Message from the Superintendent
July 24, 2020
Dear ASD Families and Staff,
I am saddened to inform you today that Anchorage has hit a 14-day average of 30 new COVID-19 cases per day. According to our school start plan that is informed by this metric, ASD’s schools will start in a high-risk model.
As outlined in the School Start Risk Level Response Plan, the school year will begin with five days of eLearning per week, with no at-school student attendance. We made this determination using the Risk Level Decision Matrix in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Municipality of Anchorage.
While we have almost a month before school resumes on August 20, I felt it was important to make a decision now to provide the maximum amount of time for families, teachers, and staff to plan and make the many necessary arrangements for starting school. ASD will continue to monitor the community health risk on a daily basis and will make another risk-level determination the week prior to Labor Day.
Closer to August 20, schools will be reaching out to coordinate at your discretion, an individual (in-person or electronic) meeting for each student/family. The purpose of the meeting is to review the many aspects of the new school year, focusing on the eLearning environment and supports as well as providing time for parents and students to meet teachers, ask questions, share needs, and begin building relationships within their school.
Please know, as long as we are not placed in a “hunker down” status, for the most part, our teachers and staff will continue to work in our school buildings to ensure they have the resources to best support the needs of students and families. During the last few months, we have learned a lot about the virus, how to mitigate its spread, and how to train and equip staff to protect themselves and others. We are confident that teachers and staff can work from schools safely using appropriate cleaning procedures, physical distancing measures, PPE, and visitor protocols.
Even while conducting school in the eLearning model of high risk and in the ASD Virtual model, we remain committed to providing support to families to include, but not limited to, mental health resources, free and reduced meals, devices for all students in grade 3-12, and connectivity to provide equity of access. The 742-HELP (4357) line is available for families needing technical support or family wellness resources. The ASD website is also a great resource and is constantly updated to provide current information.
Our goal is to get back to in-person school as soon as possible – when it is safe to do so for our students and staff. As we continue to live through this pandemic together, it is critical the ASD community does its collective part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. For all of us, that means adhering to State and Municipal health guidelines, wearing face coverings, and practicing proper distancing and hygiene. The sooner we, as a community, can reduce this recent surge in new cases, the sooner we can get our kids back in schools. Their success depends on our success.
Deena M. Bishop, Ed.D.