It's official -- school is out for summer!

There is no replacement for being together in the classroom but our students, teachers and parents rose to the challenge and finished this year strong. Congratulations to the class of 2020 -- the grit, determination and resilience you demonstrated this year is inspiring and we celebrate as you boldly enter the next chapter of your journey.

Summer may be here for students, but our team at Bexley City Schools is diving into planning what school will look like in August and into the 2020-21 school year. We will have to balance our plans to return with state, local and federal guidance and orders when they are issued. In addition, we are responding to our immediate and projected loss of revenue due to state cuts and the local economic impact of the pandemic. It's important that we face these challenges together as a community.

Bexley is not like other communities and our district is not like other school districts; we need to make decisions on how we reopen on a local level. We also recognize that our schools are not an isolated part of the Bexley community and we do not want to make our reopening plans in a silo.

The district has convened a BCS Reopening Task Force to help design and provide input on reopening plans that consider our community, our facilities and what is best for our students. The task force is made up of district staff including administrators, teachers, classified staff, nurses and a member of the board of education as well as representatives from key services in our city and four parents with expertise in epidemiology, medicine and information technology.

The task force has sent surveys to staff, parents and students to gain insight and feedback on remote learning and plans for the fall. Community feedback and our strategic partnerships will be essential in our success as a district as we look forward to the fall.

It is too early to know the details of what our return to school will look like but we will continue to update our community on the progress of the task force so everyone is informed each step along the way. Because of this ever-changing environment, we know we will likely need to revisit our plans throughout the summer and we may need to adjust as we approach our opening date of Aug. 20. Our mission has not changed. We are committed to engaging, equipping and empowering each student for success today and into the future. Our circumstances are changing but we will do our best to fulfill our mission in creative and innovative ways within the constraints and needs of our current environment.

Kimberly Pietsch Miller is the superintendent of Bexley City Schools.