Community Update - November 17, 2020
Last evening the Board of Education made the decision to switch to an entirely remote learning environment for the time period of November 30- January 08th. This is a very difficult decision as I believe we would all agree that the best place for our students would be in our classrooms. However, the recent spike in our community and in our district are the reasons to be proactive in this most uncertain time.
These slides are part of the presentation that I shared with the BOE last evening. The significance of this data is the rise of cases recently in our community and in our district. As the data shows the rise in cases in our community is reflected in our district data as 56% of our isolations and quarantines are happening right now. The benefit of taking a proactive approach is that we have flexibility in what we can do as a district. The goal is that the district is still open and will remain that way unless there is a state mandate. Activities, tutoring, extra opportunities are all possibilities for us in the coming weeks in order to address concerns that were expressed in the community survey. Because this is a district decision and not a state mandate, we are able to be creative in the way that we can continue some activities in the district.
Over the past several months the district- staff, students, and families have rallied together to allow us to have a successful start to the school year. As I mentioned last evening when we were starting the year, we were told that it would be a matter of weeks until we were shut down. That did not prove to be the case. It is important that we treat this remote opportunity as a safety net that will allow us to have a brighter, in person second half of the school year. All of your efforts are to be applauded and I am confident that everyone will carry those efforts into this transition and subsequent 22 days of remote learning with our students.
The following information will help guide this transition.
- Daily Instruction- There will be a structure available for students to be on lessons with their teachers much like a traditional day. There will be a requirement to complete a task for all students daily that will count as a grade as well as a symbol of attendance. We also understand that students may not be able to be on always at the scheduled time and want to provide opportunities for students to have time to complete activities. All activities for the week will be due on Friday at 4:00. It is important to keep students on as much of a schedule as possible moving forward. Attendance and grades for students will count. The district is also working on ways to have small groups rehearse, come in for intervention and enrichment, as well as special education services. The focus needs to be on reducing the numbers in our buildings at one point in time. The buildings will be sharing this information as details are finalized.
In regards to the school day, I encourage you to sign up for a slot during parent-teacher conferences in order to speak with your child’s teachers about specific structures for their classrooms during the school day.
- The district will be working with families of students in the younger grades to make sure that these students have a device to use during this remote learning time period.
- The usage premium payment window is going to open up once again. This payment is $25, but protects your child’s device if it is damaged. As we shared at the start of the year a new screen can be expensive ($180 on average). This premium can pay for itself in the case of an accident. If you have not paid for this yet for your student, or your student is just being assigned a device we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. Payments can be made via check or credit card at the school buildings.
- Current Remote Students will stay operating in their current setup. We encourage all of you to continue working to be on track with completing your semester classes at the JSHS as well as for the work being assigned daily at the elementary level.
- Covid-19 Cases- as we move through the next few weeks it is still very important to monitor cases. We are asking that if you have exposure to the virus it is communicated with the district. It is important for us to keep track of active cases and quarantines, especially as we progress towards a return to in-person learning in January.
As we move through this transition there will be more information either coming from my office or the buildings.
Andrew Sprang, Superintendent