September 30, 2020
Dear T/E Families and Staff,
Last night, the School Board approved updates to the District’s reopening plans and a resolution on equity and guiding principles. The reopening plans include details on the transition to the phased reopening of our schools for students who will be participating in the hybrid in-person program as well as updates to student athletics. As we continue to prepare to reopen our schools, I would like to share some key information with the school community.
CCHD Reopening Metrics and COVID-19 Data
We continue to closely monitor the reopening metrics and COVID-19 data provided by the Chester County Health Department to ensure community transmission levels are in line with the recommended instructional model. We have created a special metrics and data page in the reopening section of our website and we will continue to update the numbers on a weekly basis. To reopen in a hybrid model, we need to have three weeks of data in alignment with the metrics for hybrid instruction. The COVID-19 numbers for the week ending September 25 were an improvement over the prior week. We are hoping for two more weeks of positive data to remain on track to begin the phased reopening of our schools on October 12.
Inservice Day Added – Wednesday, October 7
I would like to recognize the outstanding work of our instructional and non-instructional staff during the virtual learning phase. I have received more emails and messages than I can count about how incredibly hard our teachers are working and how dedicated they are to supporting our students in the current COVID-19 environment.
Teaching virtually is much different and, in many ways, much more challenging than teaching when all students are learning together in-person. But teaching in a hybrid model, with a mix of students learning virtually and in-person, is an entirely different level of coordination. To give our teachers the opportunity to prepare their classrooms, lesson plans and technology needs for the upcoming transition to hybrid instruction, we are adding an inservice day on Wednesday, October 7. There will be no school for students this day. Whether a student is attending in-person or virtually, we need to provide our staff with additional time to support all modes of instruction.
Transition Plan for Phased Reopening
Our transition to hybrid, in-person instruction will be a phased process beginning on October 12 at the earliest, with a plan to be fully hybrid by the week of October 19. Slides from the presentation of the transition plan are available on the TESD website. Until further notice, instruction on Wednesdays will remain virtual for all students regardless of their selected learning option. Please note that students who selected the 100% virtual model will remain in virtual instruction, five days a week, through at least Thanksgiving Recess. For additional information on the hybrid instructional model, please review the reopening presentation slides.
Central to our successful transition is a commitment from everyone to using face coverings, maintaining social distancing of 6 feet or more whenever feasible, and frequent handwashing. These have proven in other areas to reduce the likelihood of viral spread and will contribute to our ability to keep schools open.
We will also require parents or guardians of students participating in hybrid instruction to complete a symptoms screening tool within two hours of the start of school. Students and staff members who do not feel well must remain home to protect everyone’s health.
T/E is joining the Central League in allowing student athletic competition between league schools. The goal is to reduce contact with as many outside schools as possible by limiting in-season competition to only schools that are part of the Central League. Last night, the Board approved allowing up to 250 people, including players, staff and spectators, to attend outside athletic events. We wish our student athletes a successful fall sports season.
Resolution on Equity and Guiding Principles
I am pleased to announce that the School Board adopted a resolution on Equity and Guiding Principles at its September 29 meeting. Since 2018, the T/E School District has been working to develop and implement racial equity measures and cultural awareness in our school community and the guiding principles presented last night will further communicate our District values on equity and our path forward. TESD is proud to be a school district that values all individuals for who they are and provides the structures, relationships and resources each member of the school community needs to achieve their greatest potential. The text from the adopted resolution reads:
We believe . . . all people are worthy of human dignity and respect. Every person’s authentic identity should be valued. Together, through listening, collaboration, and understanding, we can identify and eliminate barriers to racial equity. Thus, it is the role and responsibility of the entire Tredyffrin/Easttown School District, at every level, to dismantle and abolish any structure or system that unjustly discriminates against fellow members of our community.
Therefore, we commit to . . .
- Recruit, hire, and support the development of a racially and culturally diverse faculty, administration, and staff
- Practice inclusive, culturally responsive, and anti-racist curriculum and instruction at all grade levels
- Develop and sustain anti-racist leadership among students, faculty, staff, administrators, and parents
- Ensure disciplinary measures taken at all levels reflect racial equity and nondiscrimination
- Eliminate systemic barriers that result in racial disparities in standardized testing, academic outcomes, and cocurricular participation at all levels
- Systematically review and revise District policies and regulations that have a negative and disproportionate impact on students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members of color Improve communication and foster community involvement related to District racial equity initiatives
- Engage stakeholders in racial equity work by establishing and sustaining authentic relationships and creating inclusive opportunities to share multiple perspectives
Community Assistance Programs
TESD has continued the process of delivering meals to District students in need during the virtual learning phase. If your family needs support, or if you are interested in contributing to help local families, you may confidentially contact Oscar Torres at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeanne Braun at email@example.com. You may also consider making a contribution to community support organizations T&E Care and FLITE.
Finally, we know this continues to be a difficult time for families and TESD remains committed to providing mental health support for our students. School counselors and mental health specialists are available to meet with students on an individual or group basis to support students’ emotional and mental health needs throughout the school year, regardless of virtual or in-person attendance. If you have any concerns about your child’s mental or emotional health, please contact your school principal or school counselor. We also have mental health and community resources available in the reopening section of our website. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can help. We have the staff and resources available to support your child.
I hope that as we enter October we remain on track for a safe and successful transition to hybrid instruction, I wish your families good health, and I look forward to seeing more students in our schools.
Dr. Richard Gusick
Superintendent of Schools