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COVID Update #10 April, 8 2020

 Hello Georgetown Families.

I hope you are continuing to stay well and that all of those you love have not been affected by this virus. The experts are predicting things are going to get worse before they get better so I pray that we will all stay safe until we can be together again. I was thinking as I had a moment to enjoy this beautiful weather that I am grateful to be going through this in the springtime when things are blooming and signs of renewal and hope are all around us. I want to extend a warm and heartfelt thank you to all of our parents, caregivers and family members who are first responders, doctors, nurses and other medical personnel as well as others who are continuing to work and put their lives in danger meeting our needs and trying to fight this virus by saving as many lives as possible. You are our heroes and we are wrapping our arms around you with a big Georgetown hug hoping and praying that you stay safe and hopeful! We are Georgetown strong!

1. Remote Learning

We are up and running! I am sending a huge THANK YOU to our staff who worked so hard over the last two weeks to get Georgetown Connects up and running beginning this week. They have put in many long hours to make this possible. It was a huge undertaking and unlike anything we have ever faced in education before. We are proud of Georgetown Connects but accept that we need to continue to work out the bugs. At the MHS, I want to apologize for the fact that Schoology was unable to handle the full capacity on Day 1 of our plan. We have been in the process of moving from the free version to the paid version and the company was simply overwhelmed with all of the requests for service since so many places were moving to remote learning. Our Technology Integration Specialists did everything humanly possible to avoid the problem but unfortunately there were some students who could not access Schoology in the first two days. We regret any concern that this might have caused our students and we have been told by the company that they will transition to the new upgraded version today, Wednesday April 8th. This should ensure that there are no further interruptions in service. Please reassure your children that teachers understand and are going to be very flexible this week as we move to this online system. As I have said before, our main goal is , first and foremost , to take care of the social, emotional and mental wellbeing of our students during this difficult time. The lessons and activities our teachers have designed and posted are to keep our students learning and in the habit of doing school work but is not our intention to increase their stress level. If this situation with Schoology caused stress for staff and students, we deeply regret it and look forward to moving forward so this will not happen again.

At Penn Brook, the transition to Google Classroom has gone well and all issues that have been brought to our attention have been resolved to my knowledge. Please let us know if you have questions or need assistance as the days go on.

Our leadership team and staff continue to appreciate your kind words of thanks and appreciation! They give us strength and brighten our days!

2. April Vacation

The School Committee met on Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 in a Zoom conference that was open to the public. They discussed three options: (1) continue to hold April vacation as planned during the week of April 20-24, (2) cancel April vacation and continue remote learning April 21-24 (Patriot’s Day off) or (3) Shorten April vacation by two days from April 20-22 and resume remote learning April 23-24. The major considerations were trying to balance the interests of providing families, students and staff with a break from remote learning to regroup and refresh and maintain the momentum of Georgetown Connects after the first two weeks. After considering the pros and cons of each option, the Committee voted 5-0 to keep April vacation from April 20-24 as scheduled on the current school calendar.

3. Camp Kieve – 8th grade trip

The 8th grade trip to Camp Kieve for this spring is cancelled and the deposit will be reimbursed to families. More information on how that process will work will be forthcoming.

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