Community Forum: Slate Valley grateful to many

This week’s author is Slate Valley School Board President Tim Smith, who submitted it on behalf of the entire board. The Slate Valley School District includes the Orwell Village School.

The primary mission of the school board since the start of the pandemic has been to ensure the safety of our children and to keep them in school. It is only thanks to the extraordinary efforts of so many people that we have succeeded in achieving these goals. We recognize that all of our staff have taken on many responsibilities and time commitments that exceed normal expectations.

Teachers. We appreciate the extra time spent planning in-person education and distance learning, as well as the creativity and compassion used in the classroom to overcome the challenges of wearing a mask.

Support staff. We appreciate that you take extra students due to understaffing, volunteer your time as bus monitors, replace teachers, and help with the test-to-stay program.

Administrators. Thank you for dedicating your personal time to working nights and weekends, implementing new programs and procedures, and communicating with anxious staff and families to assure them that their concerns are heard.

Nurses. We appreciate the time spent tracing contacts, assessing student symptoms, and ensuring students are healthy and able to return to class quickly.

Custodians. We appreciate the overtime worked due to staff shortages and the overtime required to complete improved cleaning protocols.

Bus drivers. We appreciate that you take extra shifts and recognize the extra long journeys that have resulted from the consolidation of bus lines.

Cafeteria workers. Thank you for adjusting normal eating practices to overcome supply chain shortages and ensure our children receive nutritious meals, often outside of the cafeteria setting.

Coaches. Thank you for following the COVID protocols and for showing great patience during player quarantine. Exercising and being part of a team is absolutely essential in the development of students.

Police. We appreciate that community policing and school resource officers provide extra layers of protection and realize that external threats always exist, even during a pandemic. Thank you for strengthening these bridges of trust between the police and the students.

Parents. Thank you for putting aside your frustrations with the COVID requirements and doing what is asked to keep children safe in school. Thank you for picking up your child on time and for playing the role of teacher during periods of extended student absence. We recognize the financial implications of missing work and appreciate our community employers for allowing such flexibility.

Taxpayers. Thank you for your continued support. We recognize the many societal and financial challenges our schools face today and welcome you as equal partners in ensuring a safe and nurturing environment for our children to learn and become good citizens.

We are grateful. We are proud. We are Slate Valley. Have a happy holiday season.

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