March 13, 2020 does not seem that far from the past. I can still remember, like it was yesterday, sitting in the board office with the leadership team trying to decide what to do for the week after our spring break due to the threat of COVID-19 in our school community. I have a hard-enough time deciding to call for a two hour delay due to early morning ice/snow, but this decision would have resulted in closing schools for an extended period of time. At 2:00pm, the Governor announced that schools would be closing for two weeks. The next week, he decided to close schools for the remainder of the year. None of us knew how this would impact our school community, our jobs or our lives. Now, after dealing with more than 9 months of COVID19 on a daily basis, I felt it necessary to provide you with documentation of Bobcat PRIDE and Bobcat PROUD!
- Our school community has provided us with much flexibility, grace, support, patience and understanding during one of the most difficult and challenging times in our lives. You have certainly been committed to helping us develop the best plan for a successful return to learn school year.
- The school community provided an endless supply of PPE including masks, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, face shields, plastic sneeze guards for desks and antimicrobial instructional supplies.
- Food donations have been a important to our school community, and we certainly appreciate our everyone making this a priority as it has helped many families during these trying times.
- Generous monetary donations have helped us equip our schools with what we need in order to keep face to face learning possible.
- We started hybrid, moved to virtual, back to hybrid, back to virtual, back to hybrid, back to virtual, back to hybrid, back to virtual (like one of those duck shooting booths at a carnival) while continuing to provide comfort and sound instruction to our school community...unfortunately, I think we will be doing this for a few more months.
- We were told to go left, then right, then back left, then forward, then back, then diagonal, then sideways. Do this, not that, complete this, don’t complete that. We know this...no we don't. Today is tomorrow and Wednesday is now, Monday is Friday with Thursday serving as Sunday! Calgon...take me away!!!
- We were handed a 100,000-piece puzzle and asked to complete it in less than a day, knowing that there were and still are risks regarding the health of our school community population. We consistently awake stressed out and anxious because we are unsure as to what to expect during the day or even in the next hour. Many of us work all day to come home and make sure that our children are up to speed with assignments, activities and assessments knowing that in a few short hours we will start this process all over again. It is like the movie, “Groundhog Day,” with a variety of surprises sprinkled in every 24 hours.
Mahatma Gandhi states, "One way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." We have found ourselves as a school community, because we have certainly lost ourselves in the service of others. Please know how grateful the board and I are for all you have done and all you will continue to do. Thank you...thank you...thank you!! We are grateful for our entire RCPS community. Best wishes for a successful 2021.
Robert F. Graham