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Boone County Schools Superintendent Matt Turner sends letter to faculty, staff about school reopening

Dear Colleagues,

As we enter the last few weeks before the first day of school I want to provide more information to you.

First, I want to compliment the work that has been completed so far by our administrative, teaching and classified staff. We have amazing people and dedicated professionals within the Boone County Schools and this summer, without a doubt, has been one of the most challenging and stressful for everyone. I am very proud of our school principals and our district staff as I have pushed them very hard, worked to pull them together and they have responded extremely well.

Matt Turner

In many ways, we are in an important moment of our school year and an important time for our community and society. I truly believe that we must constantly model what we want our students to learn and do – as students and adults learn from watching and observing others. A powerful question to constantly ask ourselves is “When our students think of compassion, integrity, perseverance or positivity, do they think of YOU?” Are we setting an example each and every day for what and how we want our students to be? These questions also apply to any other positive attribute, skill, or trait that you wish or to any group of people, not just students.

Right now there is a lot of concern and worry about the reopening of schools.  Students are concerned about safety, seeing their friends, what their future will hold. Faculty, administration, and staff are concerned for their safety, their ability to effectively do their job, their mental health, and the future for the students they serve. Parents are concerned about the safety and health of their students, their progress in learning, the future of their children, and how to manage childcare and their jobs. Community members are generally concerned about their health and safety, their jobs and businesses, and the future outlook and health of their community. Each of those concerns must be important to all of us and we must work together to meet these needs and concerns.

We are paying close attention to the status of the pandemic and we will reopen schools accordingly. Our goal is to start in YELLOW status (in-person & virtual), but we are preparing for both YELLOW and a RED status (remote & virtual). The model that we have set in place has allowed parents and students to choose in-person or virtual instruction based on their individual and personal needs. This model allowed us to reduce the number of students in the building on any given day by 50% through creating an AB hybrid schedule. (Our numbers are approximately 70% in-person instruction and 30% virtual instruction – this means that approximately 35% of our student enrollment will be in the building on any given day – these numbers will vary some from school to school).

To keep us all safe, wearing masks must become a common part of everyone’s daily attire. The medical research on wearing masks indicates that wearing a mask as much as possible is the best strategy to reduce the spread of the virus.  Employees and students must wear masks in the buildings and as appropriate outside.  Look for some specific guidance on masking coming soon as we must work together to have clear and consistent expectations of students and employees.

We have also worked to align the AB student groups for families with multiple children in the schools so that they may follow the same daily schedule.  Within this hybrid model we have worked to create an instructional structure where teachers are creating the same lesson plan for students regardless of their being in the A group, B group, or the virtual instruction group. The lesson plans will stretch across the entire year as normal, so every student will have a “virtual lesson” every day. What will change is that some students will show up on A-days and others on B-days – this schedule will require teachers and students to think differently about instruction. Teacher teams must work at a high level to plan, teach, intervene, and to support students and each other. I truly hope that everyone understands the enormous amount of work completed thus far by teachers, administrator, and staff and also the challenge of the tasks that lie before us.

In closing, I promise you that we are listening and will continue respond to your concerns, questions, and fears. We will also work hard to make good decisions based on the best information available and the thoughts and opinions of all stakeholders.

Thank you and take care of yourself, take care of your family, and take care of your community,

Matthew L. Turner

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  1. Paul says:

    A brilliant and well thought out letter to parents, students and teachers. He’s someone I would trust.

    • Angel Moore says:

      Mr Turner used to be the principal at Ryle High School. My daughter loved him! He cared about the students, he is a great man.

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