March 31, 2020
Dear Pacific East and Pacific South families and employees,
I know you have many questions regarding the reopening of our school facilities to students. The Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific region, in coordination with U.S. Forces Japan, will continue to monitor the environment and reopen schools when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Due to the current health protection conditions in our communities, we will not be able to resume our normal operations on April 13.
Teachers will continue to provide meaningful virtual instruction to students until we are able to reopen our school buildings. Please know that our goal is to make sure students meet the required standards to move on to the next grade level and for seniors to graduate as scheduled, whether that accomplishment is celebrated in person or virtually.
While our teachers continue to provide instruction online, district leaders are working closely with local custodial service providers to ensure schools are cleaned and disinfected according to CDC recommendations. We've modified contracts so that all schools receive a thorough cleaning during the closure, which would not have been possible while students are in the buildings. This cleaning will include the sanitation of surfaces frequently touched by students and employees such as doorknobs and light switches. We are also working to ensure that our schools have the equipment and supplies they need to reopen, such as hand soap and disinfectant surface cleaners.
Families, I thank you for your support as we provide our students with continuity in education through this virtual setting. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or principal if you have any questions, concerns, or access issues.
We look forward to welcoming our students back into our classrooms and will be prepared to open as soon as we can do so safely.
Director for Student Excellence
The DoDEA Operational Guide provides district and school leaders with general guidelines and protocols for establishing and maintaining safe school environments that reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus spread. Each school, in coordination with their district, will have the flexibility to implement the guidelines and protocols in a manner that best meets the health and safety needs of the school staff and students while minimizing the impact on teaching and learning.
Continuity of education is a critical quality of life component for military families and communities. We recognize that school operations impact on the readiness of our military partners to complete their mission. Our teachers and the routines of school provide an important element of stability for our students which adds significantly to their success. In-classroom Instruction is the optimal learning environment for our military-connected students. We will seek to provide as much in-school instruction as possible for all students every day to the best of our ability, and in accordance with official health guidelines.
DODEA has put in place numerous safety requirements and precautionary measures that follow CDC and DOD guidance to the greatest extent possible to ensure employees and students are protected. Social distancing, face coverings, and other mitigations are important tools to protect the health of our students, staff, and families as we pursue our mission.
DoDEA leadership at all levels has established protocols to safeguard employees and mitigate potential hazards in our schools through both active and passive strategies.
We remain flexible to meet any contingency. In the event that schools cannot fully reopen due to local health conditions, all students will move to the remote environment and receive remote education from their classroom teachers. While we are confident in our capacity to protect our students and staff by enacting mitigation strategies that support local installation guidance and conditions, we will also provide a virtual platform for students to continue learning virtually. Employees who are in “high risk” categories (as defined by the CDC) will be able to work with supervisors to implement risk controls or reasonable accommodations.
We continue to work in close coordination with our military community partners and military public health officials throughout this process. Even in this pandemic, our guiding visions remains excellence in education for every student, every day, everywhere. The safety and well-being of our students and employees is paramount and will always be our first consideration.