Dear Sycamore Parents, Many of you are probably aware that this morning Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine held a press conference to communicate Marion County decisions about restrictions to try to mitigate the current surge in prevalence and positivity rates of COVID-19. Although we have not experienced this at Sycamore, the number of infections in school children has also risen significantly.
Dr. Caine has issued Public Health Order #35, effective as of November 16, 2020. In the order, a number of restrictions are specified; the most relevant part of the order for us is the mandate regarding schools. All Marion County K-12 schools must transition to total virtual learning no later than November 30 and are being strongly encouraged to make the transition before that date. Absent any dramatic changes, the order will be in effect until January 15, which means Sycamore classes would resume in-person instruction on January 19.
At Sycamore, we are planning to move to our Distance Learning Plan with Kindergarten through 8th Grade on November 19. Next week, we will have kids here in school on Monday and Tuesday. That will allow teachers to make sure all students understand how distance learning will proceed. Kids will bring all their materials home on Tuesday. Next Wednesday will be a final preparation day for teachers, but nothing will be required of students. Then on Thursday, November 19, we will begin the OLP schedule for all K-8 students. We have prepared well for this moment, and I believe it will be much smoother and stronger than it was last spring.
We plan to continue to have Preschool, PreKindergarten, and Kindergarten in school in person. The order does not prohibit in-person learning at those ages, and we believe it is extremely difficult and disruptive to try to have effective distance learning with very young children. We will offer Quest for only these classes and only after school, not before school.
You will be hearing many more details from division heads, Melissa Branigan, and teachers.
The entire Sycamore community has worked so hard to make this crazy year successful so far. This is the last thing I want to do, and I imagine you feel the same way. We will, however, make it work. We will provide a robust learning program for your kids. We are part of a bigger picture here in Indiana and the nation, and now we are part of a broader effort to try to slow the spread of this horrible virus.
Sycamore is an amazing community! I have been continuously impressed with the creativity on the parts of our faculty, our students, and all of you to adapt to a new situation and make the best of it. I want to see us continue to support and encourage each other. Even during these next several weeks of distance learning, I'm sure that will continue. My deepest gratitude for all you have done, all you are doing, and all you will do. I can't imagine a place I'd rather be at this time.