Happy New Year!
Although this first message of the new year is not the one I had hoped to write last January 2021, I do have high hopes for 2022. We welcome our students and staff back to campuses quickly this new year with school resuming on Monday January 3rd.
I think by now, we must accept that COVID, in some shape or form, is here for longer than anyone hoped. I am hopeful that a new year will make it easier for more of us to adjust to this period of our lives. It is time to further transition to learning how to live with COVID in our lives, each of us making decisions on individual factors and choices. My New Year’s wish is that we all find greater comfort in knowing that there is this Natomas Unified community, imperfect as we can be at times, that just wants the best for you. In a community so diverse in ideology, I recognize we will not make everyone 100% happy. Please know, your best interests and the interests of our students remains #1. They never made a playbook for this. And if they did, it seems like we would have to rewrite it every few months.
Speaking of which, we are waiting for guidance from state/local health officials regarding the CDC’s new guidelines on how long students/staff with COVID have to isolate.
We have also been told we will be receiving more home testing kits that we are asking parents/staff to use when they have symptoms. When we distribute these, it may help reduce the number of exposures at schools and provide some form of peace of mind during cold and flu season.
One major unknown is how/if we need to address school when COVID-related absences outweighs any ability to staff classrooms. Many of us probably read what COVID has done to our airline industry over the holidays. Schools may face a similar challenge as Omicron peaks. We just ask for your continued patience.
Please continue keeping your student at home if they have a fever or other symptoms. Call and inform the school so that we can offer school and health support. For our staff, we have some protections in place for those exposed and sick from work-related COVID issues.
For our students and their families, I will be directing senior staff in the next few weeks to take new actions to protect students from the learning gaps this pandemic causes. We will turn to our Board for new actions that reinforce this district’s commitment to student success. All of our staff are COVID exhausted. These new actions will not ask the current site staff to do more. This approach will be about recognizing that sometimes to move fast, we may have to move slower first. Like a well paced track and field event, we can’t always sprint and finish strong. But the end goal remains the same, our students’ success.
I very much look forward to when these messages are no longer needed.