Return to School

August 19, 2020
Update from Superintendent Dr. Scott McWilliams

I hope this email finds you well. We are about one week away from kicking off a new school year with students. The start of every new year brings mixed emotions from students, parents, and staff, and this year those emotions have been heightened due to the environment COVID-19 has created. There will be feelings of excitement and relief for many because students have not been in school since March. We cannot wait to see our students return to school! It is okay to also admit that there will be feelings of concern, perhaps even fear. Please know that we will diligently implement many safety precautions for your students to ensure a safe learning environment. There has never been a time when we need to truly come together and work collaboratively to create, protect, and promote safety. We will do everything we possibly can to keep your students safe during the school day. Please practice the same types of safety precautions outside of the school day as well to help keep your students—which in turn, helps keep our staff—safe. We are all in this together, and we must take exceptional care of each other!

Based on currently known facts, both in Shawnee County and within the Auburn-Washburn School District, our school year officially begins with students on Thursday, August 27 in Phase 2 Hybrid Learning. Please follow communications sent from your child's school closely for more detailed information on exactly which day your student's first day of school will be on the Hybrid Learning schedule.

The environment that COVID-19 has created is ever changing and difficult to predict. Because of this, it is important that I stress to families the need to proactively create contingency plans for your students. We are beginning the school year in Phase 2 Hybrid Learning, but if COVID-19 related conditions worsen at some point significantly in Shawnee County or in our schools, we will need to move to Phase 1 Remote Learning. If you are able to create plans for both Phase 2 Hybrid Learning and Phase 1 Remote Learning, then your family will be prepared and ready to respond to either option that may surface during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year. Unfortunately, it is not likely that we will be able to consider Phase 3 On-Site Learning as a viable option for the foreseeable future.

Best practices for safe schools in this environment continue to include these precautions, and we are ready to proceed with each one:

  • Social distancing
  • Facial masks
  • Routine hand washing / sanitizing
  • Daily temperature checks
  • Thorough disinfecting each day and night

I hope you and your family are able to enjoy the final days of summer. We look forward to welcoming students back at the end of next week.

Take Great Care,

Dr. Scott McWilliams
Superintendent of Schools