April 22, 2020
Dear Students and Parents,
As the school year continues to unfold during the pandemic, I feel it is important to provide you with some updates on the activities and events that are associated with the end of the school year and Senior Class milestones. I want you to know that we have put a lot of thought into these decisions, and we have consulted students, parents, and activity sponsors in our planning. The goal is to provide our seniors with an opportunity to have proper closure and celebrate together one last time as TJ Jaguars. Instilling some normalcy at the end of the year is very important for student mental health, especially our seniors. The idea in providing possible dates in this letter is to allow for future planning and scheduling. If we are unable to hold an event as planned, we will then move to the next scheduled date. While our goal is to provide as much “normalcy” as possible, public health and CDC guidelines willr always be at the forefront of our decision-making. The events and activities that we have are as follows:
= Graduation: June 20, July 18, and August 8. The goal is to have a “normal” graduation ceremony. However, depending on which health guidelines are in place at the time, we may need to make adjustments to ensure student and public health. Mr. Murphy will be in touch soon regarding the solicitation of student speeches and other details regarding the ceremony.
= Musical: June 25-27, July 23-25. The goal is to offer the musical as planned. However, there may be adjustments depending upon student availability and restrictions during that time.
= Prom: June 18, July 16, August 6. This year’s prom will be for the Thomas Jefferson HS SENIOR CLASS ONLY (no dates). The entire prom will be held at Thomas Jefferson High School. Since there was very little fundraising this year, the cost of having the prom at the Hilton Garden Inn was too expensive and could be very challenging for many of our families. In addition, it would have been very difficult to have a lot of flexibility with multiple dates. The goal is to keep the costs minimal, while providing a safe and fun opportunity for the seniors to get together one last time. Also, by limiting it to only the seniors, we will ensure that the event can occur if there are still restrictions on gatherings over 250 people. Dinner will be served; decorations, music, and a photo booth will be provided as if the event were at the Hilton.
= Senior Awards Night: This will be held virtually during the last week of school. The HS administration is in the process of planning this event and will be following up with details in a separate letter.
= Yearbooks will be distributed. They are being shipped to the HS. The HS administration will alert everyone on how and when they can be picked up.
= All students K-12 will have the opportunity to pick up remaining items in lockers and at school before the end of the year. Your building principals will be in touch with dates and procedures.
= Times will be arranged for winter and spring sports uniform drop-off by Mr. Cherpak. Details will be forthcoming.
= Kennywood Day: Our school Kennywood picnic has officially been moved to Friday, August 14. Our date in May was cancelled due to the pandemic. When we had a chance to reschedule, we thought that our marching band’s performance day was the perfect fit.
I know the last month and a half has been a stressful and challenging time for everyone. To watch our school community rise to the occasion and support one another has been inspiring and motivating. Moving forward, we will continue to provide support to those who need it. We will provide opportunities for returning students over the summer and at the beginning of next year to address any potential learning loss or mental health concerns. I do want to thank everyone for their support and patience as we continue to navigate this unprecedented time. Hopefully, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will be even more prepared in the future should something like this happen again. I hope that you and your families are healthy and well.
Superintendent of Schools