Wellness day 11/12

Wellness day 11/12
Posted on 11/05/2021

Dear staff and caregivers,


Thank you for responding to our wellness day poll. We had strong participation with over 1100 staff and families (unfortunately, our survey was not able to reach our students) sharing their input with us.  


So what is the outcome?

The result of our poll reveals that there is overwhelming support for an SPS wellness day.  Next Friday, November 12th, received double the votes than any other choice across our English, Spanish, and Portuguese survey responses.


With this clear outcome, Salem Public Schools will be closed on Friday, November 12th.  To meet our 180 school day obligation, we will add a day at the end of the calendar.  June 15th will now be the last day of school (June 20th for Carlton).  


Why are we doing this?


The current school year has brought with it multiple challenges for students and staff as they have balanced full in-person learning with the continued presence of COVID-19 and a rise in mental health concerns following more than a year of isolation.  We are incredibly proud of the resilience and perseverance of our community for continuing to focus on the needs of our youth as we navigate the impact of the virus.  As you can imagine, these efforts have proven to be exhausting and it is important for us to carefully monitor the stress and anxiety of an educational community that has a high standard for excellence.  Our staff is clearly telling us that they need a “pause” for both themselves and their students, so that they can continue to deliver a high quality experience for our students.  It is important that we listen to what our dedicated professionals are telling us and adjust our schedules and approaches accordingly.  


Given this reality, we found it necessary to explore options for our community to rest and recharge as we come to the close of the first quarter.  In looking at our school calendar, we saw Nov. 12th as an opportunity to introduce a wellness day.  It offers a consecutive block of days for students and staff to disconnect.  Additionally, we discussed that the existing schedule of no school on Thursday, in school on Friday and then back out of school over the weekend is disruptive for many of our students.  


We understand that this change to the schedule might be difficult for some caregivers. However, we will be providing free childcare (8:30-2:30 pm at Horace Mann) for those families that have no other option for care. Please understand that this opportunity is reserved for those who have a dire need.  If your child already participates in after school care,  please check with your provider before signing up for a slot at Horace Mann. Breakfast and lunch will be offered and we ask that you sign up in advance by using the form linked here, no later than Monday at 5 pm.  You will receive a confirmation of enrollment no later than Tuesday if we can accommodate your request.  We hope to accommodate as many requests as possible.  Please note that transportation will not be provided.  


Thank you for your ongoing support.  We hope that our staff and students will take this time to put down their pens and shut off their devices so that they can spend time with their families and/or do something that brings them great joy and energy.


Sincerely,

 

Stephen Zrike


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