October is here, which is a welcome relief as we look to enjoy a much-needed break over Fall Recess. It’s hard to believe we’re a quarter of the way through the school year — a year that has tested us in ways we could have only imagined.
We are learning more and more about the best ways to address fears caused by COVID as well as address our students’ academic needs and their social and emotional wellbeing. Wearing face coverings and keeping our distance has become second-nature for our students and employees. Coupled with other safety measures, from quarantines to school schedule changes, these safeguards haven’t been easy. But they have allowed us to keep our schools operating, our employees safe, and our students healthy and learning.
It’s important to acknowledge the great weight and challenge that still lies before us. As a community, we’re no longer just talking about bending the curve. We’re going to have to hold the line for an indefinite amount of time. But we should take heart in knowing that what we’re doing is working. It is critical that we not let our guard down and remain vigilant with mitigation strategies.
Public health measures don’t get a lot of attention when they are working, and the risk we face now is becoming complacent in the face of our success. It can be easy to underestimate the power of face masks and physical distancing, but a recent study in the journal Nature estimated these measures have prevented 60 million COVID infections in the United States alone. Closer to home, we’ve been able to move four of our schools back to on-campus learning this month thanks to students, employees and parents redoubling their efforts to follow safety precautions while at home, at gatherings and on public outings.
This is no small thing, and it’s a testament to compassion and resilience of our communities. Do we still have a long way to go? Absolutely, as underscored by the governor’s recent tightening of restrictions. But Canyons District families, students and employees have demonstrated we aren’t helpless in combatting this virus; it’s possible to achieve a positive shift in COVID case counts.
I hope that during this four-day weekend, students, parents and employees are able to take time to relax and reflect on how far we’ve come. I’ve come to see each day as a victory, and every moment, every day, and every week of instruction we have as a gift. It’s a gift that I personally treasure as a father, and I hope our employees internalize the gratitude of the community and take pride in their hard work and success. It’s a victory that I hope our students are able to celebrate and cherish with their families.
In the coming months, there will be times when it gets difficult and we start to question ourselves. That’s when we need to reach out to those who have helped us get this far. Every day, since becoming a part of the Canyons School District family, I have been inspired by the skill and devotion of our teachers and staff. I have marveled at the hope and achievements of our students. And I have been moved by the support of our parents who have stepped up to support their children’s learning at home and our community members who have volunteered to serve as substitute teachers in our time of need.
Everywhere I look, I see people pulling together to support students in their success. I thank you all for your efforts on behalf our students and want you to know if there’s anything I can do to continue to support you, don’t hesitate to reach out.