A Caring Comeback

A Caring Comeback for fall 2020
Posted on 09/22/2020
From Marci Minor, Director of Communications

Our students’ return to school this fall was even more bittersweet than normal. After a five-month break since the school shut down in the spring, our staff made their very best attempts to physical distance with air high-fives, air hugs, and masked smiles. Still, you couldn’t hide the excitement of welcoming our Bulldogs back to school for this unprecedented start!
Then began the questions we never imagined asking: Do you have your mask? Do you know how to access Google Classroom from home in case you are quarantined? What’s my login for remote learning? 
This year, we have approximately 2,450 students enrolled district-wide; about 8% of those registered students are learning remotely from home. The district provided Chromebooks and hot spots for families with children who chose to learn from home this semester. Additionally, Mexico High School is 1:1 so each student has a Chromebook to take home daily. During these first few weeks of class, the “new normal,” at every age level, is to ensure students understand how to access resources remotely from home in the case of another school shut down. 
When educators returned to campus in mid-August, our Caring Comeback: Bringing Bulldogs Back to School re-entry plan was put into place. The plan has six areas: Increased Disinfection Efforts, Social (Physical) Distancing, Student and Staff Protective Measures, Visitors, Students and Staff Members who Test Positive, and Remote Learning. We envision this plan as a fluid document, changing as the circumstances dictate and based on the guidance we receive from national, state, and local health experts. The plan is available on our website at mexicoschools.net. 
Additionally, we update our parents and community of the district COVID-19 risk level each week by Monday by 10:00 a.m. There are four tiers: green, yellow, orange, and red. The four risk levels are reflective of Audrain County’s 7-day rolling average of new positive cases and new hospitalizations. We continue to monitor COVID-19 in Audrain County specifically and collaborate with the Audrain County Health Department as necessary. Our district uses the following metrics to monitor our local COVID-19 risk level and make subsequent decisions regarding levels: The Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) real-time dashboard, The Harvard Path to Zero COVID Risk Level for Audrain County, and Johns Hopkins Data for Audrain County. The change in levels primarily reflect modifications to the Caring Comeback Activities Plan, such as the spectator limit at school events. This document is also available at mexicoschools.net. 
To initiate discussion of a temporary school shut down, the metrics above would likely show Audrain County in the “red” level. If our district does pivot to a temporary shut down, our plan is to provide students, families, and staff members a 72-hour notice, barring any unusual circumstance or unexpected information from ACHD. Furthermore, should a temporary shut down be necessary, we hope to limit the shut down to two weeks. Distance learning will be implemented during the shutdown and in-seat learning would resume after the two weeks.
The top priority for the Mexico School District remains the education of our students. We are committed to teaching, learning, and caring, especially during COVID-19! We encourage our community to watch for timely and accurate school information on our website and district Facebook page. #MEX59TLC #CaringComeback