The Latest on Reopening: A Letter from Chuck Jackson
Dear Creative Minds Community:
Two weeks ago, I sent a letter with updates on our reopening plans. At issue was whether we could safely return to the school building for in-person classes before winter break begins, on December 23, and I talked about the data that were informing our ongoing discussions.
Recent trends in public-health numbers tell me that a safe return is not possible in 2020. The daily case rate for COVID-19 is rising in DC—and across the country—as are the rates of community transmission, test positivity, and other metrics. My dominant concern is the health and safety of our community; it’s the principle that guides all our reopening decisions.
My team and I have decided that Creative Minds will remain on an all-remote schedule for the rest of 2020. We will continue with our all-remote schedule when we return from winter break on January 4, 2021. January is our next check-in point for considering when to reopen the school building, and we’ll share more information then.
This decision is what’s best for our school right now because it promotes the health and safety of staff, students, and families and ensures that students have a consistent experience in their academic learning and social-emotional development.
You’ve likely seen news reports about school districts abruptly halting in-person classes when a COVID-19 outbreak occurs, and how this negatively affects their communities. What I want for Creative Minds students is a positive year of growth and learning, with the fewest disruptions possible and the most support that our incomparable staff and teachers can provide.
I’m confident in our decision to stay remote because I know that so many of our students are doing well with online classes. I know, too, that Creative Minds staff and teachers are growing our online program so that it sets up all students for success. Last week’s letter from Nayamka Long shares data on student learning in these first months of school.
This chart from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows indicators and thresholds for the risk of introduction and transmission of COVID-19 in schools. Guidance like this, and daily updates from DC Health, is critical to Creative Minds’ science-based approach to any reopening of our school building.
Enhancing Remote Learning
As we close out this calendar year, we’ll be working to make our remote program even stronger, create additional supports for students who need them, and design an in-person program that’s ready for whenever we can safely return to the building and offer classes at school. Remote learning would remain an option for as long as the public-health situation warranted it.
This is what we’ll focus on over the next five weeks:
- Holding interviews with families to help us identify students who need more support
- Gathering more detailed feedback from teachers on students’ successes and challenges
- Implementing tutoring and additional small-group sessions, as well as 1:1 check-ins between students and teachers
- Enhancing teacher office hours to offer greater assistance to students
In January, we’ll distribute additional books and supplies so that students are ready for an enriching second semester. Please stay tuned for more information.
Community Town Halls
You likely have questions for me and my team, so I hope you’ll join us for a Community Town Hall the first week of December:
Tuesday, December 1
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 5
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of us—at times in devastating ways—and I will do everything in my power to keep our community safe. Let’s continue to find strength in doing what’s best for our students and supporting one another. I’m so proud of what we’re accomplishing as we navigate this unusual school year together.