UPDATE 03.20.2020 *****
Federal Hocking Local School personnel continue to work very hard to prepare meals and instructional materials for our students. Our plans have evolved as we learn more about protecting ourselves and others from the spread of COVID-19.
The following information will be posted on the district website and shared with local media outlets including The Athens Messenger, The Athens News, and the Parkersburg Sentinel: Meal delivery: Our original plan to deliver meals to student homes has changed. We realize that some will not be able to get to these locations. If you are not able, please contact your school’s office. Please leave a message and a number to contact you and someone will follow-up. Messages will be checked daily. We are able to make some adjustments on a case-by-case basis.
Following social and physical distancing guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health and the Athens City-County Health Department we will be limiting interactions of our employees who distribute food. Meals for students will be delivered to the locations on the COVID-19 Food Delivery Meeting Points schedule posted on our website and media outlets. Locations will include Amesville and Coolville Elementary Schools and the following locations: South Canaan Baptist Church Torch – Rutland Gas Hockingport Store Vanderhoof Church Lottridge Community Center FVRC in Stewart Guysville Marathon Hope Drive Apartments Canaanville United Methodist Church New England Church Hooper Ridge Church of Christ Sharpsburg Township Garage Bartlett Gospel Baptist Church. Times will vary, so please refer to the schedule which will be posted at some of these locations and to this email.
Our first delivery will be Tuesday March 24. We will determine after that delivery the dates for future deliveries and share that information.
Educational materials: These will be made available every other Tuesday beginning March 24 through May 19. Tuesday, March 24 materials can be picked-up at your student’s school. If a family has students in more than one school please let us know which building is most convenient. After March 24, materials can be delivered to one of three other locations in the district. These locations are Hope Drive Apartments, Lottridge Community Center and the Sharpsburg Township Garage. Please let your school’s office know your preference. Again, if you are unable to come to one of these locations let us know. Please know these adjustments to our earlier plans are intended to protect our employees and volunteers. Please contact your school with any questions.
As we discussed, information and guidance about our operation continue to develop. I know that there are folks who are considered to be in "high risk" categories for getting sick, or have spouses or other family members who are "high risk". We also have several for whom child care is an issue. The administrative team and I will be brainstorming plans for an alternating schedule that allows folks to work from home, but come in to school at designated times for "office hours" to be available for parent phone calls or to call and check on students. Here are some adjusted plans moving forward:
1. Wednesday meetings with all of the buildings are now canceled. Any information can be shared via email.
2. If you are sick, stay home and communicate directly with your principal or supervisor.
3. If you or a family member traveled internationally or to another "high risk" area (like Washington) over break you should stay home and communicate your principal or supervisor.
4. If you have child care issues let your principal or supervisor know. We will work with you on a schedule so that this will work for you.
5. Principals and I will share a schedule early this week. It will be flexible and we can make adjustments. So, if you have a concern your principal will work with you.
6. Anyone who wants to come in other than the scheduled times to assist in food preparations and delivery is welcome. Several are planning to come in tomorrow for this purpose.
7. We will still need to get "learning bags" (blizzard bags sound really stupid at this point) to students. I would like these to be ready for next week by Friday at Noon.
All indications are that the school closure will be more than three weeks. Our priorities remain the same. We want to make sure our students have food and we want to keep them engaged with school - reading, critical thinking, and problem solving to the extent that this can happen in this unprecedented situation.
I will share another update via email tomorrow and let you all know what the expectations are for Wednesday. Things will continue to change. As they do we will adjust accordingly. I will continue to be as flexible as possible, so if your individual question wasn't addressed in this message, don't panic!
Thank you for your patience and all you do for our students!
UPDATE 03.13.2020 ******************************************************
I want to follow up with all of you regarding yesterday’s announcement from Governor Mike DeWine to close ALL SCHOOLS in the State of Ohio through April 3. This is a long message, so please read it carefully. I hope to answer some of the questions I know folks have at this point.
In addition to schools being closed, there will be no practices, meetings, activities or events between now and April 6. I am also cancelling all out of state and overnight trips between now and the end of the school year. This includes the 8th Grade Gettysburg Trip. I will likely be imposing additional cancelations based on new information and restrictions due to concerns about the community spread of COVID-19.
