August 18, 2021
Dear Manhattan Parents/Guardians,
It’s hard to believe that our 2021/2022 school year will be kicking off in just seven days. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed your summer vacation and have been able to spend quality time with friends and family. The District has been working hard to prepare for another successful year at Manhattan Public Schools. We look forward to seeing you and your student(s) at our August 24th Open House from 3:00-5:00pm. The first day of school is Wednesday, August 25th at 8:25am sharp. The District is returning to a Friday release time of 2:40pm in grades K-4 and 2:44pm for grades 5-12. I understand that there are a lot of questions surrounding what this school year will look like for your students as it relates to COVID-19. The Board recently approved our Plan for a Safe Return to In Person Instruction and Continuity of Services. The plan can be located on the District’s website for your perusal. Thank you for participating in the surveys that were sent from the District office. Your input was thoughtfully considered. A quick summary of how Manhattan Public School will be starting the school year is provided within this letter.
The Plan for a Safe Return to In Person Instruction and Continuity of Services is exactly that, a plan for “In Person Instruction.” The plan will not offer a remote learning option in 2021-2022. Masks are optional for grades K-12, staff, parents and visitors in the building and on school grounds. Masks ARE mandated on all school buses. The requirement of masks on school buses is based on federal law and is part of the same requirement that the federal CDC imposes on other forms of conveyances, including commercial airplanes, trains, subways, intra-city buses, school buses, etc. The bottom line is that, at this time, the CDC is requiring masks on school buses, not the District. The CDC is doing so pursuant to authority granted it by Congress under 42 U.S.C. Section 264. The District’s plan includes multiple mitigation strategies for preventing the spread of COVID. Please see the plan for further explanation of the mitigation strategies. Your student’s principal and teachers will be sending out further communication regarding what the plan will look like at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Please feel free to reach out to your student’s principal with any questions you may have.
The District has made a few changes to the middle and high school parking lot. To reduce conflict of vehicles, busses, and pedestrians in the High School/public library parking lot, the school bus drop-off/pick-up locations will be moved to the newly-expanded parking lot to the north. This will allow for more parent vehicles to line up where the buses parked in the past. It will also address safety concerns where students have been at risk crossing the parking lot because of buses blocking the view of approaching vehicles. High school students will park in the southern half of the parking lot, parallel to the library and high school. Traffic flow during the after-school peak times of 3:30 to 3:45pm will run south to north. Vehicles may not exit the parking lot from the south entrance near the tennis courts during the after-school peak times. Please share this information with your student driver. All vehicles will exit from the middle and north entrances to the parking lot. Signs and staff will be strategically located to assist students, parents and visitors with this transition. Parking lot crosswalk striping has been added, as well. Please yield to pedestrians in the parking lot crosswalks, and please do not park in the crosswalks.
In closing, we are looking forward to another great year! Please do not hesitate to reach out to your building principal, classroom teacher, and/or the District Office if you have any questions.
Brian K. Ayers