Before we begin to look forward to the 2021-2022 school year, I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You!! First and foremost, thank you to our students for enduring the last 12 to 15 months. You adapted to numerous changes in daily routines, learning environments, and activity schedules. You were forced to make sacrifices that were unthought-of prior to this pandemic, but you did it. Your strength and endurance were unwavering, and you should all be commended for your efforts. As adults, we may never really know how this pandemic has impacted you, let alone the lasting effects it may have on your lives and our society. Please know that we tried to do our best to make the right decisions based on the information and guidance we were provided.
Secondly, thank you to all of our staff members. We asked you to do things that were viewed as inconceivable prior to the pandemic, and you answered with a “can do” attitude. You developed processes for multiple daily bus routes, accommodated for multiple student drop-off points and entrances to buildings, packed daily breakfasts and lunches for over 600 students, delivered those meals door to door, distributed meals to individual classrooms, sanitized classrooms/buildings and buses multiple times per day, created one-way traffic patterns in the buildings, provided space for locker items in classrooms, created new classroom schedules, produced new recess schedules, changed classroom locations, teachers moved from class to class instead of students moving from class to class, taught from a cart, taught virtually, traveled to students homes for instruction, and maintained social distancing. I could go on and on… The bottom line is you proved you could adapt and change when needed to meet the needs of our students, so we could make the best out of a very difficult situation. This was a true team effort and I am very honored to have gone through this time with such a fantastic staff.
Next, I would like to thank our parents and community. We asked a lot of you over the last year or so, and you did some amazing things, and made numerous sacrifices to support our work with your student/s. I’m sure you weren’t always happy about it, and at times, may have even been upset and wondering why we made certain decisions, but you gave us your support and worked with us. This wasn’t the case on many other communities, so your patience and cooperation were greatly appreciated!!
Lastly, I would like to thank our School Board. From the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, they put their trust in our administrative/school team and allowed us to make the decisions we felt were best for the school district. They made sure we were considering the proper data and working with our various state and local health organizations, such as the Iowa Department of Public Health and Jones County Public Health for guidance (which were tremendous assets to us), but they gave us their firm support. The Anamosa Community School District School Board has simply been great to work with through this pandemic.
As we reflect on the 2020-2021 school year, I’m quite sure all of us would say we never hope to go through another year like that again. However, even though it was quite challenging, I’m hopeful we can all say we’ve learned some things that will make our school and community a better place in the future. As an example; prior to the pandemic, we didn’t think we would be able to teach in a virtual environment, but we made that happen in a relatively short period of time. We know we made some mistakes with it along the way, but in the end, we believe our teachers can make virtual learning a viable educational experience for our students; as long as the students give us an honest effort. With that being said, we still know that face-to-face learning with hand-on experiences is the best way for most students to learn.
Moving into the 2021-2022 school year, it is my hope that things will be more like a “normal” year. As in most years, there will be some minor changes behind the scenes with the management of the day to day activities, but for the most part we are planning to be back to how things were run prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We need to get back to a time where our primary focus is on the learning of our students, so they are prepared for their life after high school. This is why we are in the business of education.
I hope everyone has the best 2021-2022 school year possible and we are all able to move forward in a positive, safe and healthy way. If you have any questions as we progress into the school year, please feel free to contact us so we maintain open lines of communication. Thanks in advance for your support and cooperation!!
Larry Hunt, Superintendent