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Important Message from Dr. Deighan

March 26, 2021

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community,

You may notice pictures on social media and in The Duncan Banner from three events this week that may create concern because masks were not always worn in the pictures.

The first two events were yesterday to honor our Teachers of the Year.  In both cases, community partners sponsored those events – and they were NOT on school property.  Local banks sponsored a meal at the Simmons Center, and staff did not wear masks during the luncheon because they were being served a meal.   We were later invited, as guests, to First Baptist Church for the TOY Celebration.  As superintendent of DPS, I did not force DPS policy on our gracious hosts.  Attendees decided for themselves how to address masks, as we all do daily outside of school.   There was ample room to socially distance.

Today, teachers hosted a legislative breakfast at DMS.  A group of legislators and I all removed our masks for a photo, but we have all been vaccinated, and we immediately put them back on.  Legislators also removed their masks to speak, but they were appropriately socially distanced as they presented.  They respected our rules as well as our students and staff. I appreciate their eagerness to enter a crowded classroom to interact with students.

I personally attended all three events.  I alone am responsible for how these atypical situations were handled.  Our schools have been safe because of the COVID protections we have had in place, but as with all policies, some situations do not fit perfectly into policy. Our schools, staff, and students have been consistent this year, but this COVID journey has never been perfect or predictable.  Photos rarely capture the full context, but I know Duncanites are common-sense enough to understand if provided a reasonable explanation.  These events were handled appropriately, under the circumstances, and no one risked anyone’s health or safety.  I understand if you disagree.  We are still in this together, even when we disagree.

Thank you to all who attended, to our gracious hosts, and to our gracious guests.  I truly appreciate how you all handled these events.

By Grace,

Tom Deighan, Superintendent, Duncan Public Schools