DCS School Corornavirus Announcment by Superintendent of Schools Jim Kent
Coronavirus is here and we are planning to deal with it. This is an attempt to explain what we can, however the circumstances can change faster than this message can be typed. Therefore, our plans are fluid but this message should give you an indication of the direction we are taking. The goal is to react with the right decisions at the right time, with a commons sense approach, to not over-react or under-react.
First let me say that it is certainly acceptable for parents to keep their student home if they are uncomfortable sending them to school. We encourage parents to keep students home who are part of the high-risk population or who have been to an area with high exposure risk in the last two weeks. We also encourage them to refrain from contact with vulnerable populations as much as possible.
As of now, we are planning to have school for as long as we can. Shutting down our buildings is inevitable at some point; however, we plan to provide instruction to our students while the buildings are closed and plan to take advantage of the next few days to help our students understand how their instruction will be delivered and what their tasks will be.
Instruction at the high school will be largely carried out via technology. That will look different for different courses. Teachers will be explaining that to students. At the grade schools, that will be different, but we are considering packets of material being sent to students and possibly some ‘office hours’ for teachers to talk to students who need extra help. Teachers will spend time the next few days explaining to students how that will work.
I have talked with Randy Raile at BWTelcom and they will provide 60 days of free internet to families who do not have internet currently so that our students will have access to educational material. They will be providing free access, free equipment and free installation. They will re-evaluate after 60 days and may extend the time frame.
We will be focusing on the core curriculum and the most critical objectives for those courses. We will examine any recommendations to extend the school year based on how instruction goes during the school closure. At this time we hope that an extended school year is not necessary, but that is fluid. We may also require some students who don’t successfully complete our instruction during any shutdown to attend summer school to catch up.
Guidance from the CDC and Health Department to keep gatherings and events under 50 people will impact us as well. In the immediate future that will affect prom. As of now, we are postponing prom and will pick a new date later in the spring.
We are planning to provide both breakfast and lunch through the school food service program. It will be a grab and go situation with basic stuff inside. We are looking at a method of delivery that won’t be centered on the school but will maybe take the items to a pre-determined location. That information will be coming at a later date.
For the next two weeks, ending on March 30, 2020 there will be no practices or after school activities. The buildings and facilities will be closed after school. There will also be no competitions between schools until at least April 2. Individuals are not allowed to use the buildings or facilities for any reason.
Parent teacher conferences will be conducted via phone and or email. We are asking that parents who wish to converse with a teacher contact the school and we will make that arrangement. Teachers also have the latitude to call parents whose student is having issues. School will still dismiss early on Thursday.
There will be no out of district travel by students for the next two weeks. Most, if not all of those events are or will be cancelled anyway.
Parents please take advantage of this time to arrange for the care of your children in the event we are closed. Hopefully, that child care will also protect the vulnerable populations from exposure. Also, please make sure you are practicing social distancing and maintaining a distance of 6 feet between you and other people and avoiding large social gatherings.
Keep washing those hands and we will get through this together.