Posted Date: 11/20/2020
Dear Union Staff:
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to thank you for your continued vigilance in doing everything possible to keep students, coworkers and yourselves safe. I know these are extremely trying times for all of us. We long for a return to normalcy, especially at this time of the year.
With the utmost urgency, I’m asking you . . . Please don’t let your guard down over the holidays. We’ve taken many extraordinary measures during the school year to ensure student and staff safety. It is amazing that we managed to have in-person school for 11 straight weeks without closing a single school building. This is due largely to our staff and students being diligent about wearing masks at school and maintaining physical distance when possible.
Despite our best efforts, though, we made the decision last week to move to distance learning for students in grades 6-12 and Boevers Elementary. We deliberately chose to keep all other elementary schools open as long as we have adequate staffing to cover classes.
Covid fatigue is wearing us down, but we need to continue to follow CDC guidelines. When staff members ignore the warnings about congregating together for meals or other events, it could lead to large numbers of staff and students being placed in quarantine. As Dr. Dart (Executive Director of the Tulsa Health Department) says, you need to keep living your life, so find ways to gather with friends and family while observing the guidelines we are all familiar with—wear a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands.
Please use common sense over the holidays as you consider participating in family gatherings. Per the CDC, people with or exposed to COVID-19 should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if they or anyone in their household:
• Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others;
• Has symptoms of COVID-19;
• Is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results;
• May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days; and/or
• Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
If you are hosting or attending a holiday gathering, please follow these recommendations from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html
On a personal note, I hope you enjoy your holiday and use this time to unwind! I realize that teaching often comes at great personal sacrifice. Please know that I appreciate everything you are doing in this difficult time. We just need to MASK UP, keep PRESSING ON and remain diligent in our efforts to be smart and safe!
Kirt Hartzler, Ed.D.