Dear Harrisburg Parents and community,
Since June, there have been multiple health and safety updates. I’m attaching ODE August 3 guidance, our board’s resolution for local control voted on Monday, August 9, which for clarity is a formal objection and request for local decision-making, and my letter to the governor advocating for local control. This will get you caught up to what has transpired.
However, on Wednesday, August 11, the Governor put into place an indoor mask mandate for everyone beginning on Friday, August 13, 2021 due to the spiking Delta variant and quickly rising hospital rates. We are awaiting ODE’s specific directions related to the enhanced safety measures. The board and district recognize that we must follow the mandates or we could be subject to fines, penalties, loss of licensure, even school closures.
Nobody likes wearing masks, but what I know about our Harrisburg staff across the ranks is they come together for kids and deliver great lessons and educational experiences and services despite any challenge. I heard the Governor say repeatedly that in-person learning is a priority for her to keep students in school. The Governor’s office and OHA will look at the data every three weeks determining when the mask mandate be lifted. All other health and safety requirements set by ODE are advisory. The board resolution also asks all of the schools to use outdoor spaces for lessons and activities as much as possible this fall. The building principals will explore ways for teachers and students to maximize time outside within reason so students can smile, grin, frown, exchanging a full range of emotions, communicating freely, openly, and safely.
I will post the health protocols we plan to use as we return to in-person school for all of our students later this month. Our students will eat lunch in the cafeteria. If you have questions please give me a call at 541-995-6626.