Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year, one that will be unique as we open our virtual doors on August 28, 2020. While this has been a challenging summer, we continue to display resilience, adjusting to the rapid and continuous changes. Although fluid, I am confident in the strong commitment and ability of our administrators, teachers, and support staff to effectively serve the needs of our children, while providing quality instruction.
As we prepare to receive our children, we know that education as we know it will never be the same. While it is clear that there are no easy answers, quick solutions, or concrete approaches to return to the lives as we once knew as normal, we continue to work toward the return to face-to-face instruction delivered in the traditional brick and mortar of the school house.
An essential priority in the reopening of schools is the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. As a result, we formed a task force and utilized various resources to create a detailed plan to safely return to school. Resources that contributed to the development of the plan included guidance from the Center for Disease Control, research from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the South Carolina Department of Education.
The reopening of schools plan is available on the school district webpage. While the document has been developed, flexibility continues to be under scored as adjustments may be necessitated by ongoing guidance and for compliance. Our goal is to maintain a normalized environment where students can learn and teachers can teach. This year’s return to school will come with new protocols and procedures in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Our team is committed to delivering a balanced educational program designed to provide access and opportunity for all students as we prepare them for college, career, and/or military readiness. We are also emphasizing a well-rounded approach to address the social and emotional needs to support the whole child.
While we understand the hardship the current plan for reopening schools may have on many of our families, the state of the pandemic has forced us to adopt the virtual approach. We will continue to evaluate our options as we plan to phase in face-to-face instruction that will ensure everyone’s safety.
We encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the Sumter School District webpage for important information. We are grateful for the dedicated staff who will ensure that the coming year is one filled with innovation, learning, and engagement resulting in the success of our children.
In closing, thank you for your patience and continued support during these trying times. We understand the challenges faced during these uncertain times but reassure you that we will continue to focus on the whole child. Sumter School District looks forward to working closely with you and our community to provide a caring and nurturing learning environment where all children can be successful. We are focused and committed to emerging stronger Together Sumter: Every School, Every Student, Every Day! We are #Sumter Strong!
For the children,
Dr. Penelope E. Martin-Knox, Superintendent