We are presently in the midst of our fifth full week of the COVID-19 Closure. We’re hopeful Governor Parson’s gradual loosening of the stay-at-home order will allow many of our local businesses to reopen in the coming weeks. We also hope this gradual reopening will allow people to go back to work without further complications. This reopening will be a welcomed sight at St. James R-I Schools. Of course, as a school district we understand social gathering limitations will remain in place, so we will continue to provide educational and meal services from a distance until further notice. The April Board meeting was held virtually via Zoom. The Board is presently planning to conduct a May 21 “in-person” meeting in the Middle School commons area. Unless restrictions are lifted, the plan is to conduct this meeting with board members sitting at least six feet apart and presenters and other guests waiting in another location before being beckoned to participate. We will continue to adhere to a limit of 10 or fewer people in one location until further notice. Just like the April meeting, the May meeting will be livestreamed on our district website for those who would like to view the meeting without attending.
We are still awaiting direction from the State and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) about our summer school options amid the public health orders. DESE has provided a few possible options to best support districts as we develop summer school plans. Once all restrictions are lifted and we develop an approved plan, we will immediately share these plans with our staff, parents, and community. If social gathering limitations are not lifted, the 2020 summer school program will be canceled. All district related updates can be accessed on our district website under “COVID-19 Resources”.
In other district related news, our custodial and maintenance teams have been able to begin their summer work early, which will allow them to accomplish other important projects prior to the start of next school year. Our high school gym floor has already been refinished and our middle school gym floor will be refinished the second week of May. The silver lining throughout the school closure is that BRANCO Enterprises continues to make tremendous construction strides. The absence of students has allowed construction crews to perform many projects earlier and without concern of the elements. All three projects are coming along quite well! We continue to post monthly project updates on our district Facebook page and on the district website. If you or a small group would like a personal tour of the projects, please contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a date and time.
Lastly, I would like to report that Teacher Appreciation Week is next week (May 4-8). St. James R-I teachers have demonstrated creativity and innovation in providing an exceptional educational environment, especially these last few weeks of distance learning opportunities for our students. I believe it is safe to say that many parents who have become “instant” teachers have a renewed appreciation for what our teachers do day-in and day-out. Although we will not be able to recognize our teachers in-person, we plan to celebrate all the hard work and dedication our teachers performed before the closure and their current efforts as phenomenal virtual teachers. Please join with us by showing your appreciation the best way possible through emails and virtual messages. #stjtigerpride #BetterTogether #TeacherAppreciationWeek