Monroe County’s school year starts Aug. 19, but classes will take place online, at least for the first four weeks. JAGRIT PARAJULI/Contributed

Monroe County School students will return to school — virtually — on Aug. 19. 

The start date was negotiated between school district officials and the teachers union, United Teachers of Monroe. The later start date will give teachers some extra time to prepare for the school year, which will start virtually for the first few weeks — at least until Sept. 11.

This virtual start was decided upon with advice from the local health department due to the virus spread in the community, compounded by the proximity of several other counties with very high virus counts and dangerous community spread. The district will periodically reevaluate these factors, with the first reevaluation period scheduled for Sept. 7-11. 

“Our eventual goal is to return teachers and students to the physical classroom as soon as we can do so safely,” Superintendent Theresa  Axford said. “We are watching other districts that have made the decision to return to in-person learning to see how they do. One district in another state had to close a school the first day due to a significant exposure.”

Axford said she understands the hardship this situation is causing many families. “I truly wish I could wave a magic wand and return us all safely to a normal school year,” she said. “But that is not where we are right now. We hope to be there soon.”

More information available 

Individual schools will contact parents and students via the ConnectEd automated messaging system. Additional information will be posted on school websites and social media pages. 

Teachers will also be reaching out to the families of their students. Older students in middle school and high school will be receiving Google Meet invitations for orientations and other pre-school events and return-to-school needs and requirements.

Teachers will report for planning and preparation beginning Thursday, Aug. 6. For students who need help with technological resources, to update your phone number for ConnectEd calls, or for answers to your individual questions, contact your child’s school directly.

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