March 14, 2020
As we were preparing for a timely spring break, we received late notice of the cancellation of school on Friday. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we moved quickly to ensure the safety of our students.
Since that time, things have progressed quickly, so I want to update you all on coronavirus precautions that were already taking place at the campus and district level and what to anticipate in the coming weeks.
For the last few weeks, our teachers have been working with students on preventative measures like hand washing and the regular use of hand sanitizer. We currently have an adequate supply, but will let families know if we are in need of more after the break. As part of our recent assembly, we reviewed hygiene requirements with all students, and emphasized the need to wash hands regularly and keep your hands to yourself. On Thursday, Ms. Sileo and I delivered individual lessons to each of our twenty classes on “social distancing” and other ways to prevent the spread of germs. Our students were very receptive and we were able to provide helpful feedback to one another about the ways to keep ourselves and members of our families safe at school and during the break. Then on Friday, we took advantage of the cancellation of classes to engage in a thorough deep cleaning of our campus.
While the virus does not seem to be particularly dangerous to children, there are many within our school community who are immunocompromised or of the age that has been seen to be most susceptible to COVID-19. With confirmed cases at The University of Texas, we will be communicating with families who may have been exposed as well as those who might face other challenges like food insecurity. We have established a food pantry on campus that we will utilize in conjunction with produce from our gardens to assist any families in need. Please do not hesitate to contact us about any needs that you are aware of within our community. I will be checking my email John.Hewlett@Austinisd.org throughout the break.
Spring Break begins this week with students scheduled to return to school Monday, the 23rd. That Tuesday, we were planning to hold our monthly CAC Meeting with a focus on student and family health to share updates on coronavirus related precautions and review information about the new AISD Human Sexuality and Responsibility curriculum. In accordance with new district guidelines limiting any meetings until after April 3rd, we will postpone the CAC meeting as well as our Principal’s Coffee scheduled for the morning of Thursday, March 26th to review information about that new AISD curriculum.
We continue to receive regular updates from AISD, which is working in close coordination with state and local agencies to appropriately address what will be a lengthy situation. We will keep everyone updated on any information that becomes available to us, including any cases of coronavirus on our campus or additional school cancelations. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or information that you feel would be helpful in our efforts to be as prepared as possible. While these are challenging times, I am confident in our ability as a school community to address issues in a way that leads to the best outcomes for students and their families.
Thank you for your continued support and advocacy,
Principal – Russell Lee Elementary School