferred learning model for the Fall 2020 semester.  Please keep in mind that the Piper School District will continue to follow the guidance and mandates provided by local county government.

As you complete this process, you will need to fill out a questionnaire for each of your individual children. Please note that it may be appropriate for one of your children to participate in the hybrid model while another participates in the remote only model. We want this to be a very personalized choice based on the needs of each individual student.

This link will be open for parents from July 28th through August 4th. We ask that you please share the link with friends and neighbors. It is important that we have responses back by August 4th so our buildings can begin building class lists and grouping students according to the choices their families make, as well as finalize staffing.


While it was not the “main event” at last night’s board meeting, I would also bring to your attention that the Board of Education approved a revised calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. To access an updated copy of the calendar, click here. Changes include the following:

  • School Start Date: September 9, 2020
  • First Day for students of Second Semester: January 5, 2020 (This had previously been scheduled as a professional development day for staff.)
  • Five minutes added to the end of each school day to ensure we meet the state statute which requires students be in school for at least 1,116 hours.

As always, I am proud of Piper’s strong, cohesive, and supportive community.  Adversity makes us stronger, and we have resilient children who are excited to learn and meet their new teachers!  Furthermore, we have innovative and resilient teachers who are excited to greet their new students!  The 2020-2021 school year proves to be unprecedented, but together we are stronger!  #wearepiper


Proud to be a Pirate,

Dr. Jessica Dain