April 3, 2020
With Governor Wolf’s indefinite closure of schools, there are many questions regarding the close of the 2019-2020 school year. Over the past three weeks, our focus has been on reaching out to each of our families and to develop a framework that provides our students and staff with clear goals and targets, while being adaptable to our unprecedented circumstances. Through our conversations, we have realized that the best thing we can do is provide a sense of structure in a time of uncertainty and a social outlet for our kids to connect with their teachers and their classmates. Teaching and learning is the foundation of what we do. However, in the midst of a global pandemic, our focus on human connection and using our passion for young people and providing a framework for communication is our most worthy role.
All of our teachers have been reaching out to each of their students individually this week to provide an update on course grades and opportunities to improve individual grades and to participate in enrichment activities. Given the depth of the conversations, our teachers will continue their outreach next week for students they have yet to contact. We have asked our teachers to develop enrichment activities that reflect how they would teach if there were no tests and there were no grades. We truly believe our teachers’ passion and mastery of their content and their profession will provide a sense of purpose in a national time of pause.
At the Secondary Complex, teams of teachers and administrators made initial phone calls to all of our 6-12 students to check in on their well-being and to perform a needs assessment in regard to food, necessities and expanding into internet access. The information gathered pertaining to internet access is being used to provide printed materials for students who would not be able to utilize the internet to participate in enrichment activities.
Administrators met with all faculty members on Monday and Tuesday in order to begin sharing plans of how we will move forward through this trying time. The first step was for teachers to reach out to all of their students in order to discuss how things were going and what students could be doing in order to help improve their third quarter grades or to prepare for final exams or projects in Concurrent Enrollment courses at the 9-12 level. For the 6-8 grades, we encouraged students to continue to work on i-Ready either online or through printed resources made available to them.
Our faculty worked hard to ensure that all students were contacted and understood what they could be doing to continue to make educational progress. Several of our teachers have been holding regular Zoom meetings with our students and engaging in meaningful enrichment activities already! As we move forward, we will continue to monitor students’ well-being and academic progress, and every student will have personal contact from at least one of their teachers on a weekly basis.
Our teachers have been working hard to support our Little Panthers at the elementary level this week. Their initial contact with students and families was meant to connect personally and also share the availability of food resources. Not only have we provided an average of 150 take-out lunches from Memorial Elementary School, but we have also delivered meals and Panther Packs to over 190 students twice this week!
Educationally, we encouraged our students to continue use of i-Ready personalized online math and reading lessons. When necessary, individualized printed materials were made available to those without access to the online program. We are most proud of the individual and small group conversations our teachers have been having with their students. In this unprecedented time of uncertainty and change, we are grateful to have teachers so dedicated to the mental and social well-being of our kids and our community. We look forward to providing additional enrichment activities for all of our Little Panthers in the near future!
It is not our goal to add additional stress to any student or family. It is our promise and pledge to each of you that if you are willing to work with us, we will work with you to finish the 2019-2020 school year in as positive a light as we can, while doing everything we can to ensure we are all ready to welcome next school year primed and ready for re-discovering our success and re-connecting to our friends.
On 5 March 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) posted an update on the spread of the coronavirus along with suggestions to help prevent its spread. As mentioned in an e-mail sent to staff and also posted on our web site last Wednesday, the best way we can protect ourselves and our students is to use these precautions at all times:
- Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
- Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
In order to help reduce the risk of spreading germs (including the coronavirus and other viruses), we have Lysol disinfecting wipes available for teacher use at all buildings, as the label on Lysol disinfecting wipes states that Lysol is effective in killing the coronavirus. We have asked our custodians to make sure they are disinfecting desks and door knobs on a daily basis, but are making Lysol disinfecting wipes available to staff as another level of protection.
Further information about the coronavirus can be found on PDE’s web site: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Since our last safety and security update in June, we have taken additional steps to increase the security of our school buildings. Please review the document below for more detailed information on these efforts. Please know that the safety and security of our students and staff is our paramount concern.
The mission of the Bloomsburg Area School District is to prepare its students to become contributing, responsible citizens and life-long learners with the ability to adapt and to succeed in a competitive world.