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NACS Reopening Plan and Information

In an effort to help families decide which school option is best for them this semester, we created a question and answer sequence with NACS Superintendent Chris Himsel and NACS mom/tv anchor Linda Jackson. The segments will hopefully allow you to find specific issues about which you want more insight.
NACS Reopening Q&A
NACS Q&A Part 1
What will Returning To School Be like?
NACS Q&A Part 2
What Is Being Done To Make The Schools Safe To Attend?
NACS Q&A Part 3
How Will Riding The Bus Be Different?
NACS Q&A Part 4
Talk about Remote Learning and Onsite Options
NACS Q&A Part 5
What Will Be Different About Remote Learning and State Testing This Year?
NACS Q&A Part 6
How Can Students Be Best Prepared to Return to School?
NACS Q&A Part 7
Will School Close Again If COVID-19 Cases Rise?
NACS Q&A Part 8
If a Student Tests Positive for COVID-19 How Will Contact Tracing Be Handled?
NACS Q&A Part 9
What About Families without or Limited or Internet at Home?
NACS Reopening Questions and Answers Full Video:



Dear Parent/Guardian of a NACS student,

Since we announced the closing of our schools on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working to not only meet the immediate needs of each child we are blessed to serve but also to find a way to reopen safely. Because of the continuously changing guidelines, mandates within which we must comply, and conditions of COVID-19 spread throughout the community, it has been a challenging roller-coaster ride. Throughout the spring and summer, we needed to regroup multiple times and start our efforts over. Your patience has been greatly appreciated as we worked with our local medical and public health experts to find a path to reopen our schools safely.

For many, the decision on whether to have their child(ren) return to school and engage in onsite instruction is difficult. It is even more complicated for those who have a child or other family member with an underlying health condition. It is also difficult to navigate the overwhelming amounts of seemingly contradictory information and determine what is factual and what is not. In terms of factual information, we encourage each of you to learn more about COVID-19 and how you can support your child by visiting the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), the Allen County Department of Health (ACDH), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). To make it easier to locate these resources, links to each of these websites can be found on page 4 of this document. We also continue providing information on our website located at www.nacs.k12.in.us.

Despite the overwhelming amounts of information and legitimate worry that many of us have as parents, the AAP reminds us that “children learn best when physically present in the classroom Returning to school is important for the healthy development and well-being of children, but we must pursue re-opening in a way that is safe for all students, teachers and staff.” The AAP also reminds us that “In addition to reading, writing and math, children learn social and emotional skills, get exercise and access to mental health support and other things that cannot be provided with online learning. For many families, school is where kids get healthy meals, access to the internet, and other vital services.” The AAP also warns that “Returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic may not feel like normal – at least for a while.”

We have carefully considered many aspects about reopening our schools, so we can create safer learning environments for children. However, for some families, returning to school and accessing onsite instruction is not the best way to move forward. For this reason, we created a remote learning option. Because of the complexities of staffing a remote option while also living within our financial resources, families choosing the remote learning option will need to commit for at least the first semester which concludes in December. There will be an opportunity to re-evaluate before making a decision about the second semester. Please remember, the remote learning option will have limited access to elective courses and extra-curricular activities, and it will require access to digital learning materials.

The Reopening Plans during a Pandemic document provides a summary of many key points that may be of interest to parents. Though we have tried to think of and resolve as many “what if” questions as possible, it is impossible to think of every eventuality, especially since more changes will need to be made as more information is learned about COVID-19 and new guidance and mandates are issued. However, there comes a time when we must implement our plans and learn from experience. Therefore, if we determine that something in our plan needs to be tweaked or changed to make learning conditions better for children, we will – but we will not implement changes that jeopardize our ability to provide healthy and safe learning environments.

We also needed to realize that no matter how well we plan for various scenarios, there will continue to be cases of COVID-19 in our community, and they will likely enter our schools just as they have entered places of worship, restaurants, grocery stores, manufacturing centers, office buildings, social gatherings, youth sports leagues, vacation locales, etc. Nearly every part of our community has been affected. Therefore, nearly every aspect of our plan is designed to reduce the number of cases and to reduce the number of affected people whenever a case becomes confirmed. Specifically, we have learned about and will be implementing measures that mitigate the spread of and exposure to COVID-19, such as wearing facial coverings, frequently washing our hands and using hand sanitizer, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and maintaining physical distances of 6 feet or more whenever it is practical to do so. We have created plans to implement these actions in a practical way while also living within our available financial and physical resources.

A successful school reopening will not rest solely on the actions of our students and employees; it will involve our entire community. To avoid interruptions caused by confirmed cases of COVID-19, everybody in our community will need to embrace and engage in actions that mitigate the spread of and exposure to COVID-19. All of us must willingly and consistently wear facial coverings, maintain social distance of 6 feet or more whenever it is practical to do so, frequently wash our hands and use hand sanitizer, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and commonly shared items. By doing so, we will reduce the number of cases and instructional interruptions. Please commit to implementing these simple actions, and encourage others to do so as well, so we can maintain the continuity of learning.

We miss seeing and interacting with the children we are blessed to serve. We have created protocols and taken steps to create safer learning environments, so they can return to school, re-engage with their friends, and return to achieving more than they thought was possible. However, school will look different. The steps we have taken will create a different look and feel, but all of these steps will be painstakingly implemented to create safer learning environments while also decreasing the chances of having our daily routines interrupted. Eventually, we will fully return to a more normal way of life. Until then, we will learn from our experiences and improve each day.

Regardless of whether you choose to have your child engage in onsite or remote learning, Northwest Allen County Schools remains committed to developing the talents and nurturing the creativity of each learner. I hope each of you enjoy a great 2020-2021 school year.

Respectfully,

Chris Himsel

Superintendent


Online registration for students begins on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

NACS School Board of Trustees Meeting
July 27, 2020

Live-stream will begin on July 27 at 6:55pm

NACS School Board of Trustees Meeting
July 13, 2020


NACS Reopening Summary