Dear MMSD Families,
As families, teachers, staff, and our community prepare for our return to in-person learning, all of us in MMSD are excited as we anticipate seeing our scholars again on Monday, January 10.
Yesterday, we communicated our decision to return to in-person learning, after taking a necessary pause. This communication referenced the tireless work our teachers, principals, administrators, and other staff have been doing during this time to ensure our return is safe and sustainable. The following is additional information for you to consider in preparation for your student’s return.
What to Expect Next Week
Next week, at all grade levels, there will be a focus on social-emotional learning, re-establishing classroom routines, and reviewing school health and safety practices. School social workers, psychologists, counselors, and support staff will continue to be available for supporting the mental health needs of our students. Please contact your school if you or your child is in need of this support.
Health and Safety Measures
Our schools have diligently implemented strong health and safety mitigation measures. Our medical advisory team has continued to endorse in-person learning as a strategy to enhance our students’ social-emotional and mental health; however, they continue to highlight the need for proper mask wearing (see this research study from the ABC Collaborative) and consistently following mitigation strategies.
We all have an important part to play in keeping our students, staff, and community safe. Therefore, we are asking you to help reinforce mask wearing, and your family members and neighbors to review our MMSD safety mitigation strategies. Also, please partner with us in communicating the importance of providing patience and understanding to students, staff, and family members as we reinforce adherence to our mitigation strategies. Please be reminded - these mitigation strategies are essential to keeping our students in school, participating in co-curricular activities, and being amongst their peers. As a reminder, a key mitigation strategy is keeping students at home when they are sick or experiencing symptoms.
As you may know, school districts across the country are challenged with unprecedented staff shortages as a result of the recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases fueled by the new Omicron variant. Staff shortages are indeed a current reality at MMSD, with our staffing levels continuing to hover near critical capacity levels. As this pandemic continues to evolve with a degree of unpredictability, we encourage families to have contingency plans in place, similar to when you are anticipating a possible snow day.
Our scholars, families, and staff are kept at the center of our decisions. We recognize the anxieties, impacts, and trauma we have collectively experienced over the past two years. These are challenging times for all of us. However, grounded in humanity and kindness, we will meet this moment leaning forward together.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.