COVID-19 Update April 3, 2020
Dear Pembroke Families,
I hope this communication finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. We are acutely aware of the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing our Pembroke learning community and intend to briefly outline the remote learning plan that will begin April 6th. I want to remind you that we are here to support you and that we encourage you to reach out with any question or concern.
As you are aware, the Commissioner of Education, Jeff Riley, recommended that the initial shutdown of schools from March 20th until April 6th be enrichment focused. With the continued school shutdown now estimated to continue until May 4th, that recommendation has shifted to include remote learning. Remote learning as defined by the commissioner should be first and foremost focused on the social and emotional well being of our students. Understanding that remote learning is not a substitute for classroom instruction, the commissioner is recommending that students be provided with approximately three hours of schoolwork per day.
Remote learning in Pembroke will be somewhat unique by grade level. We are asking teachers to have contact with their students at least three times per week. This contact might take many forms: virtual meetings through Google Meets, virtual office hours through Google Meets, emails, and phone calls etc. As much as possible, digital learning will occur within the G Suite for Education (Google) for older students and in Seesaw for our younger students. In addition, there will be lessons provided and again at the commissioner’s recommendation, those lessons should seek to deepen and refine current content knowledge and skills. To that end, all work between April 6th and May 4th will be classified as “credit” or “no credit.” This is a shift from our current optional enrichment activities.
We are asking our families to work with us in this endeavor and to appreciate the learning curve we are all facing. We ask that you encourage your students to participate by accessing their teachers and that you encourage good digital citizenship. In addition please remind your students, when attending a virtual session, appropriate school attire is expected. The parameters for acceptable use outlined in both our policy and student handbooks that you signed at the beginning of the year will be enforced while remote learning is in place. Attached you will also find a much more detailed privacy disclaimer related to the use of technology in this unprecedented time. Also, our teachers are working hard to develop appropriate learning opportunities for students, and we ask that you respect their efforts and that individual responses to families will usually take place during the “school day” as defined by each building.
Attached there is also information for families regarding special education, but “to the extent possible,” we will seek to provide support for all our students. Likewise, guidance counselors, social workers, nurses and other specialized support personnel will be reaching out to you to maintain connections that are essential to the well-being of our students.
Should you have questions or concerns regarding technology access or difficulties, please refer to the technology FAQs also attached to this communication. If you continue to have difficulties, please reach out your building principal. We have been able to distribute over 100 Chromebook to families and we remain committed to keeping all families connected to our PPS community. Our goal is to keep our students and teaching community as safe as possible and we will need the help of our family partners to do this successfully.
Finally, there are many questions about the future that we are not able to address at this time:
- What about senior activities: the prom, graduation etc.?
- Will there be a spring sports season?
- Will Camp Bournedale take place?
- Will we have April vacation?
I am committed to providing you with information as soon as information becomes available to me.
As the mother of a second and fifth grader, I want you to know I am living this experience with you all. There is no question too big or too small that I am unwilling to explore. Please reach out to me or to your teachers or to your building administration. I am confident that we have an extraordinary team that is committed to the best interests of your students. Teachers are missing their students and we are all looking forward to the next, “back to school” day.