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Superintendent's Message to School Families (October 5th)

Hello, Wicomico school families and staff. This is Donna Hanlin, Superintendent of Wicomico County Public Schools, with this week’s updates. In case this phone call is cut off, you’ll find the full message in your emailbox and on our website, 
Please join me in congratulating Wicomico Teacher of the Year Hemalatha Bhaskaran, who is one of seven finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year. We’re proud of the great work she does with her Environmental Science students at James M. Bennett High, and we know she represents Wicomico Schools and teachers very well at the state level. Learn more about Mrs. Bhaskaran in our Teacher of the Year show now airing on PAC 14 and available on YouTube [link]. You can tune in to watch the announcement of the new Maryland Teacher of the Year  on Maryland Public Television on October 8th in a 30-minute special program airing at 8 p.m. on MPT2 and in a livestream on MPT’s channel MarylandPublicTV. 
We believe it is our professional responsibility to provide parents and guardians and students with information that accurately reflects a student’s progress. We are pleased to share that this Wednesday, each student’s mid-term progress report will be available to view and download from the Family Portal. Please utilize this mid-term progress report to look for reasons to celebrate as well as opportunities for improvement that can occur before the end of the grading period. For both progress reports and report cards, you will no longer receive paper reports but will access and download these reports from the Family Portal.  
This week many of our schools have been delighted to welcome back small groups of students for targeted instruction, services and activities including Special Education, math tutoring, English Language Learner support, Career and Technical Education, advanced science labs and conditioning for Fall athletics. As we serve these students we are putting into practice our new procedures for distancing, wearing PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and other school areas. This will support the health and safety of both students and staff as we prepare to bring students back in larger numbers, starting with Prekindergarten students on October 19th.  
On October 26th we expect to bring Kindergarten students back to school, in a hybrid format to ensure physical distancing and cleaning procedures. As of now it looks like we will have one group of students that attends Monday and Tuesday, and another that attends Thursday and Friday.  
Parents and guardians have asked whether their students must return to the classroom when we begin to reopen schools, or if students can continue with virtual learning for now. Several weeks before a grade level is scheduled to return, parents and guardians of students in that grade will be contacted to select either hybrid or all virtual learning, and to commit to whether the student will use school transportation. Please respond with this information as quickly as possible, and also return the signed COVID-19 Parent/Guardian Agreement. This will help all of us plan and prepare for the school days to come. 
Thank you, and have a wonderful week.