12/28 Update from the Superintendent
Temporary Suspension of In-Person Learning
Update: December 28 2020
Dear Harrison Families,
I am hopeful that you have enjoyed and continue to enjoy the holiday break, you and your family members are safe, and making choices to protect yourselves, relatives, friends, and our community.
I write with a sobering and difficult announcement. Starting Monday, January 4, 2021, all Harrison schools will suspend in-person instruction and return Tuesday, January 19, the day after the Martin Luther King holiday. During these two weeks, students will follow their hybrid schedules and participate in live, virtual classes on the days they are scheduled for in-person learning.
Why a temporary shift to Virtual Learning?
After a lengthy analysis, the Board of Education and I believe the 10 days of virtual learning are the most effective way:
to ensure a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, and staff upon their return from the holiday break.
to ensure long-term continuity of instruction.
to increase in-person instructional days in the future.
Since the two-day Thanksgiving break, student, faculty, and staff quarantines, school closures, and positive COVID-19 cases increased; 285 students and 102 faculty were quarantined. These circumstances created stress on students, faculty, staff, and parents. Based on this experience and the opinions of experts, the 12-day holiday break is projected to create a surge in infections. We have continued to see positive COVID-19 cases; the administrative team spent Christmas Day contact tracing and informing families of students required to quarantine.
I am gravely concerned that a return to in-person instruction too quickly creates an additional strain on students, faculty, staff, and parents. A 10-day virtual learning period will allow post-holiday infections to emerge prior to a return to in-person learning and minimize instructional disruptions and infection spread in our schools. This decision provides parents an opportunity to plan without managing unanticipated quarantines or unexpected school closures.
I realize my decision is difficult for everyone, but believe over the long-term this is an effective strategy to reduce spread in our schools and to achieve more in-person instructional days.
I commend our faculty and staff for their continued flexibility and for always extending themselves for the benefit of our students. Thank you for your ongoing support, I am hopeful for a brighter, and more normal new year ahead for us all.
Louis N. Wool, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools