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Tuesday Talk with Dr. Dain - October 13, 2020

Greetings Pirate Nation!

Please let me begin this message by sharing how proud I am of our school community!  Our teachers are working their hardest to provide engaging instruction to both onsite and remote learners.  Our students are wearing their masks every day and reporting to parents when they don’t feel well. Our parents are supporting their children’s learning, offering grace and understanding as we educate in a pandemic, and continue to seek medical care for their families in an effort to keep their children healthy and well.  Our administrators and support staff are the glue that keep us all connected and make sure things run smoothly every single day.

When our community came together in July to write the Piper Returning to Learning Plan, we wrote a plan hoping that by January 2021, we would no longer be dealing with educating our students during a pandemic.  We made the best decisions we could with the information we had, and we continued to say we would pivot as needed based on the needs of our students.

Last week, our district administrative team was afforded the opportunity to meet with Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education.  Dr. Watson shared with us that every state commissioner serves on a national committee in which they receive monthly updates from the medical professionals who are leading the charge in combatting COVID-19.  This national committee continues to update the state commissioner on the expected timeline for vaccinations and when they expect things to be back to “normal.”

Dr. Watson’s message to our team:  plan on the current status quo, the continued battle against COVID-19 for the rest of the 20-21 school year.  Create an educational plan for all K-12 students that is sustainable for teachers, students, and families.  Create an educational plan in which all students are back in school but adhering to strict social distancing and other safety measures.  Create an educational plan in which all students have the opportunity to be back in school.

Last night at our October Board of Education Meeting, I shared the current number of positive COVID-19 cases we have had so far:

Students (September 9th-October 12th)               Staff (August 12th-October 12th)

Piper Early Childhood: 0                                           Piper Early Childhood: 0

PPE: 1                                                                       PPE: 0

PCE: 5                                                                       PCE: 1

PMS: 2                                                                      PMS: 1

PHS: 7                                                                       PHS: 0

At last night’s Board Meeting, it was shared that the District will be in communication with the Wyandotte County Health Department this week to present a model in which we work on bringing our secondary students back to school beginning November 2nd.  We are not sure of the model, but know it will be of a hybrid form.  We believe that our parents, administrators, and teachers understand the importance of following the safety guidelines for COVID-19.  We believe it is now time to slowly and carefully get our secondary students back in the classrooms with more opportunities for hands-on learning. 

I am hopeful that we can show the Health Department that our community is prepared to undertake the great responsibility of getting our secondary students back in schools and that they will be willing to give us a chance. 

It goes without saying the health and well-being of our staff is just as important as the educational growth and success of our students.  I do not believe there is a community that is better equipped to keep both staff and students safe than Piper.  We must continue to wear our masks, follow social distancing guidelines, and think of others before we think of ourselves. 

Please know that we are doing everything within our power to create a sustainable learning environment for all students.  The Board of Education and I feel strongly that all students need to have the opportunity for on-site instruction.  We appreciate our partnership with the Wyandotte County Health Department and hope that we have the opportunity to bring all our students back on-site in a collective and collaborative partnership. 

I will continue to keep you apprised of the situation!

Free Lunch Program Extension

KSDE recently announced that ALL Kansas students can receive breakfast and lunch each school day through June 30, 2021. USDA covers the cost of these meals. Click here for more information about the free meal program.

Proud to be a Pirate,

Dr. Jessica Dain

Superintendent