We did it! We managed to complete a year of schooling during a world-wide pandemic. Many school districts throughout the country were remote the entire year. By making sensible decisions as to when to have school and by staying in close contact with our State Department of Education, DHHR, and our local health department, we were able to balance in-person schooling safely.
It has not been easy. Our entire team has worked very hard to get to this point. Our highest priority this year has been the health and safety of our students. We redoubled our efforts to feed each child, to provide for their mental health, and to make sure that they were safe. During Governor Justice’s ordered shutdown, we worked hard to ensure that students that did not have internet service at home had remote locations where they could use their device to download school materials and upload assignments. We sent our buses out to feed every student that requested food. We provided mental health services for those who had struggles.
Yet our students sacrificed. Throughout the year they had to forego many of the great traditions of the school year. Homecoming was cancelled, Elementary school parties were cancelled, the MCAC play was cancelled, Middle School dances were cancelled. Some of our students, their family members, our teachers, and staff contracted Coronavirus and became sick. The year was not without loss and concern.
For most students, the return to in-person instruction provided a return to normalcy. Students spent their day with their friends, ate lunch in the cafeteria, and received instruction from a teacher in front of the classroom. These seemingly minor events had tremendous positive effects upon our students.
We also said farewell to the Senior Class of 2021. Speaking on behalf of the entire district, I wish to thank them for their courage and their tenacity in overcoming so many obstacles. As a class they have shown grit and determination. They provided leadership to the younger students and demonstrated to them how to overcome adversity.
We have now turned the page on the 2020-2021 academic year. We are now planning summer programs, academic recovery, and other activities for our students. We have already begun planning for next school year. But we should all take a moment as the pandemic subsides and recognize our strength as a county. We have all been tested, but like iron that has gone through fire, we have come out as strong as steel.
Adam L. Cheeseman