Last week, more than 7,000 parents whose children were remote learners were sent the following email to get their feedback in preparation for the next school year.
Thank you to those who took the time to provide feedback regarding virtual learning. With a projected enrollment of almost 18,000 students to be enrolled this fall, 490 expressed interest in a virtual option, should it be available. Interestingly, there was not a trend toward specific grade levels.
POSITIVE CASES DROPPING
Optimism has been essential to our success. We are looking forward to a world in the future without masks, desks pushed together, and breaking up high school kids holding hands during lunch. We are SO close. There may be a reason most families want their students back in school–cases have fallen drastically the past month. In November, we had more than 150 positive COVID-19 cases. As we enter April, positive cases average less than 10, putting us at a mere 5% of what we were once experiencing!
Another reason for parent confidence: transmission rates at school have remained low the entire year. Most folks were being exposed elsewhere. Less than 1% of all student quarantines became positive from an on-campus exposure.
100% VACCINATION BY MAY 15
The safety of those in our care remains the top priority. Getting our employees vaccinated is a big step. Last month, we asked employees to share if they wanted a vaccination. With the help of many people, 71% of those requesting a vaccination received at least their first dose. Our goal is 100% by May 15. This includes transportation, maintenance, custodial, paraprofessional, and food service employees as well.
The debate regarding masks remains a hot topic for both sides. With safety remaining a priority, we promise to move carefully towards a “normal school environment” as soon as possible. A question we receive frequently: “When will wearing a mask no longer be mandatory?”
A recent survey of Wylie ISD educators revealed that nearly 80% wanted to continue mask-wearing until the end of this school year. We did not pursue actions to lift the mask requirement for the remainder of 2020-2021. With cases falling dramatically, survey data indicating transmission levels at less than 1% for the entire year, and 100% vaccinations of interested employees by the end of the school year, we are hopeful some restrictions can be lifted in our near future.
Possible Summer School Pilot Consideration
With summer school offered virtually and on-campus, students have options. We are considering a “repeat” trial run of making mask-wearing optional. With small numbers, focused attention, and empty halls, we learned a great deal last summer that helped Wylie ISD provide on-campus learning on the first day of school for 2020-2021.
Your input is valued and appreciated as a tool to guide our planning and future decisions. Please take a moment to fill out this short survey regarding mask-wearing for the near future.
Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation as we work out these solutions in the safest, practical, and most effective way. Like always, before any proposal is formally considered, we will keep everyone updated. We appreciate your trust and do not take it lightly.
2021-22 CRYSTAL BALL
With all of the data we have collected, we are well on our way to a much different school year in the fall.
Things change and our goal is to keep everyone updated with information as we continue to work through our preparations. One thing is for certain in the COVID-19 world, the values of grace and adaptability are essential. Our crystal ball remains fuzzy right now.
We are closely monitoring legislation and rulemaking by the Texas Education Agency regarding virtual schools and seeking your input and the input of educators.
We are grateful for the trust and appreciation our families have for our schools. We are grateful for our educators who foster that trust with our families with their words and actions, the Wylie Way!