To begin, I would like to thank our community for their continued support of our school district. The last 18 months have been different and difficult for all of those involved. Last year ended with a, relatively, normal graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021. I wish them great success in the future and say “thank you” to them for all they have done for Patrick Henry Local Schools.
We are now entering the 2021-2022 school year. It is an honor to write this opening letter to our community on behalf of our staff, students, and Board of Education. I am honored and humbled to have the position that I have in our school district. I pray for the needed skills to guide our school district on a daily basis.
Reflecting back on the 2020-2021 school year, I am refreshed by the amount of cooperation and Above and Beyond acts it took to keep us at school all year. Our students wore masks nearly all year long. As the year started, many students and families were unsure of how everyone would react to wearing the masks during the school day. As someone that observed this every day, I can say that they did GREAT! A big thank you goes to everyone involved that allowed this to be possible.
This school year comes with more flexibility in masking. The district is not requiring students to wear masks while on campus but is making them optional. We have shared many informational pieces explaining how this impacts a quarantine of a close contact. As a reminder, if a student is deemed a close contact, that student can forgo the quarantine if they are vaccinated or are wearing a mask while in the classroom. All close contacts from extracurricular activities are handled on an event-to-event basis.
Many questions have been asked of me regarding if our students will be mandated to wear a mask this year. Currently, we view flexibility as the way our staff and community want us to move towards. If we have a large number of quarantines or a large amount of community spread that may change. The first change we will make to our current plan would be to implement masking, if needed.
Onto more positive matters. Over the summer, PHLS was able to bring in 10 new employees. These employees replaced people that moved on or retired. I am excited about this group of new hires for many reasons. One is that many of them have some experience in other school districts. I always find this to be a positive for us. These people have ideas and processes they have seen work or not work in other schools. We can learn from that. Additionally, many of the new staff members have a connection to PH. Be it a graduate, married to a graduate, or having their own kids attend PH. Again, I feel this is even more beneficial as the new employees already feel a connection to our school district.
I am excited for the upcoming school year. But, much last like last year at this time, I may be more nervous than I have ever been for the start of the school year. I would not want to be in any other place but at Patrick Henry Local Schools at this very time. We will persevere because we are willing to go above and beyond and take care of each other, our family.Pease contact me with any questions or concerns. My email address is [email protected] or I can be reached following the prompts at 419-274-3015.