I wanted to take a few minutes to celebrate the resilience of our community during the last year. One year ago this month marks the beginning of a life changing pandemic response that has changed our lives forever. What has followed has been a year marked with lockdowns and reopening’s, starts and stops, new regulations and old regulations; generally, an impossible scenario to run any organization let alone a school system. Yet somehow, amidst all of the turmoil our system has found a way to strike a balance while trying to respect the wishes of those we serve. It has not been perfect and we realize this. Some thought we opened too soon, while others thought we should not open at all. Others worried that masks shouldn’t be worn while more said we wouldn’t be able to keep them on kids faces. Yet somehow we were able to find a common ground and etch out a spot that is uniquely Elkton in a world that seems to increasingly struggle to find that common ground.
I wanted to reflect today, that the community we live in, has found a way to support our schools in a seemingly uncompromising time. The vast majority of conversations that I have had with people about opening schools, or safety mandates, have been civil. Most treated the situation with grace as they approached me with an issue or a viewpoint. All of this was done while businesses struggle to stay afloat and uncertainty about so many things ruled the day. Our community was able to discourse in a way that was respectful and measured. These are hard times and we have shown ourselves to be a community that cares and respects each other.
As we look ahead to the next year and what it might bring, I encourage all of us to continue the civil discourse and strive to create a community and school system where kids can grow and prosper. We clearly are not out of the woods yet in terms of the spread of the disease and we recognize that. Still to come is more mask wearing and sanitizing and screening. Yet, I know we are up to the task of keeping kids and staff safe. We have proven our ability to do so and will work hard to continue doing so. As time goes on there will be more disagreement with what we are doing and the mandates that we have to follow. I ask you to be patient with us as we navigate the current to find the best and safest solutions.
When we look back on these days, I sense that there will be a sort of cloudiness to what went on. A kind of haze that makes the time seem unreal. What will stick out in my mind is the way that our community represented itself over the past year and our ability to find the common ground that our schools so desperately needed.