Dear MMSD Community,
Thank you for your ongoing partnership as we work together through the unknowns as well as challenges of virtual learning and planning for reopening once conditions permit us to do so safely. In the spirit of collaboration, I want to share several important updates. Bear with me and I will try to be as succinct as possible - many of you undoubtedly are busy wrapping up the week and gearing up for winter break, which starts Monday, December 21 and goes through January 1.
Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) released new guidance for schools on Monday pertaining to decisions about reopening. Our team is currently discussing what the implications may be for our planning, and we will update you and our website, mmsd.org/reopen, as soon as possible. What will not change is our commitment to following science and local health experts' recommendations. We will continue to follow the same deliberate process of determining important metrics and using them to guide us. As a reminder, we plan to announce a decision about reopening versus virtual instruction for second semester January 8, 2021.
You may have seen PHMDC's announcement of a new emergency order, Order #11, which took effect Wednesday and slightly modifies the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor gatherings, among a few other shifts. This is a helpful comparison to Order #10 which illustrates what has changed.
Have you taken our survey on whether you would prefer your student to continue with virtual learning or attend classes in person once it is safe to do so? We are also surveying students in grades 3-12. You can find both surveys at mmsd.org/reopen.
Will you join me on Facebook Live tonight at 6 p.m.? In this first event in a series of sessions on reopening, I will join key district staff to answer your questions about how we are preparing to reopen. Join in at Facebook.com/MadisonSchoolsWI. Live interpretation will be available in Spanish and Hmong. Join this Zoom for interpretation. If you are unable to attend the tonight’s event, please note it will be recorded and available on our Facebook page after the session.
Winter break food pick-up: We want to make sure all students have access to nutritious meals. Meal pick-ups are scheduled for December 22 and 29. View the schedule for times and locations.
For your information, I have made the decision to close MSCR Cares and private childcare programs operating out of our schools for the week following winter break (January 4-8). We hope closing for this week will act as an extra safeguard supporting our ability to remain open starting the week of January 11.
Please note! In-person Special Education programming will resume Monday, January 4. The suspension of childcare will not impact special education services.
In closing, I would like to wish you and your loved ones comfort, cheer and hope as you enjoy winter break. Whatever your traditions, please celebrate them in a safe way. Let's start 2021 off healthy and help make the new year the best ever. It's up to us, and I know our MMSD community can rise to the challenge.
Have a safe and joyous break,
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.