March 13, 2020
Dear Midway ISD Families and Employees,
Over the past few weeks, we have been closely monitoring the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a quickly developing situation, and while there are no confirmed cases in McLennan County at this time, the cases in Texas are multiplying.
Midway ISD has been closely monitoring guidance from the Texas Education Agency, Texas of Health and Human Services, and the McLennan County Health Department, and felt the need to be more proactive. Area superintendents met this morning to decide together how to best protect Waco area students, our staff members, and our communities, and analyze lessons learned from previous outbreaks such as H1N1.
One body of research describes proactive school closures as “one of the most powerful nonpharmaceutical interventions that we can deploy.” Proactively closing schools before there is a case associated with a school can impede the spread of a virus and possibly save lives. After consulting with medical experts and considering the unique role that our schools can play in slowing the spread of COVID-19, I have made the decision to close all Midway ISD campuses from March 16 through March 27.
We are also canceling all athletic competitions, fine arts performances, and other school activities planned during this time. While we are currently hoping to resume a somewhat normal schedule on March 30, we will continue to assess the situation including whether or not extending this closure might be warranted.
This is not a decision that was made lightly. For many of our families, this creates a difficult challenge to supervise children and can impact businesses and other organizations that employ our parents and guardians. However, we have a responsibility to take those steps we can to contain this unknown virus and protect the health of our students, their families and the Greater Waco community.
The Midway ISD Leadership Team will be meeting Saturday morning to work on logistics that address the immediate weeks ahead as well as beginning long-term planning. You can expect subsequent communications that address duties for staff, as well as information about online instruction and access to resources for families.
Teachers should plan to work from home until further notice and focus on preparing lesson plans to guide online instruction. We have an ideal structure in place due to our 1:1 initiative that includes iPad devices for every staff and educator, as well as accounts already set up for Schoology or SeeSaw. After our Leadership Team is able to meet tomorrow and Monday, we will communicate details about how this can be implemented.
We are committed to supporting students instructionally while they are at home and are developing instructional resources for students and families. We are also committed to supporting students in other ways during this closure such as arranging for food services for students in need. Once we have finalized these plans, we will communicate this information to you.
This is a fluid situation, and we will continue to work closely with the local health department to assess new developments and the impact to the health and safety of our students and staff. We know that you may have questions, and we will provide regular updates via email and text message. You will also be able to find those updates on a dedicated portion of our website at www.midwayisd.org/coronavirus and social media accounts, as well as by working with our media partners.
This is a challenging time for our community as well as our nation and the world. Together, however, we will rise to the challenge. Thank you for joining the Midway faculty and staff in this effort to do what we can to slow the spread of this virus.