Transcript of Message from Superintendent Kamras:

Over the final couple of weeks, I’ve heard immediately from dozens of academics, principals, and assist employees about how disturbing this 12 months has been. Many have shared that they are on the point of burning out – even leaving – and it is solely October. Tragically, as The Washington Post lately reported, it is a nationwide development.

Some of the stressors are past our rapid management. Chief amongst these is the toll that COVID-19 has taken on our neighborhood. Many employees members are nonetheless mourning the lack of family members; others are nonetheless caring for many who are ailing. In addition, many spouses and life companions of our workers have misplaced their jobs and are struggling to seek out their footing.

But a number of the stressors are inside our management. In my conversations with academics and different employees, the three that I hear probably the most are: 1) We’re doing an excessive amount of; 2) There’s not sufficient time; and three) Students are exhibiting vital trauma from the previous 20 months and we want extra assist to assist them. Tonight, I’m saying a number of adjustments to deal with every of those.

We’re doing an excessive amount of – As of right now, I’m inserting a moratorium on new division-wide applications, initiatives, curricula, and many others. for the remainder of the 12 months. If one thing’s not already in place, it will not be added this 12 months. Period. In addition, I’ve requested the Leadership Team to suppose by means of methods we will cut back on non-essential actions. We must do much less, higher.

There’s not sufficient time – Not having time for a duty-free lunch, and impartial planning time not being held sacred, are the 2 issues I’ve heard probably the most. Many academics have misplaced their duty-free lunch due to our COVID protocols which, in lots of instances, require college students to eat within the classroom with their trainer. We merely do not have sufficient lunch screens to cowl each one among these rooms. To absolutely liberate our academics, we want 100 further screens. So tonight I’m making an pressing enchantment to our stakeholders: If you, or somebody you understand, can function a lunch monitor, please full an utility right now. We’ll expedite the overview course of so we will get you in colleges immediately. Please notice that you do not have to volunteer; it is a paid place.

As for planning time, yesterday, I licensed our principals to make any obligatory adjustments to carry impartial trainer planning time extra sacred. This means extra flexibility with coach conferences, collaborative planning conferences, and so forth.

Students are exhibiting vital trauma from the previous 20 months and we want extra assist to assist them – I want I had a fast repair for this one, however I sadly don’t. Many of our college students confronted a number of pandemics earlier than COVID-19: poverty, racism, gun violence, and extra. The final 20 months have solely exacerbated these. While we have already invested hundreds of thousands this 12 months for added psychological well being clinicians and different helps, we have to do much more. That’s why – with the School Board’s consent – I intend to reallocate $3 million of our federal reduction funding to extend psychological well being helps for our college students.

Finally, within the curiosity of our workers’ psychological well being, I’ve additionally made the choice – after conferring with School Board Chair Burke, my Parent Advisory Council, all of our principals, and dozens of academics – to shut RPS on Monday, November 1, and Wednesday, November 3. We are already closed on Tuesday, November 2, for Election Day; and Thursday, November 4, for Diwali. In addition, there isn’t any college on Friday, November 5, as a result of Parent/Teacher Conferences, which will probably be digital this 12 months to avoid wasting everybody time and forestall COVID-19 transmission.

I acknowledge I’m giving our households very quick discover of this calendar change and really apologize for the inconvenience it is going to trigger. After very cautious consideration, I made this resolution as a result of I believe it is important for our workers’ psychological well being. And due to their psychological well being, I fear about vital employees absences on November 1 and three, which might make it very troublesome for us to observe our COVID-19 distancing protocols, placing pupil and employees well being in jeopardy. Again, I sincerely apologize for the quick discover and thanks upfront in your understanding.

I’m underneath no phantasm that the adjustments I’ve shared tonight will eradicate the stress that the RPS Team is feeling. But I’m hopeful they are going to assist. To everybody who has known as, emailed, texted, shared at public remark, or grabbed me within the hallway to share suggestions and potential options, thanks. I’m eternally grateful in your engagement.

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