LTE: Support for Sawicki BOE reelection

To The Editor:

I am writing this letter to convey my enthusiastic support of Adam Sawicki for re-election to the Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education. I have known Adam personally for the past 10 years, but only this year established a strong professional relationship with him. Adam has always impressed me with his level-headed approach to all matters. He makes decisions carefully and deliberately with a strong emphasis on facts, data, and fairness. These qualities have been especially impactful in the context of the  challenges presented to the district by the COVID-19 virus. The effects of the global pandemic have been felt in all realms of our existence. The impact on our children has been monumental. At no other time have we as a community had such difficult decision to make regarding health, safety, and the ability to best educate our students.

Adam’s outstanding leadership experience is especially important at this critical time. He has a proven track record as a Board of Education leader. He has served as the Vice President of the Board and has chaired many of the essential board committees.  In the context of our current environment his accomplishments as chair of the Personnel and Finance committees will be most relevant. He has championed initiatives to benchmark, monitor, and improve staff attendance rates. Additionally, he has demonstrated strong fiscal oversight and has been instrumental in matching the needs of the district’s budget with what the taxpayers can afford. These are always important matters but the impact of COVID-19 has brought the need to make sure these specific areas are expertly handled to the forefront. Adam has unmatched ability to continue to do this well on behalf of our community. 

In the difficult days of August, when essential decision related to returning to school needed to be made, our community was fortunate to have a thoughtful and caring Board of Education that worked tirelessly to make the best possible decisions. Many of the Board members deserve our thanks and recognition for their dedication and hard work. As a practicing pediatrician, a school physician, and a parent of 3 children who attend school in Hopewell, I advocated strongly for decisions regarding the return to in person learning to be grounded in data and the best available science. It was imperative that the Board fully understood the negative effects on the emotional, behavioral, and mental health of many children from the isolation that occurs with virtual only learning. This has been well-documented and is the strong position of The American Academy of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Policy Lab, and pediatric health professionals throughout the country. Additionally, we need the decision-makers to have a full and careful understanding of the data regarding COVID-19 disease incidence and the effectiveness of mitigation efforts. Adam Sawicki truly was a standout as he advocated for balancing staff and student physical wellness with social-emotional wellness during the pandemic. He has championed the use of guidance from the District physician, our local Department of Health and data from the NJ Department of Health to drive reopening planning. Adam consistently demonstrates an ability to synthesize and understand population health data and the scientific facts related to COVID-19 at a level that is unmatched by even my most astute physician colleagues. 

In summary, Adam Sawicki has served the needs of our community extraordinarily  well as a key member of the Board of Education. At this critical time it is imperative that we continue to have him and the broad range of expertise that he offers as a member of  the Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education. It is my sincere hope that members of the community will support him in his re-election efforts.

Sincerely,

Robert Helmrich, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician – Princeton Nassau Pediatrics

School Physician – Princeton Public Schools

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