Today marks the one-year anniversary of our last day of in-person classes before the COVID-19 shutdown ordered by the Governor. At that time, we assumed we’d be out of school for a few weeks, but the return-to-school date was pushed back again and again until it became clear we would not physically return to school for the rest of the year.
These were no doubt challenging and frightening times. And yet, we pulled together as a school community to persevere through our new reality. With only days to prepare, we mobilized every staff member to get devices into the hands of students, create online learning resources, ensure access to meals, and do everything in our power to let our students know we were there for them during this uncertain time.
This past summer afforded us the time to develop a more comprehensive plan – for health and safety protocols and for our instructional program. We are extremely proud of the fact that we have been able to be open for in-person instruction since September, while at the same time, offering a robust remote learning option for those students and families who preferred that.
I want to mark this “anniversary” by saying thank you to the entire school community. Parents and families, we deeply appreciate your understanding, your flexibility, and your commitment to work with us over this past year. We recognize the strain this has placed on all of our families and we value your partnership, which has allowed us to offer as normal a year as possible to your children, our students.
Below is a more detailed description of all that we have accomplished, together, this past year.
While we may not know for sure what the future will hold, what we do know is that this past year has proven one thing – by working together, and supporting each other, we can handle anything that comes our way.
End of story.
Superintendent of Schools
Persevering through the Pandemic
Without a clear idea of what was to come last March, building-level teams sprung into action to create online resources that students could access so that they could work on assignments while at home. Teachers utilized Google Meet and other platforms to connect with students, to show them the adults in their lives were still there for them and to assist in their at-home learning.
Parents faced the reality of their children being home full-time while still having to work to support their family. They became familiar with online learning and helped to ensure their children were adjusting to their new “classroom.”
The Troy CSD Technology Department worked countless hours to ensure students had the resources they needed to stay connected. They worked with internet providers to help students gain Internet access, and they distributed 2,106 devices to students in need. Device distribution has continued during this school year as well, putting us at a near 1:1 device-to-student ratio throughout the district.
Knowing that many students rely on the district for their daily meals, the Food Services department got to work creating grab-and-go meals so that no one would go hungry due to the closure. In total, they distributed more than 1,000 meals a day throughout the closure and they continue to provide meals for remote students this school year.
Our Troy High School seniors were robbed of so many of the important events that celebrate their final year of high school, but Principal Joseph Mariano and his team would not allow them to miss the most important event of all – graduation. With two ceremonies to allow for social distancing, our students were still able to walk the stage on our football field with their heads held high. Troy High School saw a 90-percent graduation rate in 2020, the highest in the recent history of our district.
During a summer of uncertainty on what was to come, our reopening committee developed a plan to allow students and staff to safely return to school. This was no easy feat but we are proud that we were able to provide in-person learning for our students with the option of learning remotely. We ordered hand sanitizer for every classroom, masks for every student and staff member, air purifiers for classrooms where it was needed, directional signage, infrared thermometers and so much more to keep our students and staff safe. We hammered out the details of our academic program and made sure to place emphasis on the social-emotional health of our students.
Our maintenance team developed a plan to clean and sanitize our buildings and classrooms each and every day. Every classroom, restroom, and high-touch area is wiped down multiple times a day.
Our nursing staff has become our very own front-line workers and contact tracers. Whenever a positive case is discovered, they spring into action to follow the quarantine procedures as prescribed by the Department of Health, so that we do not experience a spread.
The students themselves deserve so much recognition. They are now pros at videoconferencing and know when to log in to meet their teachers and peers. They wear their masks without hesitation or complaint. They obey one-way directions in the hallways and they understand and value good hygiene. They’ve experienced so much disruption to life as they know it, and yet they’ve stepped up to do what needs to be done for their own safety and for the safety of our community.
We thank you all again for your cooperation and support throughout this past year. These accomplishments would not have been possible without you.