August 18, 2020
August 19, 2020
Dear Radnor Staff and Families,
Last night (Tuesday, August 18), we held a Special Board meeting to further evaluate our reopening plans.
After six-plus hours of careful contemplation and discussion, which included hearing comments from more than 80 community members, an analysis of up-to-date regional data related to Covid-19 percent positivity and incidence rates, and a review of newly introduced RTSD staggered options to begin the school year, the Board voted 5-4 to follow the August 14 recommendation from the Chester County Health Department (CCHD) and begin the 2020-21 school year on Tuesday, September 8 fully virtual for all students, K-12, through Friday, October 9.
The Board will hold another Special Meeting on Tuesday, September 22 to evaluate data and conditions at that time to determine whether a shift to some form of in-person instruction, such as the previously planned Phase 2 modified model, can take place and if so, when.
Our Board and administration recognize many parents want their children physically in school. We know from many of the comments received last night as well as results from recent surveys and our modified in-person/fully virtual registration process that there is a demand for bringing students safely into their classrooms in front of our teachers. This is the ultimate goal of everyone in the district, and we are steadfast in making it happen.
However, before we reach this point, we must continue to monitor and respond to Covid-19 data from bordering municipalities as well as data within Radnor. We must also consider the possible impact of end-of-summer activity, as noted by CCHD. Lastly, we must recognize that any discussion about student safety related to Covid-19 must be balanced with the risks of not providing in-person instruction and supports for our students.
Many constantly changing factors are in play as we strive toward a sustainable physical reopening of our schools in the safest way possible for students, families, employees, and the community. This will be a year of intense planning, then intensely altering those plans. This is our new world in education.
Radnor has a history of setting new standards and blazing new trails. We will do the same with our fully virtual program, and I have the utmost confidence in our technology team, teachers, and all others involved in creating and implementing this wholly improved cyber option from its iteration in Spring 2020. We have taken enormous strides in enhancing this online program, including more synchronous teaching, a move to Zoom over Schoology’s Big Blue Button, and comprehensive professional development for faculty over the summer. We are excited to launch this program and truly believe our parents and students will experience a marked improvement over last school year’s version.
We will be releasing more detailed information on this all-virtual program in the very near future. While this all-virtual program operates, we as an administration and Board will continue to prepare for bringing students physically back to school. Our students’ return to our buildings will be just as thoroughly considered and implemented as the other innovative initiatives for which Radnor is known.
Thank you again for your support as we seek to provide the excellent Radnor education our students and families deserve.
Kenneth E. Batchelor
Superintendent of Schools