I hope this week finds everyone relaxed and in good health. It’s been one month since school was formally dismissed for the 2019-20 year and a full three months since concerns with the coronavirus caused an immediate shutdown of the traditional school day. The NBC staff certainly appreciates the flexibility and teamwork showcased by our students and their families throughout a tumultuous few months. I was in awe of the outstanding performance displayed by NBC staff, our understanding parents, and the excellent NBC student body when we quickly transitioned to an e-learning environment during the 4th quarter of the school year. Well done, NBC! This letter arrives with good news and hope for an exciting transition into the 2020-21 school year.
High school students began summer weightlifting and summer school on June 8th with Directed Health Measures in place. It was a great feeling of joy to both see and hear students in the high school building once again! Other activities like elementary summer school and Drivers Education will occur later this month and be compliant with the ever-changing State guidelines. I appreciate your patience, as every single activity we begin this summer takes a lot of time and concentration to make sure we are acting in accordance with the coronavirus-related regulations. I remain confident that we will be able to have prom and graduation, with graduation tentatively scheduled for the high school football field at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 18th. Details regarding these events are evolving, but final decisions will not occur until Directed Health Measures for mid-July are announced by the Governor’s Office.
Planning for next year remains quite challenging. Questions about a typical school day in the current coronavirus environment leads to a variety of hypothetical conversations regarding the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Will we be able to have school face-to-face all year long? Will masks be required of staff and students? What regulations must be followed in accordance to the classroom? Bus routes? The cafeteria? What will become of the fall sports season and other activities? All of these questions are fair game at the present time; however, the answers remain unknown until a later date. One answer that is in place is our start date. The school calendar lists August 18th for the first day of school and we will keep that date intact with traditional face-to-face learning unless directed otherwise through the Governor’s Office. I do understand that the few answers and many unknowns with school only two months away tests all of our patience as we strive to strike a balance between providing the best educational experience possible for NBC students alongside the Directed Health Measures and desire to combat the coronavirus.
In order to gain perspective on the matter, I created a ‘Return To School Committee’ to assist me in better understanding the district’s needs as we move into this most complicated school year. The committee is comprised of six excellent NBC employees with comprehensive knowledge of the district: Galen Uhing, Amanda Vyhlidal, Fred Ladehoff, Katie Mann, Ken Streff and Aaron Sterup. Their participation and leadership is certainly appreciated. The committee is discussing the takeaways from two months of experience with e-learning, the many hypothetical scenarios that may arise in August, and possible long-term ramifications of the coronavirus on the 2020-21 school year. With assistance from this group, I will send another communication to the district in mid-to-late July with an update on the planning process for the 2020-21school year.
One constant to rely upon as we transition into the next school year is that the district will continue to value recommendations from Three Rivers Health Department and comply with the Directed Health Measures as presented for our school district at a given time. The second constant in these strange times will be our mission of Building Success Together and having a model of unity comprised of students, staff, parents and patrons that has served this district well for decades. Enjoy your summer months, NBC, and prepare yourselves for an upcoming school year of learning, joy and fun that we will need to take one day at a time -- Literally!