The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Director has approved the shifting of school openings for the DoDEA Southeast District schools in close coordination with installation commanders, the local senior military leadership, and DoDEA Southeast District and DoDEA Americas Regional leadership.
The start date for Fort Knox Community Schools, originally set for Aug. 3, will now be Aug. 24.
DoDEA is preparing to open schools and to return to brick and mortar school operations using the revised schedule for the coming school year. Restoring teaching and learning to the familiar classroom environment provides students with stability and continuity. Face-to-face instruction and the routines of the school add significantly to the success and growth of all students.
In approving the shift, DoDEA Director Tom Brady said, “While it is imperative that we get students back to school, our highest priority is the health and safety of our students and employees.”
DoDEA cited two reasons for shifting the school openings:
1. The shifts in the SY 2020/21 school calendars enable the schools to better meet the demands of returning to brick and mortar school operations in a persistent COVID-19 pandemic; and
2. The shifts better align the DoDEA school openings with similar adjusted opening decisions by the adjoining local school districts.
DoDEA also plans to offer a virtual option for families and students beginning in the first semester of the school year (SY) 2020-21 for students and families with health vulnerabilities and risk for COVID-19 as defined by the CDC or those who may be concerned about returning to school. More information on how affected parents may enroll their child in a full-time virtual school option will be released this week.
The Americas Region Director for Student Excellence, Dr, Judith Minor, said the decision to delay the openings of select schools will not shorten the DoDEA school year for these students. Dr. Minor also stressed that they were making changes out of an abundance of caution for students and staff.
"Working in coordination with our military leaders and local medical/health advisors, DoDEA Americas leadership has been carefully monitoring the ever-changing status of COVID-19 data in each Southeast Community,” said Dr. Minor. “We are committed to supporting the vital missions of our military partners, yet are also aware of and sensitive to the safety, teaching, and learning needs of our students and staff.”
Furthermore, Dr. Minor said, “Opening in brick and mortar with the option for parents to elect a virtual school option for higher-risk students requires a great deal of planning. This involves procuring a virtual learning curriculum and staffing the virtual school, which will take some additional time for preparation. Shifting the start dates to later in August for our Southeast District schools, will enable us to be fully prepared for students."