As we enter the final weeks of the school year, our staff members, students and families are feeling the many emotions that come with realizing that we are not going to be physically together this month.
As Gov. Mike DeWine announced April 20, our schools will remain closed and distance teaching and learning will continue through the rest of the school year.
Over the past several weeks, our staff members, students and families have risen to this unprecedented challenge. Still, even though we expected the governor's announcement, it has been very difficult for all of us to hear.
Our staff is missing our students, and our students are missing our staff.
Across Upper Arlington, students and families are going through a type of grieving process -- for all the things and experiences that are being lost. This is especially difficult for students who were excited about certain transitions -- for instance, our fifth-graders, our eighth-graders and certainly our high school seniors.
Over the past month, our high school team has been working directly with seniors to plan how to honor and celebrate the entire class of 2020 in this new environment. In this process, the most important voice is the voice of our senior class. We will be sharing more details soon.
As we approach the end of this school year, I know that many of us have questions about next school year. I don't have answers to those questions yet. But I want to be very clear that next school year is not going to be normal -- it is not going to look like school years of the past.
I am proud to be representing our schools and our community on both state and national task forces of superintendents looking at our response in K-12 education to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
On the Ohio Department of Education task force, I am one of 10 superintendents looking at what school might look like in the fall and throughout next school year.
We are considering all facets of what school districts do in order to make recommendations to the ODE that will inform statewide guidelines for school districts for the coming school year.
In Upper Arlington, we will be able to make the best possible plan for our schools within the framework of those state guidelines.
As we plan for the next school year, we continue to be focused on the well-being of our students, our families and our staff. This is at the heart of our new strategic plan, and it is all the more important in light of the pandemic.
Throughout the month of May, we will continue to provide free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches for any school-aged child. You can find times and locations at uaschools.org. Many thanks to nutritional services and transportation staff for their hard work to provide this resource to our families.
I am proud to be a Golden Bear and to live in this community.. It's amazing to see how we have all come together during this crisis to look out for and support one another. I know we will get through this together.
Paul Imhoff is superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools. You can follow him on Twitter at @imhoffpaul. His office provides this column to ThisWeek Upper Arlington News.