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Reopening HSSD Schools 2020-21

A Message from Superintendent Damian LaCroix: HSSD Transitioning to Plan C Virtual Learning Effective September 30

Dear HSSD Families and Staff,

I am writing with a mixture of deep disappointment and incredible pride as we announce all HSSD Schools and 4K programming will transition to our Plan C virtual learning model beginning Wednesday, September 30 and until community health conditions improve. We will maintain our current schedule Monday and Tuesday, September 28-29 to allow staff, students, and families time to prepare for the transition. Further updates will be forthcoming from our principals and teachers regarding daily student schedules as we transition next week.

My pride is for our staff and students who have taken commendable steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. HSSD procedures and protocols have been praised by our local healthcare leaders as thoughtful, thorough, and exceptional. The selfless service of our teachers and staff in reopening our schools under these conditions is humbling. 

Candidly, I am most disappointed for our students. They have been patient, understanding, and happy to be back in our schools. They have done everything we have asked to be safe together and with their teachers. I am disheartened because something outside of our control, the unchecked community spread of COVID-19, is forcing us to make this change. 

Evidence points to unsafe behaviors in our community as the source for the surge in COVID-19 infections. After meeting with leaders from Bellin and Prevea in the last 24 hours, I learned that hospital staff and capacity in our community are burdened and at the point of crisis. I learned that, in their words, “Not a single instance of community spread has been due to schools being open.” Rather, it is the persistent spread of the virus outside our schools that is putting the safety of students and staff at risk. While I firmly believe that schools are the best and safest place for our children, the guidance from our local healthcare leaders makes it clear that even an exceptional COVID-19 mitigation plan in schools cannot withstand the current levels of community spread. 

It is with a heavy heart that we are making this transition, but with hope for better days ahead. The flexibility of our plan allows for this shift to Plan C - and we are ready to apply lessons learned from last spring and this fall to improve the learning experience in a virtual environment.

We encourage our students, staff, and families to continue taking personal responsibility to bend the trend in our community. Wear a face covering when outside the home. Wash your hands frequently. Maintain safe social distance in all public settings and avoid large social gatherings. 

Please see additional information related to our transition:

  • Continue to look for progress updates on the HSSD website.

  • We will re-evaluate our status every two weeks based on criteria under development with the support of the Brown County Health Department and local healthcare leaders. 

  • The District Office and school offices will remain open during this transition.

  • We will communicate updates regarding School Nutrition services for families next week.

  • Students previously enrolled in our K-6 virtual model will continue in their current program.

  • Principals will communicate school specific information directly to families.

I am grateful that our community and staff united around a plan to reopen our schools this fall. I am grateful for the four weeks of learning we have shared at home and at school. Our plan to reopen again will only work if we can also unite behind sustained, basic health and safety measures in our community. Thank you in advance for your support.

With Unity,

Damian LaCroix
Howard-Suamico School District