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Learn at Home Statement March 15, 2020
Posted On:
Sunday, March 15, 2020

March 15, 2020

Through the weekend, the Nevada superintendents have been collectively monitoring and communicating about the world, national, and state coronavirus situation.  Last Friday morning, we had a lengthy conference call regarding athletics and extracurricular activities. As the situation continues to evolve extremely rapidly, we met again this morning to discuss school closures.

There are many, many factors that weigh heavily on our minds at this time, including the social and emotional learning of our students, free and reduced lunch students receiving food, childcare for our families who must work, community and state morale, our own employees’ needs and well-being, and the overall economic and psychological health of our communities.  In short, contemplating closing schools is never approached on a whim.

However, in the same way the virus and its associated sickness are evolving, research and thinking about the best way to contain--and now the word being used is mitigate--are evolving too.  No doubt you’ve all heard about “social distancing,” and “flattening the curve” by this point. As health officials examine the various approaches utilized in China, Taiwan, Italy, France, Korea, Iran, etc. and contrast those approaches, there appears to be more clear direction regarding better and worse strategies.

Initially, it was thought that the disease was spread only through victims who were showing symptoms.  Now, some believe that asymptomatic carriers are a significant factor in spread as well. While there remain no reported cases in White Pine, I--and my colleagues around the state--believe it better to proceed with an abundance of caution and social responsibility than otherwise.

Accordingly, effective tomorrow, Monday, March 16, the WPCSD along with other districts in our state, will be closing schools for normal attendance.  Beginning the week of March 23--sooner if at all possible--students and parents can expect materials to assist them in learning at home. I will provide more details to you about this as they develop.  Schools will be closed during the week of March 30 as well. During this time, state and school district officials will continue to monitor the situation and make further adjustments if necessary. The soonest schools will reopen is April 6, 2020.  This will occur only after the Department of Health provides a clearance.

This decision is not made out of fear, paranoia, or overreaction.  Rather, it is a proactive and progressive measure designed to do our part to flatten the curve.  

I encourage you to exercise the concept of social distancing to the degree possible during this learn at home hiatus and do your part in curbing the spread of the virus.  Students and staff members are encouraged to avoid large gatherings and unnecessary public activities during the time.

You no doubt have many questions about how this closure will impact daily life.  How long? How will learning occur? Will makeup days be necessary? Will there be any way to provide free and reduced meals for students?  What will I do for childcare? Given that this is an unprecedented situation for our community, state, and country, the answers to those questions and more are not all available at this exact moment.  I, the WPCSD as an organization, our caring and dedicated educators and support staff, and our district office staff are committed to doing everything we can to being part of the solution for this problem that is a community, state, nation, and world problem.  I hope we can all work together to find answers.

I personally have great confidence that our community, state, nation, and world will come out of this better than where we began.  I have great hope and faith in the people of White Pine--our students, staff, and community. I believe that we all have the grit and fortitude to band together and make it through this.  I have no paranoia, fear, or doomsday mentality. It’s definitely an unusual and uncomfortable time. But we will make it!