Dear Clayton Community:
I am communicating to you today as a follow-up to my February 18th letter. In that communication, I announced that starting March 7th, in accordance with the Governor’s lifting of the mask mandate, Clayton Public School District will be mask optional in all school buildings and on school grounds. In addition, since my last communication, the Federal Transportation Department has also lifted the mask mandate on school buses. Therefore, we will also have a mask-optional policy for all school district transportation.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they are still required to quarantine for a minimum of 5 days from the start of their symptoms. As we continue into the spring, you will see a gradual reduction of some of our other COVID-19 restrictions. This process has already begun in each school building.
As we eagerly await the arrival of spring, I am reminded of the symbolism of this season – a time of new beginnings and renewal, when life awakens from a long winter. In many ways, this spring will be of particular significance as we emerge from COVID-19 and return to the life we knew prior to March 2020. If someone had told me that our “COVID winter” would last two years, it would have been hard to hear. Sometimes, and I say this even though I’m an educator, ignorance is bliss. For how would we have navigated so many days of unknowns had we been told we were on a two-year journey?
I am confident that our District will recover quickly from the challenges that arose when educating children during a world pandemic. As Superintendent, I pledge that we will do our utmost to provide our students with whatever is required to ensure that these past two years do not define their academic paths. I am confident that our teachers and staff understand the importance of this mandate and will work with a sense of urgency to close any learning and social-emotional gaps that occurred.
We have learned many lessons from this pandemic, and, in my mind, one of the most significant is the importance of being resilient. Resilience, the ability to take whatever life hands you and still move forward with purpose, brought our District, our staff, our students, and our families through the COVID-19 pandemic. Resilience is what will sustain us as we move forward and embrace the hard work that lies ahead. We may still face some challenges and, in all probability, perhaps a setback here and there, but I have every reason to believe that our District’s brightest days lie ahead.
As always, thank you for your support.
Nikolaos C. Koutsogiannis
Superintendent of Schools