Our buildings are closed during this time to any use by outside groups. This would include any childcare programs, camps, youth organizations, community athletic programs, or other groups that routinely use our buildings for activities. This directive is in place until further notice. Any previously approved building use between now and April 6th is officially rescinded.
Next week – Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 will be calamity days. Staff is not required to report on those days. Staff will report on Wednesday, March 18. Teachers, Support Staff, and Paraprofessionals will report to their individual buildings. Bus Drivers will report March 18 as was originally planned for March 17. I plan to visit each building to provide staff a brief update. All Staff will continue to report unless otherwise notified.
There are many more questions than answers about how the rest of the school year will progress. Although schools are closed through April 3 we must make preparations in case that is extended. The latest information (as of this notice) is that COVID-19 will not peak in the United States until late April or early May.
Here are plans as they look right now:
Governor DeWine has made it clear that schools should be providing instructional materials and activities to students. Some districts are planning “online” lessons. This may work for some students, but certainly not all of them, particularly our youngest students and those with no internet access. Aside from that we are not equipped to deliver this type of instruction effectively. We will need to send hard copy materials to students in the same vein as “blizzard bags”. This is not ideal but it is an option. It is important to note that the goal is to provide things that will reinforce or enrich those things already instructed. I don’t believe it is reasonable to expect that teachers will teach new concepts or standards by sending materials home. Many teachers already feel pressure to move through content, but I want to emphasize that everyone recognizes this is an exceptional situation. Please do your best to provide materials that are as useful and reasonable. Please be creative. I trust your judgment. The goal is to keep students engaged as best we can. If possible, I suggest some things that engage caregivers in the activities. All indications are that this work will allow us to count this “time” in the 1001 instructional hours required by law. The expectation for next week is that you prepare materials that can be delivered to students the following Monday for that week. Because we haven’t had students since this happened, we will also need to deliver the contents of their lockers and desks to them so they have the other stuff they need to complete the things you send them. Deliveries will be made to students at least once a week.
Testing – Many are concerned about state testing. No guidance or updates about state testing are available that really answer the question about whether or not this will still happen. I am not concerned about testing at this point and you should not be either. If it happens the results will be meaningless with this extended “break”. Let’s just focus on keeping students engaged. We have more important things to worry about right now.
Senior portfolios – Senior portfolios are required by policy. Board policy states: “A graduation portfolio to be submitted and presented to the high school faculty for approval”. Teachers involved in this process will work with Mr. Bonner to modify, if necessary, what this may look like. Because this is not a state requirement I will, if necessary, ask the Board to waive this requirement. At this point it is too early to know what will happen. I expect a clearer picture of things next week.
Public School Works – This will also be an opportunity to complete your PSW!
Bus Drivers, Paraprofessionals, and Food Service
We will continue to feed our students. Jake Amlin is coordinating the effort to feed our students. This will require cooperation among all of our support staff to prepare and deliver food. As mentioned above, we will also be delivering and probably collecting academic materials. There will be plenty of work for everybody during this time.
Public School Works – You, too, should have plenty of time to complete PSW!
My schedule for meetings in each building:
8:00 – Bus Drivers @ MS Commons
9:00 – HS/MS Staff @ Library
10:30 – Amesville Staff – TBD by Ms. Spero
Noon – Coolville Staff – TBD by Mrs. Mitchell
I know there are more questions such as Special Education, ect. I apologize for not having answers to all of them. As I learn more I will share it. Let me emphasize that our mission during this time is to feed and support our students and keep them engaged with the school. Please know that the intention of this message is to assure you that I intend to be as flexible as I can be. I do not want anyone to be anxious about the things we can’t control. Focus on what we can do! Many of you have offered assistance, ideas, and other support. I am grateful and appreciative for all of you!
New information comes every few hours and things can and do change. If you have any questions between now and Wednesday please contact your Principal or Supervisor. Of course, you are welcome to contact me as well.
FedHock: Clarification - Federal Hocking Local Schools will not be in session Monday. This includes pre-school. There will be no practices, meetings, activities or events between now and April 6. All out of state and overnight trips between now and the end of the school year, including the 8th Grade Gettysburg Trip. Details about educational materials and meals for students will be shared next week.