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Message From The Superintendent, 3/18

COVID Update #3 March 18, 2020 

Good afternoon Georgetown Community,

I hope this email finds you and your family well. I know these circumstances are challenging and I hope you are keeping your spirits as high as possible while we make our way through this uncharted territory. I cannot thank our staff enough for the work they are doing to deep clean our schools, share resources and prepare work for students, reach out to their students to check in with them and continue to find ways to keep this district operation moving forward remotely. To parents, I want to thank you for making the necessary adjustments to your lives to support our students at home whether it be to calm their fears, assist in their learning or find creative ways to have fun as a family.  This morning Good Morning America had some great ideas and Facebook has been a great repository of good ideas should you want some assistance but I want to acknowledge that you are the heroes for your children in this process and we appreciate it! I want to thank all of you that have sent notes of appreciation about the communication you are receiving and the overall way in which we are responding to this situation. That means more to me than I can say and I know the staff appreciates it as well. We are all in this together and we have to look for ways to support one another and stay connected. I saw something on Facebook this morning that was encouraging everyone to make the most of this time and make memories that you will remember when this virus is long gone. What will you remember about COVID 19 and what you did during this time? How did you and your family get through this unpredictable and evolving situation?  Will you remember cooking more meals at home together, having a dance party just for fun, exploring new technology platforms and ways to communicate with family and friends, doing some art, reading a great book, watching some awesome movies, enjoying more outdoor activities, completing a family puzzle or playing board games, learning something new or just having some down time to enjoy life at a slower pace? One of the things we have to be mindful of is keeping our spirits up and focusing on our mental health especially as the news gets worse. I am going to be thinking about what I can do to stay healthy and positive to keep my spirits up and perhaps you will do the same. 

Ok here is the latest information I have to share.

  1. People Not Receiving Calls  

Thanks to parents who let me know that they have not been receiving my messages.  I have consulted with Barry Belanger who has graciously verified email addresses; made sure they were correctly included in our database and responded directly to those affected. Thanks Barry for going above and beyond to help solve this mystery. After reviewing the backbone of the system and the messages that were sent, it is likely that it was caused by an error on my part and I believe we have rectified the problem. Please let me know when this message goes out if you do not receive it. 

  1. Picking Up Packets

Update: The second grade teachers have provided their packet on line as well as in hard copy.  For those parents of students in grades K-4 who cannot print and prefer to have a paper copy, we will have them available on a table in the foyer of the Middle High School during the hours when meals can be picked up which is Monday – Friday from 10-11 in the morning.  If there are any other teachers who are preparing a hard copy, you should hear directly from those teachers. And they can be picked up during this time as well.

  1. Enrichment Activities Posted ON LINE on District Website

I have been mentioning that there will be resources posted on line for use by students and parents.  Thanks to the assistance of Collin MacDonald and our technology integration specialists, we now have a webpage that is easily accessible on our district and school websites that includes learning opportunities for students that go beyond the information that many teachers have already sent out. In many cases, teachers have been posting resources directly to their students that are specific to current curriculum and content through their established lines of communication (Schoology, portal, email, etc.) Please refer to those resources first. The materials and resources linked on this new website are for general student engagement and enrichment.  This by no means an exhaustive list but we are also trying not to overwhelm people. We expect that additional resources will be posted as time goes on and that students will be hearing from their teachers periodically during this closure to check in. Please check out this site and let me know your thoughts.

  1. Central Information Site / Frequently Asked Questions

One thing we are also doing is centralizing the information about COVID 19 and our response on the district website. If you go to http://www.gssapp.org/GeorgetownPublicSchools/, you will see a link which lists all of the correspondence we have sent out about this virus. It includes my messages, blogs, and information posts in chronological order with the most recent on top. If you missed any of my messages or just want to refer back, this will enable you to do so. Any correspondence from now on can be found there. I am also working on a chart of the Frequently Asked Questions that we are answering as we go along and I will be updating this chart regularly to keep everyone up to date.  That should be on line tomorrow. If you have a question you think should be answered, drop me an email and we can discuss. 

  1. Remote Operations

Effective tomorrow, all staff will be working from home but operations will continue as this period of closure is not a vacation. Everyone is assessable by e-mail and I should be able to access your phone calls from home. We will be coming into the office on an as needed basis only and we will be setting up meetings via Zoom and facetime. The custodians and maintenance employees will be deep cleaning for another week and as they finish the schools will be locked down until we return to school. They will then be sent home to be with their families. If you have any questions about this, please let me know at jacobsc@georgetown.k12.ma.us 

I have another conference call with the Commissioner and DESE on Friday morning at 10 so I may have more information to share. 

Be well everyone!

Carol

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