Throughout this calendar year, we have gained a deeper appreciation for what it means to make sacrifices to keep each other safe. We have watched as healthcare and other essential workers have continued to fulfill their duties so we may maintain some degree of normalcy. Coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am continually reminded of the work that all St. James R-I educators and employees are doing to cultivate the continuity we know our students need and deserve.
Our school nurses are bravely helping to facilitate COVID-19 testing for students and staff. Our educational staff is spending extra time on Zoom and in Google classrooms to strengthen the engagement between school and remote learners. Our custodial staff is responding to various situations with urgency and professionalism to provide the peace of mind that stems from additional sanitation. Our school nutrition team is working every day to prepare and deliver meals to each classroom while simultaneously preparing meal pick-ups for our quarantined and distance learning students. And the dedicated bus drivers at Copeland Bus have demonstrated flexibility and courage in the face of the many COVID related challenges every single day this semester. I am grateful for everyone who is doing their part.
While all of our students have been forced to sacrifice their time in school with their teachers and one another, no group of current students have felt the burden of these circumstances as much as our high school students. In this critical year of their educational careers, they have displayed resilience in balancing their education in a hybrid learning format while dealing with the realities of being educated amidst a construction zone. I am grateful to these students and their families for the enormous patience they have shown as we have worked aggressively to complete the high school projects while simultaneously managing all of the challenges of a pandemic. We are excited about our high school students returning to full seated instruction on Tuesday, January 19. We are equally excited that they will be learning in the newly renovated classrooms of the high school building upon their full return. According to Branco, the upstairs classrooms will be turned over to the district at the end of December. It will take a few weeks for our custodial, maintenance, and technology teams to appropriately clean and install necessary technology equipment before it will be completely ready for regular classroom learning. Although there is much to be completed in a short window, we fully anticipate high school students will be learning in the upstairs classrooms in January.
We are so excited to have our elementary students back and learning in the seated format this week. As a reminder, our first day back for all students after the Christmas break is Tuesday, January 5. Our elementary students will return to full seated learning while our Middle School and High School students will return to the hybrid format for the first two weeks. We will continue to do everything possible to be prepared for the full seated return of our Middle School and High School students on Tuesday, January 19.
Calendar Survey: Last week an email was sent requesting parent participation in the 2021-2022 academic calendar development process. As always, your feedback is critical when developing plans for the future. Please consider participating in this survey using the following link: https://forms.gle/LpUBNMDH5LXZydMm9 or you may come to the Central Office building at 122 E. Scioto to pick up a hard copy. The deadline to participate in this survey is this Friday, December 11 at 2pm.
Thank you again for your time, your patience, your contributions, and for entrusting us with your children. We are all grateful to do this work and to do it on behalf of the children and young adults of St. James.