We are currently in our third cycle of full remote learning since the school year began. The first was due to multiple confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. The second was due to a significant outbreak in our community. The most recent is due to the detection of COVID-19 on campus, with multiple close contacts.
When I make the decision to go full remote, I do not do so lightly. I know the names of our students who struggle. I see their faces. I wish I could give them a reassuring hug. Some are struggling to stay on pace to graduate. It would not be an issue if they were with us full time. Some are seniors with their last chance to play organized sports, or be in the school play. I know these kids. I love these kids. These are the faces I see.
Unfortunately, I also see my father struggling to breath from COVID-19. I hear the doctor overseeing his death describe the random nature of this virus. Most people recover he says. Many have mild symptoms he says. In some, like your father, the virus just destroys the lungs. We wish we could predict and protect those who would be harmed. Unfortunately, the random nature of this virus does not allow.
When I am forced to make a decision to go full remote, when I am forced to make a decision on whether extra-curricular activities continue, I take all of this into consideration. I see our kids. I see our families. I follow the evidence to protect the most vulnerable members of our community the best I can. But I need your help.
Here is my ask.
- Wear a face covering. Cover your nose and mouth. Especially when you are inside.
- If you or a household member has symptoms, STAY HOME. Let us know at the school. Be honest about who you have been around and where you have been. You aren’t protecting anyone by withholding information. All you do is put more people at risk.
- Don’t eat or drink at indoor restaurants/bars. I have good friends that own and work at these establishments. I do not want them to fail. I do not want people to lose their jobs. But if we don’t stop, this cycle will continue.
- Don’t have parties or get togethers. Yeah, they’re fun. Yeah, it stinks not to have them. But this just continues the chain of spread. We have to do something to break this chain.
- Love one another. Respect one another. Care for each other. Just. Be. Nice.
Also, if the health department or someone from the school calls you, the news they deliver is not their fault. If my mother and our family can be kind and gracious as we lose a loved one to COVID-19, you can be kind to someone asking you to quarantine for a few days.
Last, with regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, we are optimistic that everyone will have a chance to get vaccinated by the end of summer. Please, do everything you can to help vulnerable members of our community get vaccinated FIRST. Vaccination information is pasted below.
- Knox County Health Department - https://bit.ly/2Zejgi9
- Hy-Vee Vaccinations - http://bit.ly/3abkXn9
- Walgreens Vaccinations - http://bit.ly/2ZbUi2U
Please, I beg of you, for the sake of our kids and our community, help us control the spread of this virus by following the steps above. Help vulnerable people make appointments and get vaccinated. But most importantly, regardless of who you vote for or what news channel you watch, be kind to one another. Care for each other. Love one another.
Our only way through this is TOGETHER. It will all be over soon.
Tim Farquer, Superintendent