Andrew Withers: A resilient team of educators
Like most public schools across the country, state and Nevada County region, the Grass Valley School District has been dramatically impacted by the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. In the past few weeks we have experienced a significant increase in the number of staff, students and families who have tested positive or who have been exposed as a close contact. While we thought things might get better in the new year, they have not so far … Our district student attendance rate has gone from near 95% in a traditional school year to just 70% district wide these past few days. We are also experiencing significant staffing shortages and are doing all we can to ensure essential services are available at our schools. Unfortunately all of our district school sites and programs are impacted across multiple employee groups, however, the entire team continues to pull together to ensure we can remain operational.
Since returning to school from the December holidays we have been inundated with persistent trauma, change and need. We reopened school in January without full bus operations and with a large number of staff and families without power and facing the impacts of storm damages at their homes. Last week we were hit with an extremely large spike in positive cases and currently we are adjusting to another shift in COVID-19 quarantine guidelines along with long lines at our district staff and student testing services.
Our GVSD team is amazing and I couldn’t imagine a more dedicated group of individuals. We continue to do more with less staff and we ask for the patience and support of our families, students, and community. Specifically we ask everyone to show extreme kindness and appreciation to our staff for their service. How can you help? Please don’t get angry with our staff when we call or ask you to follow health guidelines. We are required to follow our Nevada County Public Health regulations. Please also consider sending a positive note, card or message to the staff who work with your family. We are doing our best to serve and support your child(ren) and we want to work together in partnership.
The December storm and pandemic surge have been taxing on everyone and especially our school district employees and community essential workers who are serving on the front lines. Please note that January is also School Board Appreciation month. We passed a resolution at our January Board meeting to acknowledge their tireless efforts. Please also join me in recognizing our GVSD Board of Trustees for their selfless service and commitment to our school district community.
Our hope is that good news is just around the corner! CDC medical experts are predicting now that the surge of COVID-19 that is associated with the Omicron variant has shown trends that while it does hit communities hard it then leaves shortly after. We are optimistic that this regional spike will decrease in the coming weeks so everyone can remain safe, healthy, and we can focus on the critical task of teaching and learning. In times like these I’ve found it helpful to focus on the work and messages from great leaders. It is important for us to work together as a team and to continue trying, adapting and doing our best to support our students. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior said it well with this message;
If you can’t fly, then run,
If you can’t run, then walk,
If you can’t walk, then crawl,
But by all means, keep moving by.
— Martin Luther King Jr.
Thank you for your ongoing support for our school district and community. The Grass Valley Staff are proud to be here to serve our students and families.
Andrew Withers is superintendent of the Grass Valley School District
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Nevada Joint Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Dan Frisella is getting a promotion.