Superintendent's Current Letter to the Community
September 1, 2020
Dear Parents, Community and CCUSD Staff,
Here we are in month two of the 2020-2021 school year and ready to transition from the Distance Learning Option back to in-person school on September 8th. Although there are many sides to this Return to School Conversation—those who wanted to return now; and, those who do not feel it is safe to do so yet—I think we can all agree that the welfare of our students is first and foremost. We know that for some students, a virtual format is very challenging and for other students, although they would prefer to be physically in school, they are navigating their schoolwork without much difficulty. We know that many students are longing for social interaction—something that schools provide in so many ways for students from preschool through high school. The lack of interaction and seeing their friends and teachers every day in-person has increased depression and sadness for some and this is a huge concern that our counselors are there to help with.
Parents have had to balance not only their personal and work lives but also their students’ online school and zoom schedules, sharing technology in the home and assisting with schoolwork and online programs. Our amazing CCUSD teachers have prepared lessons for the Distance Learning Classrooms and managed all the software used in their teaching in this novel format. The teachers have also assisted with student and parent questions, extending their workday before many of them help their own children with their schoolwork, just like many of our students’ guardians. When we talk about safety and welfare for our students, we also want to remember the safety and welfare of our dedicated staff who teach and support those students. They have missed seeing their students in person and enjoying the typical interactions that happen daily in the regular classrooms. They are excited to see their students back in their seats in their classrooms. The COVID-19 Pandemic has truly changed education and certainly all of our lives at this time.
Authors and brothers, Chris and Daniel Heath, stated, “Data are just summaries of thousands of stories.” So as we review the Maricopa County Department of Public Health Dashboard full of numbers, percentages, metrics and benchmarks to help us decide the best time to return to school and how we do that safely, let’s not forget all the stories of our students, staff and families that make up that data and represent our connections to each other. As always, I look forward to when I can see you in our schools.
Debbi C. Burdick, Ed.D.