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SRCS 2/12/21 Update: Mental Health and Wellness; Reentry Updates; Mid-Winter Break
Posted 2/12/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

This communication is coming to you on the heels of a very tragic event. As you know, we lost a member of our Davidson community this week; a loss which has been felt widespread. Hunter’s family and friends remain in our thoughts. 

In light of this heartbreaking loss, I want to discuss the social-emotional well-being of everyone in our SRCS community. We understand that mental health challenges are far reaching; sometimes noticeable and sometimes not, and we are committed to collaborating with the community to support our students, families, teachers and staff. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered many people’s social-emotional health - the social isolation has had a tremendously negative impact on our ability to connect with others in a healthy, meaningful way. In these uncertain times, we have to band together as a community and support each other. We need to find those moments in life which bring us joy and celebrate and honor them, but also to say that it is OK to not be OK, and you are not alone. 

An unfortunate contributing factor to the ongoing challenges with mental health is the stigma related to it. It’s important that we work together to break down this stigma and support each other in building positive mental health throughout our community, which I know is part of the reason Hunter’s family bravely gave us permission to share that his cause of death was suicide. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it's still an illness. These challenges, however, can be addressed with the right care. There are a myriad of community and school-based resources available to anyone who needs support. We have included some of these resources here. You can also reach out to anyone at your child's school to learn more about what is available. 

As we head into Mid-Winter Break, I plead with all of you to take some time for yourself; turn off screens and spend some time outside; connect with loved ones; and do whatever you can to find a way to safely rest and recharge for the weeks to come.

Grades 6-12 Reentry Plans
Middle Schools: As a reminder, we have an agreement to implement a phased-in approach for our middle schools, which will begin after Marin is in the Red Tier for two weeks and no sooner than March 1. We continue to watch the COVID data closely, and adjust plans as necessary. Our principals are sharing important, timely updates with their school communities, and we are grateful for everyone’s support and understanding. 

High Schools: I am thrilled to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement with SRFT, our high school certificated educator labor group, about our re-entry plans for our high schools! The agreement will soon be brought to SRFT members for ratification. 

Under the tentative agreement, students at Terra Linda and San Rafael high schools who opted for in-person learning will attend their Advisory Class in-person on either March 1 or March 8 to help orient themselves to campus and become accustomed to the safety measures and routines. Then, after Marin has been in the Red Tier for two weeks and no sooner than March 16, all high school students who have opted in for in-person instruction will begin our hybrid schedule. More detailed information will be shared in the coming weeks. I believe this phased-in plan allows for careful oversight as we remain committed to everyone’s safety. 

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our teachers and staff. We are proud of our honest and collaborative partnerships with SRFT and CSEA (our classified staff), and thank them for the hard work and time they’ve put into planning for a safe school reentry. It is simply amazing how teachers have delivered high-quality instruction during remote learning, and I am so grateful for their continued dedication and commitment to our students as they transition to the hybrid program. I cannot wait to see our high schoolers back on campus!  

Mid-Winter Break
I am so happy that the local COVID data is trending in the right direction. In order to continue to reopen our schools, we need the numbers to continue to decline, and every one of us plays a role in making this happen. Please make the right decisions over Mid-Winter Break. If you and your family decide to engage in high-risk behavior (including gatherings of more than three households; out-of-state travel), please follow the quarantine guidance.

Thank you for all you are doing, and please, take care of yourself!

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent