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Message from our Superintendent

ASFMcron vs Omicron Part 2

Dear ASFM community,

There must be several Transformer movies because somehow Megatron kept coming back to life. Similarly, just when we think we’re winning against Covid we encounter a new challenge, and we are back in the trenches doing hand to hand combat, but we are winning.

As most of you have identified, we have a very busy priority tent where we are testing close contacts or people who were previously symptomatic.  To give you some idea of scale, in early December we never had to test more than 40 people in this tent.  On Monday we tested 900. Please consider that number. We are not a hospital, and we have no sophisticated computer program automatically generating a response for you; we’re processing and then communicating that information to you manually. Our positivity rate in this lane is 7% and this is lower than last week. Bueno.

Pool testing is also busy, but virtually no wait time in lines. We tested nearly 2000 people and of those, 36 people tested positive. Our positivity rate in our pools is 1.8%. This is a much more friendly number. This is lower than last week. Bueno.

The number that I think is most useful and gives the clearest indication of our real trend is to consider our self-reported cases, pool tested cases and individual cases together.  If we look at this data, then we have a positivity rate of 2.9%.  This number is important to note because last week we were at roughly a 4.7% positivity rate. Our community positivity rate is on the way down. Thank you. Keep up the good work. We did send students home in the middle of this week because we discovered more symptomatic and close contact cases. Our systems are working. Let’s celebrate dropping our rate of positive cases by almost half from last week. ASFMcron is winning.

On Wednesday evening we had well over 100 parents in our Open Forum on Zoom. This was an opportunity to have a conversation where we could address questions in real time. Thank you for all of your positive feedback and general support–we really appreciate it. All good strategies require a certain amount of sacrifice. We are focused on prioritizing in-person learning. By the middle of this week we had 85% of the school in school.  Many schools are online exclusively. I cannot ask more of our teachers or staff. We've already pushed them beyond capacity.  We will stay laser focused on returning as many students to school as possible–our resources are directed at this goal. Revisit our COVID FAQ’s they are constantly being updated.

I wish I could spend more time reflecting on education, but Covid takes up much of our energy and discussion. We would prefer that school focus on: joy in learning, citizenship, and critical thinking. These are the three core pillars of school. Teachers take students from "I can't" and "I don't like" to "Wow! I can" and "Wow! This is so cool!" I spent time in the library yesterday and I was reminded of these three pillars. Students were collaborating on projects, reading interesting books, laughing with their friends, having deep conversations and maybe, let’s be honest, procrastinating a little. I saw joy in learning. I saw total fidelity to wearing masks, and I could still discern the smiles. Best of all I saw teachers and students engaged in one-on-one and group problem solving conversations. This is worth fighting for. Keep up the good work so we can bring back afternoon sports and activities!

This Netflix episode of ASFMcron vs Mega-omicron ends with us impaling our adversary with a star saber. Let’s get our overall positivity rate down to 1% by this Monday, ok?

Onward, George