By Mark Messman, Superintendent EV-W District #463
As Superintendent of EV-W Schools, I’m connected and communicate with board members, staff, and students frequently. I can assure you that we are all doing everything in our power to keep students and staff members safe and actively engaged in school. I can also tell you that most are stressing to levels we
haven’t experienced before the arrival of COVID-19. Parent calls, virtual lessons, and contact tracing is taking place during the school day, evenings and, in many cases, the weekends as well.
As I reflect back to March, when school districts were forced to prepare and transition to Distant Learning, we had just five days to get it right. I also remember hearing from many of you wanting nothing more than getting students back in school. No one wants students back in school more than our EV-W staff. Education is our passion, it’s what we were trained to do, and it’s something we do quite well. We miss our students and the level of energy they bring to the classrooms, courts, fields, and stage.
Keeping our staff and students healthy and in school should be a top priority for all of us, and we need your help. Due to a few positive COVID-19 cases earlier in the school year, and quarantining a number of staff considered close contacts, resulted in a transition from face-to-face instruction to a Hybrid Learning Model. As a result of a depleted pool of substitutes, many of our staff frequently give up their prep time to cover classes for each other. These additional demands on staff cannot be sustained for long periods of time. This is the reality that our schools are faced with, and the reason we need to follow MDH guidance on masks, social distance, hand hygiene, and avoiding large gatherings.
Let’s work together to prevent the virus from having a negative impact on our teachers, support staff, and substitutes. If we can remain healthy at the local level and in our school buildings, we can avoid the transition to a Distance Learning Model of instruction. This is not a political post, but a plea to help us all stay healthy and in the classrooms where we want to be.
I can assure you, NO ONE wants to be in school and in front of students more than your EV-W educators. Please, take a moment to send a “Thank You” to an educator and express your appreciation for the time, energy, and dedication it takes to prepare and deliver multiple modes of instruction each hour of every work day.
Thank you for supporting our students, staff, and school district during these unprecedented and challenging times.