October 9, 2020

Posted by Audrey Sofianos on 10/9/2020 6:00:00 PM

This last week has definitely been intense, full of meetings, more questions than answers, as we all learned of our possible schooling options for moving forward into Quarter 2.  As K - 5 families, you have a choice of face-to-face or virtual instruction beginning October 26.  The indicator to shift to this APS Phase 2 plan remains guided by the Department of Public Health data that suggests at least less than 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Fulton County residents over a 14 day period. APS is monitoring that data daily and will be posting updates leading up to the final decision on October 16.  In preparation, all families are asked to complete the Intent to Return Declaration Form now due on October 12  Parent Declaration

To help you decide, we have created some opportunities to answer your questions on Monday, October 12th as well as this presentation Quarter 2 Choices to give you more information.  In this week's Digital Dolphin, the links are included to connect with me and our administrative team at either 8am or Noon.  We will be there to answer as many questions as we can to help you.  I know this is EXTREMELY difficult.  You are making a choice for your child(ren) without having the certainty of knowing all the answers.  The two biggest unanswered questions revolve around teacher changes and exactly what this will look like in Face to Face (F2F) and in Virtual School.  As we receive your declarations, we will be creating the learning plan and schedule using the additional teacher data of who is able to return to MES to teach in person.  My intention is for the least amount of disruption as possible for the kids and teachers.  However, we just do not have the data to share with you prior to your declaration deadline.  Also, dependent upon the declaration numbers for F2F/Virtual at each grade, plus the teacher F2F/Virtual data, we cannot describe exactly each classroom's model.  It could be F2F/Virtual teaching by the teacher located at MES@Inman, another other class taught by teacher at home - with a staff member to monitor in the room, F2F students taught by a F2F teacher or virtual students taught by a virtual teacher.  There are probably even more combinations beyond this!  It is truly dependent upon all numbers related to who is returning and who is remaining virtual.  Please know that our team will do the best we can to create a strong F2F AND Virtual model of teaching and learning.

At some point the last few days, the word "turbulence" came to my mind.  As I like to do, an analogy formed to help me persevere - the image of a huge blue MES plane in a turbulent and storm filled sky.  It is full of all of us - kids, teachers, families, staff, community, with me as the pilot!  As in turbulence, everyone reacts differently - some people go very quiet, some become more expressive, some go with the flow, some cry, others help comfort the people around them.  The pilot knows this is all happening in the plane, but is using all of her expertise to get everyone safely thru the turbulence and to the destination, working with the co-pilots and crew to make that happen.   We have amazing co-pilots at MES - our admin team, our PTA, our MESF, GO Team and our newly formed volunteer Covid Readiness Team.  I know this turbulence is "scary".   I am going to get us to our destination and get us through as a community, using my experience and expertise.  Children will be coming back to our school - some now, some later and we will continue to provide that MES experience to all our kids - both in person and virtually!