July 9, 2020
This has been a busy summer for our schools as we continue to plan and prepare for the upcoming school year. There are many challenges to be faced this year as we navigate through a pandemic. However, there are also many opportunities for us as a school community to continue to come together, work together, and support each other to ensure our students’ futures.
Our mission states that we will educate and empower all students to maximize their unique potential. We believe that diversity enriches our community and enhances learning. Unfortunately, recent events associated with injustice demonstrate that there is much more work to be done in our nation, community, and own homes. We are a better community because of our diversity, and our schools should be a place where every person feels safe, included, and valued.
As an initial step, all 12 month HCS employees participated in a Teaching Tolerance workshop this summer. In addition, all HCS employees will join in this workshop prior to the arrival of students to campus. The purpose of this training is to challenge participants to examine their own biases, and equip them with action-oriented responses when they encounter derogatory racial behavior or comments. The Teaching Tolerance curriculum offers many opportunities for ongoing training in which we will continue to engage our faculty and staff. As our Heritage Panels resume this fall at Homewood High School and Homewood Middle School, students will help lead and bring positive changes within our schools and community.
We know we still have additional work to do. We will strive to listen, learn, and grow as we continue educating ourselves and our students. If we have learned anything from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that we are all stronger when we work together as a team.
This year, our district’s theme will be TEAM Homewood. We will show everyone how strong we are together, even as we observe physical distancing. #TeamHWD
TEAM Homewood Reopening Plan
We are finalizing the details of our school reopening plans by engaging both our parent and faculty & staff advisory groups. A timeline and some updates regarding the start of school are found below:
- July 17 - HCS reopening plans shared with parents; families will select traditional school (full time, in person) or virtual school for their children
- July 24 - Parents/Custodial Contacts who have completed the registration process will choose their preferred learning option for their children
- August 19 - First day of school for all K-12 students (traditional and virtual)
The TEAM Homewood Plan will address the following categories for traditional school: health and safety, mental wellness, entering and exiting school buildings, teaching and learning, classroom transitions/environment, meals, large group gatherings, and extracurricular activities.
The plan will display a four-level system for operating schools while on-site. HCS will determine the level at which the district operates based on information and recommendations from the Alabama and Jefferson County Departments of Public Health, as well as available data within our community and schools. Evaluation of the operation level will be ongoing, and adjustments will be made as needed.
We ask that you start the conversation with your children regarding facial coverings (masks, shields, gaiters, etc). HCS will require students/staff to wear facial coverings when physical distancing is not possible in order to most effectively reduce the spread of disease to others. (There are exceptions for students/staff who have medical issues that make wearing a facial covering inadvisable.) A facial covering will be provided for students and staff on the first day of school if needed. More information regarding facial coverings will be included in the TEAM Homewood Plan.
The collective effort of everyone helps to mitigate the spread of the virus and lessens the potential for student and teacher absences. By working together, we are more likely to keep the doors of the school house open.
We appreciate your support, patience, and flexibility as we plan together for a memorable school year. #TeamHWD