STEM successfully opened its doors to students after being closed for five months. Our students and staff faced down their fears to find the courage to return. For our Hybrid families, thank you for working with your students to get them prepared to safely attend school on their in-person days. For our virtual families, thank you for staying engaged in one of the most rigorous academic programs in Colorado.
While anxiety was high across all of K-12, our teachers, students and staff showed their strength and resiliency each day, to answer the challenges that this new environment has presented us all with. To all of our families, we thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate. To accomplish our mission of Never Stop Innovating, we will fail at times, but we will fail fast and fail forward to improve.
STEM has never shied away from embracing challenges and we knew coming into this school year that offering in-person and simultaneous online instruction was going to be a unique challenge for our staff to embrace. This challenge continues to inspire our faculty to problem-solve and navigate the many stresses and opportunities of this new method of delivery.
In particular, our K-2 faculty and instructional assistants have some of the most complex challenges as they introduce brand new technology to our youngest learners and their families. Please be patient with your expectation for return email and calls during this time. Know that our teachers and staff are doing everything they can in the background to answer and address the questions and concerns of all of our families as quickly as they can. Few professional educators could possibly be as amazing as our entire STEM faculty, to deliver quality lessons with the complex demands of the STEM instructional model.
Now that the STEM community has completed two successful weeks, students had the opportunity to get to know their teachers, and teachers had the gift of small classes to get to know their students. Virtual students experienced classroom energy and interactions to help them prepare for the day they return. The safety measures we’ve put in place leading up-to and during school have allowed us to keep the doors open for our students and staff.
We will take one week at a time, carefully monitoring the reported COVID-positive cases in neighboring schools and communities. Our goal is to open full time for all students as soon as feasible. Most likely, STEM will begin with primary grades and increase gradually to high school once the decision is made to open to five-day-a-week in-person learning.
Students K-12 enter each day with a quick temperature check with a high-speed touchless thermometer able to read 50 students per minute. Students use the touchless alcohol-free hand sanitizer to reduce germs coming into the school. It is truly a marvel to see how fast STEM students and staff have adapted to the new procedures.
If a STEM staff member or student has an exposure to the virus of any significance, the required 14 day quarantine will be a setback for our families eager to have their children in school. The challenge is to be fully open, while minimizing risk of quarantine. Our school nurse keeps us fully advised of the ever-changing guidelines. Safety is always the highest priority.
Congratulations on a successful return to school to begin the 2020-21 year!
P.J. Eucker PhD