Return to School

September 4, 2020
Update from Superintendent Dr. Scott McWilliams

The purpose of this message to staff and parents is to provide three updates as we move into the holiday weekend.

First, our Group B students attended school on-site Thursday and Friday this week. Overall, both days went well, but we do have three reported positive COVID-19 cases to report. One, a bus driver received a positive test result but had not been driving a bus yet this year. No close contact tracing was required. Two, a WRMS student received a positive test result but did not attend school this week. No close contact tracing was required. Three, a WRHS student received a positive test result but has not attended school on-site this year. No close contact tracing was required. Information was shared with WRMS staff and parents on Thursday when their case was confirmed, and WRHS staff and parents were notified of the WRHS student case earlier today. I wanted this update to be shared with all in our community today. Since July 1, there are six reported confirmed student cases and five reported confirmed employee cases. We will continue providing weekly COVID-19 updates.

Second, the Shawnee County Health Department released this week's scorecard on Thursday. The total index score released this week covering the two-week span of August 16 to August 29 was 15 which falls in the orange color code. This marks the third week of the scorecard. As a reminder, the total index score covering the two-week span of August 1 – August 15 was 12 which fell in the orange color code, and the score covering the two-week span of August 9 – August 22 was 17 which fell in the red color code. So, in the last three weeks, Shawnee County has been in the orange, red, and back to orange color codes.

Third, based on currently known facts at both the County level as well as within Auburn-Washburn, we will remain in Phase 2 Hybrid Learning, and all fall co-curricular and athletic events will continue. Due to the pace of change with COVID-19, it is challenging to plan too far in advance, but it is not our intent to routinely move from one Phase of Education to another. In other words, we plan to remain in Phase 2 Hybrid Learning unless the numbers in Shawnee County, within Auburn-Washburn, or both indicate that a change to Phase 1 Remote Learning is necessary due to student and staff safety reasons. The exception to this approach is if an outburst occurs in a school that requires an immediate response.

I cannot thank you enough for the professional way you have approached the start of the 2020-21 school year. I have stated numerous times that I am fully aware the environment COVID-19 has created is far from ideal. While that is true, we must continue working hard to make the best use of the time and environment we have with our students. We still have many things to learn, and we will continue learning together, but the first seven days of the school year have pointed us in a positive direction overall.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday weekend!

Dr. Scott McWilliams
Superintendent of Schools