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Despite Lingering Pandemic Challenges, Gratitude Remains Strong

Dear Lancaster Families,

While there is no denying that we are still in a pandemic, one that is leaving us all very fatigued, I can’t help but feel a sense of hope.  Since the beginning of the school year, we have started to see a return to some sense of normalcy. The return of homecoming, in-person concert performances, athletics with live spectators, and festive Halloween parades.  A return to the sense of pride, spirit, and tradition that Lancaster is known for, and that we have needed and craved these past 20 months. 

In a season where we turn our thoughts to all that we have to be thankful for, I want to express my sincere appreciation for all those in our Lancaster community who continue to work relentlessly to keep our District safe and strong. Without them, the advent of this normality would not be possible. 

First and foremost, thank you to our families for working alongside our schools as we continue to navigate challenges. We know that while the pandemic lingers, there are still times when we are faced with challenges or the ideal solution is not attainable. Their continued support as they flex their schedules, rearrange plans, and support the academic journey of their child(ren) is commendable.

I want to thank our principals and school administrators. The steady hand of leadership that each of them has offered from their respective positions in the face of very challenging circumstances, has been the one consistently reliable feature of the COVID era here in Lancaster schools. 

I owe a debt of gratitude to our teachers who are the backbone of our student-centered mission. They go above and beyond every day with limited backup. The flexibility of our substitute teachers in filling roles depending on the need has been key to our day-to-day functions and we greatly appreciate them. 

The heart of our school nurses’ work has always been an integral part of our District, but never more so than during this pandemic. Their care for our children and guidance throughout each day has been critical in keeping all of us safe and I cannot thank them enough. 

To our school counselors, social workers, and psychologists, thank you for focusing on supporting the whole student, particularly the social and emotional well-being of our students in these continued challenging times. 

Thank you to our food service staff for providing our children with two nutritious meals every day. These staff members have been on the front lines of our pandemic response since the very beginning and their support to our community is unwavering. 

I deeply appreciate our bus drivers and transportation staff for transporting thousands of students each day all while maintaining seating charts and keeping our buses clean and sanitized in between each of their runs. 

To our custodians, maintenance workers, and buildings and grounds crew, thank you for continually keeping our buildings cleaned, maintained, and in great condition to welcome our students and staff each day.

Thank you to our Board of Education members for their service and commitment to our students, district, and community. Words cannot express my gratitude for them volunteering to take on the challenges of our time. 

And above all else, thank you to our students. Our efforts could not have succeeded without your engagement and cooperation.  The benefits of being together in person 5 days a week are evident and I am so proud to witness your spirit and pride ignite the return of our storied traditions.


Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.