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Keeping You Up to Date

Dear Christina Staff,

We wanted to take a moment to thank our staff for all they have done over the last few weeks as we have fought the COVID-19 surge and the associated staffing issues.  We know that everyone has had to do more and work harder this year, and the last few weeks have added to that stress and workload.  Our students and families truly appreciate your commitment to them, their health, education, and safety.  We were able to have most of our students in school and have seen a very significant drop in COVID-19 related absences. The evidence continues to reflect that our mitigation strategies are working and that school is not where spread occurs. The data shows that having kids out of school increases spread in our community and having kids in school decreases that spread. We believe it is through your due diligence and attention to our detailed mitigation strategies that school is a safe place.

When we moved to synchronous learning in some schools, we received feedback that you wanted to hear sooner.  We wish we could have. With all available information we worked with principals, who were working with their teams to identify where coverage may be needed, and then, to identify if that coverage was available. Decisions with data changing minute-by-minute took time and while we did not always get the information out as quickly as we wanted to, it was critical that the message was accurate and we were making the best decisions on school opening status. Special thanks goes to the many members of our team who jumped in each day to support schools and classrooms. 

Tomorrow is another day of question marks.  Delaware Online headline reads 1-3 inches.  For tomorrow, we won’t know the full impending weather conditions until early in the morning and will adapt if conditions change.  Another question raised has been why we have not been calling for traditional snow days, but synchronous learning.  This year, the calendar committee elected to begin our school year after Labor Day.  We have not, therefore, built in the extra hours that some of the districts did that started before Labor Day.  In other words, should we choose to take a ‘snow day off’ we would need to add time to the end of the school year.  Something that in our conversation with CEA and CPA leadership, they did not want to have to do if we could avoid it using synchronous learning.  This year's calendar committee will look at this year to make determinations for how to best layout the calendar for next year.

So for our staff, we once again thank you for being flexible and prepared.  We believe we will have school on time tomorrow based on what we know at this moment.  Should the weather change and accumulation be predicted that would cause us to pivot for tomorrow, we would move to Synchronous learning from home.  This is something that we are asking you to consider each day as a possibility should weather or other circumstances indicate that it is a possibility.

We want all of you to know that we are listening.  We are trying to properly balance the needs of our staff with the needs of our students and the community.  We always put safety first and look to ensure that our decisions are informed, reflect the advice of the experts, and are the best we can make with the information available to us.  We are currently working on a survey that you will receive soon to try and gather a wider voice of our staff on issues and solutions we are all trying to deal with.  We thank you for your continued dedication and support of our students and families and we thank you for all that you do each and every day. 

You truly are amazing and our community appreciates you for what you do.

Dan Shelton, Ed.D. | Superintendent | Christina School District