March 16th 2020

I hope this finds you all well and safe. I want to first remind staff and families that have someone who has a positive or presumptive diagnosis to please call 978 448 5505 and leave a message for the Superintendent’s office. This information will not be shared with anyone, but will be used as part of our decision-making process as to what the district would do should the Governor choose to recommend schools to be re-opened.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS VS. PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND EXPECTATIONS:

The expectations regarding students participating in the continuous of learning activities are different in public schools than for students in private schools. The requirement for equitable access for mandatory educational activities is significantly different for public schools compared to private schools. Public school districts are required that there be equitable access for all mandatory educational activities which is why the state prohibits us from requiring schoolwork while schools are shut down. Our teachers will reach out to students daily (Monday-Friday) to share learning opportunities and recommendations. We encourage students to continue learning but cannot make this mandatory. Private schools do not have the same requirement which is why you may hear that students who attend private schools continue to access learning virtually.

CONTINUITY OF LEARNING RESOURCE WEBSITE:

I am pleased to announce that through the extraordinary efforts of our staff members the following website is now available to our school community: Remote Resources and Opportunities.

I want to thank all staff who participated in the creation of these resources, particularly Kelly True, Karen Gartland, and Alison Sancinito. We will continue to update these resources daily. This site also includes Health and Wellness resources tab, as well as a Mental Health Crisis Protocol which can be found under this tab.

FOOD SUPPORT

If any of you need any support for additional meals, Loaves and Fishes would love to support you with their drive-thru food pick-up. View details at https://loavesfishespantry.org/need-services/

ACCESS TO FREE AND REDUCED LUNCH SERVICES:

Tomorrow will be the first weekly lunch pick-up from 10am-12pm. Dr. Katie Novak has been in touch with families of students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch to arrange for pick-up or delivery. If you did not receive this message from Dr. Novak and need support in providing food for your family, please reach out knovak@gdrsd.org to learn how the district and community can support you. All information will be strictly confidential.

UPDATE ON NEGOTIATIONS WITH EF TOURS AND HIGH SCHOOL FAMILIES:

All high school families should receive an email by the end of the day March 17, 2020 sharing with them the amended policy changes regarding refunds and vouchers for EF Tour trips scheduled in March and April. If you do not receive an email please contact either your tour coordinator or EF Tours.

UPDATE ON 8TH GRADE TRIP TO D.C.

Parents of students who have signed up for the DC trip are encouraged to review their contract with the tour company and to contact the tour company directly should you have questions. Some families purchased insurance and some families did not. Therefore the answers to your questions will vary depending on whether you purchased the insurance or not. At this time no district decision has been made regarding this trip. However, it remains to be seen whether the Governor will allow schools to reopen in time for this trip to occur.

SCHOOL FIELDS AND ATHLETICS:

Please note ALL athletic practices and games have been suspended. There can be NO captain’s practices, optional practices, and/or “pick-up” games. All school fields are closed. Families are reminded regarding the Governor’s banning of formal gatherings.

SCHOOL BUILDINGS CLOSED:

All school buildings are closed at this time. While we will still be providing food for free and reduced lunch students, this will be an out of the building drive-up and pick-up.

ACADEMIC UPDATE:

Parent conferences, student report cards, and IEP meetings are all “on hold” until further notice. For more information regarding Special Education Services please see the attached letter from Jill Green, Director of Pupil Personnel Services.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT TESTING UPDATE:

High school students currently enrolled in AP classes can find updates regarding the COVID 19 and these exams at: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update

In closing, we will continue to update families each day at approximately 5:00 pm. We are aware that the restrictions placed on us at this time are a sacrifice for everyone, however for these sacrifices to have the desired outcome, families and students must keep in mind that gatherings that would be more akin to those that happen over normal vacations may defeat us in our efforts to control community spread.

Best regards,

Laura Chesson, Superintendent

PPS Letter to Parents_Guardians, 3_16_2020