Dear Rockwood Parents and School Community:
As a school superintendent, I’ve had to make some hard decisions over the years. But none have been more difficult than the ones made during our current situation with the global pandemic.
Be assured every decision is measured carefully to ensure we do our best for our Rockwood students.
In the last few weeks, we were confident to move forward with our return-to-school plan. Parents shared their preference of two choices: a reduced-capacity option with in-person services two days a week; or at-home education through an online curriculum.
Over the last few days, we’ve spoken to health officials regarding current public health mandates and guidelines for safety in schools. We’ve also heard from local officials about the restrictions placed upon St. Louis County to help contain the spread of the virus. In addition, we have realized significant logistical challenges related to scheduling a hybrid education model.
Based on these concerns, we have made a change.
All Rockwood students will start the school year with the at-home, online education program with Rockwood teachers. We are unable to provide the reduced-capacity option with in-person services two days a week at this time.
I understand you’ll have questions as we move forward with the new school year. Here are a few items to note:
- Monday, Aug. 24, remains the first day of the school year. Families will be hearing from their school principals and teachers in the coming weeks as we begin the school year online at home.
- Rockwood Learning Services has greatly improved our online education program. Rockwood Online differs significantly from the Alternative Learning Plan (ALP) adopted in March 2020 as a result of emergency school closures. Learn more about the priorities of Rockwood Online - including direct instruction, small-group facilitation, individual conferencing and intervention support.
- We will monitor the spread of the virus and health conditions in our community and re-evaluate school options at the end of the first quarter.
We realize this change will be a disappointment for families who chose the in-person experience. I am disappointed as well. Rockwood staff spent countless hours trying to find a safe way to bring our students back to the classroom to start the school year. I encourage parents to reassure their children as they share this news. Let them know that we all want the same thing. We want this historic pandemic behind us. We want our schools to be open and activities to resume. We look forward to the day when we can all be together again, safe within the walls of our neighborhood schools.
We sincerely apologize for this unexpected change to the start of school and the impact it will have on many families. As always, if you have a question or concern, I want you to reach out. We have dedicated staff members who can help answer your specific questions about curriculum, technology, social/emotional health and much more.
Rockwood is a strong school community. I am proud to be working for people who care about children as much as I do. I so appreciate the flexibility and patience I’ve witnessed during these last few months. I also understand every frustration as we continue to meet new challenges. As Rockwood educators, we will continue to support our students, families and each other as we serve our children now and in the future.
Be safe and be healthy,
Dr. Mark Miles
Rockwood School District