GMRSD Student Services Spotlight

"Challenging and Supporting Every Student"

Newsflash from the Gill-Montague District with Family Support Information

Closure of Schools - Important Communication from Superintendent Sullivan

March 13, 2020


Dear District Families,


After consulting with state agencies, local health officials, and area school districts, the district decided to close its schools for one week, March 16-20. We will reassess the situation next week to consider what to do beyond March 20.


While there are no identified cases of the COVID-19 virus in our schools or towns, the lack of testing capacity for the virus creates a situation of a very large unknown. In this circumstance, we would like GMRSD to join in the collaborative effort to prevent a spike in this disease, which could overburden medical resources and put at risk the well-being of many of our citizens.


Details Related to this Decision:

• It is possible additional closures could occur.

• Regardless of how many closure days we have, the last day of school for students this year will be Thursday, June 18th .

• We will not attempt to put a distance or electronic learning program in place for this period of closure.

• We are working to set up a meals program for qualifying students during this period. We will post information about this on the district website gmrsd.org as they develop. We will also send emails home to all families about this opportunity.

• Our intention is to staff the district central office during this period but not school offices.

• As of this writing, the superintendent search process is suspended.

• All athletic and extracurricular activities, meetings, and school social events will be cancelled during this closure.

• We will be in touch about alternate plans for next week’s parent teacher conferences.

• We have community members from our Community School Partnership working on establishing a website where folks can communicate with each other to offer mutual support with resources like childcare during this time. Once this is established we will relay information about it.

• Updates of all kinds will be posted on the district website: gmrsd.org.


This decision was a difficult one, as it causes serious disruption and hardship for many. I appreciate your understanding and hope to see the continued strong community spirit and mutual support Montague and Gill are known for, in the days ahead.


Sincerely Yours,


Michael Sullivan, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools michael.sullivan@gmrsd.org

Free Meals Provided During School Closure

Dear District Families,

We are pleased to announce that the district’s food service staff, working with the help of Kuzmeskus Bus Company, will continue providing meals to students next week. Meals will be free for all children 18 and younger. We will provide a bagged lunch along with a breakfast for the next morning. Meals will be available at these sites and times from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20:

Bus 1

  • Hillcrest Elementary (student drop off parking lot) 11:30 – 11:50
  • Unity Park parking lot 11:55 – 12:30
  • Lake Pleasant (Highland Park) 12:45 – 1 pm

Bus 2

  • Montague Center Post Office lot or Town Common near Library 11:30 – 11:45
  • Millers Falls (Franklin Street – near Carroll) 12 – 12:20
  • Sheffield Elementary (main entrance parking lot) 12:30 – 1 pm

Van 1 – we would likely use our district vehicle for this route

  • Montague Catholic Social ministries 11:30 drop off
  • Erving elementary front entrance 11:45
  • Erving Center (candy store lot?) 12:15 – 12:30
  • Four Winds School (Riverside) 12:45 – 1:05
  • The Brick house 1:15 pm drop off

If you have any question about this program please contact Director of Business and Operations, Joanne Blier at 863-3251 or joanne.blier@gmrsd.org

How to Talk to Your Children about Covid-19

During this health epidemic, your children are likely to have many questions for you about the Covid-19 virus and how it might impact their lives. My best advice is to answer your children's questions calmly and honestly and to share information in a developmentally appropriate manner. Specifically, young children generally need brief, simple explanations that give messages of reassurance. Let your children know that you are aware of the virus, that you have plans for keeping them safe, and that there are steps they can take to stay healthy, such as washing their hands frequently, covering their coughs and sneezes, and getting plenty of rest. In addition, monitor your children’s exposure to news reports and social media coverage of the virus. Be present if your children are watching the news in order to answer questions that may arise. ~ Principal Sarah Burstein


There are many excellent resources for families that provide guidance about talking to children about Covid-19.

National Association of School Psychologists

https://www.nasponline.org/

Centers for Disease Control

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html

National Public Radio

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus

Zero to Three

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/3211-why-are-people-wearing-masks-why-are-people-covering-their-faces

Child Mind Institute

https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

Community Networks for Supporting Each Other in Gill/Montague

We have community members from our Community School Partnership working on establishing systems in which folks can communicate with each other to offer mutual support. We encourage you to check these sites for updates on community network efforts.


Gill-Montague Community Partnership website

Gill-Montague Community Partnership Facebook Site

Positively Gill-Montague Regional School District Facebook Site

Educational Links and Resources

Given our school closure for a period of time until the Covid-19 virus is in check, most parents will be faced with the idea of having their kids home all day, every day, for a time, which can be challenging on many levels. One of the concerns about closing schools is that it will interrupt our students' learning process, so we hope that our parents and caregivers can help keep those growing brains humming with learning! Lots of this depends on the age of the kids, but as parents and caregivers we can make sure they are reading or being read to every day, writing every day - in a journal, writing a story, a letter - anything! And to be sure that your kids are not spending more time than usual in front of screens - this can be unhealthy under any circumstances. (One possibly productive and educational activity with your teen may be to check out the Centers for Disease Control website together). We encourage you to check out some of the links below for activities to do with your children or teens.

Stacey Langknecht

Family Engagement Coordinator

Gill-Montague Regional School District

413-863-7200 x7210

stacey.langknecht@gmrsd.org

www.gmrsd.org


Learning Resources:

https://www.verywellfamily.com/fun-learning-activities-kids-at-home-3128960


https://www.jumpstart.com/parents/activities


Hands on we grow


https://www.momjunction.com/articles/educational-games-for-your-teen_00353167/#gref


https://www.nami.org/getattachment/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus/HelpLine-Coronavirus-Planning.pdf?lang=en-US

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-how-talk-child.html

Student Educational Websites

Helpful Links for Parents

GMRSD Student Services & Family Engagement Department

  • Special education
  • Guidance & School Psychology
  • English Learners
  • Specialty services- OT, PT, speech & language
  • Nursing & health education
  • Home & hospital tutoring
  • Homeless education and more
  • Family Engagement Coordinator


Dianne M. Ellis, Director of Pupil Services