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GIPS temporarily moving to four-day school week

(KSNB)
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 8:34 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 8:36 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - In a letter to GIPS parents, obtained by LOCAL4, officials say they are temporarily moving to a four-day school week.

Dear GIPS Families,

Due to an all-time high in medical/illness related absentee rates and ensuring optimal operations for staff, we are providing an important update:

Effective this Friday, January 21, 2022, GIPS will be moving to a temporary 4-day school week for all students.

There will also be no school on the following dates:

  • January 21
  • January 28
  • February 4
  • February 11 (already a no school day for students)
  • February 18

Students will be off on those days. Staff will still report to buildings for ample time to plan and prepare for the following week of classes. More information on specifics regarding these staff opportunities will be shared later this week.

In-person learning will continue Monday through Thursday.

So why this flexibility and why now?

Dr. Tawana Grover, Superintendent of Grand Island Public Schools, issued an important charge:

“It is imperative we position ourselves to persist through the challenges of this pandemic. We are taking every step in deploying strategies and tactics to fight back against this virus in order to keep our school doors open.” Dr. Grover emphasized, “In order for us to overcome these challenges, we must continue to be stronger together.

We appreciate our families as well as our students for their agility and ability to understand the value of these short term adjustments to reach our long term goal of finishing the year. We appreciate our community for the sacrifices they’ve made for the collective good of our students. We appreciate the resolute and resilient nature of our staff for what they do to make this district strong.

“The only way forward is with a viable, healthy staff.”

Mrs. Lisa Albers, President of the Grand Island Public Schools Board of Education, echoed the urgency, “A vital component to keeping our buildings open is having our staff available to continue to lead and teach.” Albers affirmed, “Teachers are giving up their planning time to cover classes for their sick colleagues. Our staff have understandably been impacted by this wave. They need more frequent opportunities to reset and prepare without having to cram it into an already stressed schedule. Our teachers need our support.”

GIPS will continue to monitor and evaluate the schedule and provide an update to the community on or before February 18, 2022 with a decision on whether or not the protocol will extend.

Continuity of learning will remain intact.

All activities will remain as scheduled unless otherwise notified by the hosting building.

Ultimately, we all share the same primary goal — keeping our buildings as safe as possible so that in-person learning may continue to take place each and every day in our schools. Ensuring every aspect of our operations from classroom teachers to custodians have the support necessary for students to succeed is a top priority.

“We recognize that this is a big adjustment,” Dr. Grover mentioned, “and our gratitude to our families cannot be overstated.”

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