Second semester offers more challenges, hope

We are delighted to begin second semester, as we know that the holidays have been a struggle for many of our students and families who have been isolated due to the pandemic. While the first semester was quite challenging, kudos to our staff and students who have continued to work through the obstacles presented by the virus. We’re proud of our ability to keep our schools open and avoid serious outbreaks. It has been far from perfect and we know we still have a long way to go before school feels “normal.” But the collective effort of 7,500 staff, as well as tremendously supportive parents and the community, will ensure we provide the best possible academic and co-curricular experience we possibly can. I am incredibly proud of the effort we have put forward for our students.

News of vaccinations provides a light at the end of our tunnel. As I write this, we have been working with the health department to create a vaccine roll-out plan for our staff. With teachers and staff now being slotted into Tier 1B, we are hoping that vaccinations can begin sooner rather than later. A recent staff survey indicated a very high interest in getting the vaccine when it is available.

Starting last spring, high school students endured many delays and cancellations of events and activities that are such a big part of their educational experience. The messages received from students and parents asking for an end to the A/B schedule have not gone unnoticed. Our goal, vaccine permitting, is to get all of our students back as quickly as possible as we head into spring. It will be key, however, that our community – students and parents included – continue to practice safety protocols so we don’t see any more spikes or surges. I believe we can do it.

Finally, the historic event of this week has impacted all of us in different ways. Our students have witnessed history in our nation’s capital. We have heard from students and families who fear the potential aftermath of the sentiments that have been publicly demonstrated and expressed. At Lincoln Public Schools, we believe “All means all” and will continue to stand with our students to help them gain a stronger understanding of the world around them.

Steve Joel