CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE: SPRING BREAK EXTENDED for STUDENTS

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE: SPRING BREAK EXTENDED for STUDENTS
Posted on 03/15/2020

March 15, 2020

Dear Union Elementary District Staff and Families,

As promised, district leadership has continued to monitor the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation. Although local and state health officials have not changed their recommendation that schools remain open, and it has been our desire and intent to follow their guidance. As new information has been received, we have carefully studied it to determine our course of action.

Due to the level of concern that has continued to grow, an abundance of precaution, coupled with closures by other school districts including our surrounding school districts, it has become evident that keeping Union Elementary District schools open is no longer feasible. We have listened to and considered feedback from a variety of sources. As a result, Union Elementary District schools will not open on Monday, March 16, and will be extending Spring break for students at least through the remainder of this week. At this time, we do not know how long students will not be reporting to school. We will keep you updated as the situation continues to unfold. Please know that we are doing our very best to make decisions that will help care for all of us during this time.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We know that closing schools, even for a short time, is detrimental for many of our families and difficult for many employees. We know places of employment have not closed and we know that many families rely on school meals for children; and, of course, the impact on student learning is a primary concern as is the potential impact on school funding and the status of employees. We are currently evaluating our ability to provide alternative methods of access to learning resources and as many other services as possible during the time that students are not reporting to school.

There are many difficult consequences to a school closure that will have to be addressed including the possible lengthening of school days or extension of the school year to meet statutory requirements. Therefore, I have signed on to a letter, with other Superintendent’s throughout the state, calling on our Governor and legislative leaders to take action to minimize the impact that closures have on staff, families, and students.

We understand that closing schools will be a hardship on many of our employees. While details have not yet been finalized, please know that a top priority is to minimize to the extent possible the impact of this decision on our employees’ personal financial situations.

In the short term, I will be asking that all Union Elementary staff to report to their worksite at 8:00 a.m. Monday, March 16. Employees should practice preventative measures. If an employee believes their personal circumstance places them in a high risk category, they should report their concern to their supervisor and stay home.

Any staff absences will follow district policy and the normal process. The work schedule in subsequent days has yet to be determined.

We share your concern about the community spread of COVID-19 and will do our part to stem that spread. We hope you will take this school closure time to keep your children in your home for the duration of the closure. It is important to remember that the closure of schools is only effective when families and children limit exposure to the public during the closure.

We will update you again later in the week through the usual communication methods with important information about meals, any educational opportunities we can provide, and any updated information about the anticipated duration of the closure.

We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this challenging time together.

Sincerely,

Ms. Kristine Morris
Superintendent

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