April 9, 2021
They say that good things come to those who wait. Well, we must be in store for some great things because we have been waiting patiently for normalcy for over a year now. I was reminded of this yesterday during the morning newscast when the announcer stated that there had not been fans inside Busch Stadium for 550 days and that they won’t be at full capacity for some time. At Northwest, we have waited an entire year for our middle school and high school students to return to the classrooms at “full capacity”. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re a step closer to a near-normal school year. We are also excited about continuing traditional senior events such as prom and graduation. Thank you for your patience as we waited for the right time to safely combine our students once again.
So far, returning to more in-person days and combining the A and B day students is working. A large part of that is due to the mitigation strategies we have in place. The continued wearing of face coverings as a mitigation strategy has not only been important in reducing the transmission of the virus, but is now also a strategy for students to remain in school. Recently, the Jefferson County Health Department revised its guidance for quarantine requirements when students are wearing masks. Therefore, if students are properly wearing a mask, even if they are considered close contacts, they will not have to be quarantined from classes. However, there are conditional restrictions and they will be restricted from sports and extracurricular activities. Given the time out of school this year, we welcome any opportunity to have our students remain in classes.
I want to take a second to say “Thank you!” to our custodial staff. Without them and their diligence in cleaning and preparing our buildings, combining A and B students would not have been possible. Speaking of combining the A and B students, I also want to send a big shout out to our counselors, course schedulers, and data technicians who made the classroom schedules work. Your efforts are behind the scenes, but rest assured, we see you and appreciate you and the work you do. Thank you.
Of course, we want to come back as normal as we can next year. One of the ways we can do this is to get the Covid vaccine. The more of us that get the vaccine, the less the virus will spread. Many of our staff, as well as staff in other Jefferson County school districts like Dunklin, Festus, and Fox, have taken advantage of Covid vaccine clinics offered at the schools. At Northwest, the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered to staff tomorrow. By taking advantage of the vaccination opportunity, our staff have expressed their desire to be well and get back to normal. I want to thank each and every one of our staff that have received the vaccine. Your willingness to vaccinate will not only help our students, but our entire community.
With the vaccine becoming readily available to those who want it, what does this mean for us? Will we have to wear masks or social distance? We honestly don’t know yet. Hopefully, we can come back to school like a typical August. It is our hope that we can be as close to pre-Covid routines as possible. It will take all of us to get there.
Before we get to next year, we need to finish this year. You may be wondering about our last day of school. After reviewing our state-required number of attendance hours, barring any unforeseen weather incidents, our last day of school for the 2020-21 year will be Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Again, this is only if there are no more weather incidents.
Last year, we said “We’ve got this.” We never wavered in our belief that Lion Nation would take care of our students, our schools and each other. It has not been easy, and there have been some rough patches, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re almost there, Lion Nation. Until then, be well and stay safe.
Take good care,
Desi Kirchhofer, Ed. D
Superintendent, Northwest School District